Being a committee leader is both challenging and rewarding.
My career in electronics started with an HNC qualification in electronic engineering as part of an electronics apprenticeship at Marconi in Chelmsford, Essex in 1995.
My involvement with IPC began in 2012 when I became a Certified IPC Trainer to the IPC-A-610 Programme for my current employer, Custom Interconnect Ltd. (CIL), based in Andover, Hampshire, UK. My trainer was Debbie Wade at Advanced Rework Technology, who subsequently mentored me and gave me my first experience of attending committee meetings; later, she inspired me to take leadership roles and professional opportunities.
With CIL’s support, I began to attend a variety of IPC Committee meetings in Europe and the U.S. I was thrilled to receive the IPC Rising Star Award in 2017. This is given to IPC members who have taken leadership roles and provided support to IPC standards, education, and advocacy, as well as solutions to industry challenges.
I am currently a co-chair of the 7-31B IPC-A-610 Task Group with Tiberiu Baranyi (Flex Ltd) and Ekaterina Stees (Lockheed Martin). We work as a strong, dynamic team and can bounce ideas amongst ourselves as we take turns in leading meetings.
Because of the global pandemic, as well as personal and professional challenges, meetings are conducted remotely. One of the many skills we have learned is to confidently lead both face-to-face and online meetings of over 90 people. It is vital that we ensure participants can contribute fairly; providing guidance from an industry rather than a personal standpoint can be a careful balancing act. The leadership team also deals with different time zones and, as meetings are conducted in English, we encounter language nuances and diverse cultural experiences.
Because of the committee format, the global, business, and personal perspectives are very diverse. More than 20 countries are currently involved in developing and reviewing standards with contributors ranging from large multi-nationals and government agencies to small businesses. Members range from emerging engineers who are just starting out in their careers, to those nearing retirement with vast knowledge, experience, and expertise to pass on.
I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee.
The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area but is keen to develop the best possible document for the industry.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the May 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.