In this month’s column, I give kudos to PCEA Chapter Liaison Scott McCurdy, who has been capturing the efforts of the PCEA to educate our members and our industry as a whole; then, I pass the mic to PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez to provide some thoughts on who’s responsible for continuing education—you or your employer?
Finally, I provide our readers with a growing list of events for 2021.
Scott McCurdy has been a tireless force in collaborating within the printed circuit engineering industry to bring people together. Not only has Scott worked hard in the industry as director of sales and marketing for Freedom CAD Services in Orange County, California, but for years he has worked outside of the box, presiding as a leader in trade organizations that specialize in educating their members.
Presently serving as PCEA’s chapter liaison and Orange County chapter president, Scott coordinates all the PCEA chapter leaders and inspires them to move in a consistent and helpful direction. Local PCEA chapters are actively planning their annual itineraries to serve our industry. As a leader of the Orange County chapter, Scott has worked to capture his local chapter activities. From the start of PCEA and throughout the pandemic of 2020, Scott worked with chapter members and industry educators to create a PCEA YouTube channel to spread educational presentations.
Message from the Chairman by Stephen Chavez, MIT, CID+
This month’s topic on education is a good one. I feel it’s important for many of us, especially those of us involved in printed circuit engineering, fabrication, assembly, and testing of PCBs. For me, continued education/professional development is a must to stay relevant and competitive within our industry. When I think of this topic, there are a few things that immediately pop into my mind. First, “Who’s responsible for your continued education and professional development?” Is it your employer? Is it you as an individual? These are questions I hear, and they are debated often.
Overall, I get mixed responses. Some say it’s your employer’s responsibility to provide continuing education and professional development, while others say that it’s ultimately your own responsibility. I strongly feel it’s you as an individual who is ultimately responsible for your own continuing education and professional development, not your employer. I also feel that a good company in today’s industry will view their employees as their own internal best assets and best long-term investments to be successful.
Therefore, such companies will provide opportunities and look for creative ways to provide continuing education and professional development for their employees so that the company will get its best return on investment for the overall success of the company. This also helps to cultivate a positive culture and working environment so that the potential for long term success is most likely to be achieved. Sadly, not every company takes this approach. The negative side of a company not providing these opportunities may potentially lead to a slowdown or lack of evolution, longer than normal project schedules, excessive budgets, and in worse cases, a high employee turnover rate leading to lack of long-term company success.
For those who feel that it’s their employer’s responsibility to provide for continuing education, they are at the mercy of their company for their individual evolution, which may happen at a slower pace, not at all. This will definitely have a negative impact on the company as well. It becomes a double negative. No one wins if both the company and the employee feel they are not responsible for continuing education and professional development.
Here’s my advice: Take ownership of your own continuing education and professional development, whether your company provides the opportunity or not. Invest in yourself because you are your own best asset. In today’s industry, especially as we have adapted and evolved during the pandemic, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of. Between all the available online webinars and course offerings, to the many conferences now getting back to “face-to-face” engagements, there is simply so much more opportunity today than there was a decade ago.
PCEA is one of the many industry associations where you find awesome opportunities for continuing educational and professional development. A great example was the recent PCEA-Orange County chapter event led by Scott McCurdy. This event had strong attendance because it shared valuable industry content. This led to tremendous collaboration, education, and inspiration for the betterment of those who attended; this greatly benefits the industry overall. PCEA will continue to do its part of collaborating, educating, and inspiring within the industry by providing such opportunities. Be sure to stay tuned for up-to-date opportunities and industry events listed on the Events page of our website.
As always, if you have anything to do with printed circuit engineering, I highly recommend you get involved with and join the PCEA collective, if you have not already. By joining PCEA, your percentage of long-term professional development increases significantly.
I continue to wish everyone and their families health and safety. Best of success to you all in 2021.
There are a lot of items on the PCEA roadmap which were presented in our July 9 meeting. As we evaluate our important to-do list, I’m not sure which of the items will be moving forward first. I’m sure next month’s PCEA column topics will be a potpourri of subject matter coverage as the PCEA moves into trade show season.
Below is our list of upcoming events. Hope to see you there.
PCB West 2021
October 5–8, 2021
Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, CA
SMTA International 2021
Nov. 1–4, 2021
PCB Carolina 2021
Nov. 10, 2021
Raleigh, North Carolina
Nov. 16–19, 2021
Spread the word. If you have a significant electronics industry event to announce, please send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will consider adding it to the list. The effects of the pandemic are still in a state of flux, so watch this column and our website for the most current information on scheduled events. If you have not yet joined PCEA, please visit our website, pce-a.org, and find out how to become a PCEA member.
Educating the industry is one of the key goals of the PCEA. Our leaders have been delighted to find so many educators in our industry willing to provide their knowledge and allow us to capture and present it in the spirt of altruism. As we continue to collaborate, inspire, and educate as a nonprofit, please take time to watch, comment, and thank the many presenters we bring to you as a service.
See you next month or sooner.
This column originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine.