It's Only Common Sense: Column Number 500, and Counting

Reading time ( words)

This is it, column 500! After 10 years and nearly half a million words, and thousands of opinions, comments, complaints and aggravations, I have finally reached this milestone. To be honest, I am sure that some of don’t believe that this is necessarily a good thing. In fact, I know that some of you think it’s been a less-than-rewarding experience to have put up with my two cents for an entire decade.

But for the rest of you, let me offer a heartfelt thanks for letting me entertain you all these Mondays. I would also like to thank the people at I-Connect007 for providing me with this platform and then allowing me to say pretty much anything I like…except for that lone time with that Sanmina column…but that’s another story for another day.  

Special thanks to Barry Matties who convinced me to write for his publication, and Barb Hockaday for her introduction to the column, and former editor Holly Collins who edited so many of them. And thanks to my current editor Andy Shaughnessy, who, much to his chagrin, once had to fire me from another magazine. This was especially tough for both of us because, like Cosmo Kramer, I didn’t really work there. But thanks anyway, Andy, for all your support. I’m glad that you’re on my team. And thanks to Bryson Matties for making sure my audio column works smoothly, and to Patty Goldman who makes sure that we all do our job, and on time to boot. And thanks to my friend Marty who sends the column out to my database on Tuesdays, and to Bruce who makes sure it hits my social media as well.

I started in this business in February of 1973, which makes this my 43rd year in the PCB industry. So I guess it has worked out pretty well for someone who was supposed to be an English teacher. I can hear you laughing at that, Andy!

For the first 20 years or so, I had real jobs with Maine Electronics, General Circuits and Automated Systems, all of which are now out of business, as are over a 1,000 other North American shops that were once the backbone of the global PCB industry. Exactly 20 years ago I started D.B. Management Group with my good friend Don Dawson, who I have to thank for pushing me in this direction. I also have to thank the late, great Mike Pierce who, truth be known, funded our creation. During these past 20 years, I have worked with over 150 companies, proving once again that I just can’t keep a job. We’ve won some and lost some, but I have always done my best along the way. A heartfelt thanks to those companies who have allowed me to work with them.

Yikes, this is starting to sound like a swan song, isn’t it? But let me assure you that I’m not going anywhere. I am in for the long haul. And until there is only one board shop left in the Americas, I will be here.

Just to prove that I have not lost my bite, here are some of the things we’ll be discussing, starting next week with column 501:

  • Why was the CPCA Show and IPC APEX EXPO held during the same week? What’s up with that? Do you mean to tell me that IPC has lost its clout with the Chinese market? Do you mean to tell me that the government funds they used to translate their specs into Mandarin have been wasted?
  • How about the fact that there is only one seat on the IPC board held by a genuine PCB fabricator and that seat is being given to someone from TTM? Really? When is IPC going to stop catering to the giants and stand up for the normal board shops?
  • And why don’t the IPC reps take a tour of the APEX floor and thank those people and their companies who are spending thousands of dollars exhibiting at that money trap of an exhibition? I did not talk to one person who even saw an IPC staffer.

See what I mean? You’re not getting rid of me yet.

And finally to state my position, let me take liberties with the words of the great American writer John Steinbeck:

Wherever there’s a CM screwing a shop
Wherever an owner’s about to give up
Where there’s a fight against unfair specs
Look for me, ‘cause I’ll be there.

Wherever there’s a company trying to survive
Or just trying to find their way to make ends meet
Wherever a PCB shop is struggling against offshore
Look in their eyes and you’ll see me.

No, I’m not going anywhere. I am here to stay and say the things you can’t. I’ve got your back. I’ve got you covered.

And so for the 500th time, I’ll say it again: It’s only common sense.



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