Caveat Lector
Portrait photo of a smiling Mike Buetow
PCEA Makes Its Move

left off last month on the subject of progress. “Are you making progress?” I asked. “In your career? In your life? And if not, do you plan to start?”

We at UP Media Group are planning to start right now. Last month, during our annual PCB West trade show, we announced the signing of a letter of intent to sell certain assets, including this magazine, to the Printed Circuit Engineering Association. More on that in a moment.

In its two short years, PCEA has already established itself as the leading association for printed circuit engineers. The leaders of the Designers Council formed it after IPC, its longtime benefactor, decided to go a different direction. The trade group has ties to SMTA and the European Institute for the PCB Community (EIPC), among others. And it is the certifying body for the PCE-EDU Printed Circuit Engineering Professional curriculum.

What, exactly, does this change mean? I’ll answer three ways.

First, for PCEA, it acquires the PCB West and PCB East trade shows, PCD&F/CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY magazine; the PCB UPdate digital newsletter; the PCB Chat podcast; the PCB2Day workshops; and Printed Circuit University, the dedicated online training platform. It also includes all the databases and related websites, among other things. The move makes PCEA a significant player in terms of its capability to reach a huge audience of printed circuit designers and engineers, fabricators and assemblers, not to mention the massive trove of content it has for those audiences.

Next, for the UPMG staff, it means we are relocating to a new logo. Under terms of the acquisition, the staff will join PCEA. Of the folks you may know, Frances Stewart and Brooke Anglin will continue to handle sales and marketing, while my editorial colleague Chelsey Drysdale becomes chief content officer. As for me, I’ll take the reins as the first president of PCEA.

The staff will report to the PCEA board, led by chairman Stephan Chavez. The PCEA board is made up of 12 industry volunteers, who set policy and oversee finances and operations for the organization.

Finally, for our audience, we see significant changes ahead. PCEA membership is free for individuals, and that offer will be extended to all our subscribers. With the backing of the PCEA board, a trove of industry engineers who include the leading experts in printed circuit engineering today, we expect to measurably increase both the amount of information available to you and the media it is available in. Whether written, verbal or visual; whether recorded or live; we expect to offer it all. Our technical content will be driven by users talking to and helping their colleagues.

What differentiates PCEA from other industry groups is it emphasizes the professional development of the individual engineer. As Chavez says, “The biggest feature PCEA brings to the industry is relationship building. Through our extensive network of engineers worldwide, we help industry professionals make informed decisions. With the acquisition of these industry-leading brands and databases, we have both the expertise and the reach to help any engineer, any time.”

As for the timing, we expect the keys will be handed over in the next few months. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention what this means for Pete Waddell, founder and president of UPMG and PCB West. After 45 years in the printed circuit engineering industry, he is routing his last circuit. He said, “I’ve been a strong advocate for engineers to take charge of their own destinies. The PCEA was founded by folks I’ve known for decades to do just that. I can’t think of a better group to carry on our traditions than the PCEA.”

In my opinion, this deal marks major progress, for the individuals and companies involved, and the industry. Together, the opportunity now exists to help you, the readers, in your professional careers in a way never previously imagined. On behalf of the PCEA board and the UPMG staff, we are all thrilled at the prospect.

Mike Buetow
P.S. See us at SMTAI in November!

P.P.S. I am sad to report the passing of Foster Gray, the brilliant Texas Instruments engineer who over his 41 years earned eight patents, 27 technical publications, and four published papers.

I worked with Foster at IPC, where he participated or led dozens of standards and round robin studies, and he was always prepared and always a gentleman. Our condolences to his family.