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During Tuesday night’s dinner at IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017, I-Connect007's Patty Goldman had a chance to talk with Shane Whiteside, Summit Interconnect’s president and CEO.
Goldman: Shane, it’s good to see you. Is this your first time at IMPACT?
Whiteside: This is my first IMPACT. I’ve missed it in previous years, but I’m very pleased to be here.
Goldman: Tell me what you’ve learned in the past day and a half, since arriving.
Whiteside: I’ve been impressed with how IPC has organized a very effective event, and I think that’s not only my impression, but other attendees as well. The people that we’ve met today reflect the influence that IPC has gained in this town, from EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to one of Vice President Pence’s senior advisors, Darius Meeks. It’s just an incredible lineup here today and I think what was really gratifying to me is understanding how much the new administration is aligned with a promoting a very positive industrial policy.
Goldman: It seems everybody is aligning with that, shall we say, and quickly.
Whiteside: There is a lot of enthusiasm with respect to the potential resurgence of U.S. manufacturing. I think that a lot of the people that we met today represent not only new faces, but a new approach as well. The tone is much different, from what I understand, from previous eras. And we’re very much looking forward to the support and the commitments that were made here today to create positive change in our industry.
Goldman: I’m going to put you on the spot a little bit. This morning, a couple of people, including Kim Ford and Robert Irie from the Department of Defense, said, “Get back to us with information—with your needs.” Are you going to act on anything?
Whiteside: I think Kim Ford’s challenge was to get back to her department with what sort of educational needs we can articulate to IPC and their membership can support, or she can support. I think IPC has increased their focus on members’ training needs and is in the best position to respond to Ms. Ford, we will continue to work with IPC in this area. And with the DoD’s request, they’ve spent a lot of time assessing the electronics supply chain in the U.S. and they have a very pragmatic assessment of where the risks are in the supply chain. Where I am concerned about the supply chain is in bare printed circuit board manufacturing, and unfortunately the government’s assessment is still “TBD.” This is due to a 2016 Department of Commerce study that will take until November 2017 to get the results for and allow anyone to really develop an opinion on how to go forward.
To read the full version of this interview which appeared in the July 2017 issue of The PCB Magazine, click here.