Whiteside’s View From the Summit: An Industry Perspective

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I spoke with Shane Whiteside to get his unique perspective on the industry as president and CEO of Summit Interconnect, as well as his position on the board of directors for the IPC. Whiteside discusses the business challenges he sees overall.

Nolan Johnson: Shane, you have two high-profile roles in the industry right now. First, can you introduce yourself?

Shane Whiteside: I’m currently serving as president and CEO of Summit Interconnect. I’m proud to be a part of that. It’s a great team here in the PCB industry. Also, it’s my honor to serve on the IPC board of directors. For the next two years, I’m serving as the chairman of the board.

Johnson: That’s a very influential position. Summit certainly seems to be growing. How would you characterize that?

Whiteside: Since we formed the company in April of 2016, through the acquisition and merger of the two companies in Southern California (MEI and KCA), we’ve grown organically. We also made an acquisition in December 2018 of Streamline Circuits, and then we just finished an acquisition in July of ITL Circuits in Toronto, Canada. Each of the companies has grown significantly since we bought them. By putting them together on one platform, we have developed a very large and best-in-class sales force. Again, the two main elements of growth have been organic and acquisitions.

Johnson: With your perspective in putting together a company like Summit, as well as your position on the board of directors for IPC, what are some of the business challenges that you see for the industry overall?

Whiteside: There are quite a number of challenges. In 2020, in particular, everybody’s facing a challenge with COVID-19 and coping with it not only in our businesses but also in our personal lives and in society. We continue to have challenges in our business that we’ve faced over the last few years, including investing in our growth for the future, deciding where to invest in our business, and trying to anticipate what technologies are going to grow faster than others.

We’ve been fortunate in the last three years to have a growing market in North American PCBs. Before that, it had been a declining market for 15+ years. That presented its own set of challenges as well. But with some confidence, and with a growing market ahead, we continue to invest in our businesses.

There’s also a continuing increase in compliance requirements, particularly with the markets that we serve. And while we’re pleased to demonstrate the compliance of the products that we build to all the specifications and expectations of our customers, that demonstration of compliance is increasingly stringent. And not only does this involve documentation of compliance to requirements but also additional laboratory testing, such as reliability testing and things of that nature. It has proliferated from the sample level to every board and panel.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the December 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.


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