Alex Stepinski on Zero-Waste Facilities

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Since he began his work at Whelen Engineering a few years ago, Alex Stepinski has redefined the way we think about manufacturing printed circuit boards.

Whelen was a garage startup by George W. Whelen in 1952. The company designs and manufactures warning lights, white illumination lighting, sirens, controllers, and high-powered warning systems for automotive, aviation and mass notification industries worldwide. When Alex joined, his job was to bring printed circuit board fabrication in-house. At the time, Whelen was purchasing its boards from abroad. Alex saw this as a chance to completely reimagine the way boards were produced; his goal became to build an automated factory from the ground up. This was not an easy challenge by any means; in fact the challenge became more complicated when he learned (after he accepted the job) that, due to local regulations, the factory had to be a zero-wastewater facility.

After spending countless hours on airplanes to visit factories and suppliers all around the world, Alex began building the new “zero-waste” captive facility. After only a few years of operation, the factory was a clear success—so much so that the decision was made to upgrade the facility to produce leading-edge boards. This was the birth of GreenSource Engineering. It was decided that the new iteration would be more than a captive facility, it would also be a merchant shop.

Alex and team then set out to build a completely new facility and, within in a few years, they transformed the first facility from primarily producing single- and double-sided boards into a facility producing some of the highest tech boards in the world. This was not a simple task. In fact, along the way one of their key equipment suppliers faced challenges that put their entire business at risk. So, mid-stream, GreenSource acquired the company and took on the challenge of both managing the acquisition of a troubled company and building the new facility.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the May 2021 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.


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