Happy Holden’s Five Must-Reads of 2021


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Over the past year, I-Connect007 has published more than 4,000 news items, nearly 300 articles, and 350 columns from the leading expert voices in the industry. We also have interviewed dozens of fabricators, assemblers, and designers on the most relevant and pressing topics in the ever-evolving printed circuit board industry.

But getting to that point takes a lot of research and discussion. To help with this effort, Happy Holden, a veteran of the printed circuit board industry, has continued his role as a contributing technical editor who provides valuable input, instruction, and perspective to our editorial team. So, it only made sense to ask Happy about his picks for the best reads at I-Connect007 in 2021.

“Looking back, our theme was for continuous improvement, and in particular, ‘improve performance by reducing (anything) by one,” Happy says. To get more technical, we broke it down into a formula: X = Xc – 1. “I am a creature of my education and experience, and my education was in chemical process control and control theory, followed by 30 years at Hewlett-Packard that made ‘test and measurement electronics’ and was noted for being analytical and wanting to measure everything.”

Process control and yields, he says, have been a continual focus for him during his career and he’s proud of the work at I-Connect007 in introducing all the aspects of continuous improvement.

In fact, he found it a perfect time to mention his book, 24 Essential Skills, which published in 2021 and was the culmination of Happy’s lifetime of work on continuous improvement. Its content “will provide the growth and profitability we need to stay in the race,” he says. “North America has underfunded electronics manufacturing for the past 30 years, but note it is abundantly clear that we need to catch up and stay current with technology as electronics continues to change every aspect of our lives and livelihood.”

Happy enjoys wokring with the I-Connect007 team because of its direct exploration of continuous improvement through articles, columns, interviews, and more.

“Learning is a full-time job for your career, and we have fierce competition for our time,” he says. “There’s also competition from abroad, as the world sees the growing significance of electronics—and they want a piece of the pie!”

Here are Happy’s top five selections from I-Connect007 content in 2021:

  1. IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Show & Tell Magazine: The show may have gone virtual in 2021, but the magazine didn’t lighten up. This is a detailed report felt like it had more information than the actual show. It is filled with interviews, highlights, photos, videos, and a summary of what took place. Even a year later, it’s well worth the read.
  2. “TLPS Z-axis Interconnect Solutions for Thermal Transfer and Electrical Connection in PCBs,” by Catherine Shearer and Gary Legerton, PCB007 Magazine, June 2021: This article offered an insight into a proven process that can reduce costs and increase multilayer performance while being easy to implement. Check it out and you’ll see why I put it on my list.
  3. “GreenSource Fabrication on Industry 4.0: A Roundtable Discussion,” PCB007 Magazine, May 2021. This was particularly interesting to me as this discussion brought together the engineers who had created the world’s most advanced PCB fab with performance that, until then, no one had thought possible. Since 2015, I-Connect007 has published nine articles about Whelen and GreenSource: What they did, how they did it, and what they plan to do next. This should be required reading for anyone in fabrication, no matter your role.
  4. “Training Your Team and Tools for Success,” by Michael Carano, PCB007 Magazine, May 2021. Mike provides an excellent summary of the techniques, tools, and training to improve your job performance. We have a lot of people in leadership positions, but not as many “leaders.”
  5. “Leadership 101—The Law of Process,” by Steve Williams, PCB007 Magazine, May 2021. Speaking of leadership, I couldn’t pass up mentioning this series on leadership, but I especially enjoyed this one about the growth of capability and understanding. You can see from my previous two picks, that effective leadership makes a difference.

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