Joe O’Neil Joins Illustrious Group of IPC Hall of Famers

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The IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award is given to individuals in recognition of the highest level of achievement, extraordinary contributions, and distinguished service to IPC and in the advancement of the industry, including the creation of a spirit of mutual esteem, respect, and recognition among members consistent with the goals and mission of the IPC on a long-term basis. This is the highest level of recognition that IPC can give to an individual and is based on exceptional merit over a long-term basis (the operative word being long term). 

Joe O’Neil has nearly 30 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sector. Joe is currently advising clients through his firm, OAA Ventures, which he founded in 2015 following the acquisition of Hunter Technology Corp by Sparton Corporation. OAA Ventures provides consulting and advisory services to electronic manufacturing service providers, printed circuit board fabricators, and technology start-ups. In addition to his consulting engagements, Joe serves as chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, has served on the IPC Board for more than 12 years, and has served as IPC Board chair.

Joe is a very involved IPC volunteer and is either currently serving or has served on the V9-20 PCB/IMS President’s Management Council Steering Committee, the G-10 Government Relations Steering Committee, G-11, IPC Department of Defense Task Force, G-11A, Defense Road Map Task Group, and G-12, the Government Relations Grassroots Participants committee. Joe’s company was an active participant in the 2019 IPC Cares program as well as IPC’s Workforce Champions initiative. Joe was part of a four-member IPC team that presented the initiative to the U.S. White House administration. 

Patty Goldman: Joe, where should we start? First, congratulations!

Joe O’Neil: Thank you.

Goldman: You got a call from John Mitchell. What did he have to say to you?

O’Neil: He said, “How familiar are you with the Hall of Fame award?” And I thought, “I am familiar with it.” I figured it was a call where we were going to brainstorm for a few names of people who might be on the list of nominees. When he mentioned, “No, we’d like to make you the recipient,” I thought it was kind of funny, because off the top of my head I can name a dozen people who I think are more deserving of the award. But he talked me through the rationale, and I thought, all right, it’s an opportunity to take presumptive acceptance of the award and then spend the rest of my career trying to live up to the lofty aspirations.

Goldman: It’s certainly one of IPC’s highest honors. Tell me about your involvement here at IPC. When did it start? I know once it starts it never ends.

O’Neil: It is an honor to join an illustrious group of which you are included. I’ll never forget the first IPC meeting I attended. I was in my 20s, didn’t know much about anything, and went to the management meetings. In those days it was almost all board shops, PCB fabricators. It was like drinking through a firehose during the day of the meetings, learning a lot and taking a lot of notes. I didn’t know anybody there and was definitely the youngest guy in the room. We went to dinner, I sat down at a table, and I didn’t know I was sitting down with the whales of the industry: Peter Sarmanian, Larry Velie, Andy Lietz.

Over the course of dinner, I felt like I earned an MBA. Over a lot of wine, I was shocked at the level of candor, the sense of community, the collaboration, and the openness. In my mind, these were all fierce competitors. They were competing with each other every day and were mortal enemies. In reality, there was a sense of comradery, and willingness to help. They all took the time to get to know me and take me under their wing a bit and offer some mentoring. I was hooked at that point and haven’t looked back since.

Goldman: You were in a board shop, right?

O’Neil: Yes, Hunter Technology. We had the board fab, we also had what was referred to as “board stuffing” back in the day, and then we’d buy components for customers if they needed us to. We had a couple of designers as well.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine, click here.


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