December 2022 Newsletter



Hello members!

It’s been a couple months since we’ve last communicated. We hope the usual rush to complete any end-of-year tasks is going well and your holiday season is a safe and happy one.

There’s a lot to catch up on.

In October, PCEA celebrated a very successful PCB West in October, its first since acquiring the industry-leading technical conference and trade show from UP Media Group in January. Conference registration was at its highest point in more than 10 years, nearly 2,000 industry professionals registered for the exhibition, and more than 85 exhibitors filled the sold-out show floor. Keynoter Dr. Brian Toleno, manager, Applied Materials at Meta’s Reality Labs, gave a scintillating presentation on the opportunities the metaverses offer not just for users but for developers of computing devices. He looked at the novel innovations in materials and production that will be needed for printed circuit designs to meet the requirements for weight, size and functionality. “Games alone won’t drive AR/VR,” Toleno noted. “The next generation of Zoom will be 3-D avatars.”

At PCB West, we also held our annual meeting and introduced our 2023-24 board of directors, as elected by the membership: Stephen Chavez, Tomas Chester, Michael Creeden, Doug Dixon, Tara Dunn, Gary Ferrari, Justin Fleming, Richard Hartley, Scott McCurdy, Anaya Vardya, Susy Webb and Eriko Yamato.

The board then voted on the officers for the term: Chavez, chairman; Dunn, vice chairman; Fleming, secretary. Committee chairs include Chester, Education; and Creeden, Membership.

Also during the meeting, we recognized Mike Creeden with the first PCEA Leadership Award, for his lifetime service in the pursuit of educating and training PCB design engineers. Mike, who was PCEA’s first vice chairman, was instrumental in the launch of PCEA and the negotiation to acquire the assets of UP Media Group, including PCB West.

And Scott McCurdy was recipient of the first PCEA Membership Award. Scott was PCEA’s first Membership Committee chairman, and has been president of the Orange County chapter of the PCEA since its inception. Meanwhile, we have begun preparations for PCB East and PCB West. Read more in the National news below.

We have a new managing editor for PCD&F/Circuits Assembly. In October we welcomed Tyler Hanes to our staff. Tyler has a journalism degree and a experience in regional papers and trade groups. He is based in Alabama and has already attended his first industry event: PCB Carolina.

Finally, we have a new section on Printed Circuit University dedicated to PCEA members. In addition to its paid content, PCU has added a section with free white papers and videos for any PCEA members. Learn more at

Mike Buetow

PCEA President


Local Chapters

Please forward your chapter news to for inclusion on our website and in future newsletters.

ONTARIO, CANADA – On Nov. 24 we held a virtual Lunch’ n’ Learn featuring Ata Syed, field application engineer at PFC Flexible Circuits. Syed is starting a multipart series on flex circuits. In this first session, he covered the five “W’s” of flex technology:

  • What is flex?
  • Why use flex?
  • Who should know flex?
  • When to use flex
  • Where to use flex

To view the presentation click here.

RTP – The RTP Chapter held its annual PCB Carolina in November and by all accounts it was a success. The show floor was sold out and registration was its highest ever, with more than 1,000 professionals registered. Kathy Joseph, host of the Kathy Loves Physics YouTube channel and author of “The Lightning Tamers,” keynoted the event. Her presentation, “The Origins of the World’s Electricity,” chronicled names and stories – some familiar, some less so – to tell the story of the birth of electricity and explain quirks of the world’s electrical systems, such as the reasons why most countries use around 220V and 50Hz for their main voltage while the US and Canada use around 120V and 60Hz.


Membership committee. This month Mike Creeden led a leadership session for existing and startup chapters. He gave updates on the association, strategic plan and education committees, and events planned for 2023. Q/A was a big part of the session. The session was recorded for chapter leaders who could not make the live call.

Education committee. The abstracts deadline for PCB East 2023 has ended and we have received more than 50 abstracts. The Conferences task group is led again by Rick Hartley. A PCEA Conference Abstract Selection Process will be used for the first time for this event. The target date for releasing the three-day technical program is Jan. 3, and PCB East takes place May 9-11 in Boxborough, MA.

Reading Material

Highlights of the December issue of PCD&F/Circuits Assembly:

  • Updating an existing design. Not all designs start from scratch. Some files come from the client. And sometimes, the schematic and PCB layout get out of sync.
  • Clocking a PCB design. Aligning signals to attain perfect synchronicity.
  • Basics of polymers for thermal management of electronic devices. A comprehensive thermal management approach not only includes using the right TIM materials in combination with heat sinks, heat pipes, fans and heat spreaders, but also includes a good thermal management strategy that starts during the design phase.
  • Addressing low-temperature rework concerns. The inherent brittleness of bismuth inhibits the manufacturing of fluxed cored wire. One solution involves use of a high-bismuth solid wire solder with an external flux. Another approach is to use traditional SAC-flux cored wire solder to rework low-temperature solder joints.

Read it all here.

Have an idea for an article? Contact us at No writing experience required!


The Education Committee receives requests each month for mentors. If you are open to helping coach colleagues looking to develop their design or engineering skills, or provide career advice, please let us know at

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