Mike Buetow on PCB West

Judy Warner
|  Created: August 29, 2019  |  Updated: February 5, 2021

Mike Buetow, the Editor in Chief and Vice President of Printed Circuit Design & Fab magazine as well as Circuit Assembly’s magazine, joins us to talk about PCB West. The publishers UP Media put on PCB West every year in Santa Clara, this year’s will be September 9th to 12th, 2019. We talk about what you can expect from the show, how it got started and some colorful history from their background. Altium is also a sponsor of the show this year, and we’ll be there with a booth and Ben Jordan will be giving a class; ‘The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to RF Design.’ 

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Show Highlights:

  • After two semesters of applied math, Mike switched courses to journalism and ended up working for a trade magazine in the SMT industry. He also worked for IPC for six years where he became embedded in this industry.
  • PCB West predates UP Media by almost a decade, the original conference and exhibition launched in 1991 and is now in its 28th year.
  • What sets PCB West apart as a conference after 28 years, is the in-depth format itself; a deep dive into tutorials on printed circuit design and manufacturing.
  • 70% of the sessions this year, will be at least two and a half hours long, there are also 20 half-day workshops and 5 full-day workshops.
  • There will be 14 talks on EMI/EMC and noise control, 20 involve some element of DFM or board fabrication, and more than 20 will cover high-speed design. The sessions are longer, attacking subjects from all angles. 
  • PCB West has seen considerable growth over recent years due in part, to holding it in September rather than the first quarter of the year, and has been sold out for the past eight years. 
  • Highlights at PCB West this year include: Eric Bogatin with two presentations, Lee Ritchey with a not-to-be-missed, full-day high-speed tutorial, Daniel Smith from Raytheon will discuss an AI development to address CAD/CAM design bottlenecks. Altium’s Ben Jordan, who is a real designer’s designer, will also be there talking on RF and microwave design.
  • Susy Webb and Paul Cooke will be covering a variety of basics to include schematics, layout, and fabrication. 
  • Rick Hartley, the most popular speaker in the history of PCB West is back with seven presentations, including new talks on design for IoT devices. 
  • Joe Fama will explain his model on how Tier 3 EMS companies can compete with Tier 1 companies on BOM costs.
  • Greg Papandrew is representing his new company ‘Better Board Buying’ and will highlight how to improve procurement processes.
  • ‘Free Tuesday’ offers 13 free sessions including Eric Bogatin on SI and PI, and a very participative session on ‘21 (and Counting) Most Common Design Errors, Caught by Fabrication, and How to Prevent Them’ by Dave Hoover, TTM Technologies, Ray Fugitt, Downstream Technologies and Mike Tucker, Kinwong Corporation.
  • Writing Your Résumé and Marketing Yourself Within Your Company by Gary Ferrari will be very interesting as it’s an often-neglected area.
  • PCB West has changed over the years; today we see many more degreed engineers - a fun component (think ‘The Porch Dogs’) has been added, timing has changed, but one constant remains -  the educational component.
  • This year there will be a one-day exhibition on September 10, with 110 exhibits offering a lot of hands-on, equipment suppliers, demos and around 20 board shops with product samples, also some assembly people, and much more. For pre-registered attendees the exhibition is free, admittance on the day is $25, so do be sure to register on time.

Links and Resources:

PCB West Guide 
Tuesday, September 10 Free Sessions
Exhibitors List
UP Media Magazines
PCB Chat Podcast 


About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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