SMTA Luminaries - 25 Years Serving the Industry

Jul 16, 2009

The following list, compiled by the Anniversary Committee, highlights moments in SMTA history and gives credit to the luminaries (individuals, companies, and events) that helped make SMTA the leading resource for technical information in the electronics assembly and advanced packaging industry. These events will be revealed at a rate of one, two, or three per week until the 25th Anniversary Dinner at SMTA International on October 5, 2009.

The Founders and First Board of Directors

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

Witten by: JoAnn Stromberg, SMTA Administrator

The year was 1984. I was not yet affiliated with the SMTA. Linda West, the first Executive Director of the SMTA, became involved in the SMT industry in 1972. As a production control manager for a hybrid facility she was familiar with the frustrations of seeking answers to design and manufacturing problems.

In 1983 Linda organized a company called IPAC that would help to centralize and disburse information on this "hot" new technology... SMT. She networked with numerous industry colleagues about the value of sharing information with others in the industry. In 1984 the Articles of Incorporation were filed to establish the SMTA as a non-profit association. Throughout 1984 meetings were held all across the US and Canada to introduce companies and individuals to the SMTA. Through these meetings, the guidelines and goals for the SMTA were established.

The first annual meeting of the SMTA was held on February 27, 1984 at the Hyatt Anaheim. The speaker was John Sammis of Johanson Dielectrics.

A page from the Expo SMT89 programIn 1985 Linda's company, IPAC, began planning for a tradeshow and conference that was named EXPO SMT. Some of you "oldies" (like me) may remember the WIZARD theme that was shown everywhere. I still have a ceramic wizard from these events that was kindly given to me by SMTA's first president, Norb Socolowski. The assembly line was even called the WIZ Line! The EXPO SMT events were initially held in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel.

In conjunction with EXPO SMT Linda published a newsletter called "Nutshell News". This was not an SMTA publication, but rather a promotional piece for the EXPO. In reviewing the very first issue (June 1987) I was delighted to see names of people who are STILL active in the SMTA today—Mike Zurn, Jim Walker, and Phil Zarrow.

As IPAC and EXPO SMT grew, the Board of Directors felt there was a potential conflict of interest with Linda's management of the SMTA. Over many difficult months the Board reached a decision to hire a new management company for the SMTA. In the summer of 1987 I was awarded the contact to manage the SMTA.

As the SMTA celebrates our 25th anniversary we would like to recognize Linda and the "Founding Fathers" listed below for the many hours of dedication that were required to develop a mission, a charter, bylaws, envision the potential of chapters, and create a source of technical information for our industry that is, to this day, unsurpassed. The vision of these early SMT pioneers and volunteers eventually turned into an association…the SMTA. Happy 25th!


Frank Haigh

Don Kuk

Roger Meade

Chuck Richardson

George Soderberg

Len Tepper

Linda West

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