Mike Creeden: Care and Training of Your Designers


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The I-Connect007 team recently visited San Diego PCB Inc. and received a warm welcome from CEO Mike Creeden and his youthful-looking (relatively speaking) team of designers. Creeden spoke with Barry Matties and Judy Warner about what it takes to run a successful design service center, how to properly care for the PCB designers of today and tomorrow, and why IPC’s design training is paramount when training a new designer.

Barry Matties: Mike, tell us a little about yourself and San Diego PCB.

Mike Creeden: San Diego PCB was incorporated in June of 2003, so we are in our 13th year of existence, and as a professional, I am in my 40th year of doing this. That makes me sound old, but I don't feel old.

Matties: It does sound old. But you’re only as old as you feel, I guess.

Creeden: Well, here's why I don't feel old, it’s because I love what I do.

Matties: I guess it depends on when you started, because if you started when you were 40...

Creeden: Oh, I started when was two years old (laughs). No, I’ve had my 60th birthday, so...

Matties: Ah, so you started in your twenties?

Creeden: I started in my twenties, when I got out of the military. I was in the military in a short-range tactical nuclear missile unit. It was known as one of the deadliest and stupidest weapons ever made. People would say, "Not a good day to shoot this thing," and they'd check the wind. But I had a technical propensity back in the day, and so when I came out of the military, shortly thereafter, I started in this profession and there's been no looking back. I've had the privilege to work for a lot of different companies, from big-name companies to a lot of the different CAD companies. So I had the opportunity to learn a little bit about the business, the software that the business runs on, for PADS, now Mentor, and Cadence and Zuken.

What I found out is that, regardless of how good I did as a designer, I didn't always control my destiny, so to speak. I concluded that rather than just going to the companies, it made more sense for me to create a good CAD environment and let the companies come to me, and that's worked well. It works well because I take care of the designers, and that shows, and the customers like that. It's been the staple that gives our business a corporate signature and a corporate culture.

Matties: Just for context, tell us a little bit about San Diego PCB, what the mission is, and what you guys do.

Creeden: We have a mission statement, because that's what they say you're supposed to do when you have a corporation: have a corporate culture based on a mission statement. The mission statement is, essentially, to have revision 1 work, and I want quality, and I want to do it the best I can on time. Those are the three things that most people say, "You can have two of the three." I’m sure you've heard that said. To the best degree we can, we're trying to do all three. There's nothing magical about it; it's just good work and determination to try to do that.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the August 2016 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

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