Leo Lambert on Training the Next Generation of Technologists


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I sat down for an interview with Leo Lambert, VP of technical director for EPTAC Corporation, during the IPC Summer Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina. We discussed the company’s growth, including plans to have training centers across different regions of the country to help cut down on students’ travel times, and why training methods must constantly evolve to remain effective.

Andy Shaughnessy: Leo, what’s new at EPTAC?

Leo Lambert: We’re very busy. The issue happening now is to get instructors located around the country because it costs us a lot to travel. By having instructors in various parts of the country, we eliminate a lot of travel, so it is a big deal for our customers and us.

Shaughnessy: Because it is a service industry, more or less.

Lambert: Correct. New state government rulings on taxation for services rendered are going to impact us, and we need to be aware of those impact relative to the total cost of the programs. Secondly, from a training perspective, one of the things that happened at the IPC meetings is the new IPC policies and procedures. At EPTAC, we try to follow those to the letter, but there are so many changes that we are questioning the validity of those changes; for example, they are now going to allow people to change the visual PowerPoint presentations. Individuals were not allowed to change them previously as they were all copyrighted; allowing this to happen automatically changes all of the presentations, so the commonality disappears between the same program, which will impact the industry.

So, my function is to make sure the instructors don’t have four different versions for the same specification. Because if they have modified their presentations, we don’t want to hear, “I heard this from instructor A. Now, I have instructor B, but instructor A said this, and instructor B said that.” It becomes a big effort to standardize the presentation and knowledge being disseminated to the students.

Another issue is IPC has a philosophical bent while creating the programs to do three things: “Let me tell you what I’m going to tell you, let me tell you, and then let me tell you what I told you. To present the material in this fashion produces many slides. So, I question the need to have so many repetitive slides. If the instructor goes through every slide, it ends up being a long day, so again, my question is do we really need all that material to certify the individual.?

Shaughnessy: And you’re talking about 200–300 slides. 

Lambert: Yes, and if it could be reduced by a larger number of slides, it would eliminate most of the duplications being experienced. Because of this repetitive process, the instructors have to balance the class during the day to compensate for the total time of the presentation. This also involves taking into consideration where the students are coming from, as we get students traveling on Sunday. Therefore, by having students and instructors around the country, we can help save the students’ travel time. The other thing we’re looking at is online training; we’ve done some, but it hasn’t caught on in our industry.

Shaughnessy: What do you see as the value in online learning? I don’t think it will ever replace face-to-face training.

Lambert: There’s definitely some value in online training. Anything picked up and learned is going to add value to the programs. What they, the students, want is to keep the training program interesting by having video snippets in the PowerPoint slides. With the lecture, you could also have a 30-second video to show you how it’s done. We’ve mentioned it to the developers that they need to have physical demonstrations to provide some perspective of the application as it changes the concept of understanding.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the August 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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