Curtis Grosskopf: Lasting Connections Fuel Progress

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The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given by IPC International Inc. to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. Each recipient will be eligible to bestow the Dieter Bergman Memorial Scholarship upon the university or college of his/her choice.

Curtis Grosskopf, a senior engineer at IBM, reflects on the evolution of IPC committees and the vital importance of their work, especially in collaboratively creating industry-wide standards to guide the work of professionals in every sector. This commitment to multidisciplinary cooperation is a mindset that should be fostered at the start of every career.

Patty Goldman: Curt, congratulations on receiving the Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award. This award is about collaboration. Why is that so important when working on a committee?

Grosskopf: Basically, no one person or company is all-knowing, and if you’re on a committee working on a standard, a test method, or other industry document, you will need multiple perspectives. You need suppliers, users, and OEMs. You also have to consider each person’s background—is it in consumer products, IT, automotive, aerospace, military, etc.? Then you have to look at the people on the committee: Are they designers? Are they from manufacturing, supply chain, life cycle management, qualification, environmental compliance? For any standards work, you need a wide range of people just to cover all the aspects of whatever topic that committee is working on. Then you need people with multiple capabilities. You might need someone to perform experiments, another to provide the samples, one to provide field data, and maybe someone to do the analysis of the data that you’re working to provide, or even the ability to just write the document. All those items are needed.

I’ve spent many, many years on the B10A Committee that currently maintains J-STD-020, which is the moisture sensitivity classification standard, and that committee owned its predecessor, the IPC-SM-786. Back in the day, we had a very good core team, which now is called an A-Team. We worked very well together, and we had a great mix of users and suppliers—people with different backgrounds. Jack McCullen from Intel was one of the original chairs, and he was very active in IPC. Today, Steve Martell from Nordson is the chair, but Steve works at a company that deals with equipment used for moisture testing. I come from an OEM background, and Jack has a supplier background, so you need those perspectives when you’re working on a committee.

To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the 2023 edition of Show & Tell Magazine, click here.


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