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Manufacturing a Career on the Factory Floor: Part 3

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Mon, May 15, 2023 @ 04:05 PM

This blog series intends to shatter some "manufacturing myths".  Sometimes there is a perception of manufacturing being dirty, dead-end, unskilled, monotonous and boring.The reality is, it's bright, clean, fulfilling, hi-tech, versatile and rewarding!

I had the privilege of interviewing some Zentech employees - a way of humanizing the manufacturing industry to demonstrate why you may want to consider a manufacturing career.

Tod - Quality Inspector, Zentech Bloomington

Stephanie:Why did you choose a manufacturing career? 

Tod: Well, I think that careers are not always built behind a desk. And I was not the type of person to sit behind a desk. I enjoy working with my hands. 

Stephanie:How long have you been at Zentech? 

Tod: I’ve been here for 10 years. The first 3 years were through a temp agency before I was permanently hired. 

Stephanie:Were you in manufacturing before Zentech? 

Tod: I was in the printing industry for 30 years. Printing had started drying up because of digital advancements so they closed our plant. I decided I wasn’t going to find another job in the printing industry.  

So, Zentech was hiring, and I figured I’d give it a try. To some degree, my skills were related to electronics. I inspected printing plates as part of my job and looked for any errors, scratches, dents, missing type, etc. I was used to doing detailed work. I was first hired as an assembly technician and then started working in receiving- inspection. And since I was doing well there, they moved me over to quality to start inspecting boards after they were assembled. And I’ve been here ever since. 

Stephanie: Why do you like it? 

Tod: It’s clean and well lit! It’s a comfortable workspace. My job is not physically demanding. And I enjoy it because I like solving puzzles.  

Stephanie: I’ve heard that a few times. 

Tod: It’s looking at all the pieces and making sure they fit. It’s important that quality products go out the door. A lot of the products we build are very crucial for industry and the boys out in the field and our country. They always have taught us that our work is critical. 

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Manufacturing a Career on the Factory Floor: Part 2

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Mon, May 08, 2023 @ 10:09 AM

This blog series intends to shatter some "manufacturing myths".  Sometimes there is a perception of manufacturing being dirty, dead-end, unskilled, monotonous and boring.The reality is, it's bright, clean, fulfilling, hi-tech, versatile and rewarding!

I had the privilege of interviewing some Zentech employees - a way of humanizing the manufacturing industry to demonstrate why you may want to consider a manufacturing career.

Meet Victoria. She recognized that she didn't aspire to sit at a desk and a computer all day, and that she enjoys "solving puzzles". Manufacturing was a great career choice for her because it matched her interests and skill set.

Victoria - Production Lead - Through Hole Department, Zentech Bloomington

Stephanie: How long have you been at Zentech? 

Victoria: Almost 2 years. I started here via a temp agency and after a year they hired me. 

Stephanie: Is this your first manufacturing job?  

Victoria: No, I’ve had 2 other manufacturing jobs before this.  

Stephanie: What did you start out doing here? 

Victoria: I started in the testing department. I learned everything on the job.  

Stephanie: And what are you doing now? 

Victoria: I did well in the testing department and last year was promoted to Production Lead in the Through Hole department. This is where all the parts are hand placed.  

Stephanie: What do you like most about what you’re doing? 

Victoria: I actually like doing this a lot because I’m very hands on. For me it’s like a puzzle. If you’re crafty and like puzzles and solving things, this could be a good fit for you. I like putting things together and finding out what things do. And you say to yourself, “Wow, I made that.”  It’s very rewarding. Plus, they treat you like family here.

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Manufacturing a Career on the Factory Floor: Part 1

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Mon, May 01, 2023 @ 12:41 PM

This blog series intends to shatter some "manufacturing myths".  Sometimes there is a perception of manufacturing being dirty, dead-end, unskilled, monotonous and boring.The reality is, it's bright, clean, fulfilling, hi-tech, versatile and rewarding!

I had the privilege of interviewing some Zentech employees - a way of humanizing the manufacturing industry to demonstrate why you may want to consider a manufacturing career.

Christy - Production Supervisor, Zentech Bloomington

Stephanie: Tell me about how you got into manufacturing.

Christy: I have been in manufacturing since I was 15. So, most of my career has been on the manufacturing floor. My father was a Plant Manager at a big facility in Shelbyville, IL. On the weekends we used to go in and do some kitting for extra money. I think they’d give us a quarter for every bag, and we thought that was so cool. I was always trying to figure out how to make it faster.

So, the next weekend, I’m in my roller skates; I figured I could get from place-to-place way faster. I learned pretty quickly that I loved the smell of the manufacturing floor and the idea of it.  

I went to college on a basketball scholarship and earned a degree in Criminal Justice, but as soon as I was done, I literally found a job working in a manufacturing plant. I thought I would eventually to be a cop and “do all the things”. But once I got on the manufacturing floor, I never looked back. I spent almost 20 years of my career there, managing a little over 60 people across 9 departments, as a Production Supervisor. Then the family got up into their 60s and 70s… so they decided to close the facility.  

I had planned on retiring there, so I thought, “now what am I going to do?” I took the summer off to mull over it and decided to flip 2 houses while I was thinking. I sold them and then I said,” Ok now I’m ready to go back.”  

I applied here at Zentech where Kim hired me to work with the quality team and that was my foot in the door. Not that I don’t love quality, but my heart was definitely in production. Within 6 months, the Production Manager at the time saw that and said he could really use me on his team because they were having some struggles. I never looked back.   

Stephanie: How did you feel when the Zentech acquisition happened?  

Christy: When the acquisition happened, I sensed their energy and I thought, “here’s where I feel like I can shine.” I met John, heard what we were planning on doing and everything about the culture he wanted to build. It was everything I wanted to see moving forward. I love his energy, I like the people, I like Michael Seltzer’s energy and all those people who wrap their head around what needs to be done. Those people believe we’re going to make it, we’re going to be great. And it’s contagious.

This is how I want to end my career: helping people get to the next level. I’ve gotten some of my regular workers to become leads.

The Production Manager I started with ended up leaving and for the better part of a year now I’ve handled the management role. But I look forward to the next Production Manager training me so I can get to the next step in my career. I’ve never overseen budgets and things like that, so I want someone to help me grow. 

Stephanie: You’re definitely a “doer”. So instead of just complaining about a problem, you ask what are we going to do to change it? And that’s huge when Zentech acquired the business, because there were a lot of challenges.  

Christy: There are still a lot of challenges. But I call them opportunities. Opportunity for improvement and growth. I feel like we’re all going to get there.

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Zentech Appoints Mike Buseman as President & CEO

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Wed, Apr 05, 2023 @ 11:10 AM

Zentech Manufacturing’s Board of Directors has appointed Michael D. Buseman as President and CEO. Mr. Buseman’s official start date will be Monday, April 10, 2023, at which time he will succeed Zentech’s current President and CEO, Steve Pudles, who will remain with the company as an advisor and board member. 

Mr. Buseman is a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience in electronics contract manufacturing, component distribution, and the technology sector. Most recently, he served as Chief Operations Officer of Benchmark Electronics, Inc., a Tier 1 publicly traded EMS company. Through a focus on operational excellence and deep customer relationships, he was responsible for delivering manufacturing and supply chain solutions to customers within a worldwide network and team of over 20 locations. 

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer

Q2 2021 Market Conditions Report

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Mon, May 03, 2021 @ 06:49 AM

Future Electronics recently released the Q2 2021 Market Conditions Report for the electronics industry.

Zentech works closely with Future Electronics and our customers to identify and prepare in advance for potential lead times issues. As economic activity continues to expand across all markets, it is important for OEM’s to review their upcoming requirements and forecasts carefully. There is nothing worse than working hard to land business and then learn that component lead times are going to prevent you from making committed deliveries to your customers.

Zentech can help! We can perform a lead time analysis for your program and best position you for success in the future in the wake of lead times creeping out, in some cases dramatically, for many component types. Contact Zentech to discuss today.

Click the button below to read the Q2 2021 Market Conditions Report 

Q3 2021 Market Conditions

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer

Zentech Dallas Earns IPC Certifications

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 10:29 AM

IPC's Validation Services Program has awarded an IPC 1791 Trusted Assembler and the IPC 610 QML (Qualified Manufacturers Listing) to Zentech Dallas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zentech Manufacturing. Following an initial audit by IPC, Zentech Dallas joins Zentech Baltimore in the elite group of U.S. trusted sources and suppliers with these certifications.

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Topics: contract manufacturing company, electronic PCB assembly, Electronics Manufacturing Services Industry, US manufactured products, Maryland PCB assembly, PCB manufacturing, electronics manufacturer

Q3 2020 Market Conditions Report

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 @ 06:47 AM

Future Electronics recently released the Q3 2020 Market Conditions Report for the electronics industry.

Zentech works closely with Future Electronics and our customers to identify and prepare in advance for potential lead times issues. As economic activity continues to expand across all markets, it is important for OEM’s to review their upcoming requirements and forecasts carefully. There is nothing worse than working hard to land business and then learn that component lead times are going to prevent you from making committed deliveries to your customers.

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer

Zentech Hires Chief Commercial Officer Michael Seltzer

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Tue, Aug 04, 2020 @ 08:51 AM

Zentech Manufacturing is pleased to announce that Michael Seltzer has joined the Zentech leadership team as Chief Commercial Officer.

Michael has over 35 years of experience providing customer solutions in the military/aerospace EMS sector, most recently serving at Benchmark Electronics in a number of roles that include VP of Business Development. Michael also served as VP of Sales and Marketing at Suntron and has a strong track record of delivering superior customer outcomes, by building strong teams at companies small and large, earning customer trust, and acquiring competencies/facilities relevant to our core customers. He will contribute significantly to Zentech’s leadership team and customer experience. His primary responsibilities will include oversight of the Zentech Sales & Marketing teams.

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer

Zentech Manufacturing Acquires CAMtek Inc.

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 @ 01:31 PM

Zentech continues to accelerate strategy to build leading electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider for Defense, Aerospace, Medical and other high-reliability industries

Baltimore, MD. March 13, 2020 – Zentech Manufacturing, Inc., is pleased to announce the acquisition of CAMtek, Inc.

CAMtek, Inc., located in Bloomington, IL is AS9100D certified and has enjoyed a twenty-year history of success and growth in the high-technology electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sector. Featuring four SMT lines and over 100,000 sq. ft. of advanced manufacturing space, CAMtek, Inc. has a long legacy of high-performance in the military, industrial and commercial markets.

Following the transaction, CAMtek, Inc. will become Zentech Bloomington (IL) and joins the Zentech family of companies that also includes Zentech Baltimore (MD), Zentech Fredericksburg (VA) and Zentech Dallas (TX) which Zentech acquired in January of this year.

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer

CEO Steve Pudles Interview on Induction into the IPC Hall of Fame

Posted by Stephanie Austin on Fri, Feb 21, 2020 @ 08:39 AM

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman interviews Steve Pudles on his recent induction into the IPC Hall of Fame in the Show and Tell 2020 Magazine. 

With over 32 years spent working with IPC, Steve Pudles was elected to the IPC’s Hall of Fame this year. Patty Goldman spoke with Steve about how he first became involved as well as his time in the organization, including his work with the EMS Management Council.

Patty Goldman: Steve, congratulations on your election into IPC’s Hall of Fame. It’s a big deal. Let’s start with a little bit of background about you, how you got involved in the industry, and how you got involved at IPC.

Steve Pudles: I started my career working for two U.S. defense contractors, and in 1985, I made a move to a company in New Jersey that built products for other companies. There was no industry at the time; it was just a business. They had to absorb some of the fixed costs from their other declining businesses. That was my entry into the EMS industry, even though we didn’t create and enable the industry until much later. I went to my first IPC meeting in 1987. I received a call from Tony Hilvers, who, at that time, was the VP of Industry Programs for IPC. He told me about this meeting that was going to take place with a bunch of companies that were in this industry and asked me if I’d be interested in attending, so I went. As they say, the rest is history.

Then, the EMS Management Council started meeting twice a year. Some of the meetings were very moderately attended. There were companies from all over the country, but some of those companies don’t exist anymore, and others have been acquired. It always tended to be small or medium EMS companies.

At one of those meetings, two people, who had been around since the beginning, had a four-hour debate about whether the industry was going to be the electronics manufacturing services industry or the electronic manufacturing services industry. I don’t remember who won and who lost, but the name for the industry today grew out of that meeting. That’s how I became involved in the group.

Goldman: How long have you been with Zentech?

Pudles: I have been with Zentech for about eight months. I started there after being in retirement for about five and a half years. In addition to some things I did on a consulting basis while “retired,” one of the activities I maintained was my position on the IPC board the entire time.

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Topics: Maryland PCB assembly, electronics manufacturer