A common thread for many volunteer workers is that they feel they’re getting more than they give. That’s definitely the case for Ray Prasad, who has donated many hours to IPC over the past three decades.
Prasad started working with IPC in 1981, when he presented a paper on hand soldering. But when he looks back at the countless hours he’s donated to IPC projects since then, he believes it’s been time well spent.
“I’ve benefited more from our partnership than IPC has benefited from me,” said Prasad, head of the Ray Prasad Consultancy Group.
This mutual admiration is culminating this month. Prasad will be the 31st inductee into the IPC Hall of Fame. The award, IPC’s highest level of member recognition, is given to those who have performed exceptional lifetime achievements.
Right from the start, Prasad found a close link between his IPC efforts and success at Boeing, where he worked at the time. After he made his presentation in Dallas, he found that he got more respect in the office. Joel Fjelstad, a Boeing colleague who worked closely with IPC, helped Prasad gain more prestige when he helped Prasad get his paper in the IPC Technical Review.
“I was a published author. Before long, I was picked to lead Boeing’s surface mount technology effort, which was a new program at the time,” he recalled.
He was already a regular attendee at IPC meetings by 1985, when Dieter Bergman tapped him to become chair of the land pattern committee. By then, Prasad worked at Intel, having received “an offer I couldn’t refuse” to start their SMT program.
In the mid-80s he was also tapped by IPC to be the part of the pioneering group of industry leaders from IPC, EIA and Department of Defense (DoD) to help in smooth transition from through hole technology to SMT at a time when DoD and many others were very skeptical about SMT and its reliability in critical applications.
His IPC efforts morphed into setting up the SMT Round Table, a very popular session at IPC annual meetings. It was followed by full blown conference focused on SMT with catchy name — SMART Conference (Surface Mount and Reflow Technology). In all these efforts, he felt that he was getting as much as he gave.
“I learned a lot while chairing, and there were benefits in ways I didn’t realize at the time,” Prasad said. “I got the IPC Presidents Award, which was an awesome feeling. And before I knew it, Andy Grove (Intel’s legendary CEO) sent me an AndyGram to congratulate me on the award.”
Early in the 1990s, Prasad decided he wanted to be on his own as a consultant. That’s another instance when his presence at IPC meetings really helped out.
“I credit my association with IPC in helping me make a smooth transition to consulting. People knew who I was and they heard I had become a consultant. I’ve never had to make a single solicitation call in almost two decades of my consulting practice. If it wasn’t for IPC, I don’t think I’d have been as successful as a consultant,” Prasad said.
Given his focus on the benefits he’s received, it’s not shocking to learn that Prasad didn’t really think he was heading into IPC’s Hall of Fame.
“I was really surprised to find I was being honored like this. A lot of people in the Hall of Fame are people I really admire. I’m very honored to be associated with them. I’ve won a lot of awards, including Intel’s highest award, but this one for lifetime achievement is particularly humbling,” he said.