Pat ScottSince 1982, STI Electronics, Inc. (STI) has been the premier full-service organization for training, consulting, laboratory analysis, prototyping and small- to medium-volume PCB assembly in the electronics industry. STI also produces a complete line of solder training kits and training support products. Additionally, the company distributes products for the electronics and industrial markets. Here we catch up with Pat Scott, Director of Training Services, to find out why STI’s training services are regarded so highly.

Jim D. Raby, founder and Technical Director of STI, has been dedicated to developing STI’s training services for more than 50 years. How have the company’s training services improved since you joined the company?
Jim has always set high standards for the training that STI provides. We continue to follow his vision and strive to keep this high standard in every class that is taught. The biggest improvement that has been made since I have been with STI is the new building. A great deal of effort and thought was put into the design of the building. We now have two large hands-on classrooms and one large lecture room. High standards, great facilities and knowledgeable instructors are what make STI a premier training provider.

Are your training courses customizable to meet specific needs or requirements?
Yes. STI develops customized training courses to fit specific training needs. STI usually builds these classes around company-specific standards and specifications. For example, we had a request to provide solder fountain training. We spent a significant amount of time working with the company’s subject matter expert in order to put together a curriculum that included a lesson plan and PowerPoint slides with video clips of the process. This gave the students the opportunity to see the actual process being performed prior to working with the solder fountain during the hands-on portion of the class.

STI’s training services are recognized and used around the world. What differentiates your training courses from those offered by competitors?
Many of our competitors teach the same IPC classes that we do. I think the difference is in what STI brings to the table. We make it a point to stay involved in IPC by supporting the development of the standards and associated training programs. STI not only provides training services, but also has an Analytical Lab, Microelectronics Lab, and a manufacturing facility all under one roof. Our instructors have a great deal of technical expertise to draw from when needed.

Was the training division affected by the economic downturn? If so, have you begun to see an increase in business?
Thankfully, 2010 was a very busy year for our Training Services division. We are very aware of the economic situation that has confronted many of our customers. As a company, we have worked toward providing competitive pricing for training that is conducted at STI and onsite at customers’ facilities. In fact, we have not increased our course costs since 2007.

Pat, STI Electronics offers numerous electronics assembly and solder training courses. Can you tell us what some of them are?
STI is an IPC Authorized Training Center for J-STD-001, IPC-A-610, IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC-A-600 and IPC7711/7721. We provide both Certified IPC Application Specialist (CIS) and Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) Courses. Other courses that we offer are Basic Soldering, Wave Soldering, ESD Training, BGA Rework and many more. We also provide operator/inspector training for Through-hole and SMT Soldering, Conformal Coating, and Cable Harness to NASA-STD-8739.1, .2, .3 and .4 for Marshall Space Flight Center and their support contractors.

Should we expect to see any new developments from the training division in 2011?
We will continue to offer a full schedule of IPC classes at our facility in Madison, AL and on the road as well. The new J-STD-001E and IPC-A-610E CIT and CIS training programs will continue to be on the schedule and the updated IPC-A-600H CIT and CIS training and certification program will be added to our schedule when it becomes available. We also plan to offer more classes on the road (Florida, Atlanta, Texas, Las Vegas, Washington DC, etc.) throughout 2011.