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Who We Are

Our Team

Mission Statement

The IPC Education Foundation creates connections between electronics manufacturers and supply chain companies, academia and the emerging workforce. It works to prepare students for rewarding careers by supplying learning opportunities focused on electronics manufacturing and improving the perception of manufacturing as a stable and well-paid sector.

The IPC Education Foundation partners with forward thinking original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers, PCB Fabricators and the entire electronics supply chain to provide learning and career opportunities for students all over the world.

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Our Team

Charlene Gunter du Plessis
Senior Director of IPC Education Foundation

Charlene joined IPC in November 2018 as Director Strategic Partnerships and Programs and transitioned into the leadership role of the Foundation in December 2019. She is responsible for the strategic direction of the IPC Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that will connect and engage individuals with IPC industry members to opportunities in the electronics manufacturing industry.  In this capacity, Charlene works with industry member partners, academic institutions and Career Technical Education instructors and teachers to develop and execute programmatic initiatives for the IPC Education Foundation.

Prior to joining IPC Charlene has worked within non-profit for more than 12 years with a focus on cultivating and stewarding existing and new corporate partnerships, building relationships with key donors through corporate fundraising efforts, managing foundation and scholarship funding, and business development of membership driven organizations. She has experience in fundraising and partnership development within the corporate, government, non-profit and higher education spheres on a national and international level. 

She has an MPhil in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management (2012), two Bachelor degrees in Professional and Technical Writing (2006) and Journalism (2005) from the University of Pretoria, and a post graduate certificate in Advanced Business Communications (2007) from the University of South Africa.

In her spare time, she explores the world and travels with her husband and their family members. She has been to 25 U.S. States and has visited 28 countries. She enjoys cooking, photography, and interior design.



Aaron Birney
Education Program Manager

December 10, 2018 — IPC -- Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announces the addition of Aaron Birney as education program manager to its staff at IPC headquarters in Bannockburn (Chicago), Ill.

As IPC’s education program manager, Birney will be responsible for the launch, management, and growth of IPC Student Chapters, IPC’s STEM activities, and other education programs. Birney has three years of experience launching and developing student organizations at the collegiate level for Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. His roles consisted of prospecting, recruitment, on-boarding, and chapter maintenance. Before working in student development, Birney worked in marketing for two startup companies in Toledo, OH. Birney led the marketing and website development for the first year of Peacock Social’s existence, previously housed in the LaunchPad Incubator at the University of Toledo. After this, he worked as Marketing Manager for Arista Home Care, a home healthcare company in Northwest Ohio. Birney resides in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, Ill. He enjoys playing tennis, golf, and hockey, and is an avid Minnesota sports fan.


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More Information

The IPC Education Foundation’s team members share updates on programs and activities on their column, “Foundation of the Future” brought to you by IConnect-007. To learn more – Please click here to read their monthly articles.

IConnect-007 is a fantastic resource and provides current information about the industry with their in-depth conversations and insightful industry perspectives.  To subscribe – click here.

The IPC Education Foundation hosted its STEM Outreach event on February 6th at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. Twice as many students were able to participate in this year’s event with educational tracks that focused on soldering, PCB design, and building circuits with bread boards. The day was packed with several hands-on technical activities, career exploration, and industry engagement. Nine local high schools attended bringing 193 students and 30 educators.

Click here to learn more.

Follow the IPCEF on their LinkedIn page for additional information on industry trends, upcoming events, recruitment opportunities, and updates.

The IPC APEX EXPO is the largest event for electronics manufacturing in North America attracting more than 9,000 professionals from 45 countries. From the industry’s leading technical conference and application-focused professional development courses, and innovation-driven exhibit floor. To learn more about the IPC Education Foundation’s highlights during this event– click here to download a copy and read pages: 42-48.

Interested to learn more about the IPC Education Foundation’s mission and our programs – Click here for the interview of Charlene Gunter du Plessis, Sr. Director of IPCEF with Kelly Dack.

Aaron Birney, Education Program Manager provides an overview during his interview with Steve Williams about the IPC Student Chapter Program. Click here for the interview.

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