Valuable Career Stories from Career Panel Discussions

resource Mar 15, 2022

What better way to learn about the careers the electronics manufacturing industry has to offer than hearing from young professionals in the industry. The idea to host another career panel discussion webinar was inspired by a recent article I read about the “3 Things Young Professionals Need to Know to Grow Their Career” by Amy Bastuga, Chief People Officer at Radio Flyer, No. 3 in Vault's 2021 Best Internships for Overall Diversity. It made me realize that maybe it shouldn’t be that hard… only three things! She suggested and simplified it accordingly: 1) Know yourself, 2) Know your stuff, and 3) Know your industry. After reading the article my head was spinning, because it is not that simple. In actual fact – it is a time-consuming process of discovery, endless conversation with experts, mentors and role models, investigative reading and research, never-ending self-work and self-reflection, guidance, and to top it all – once you’ve identified your strengths and what your next step would be… you need to love what you do.

Reflecting Back

This is one of the reasons the IPC Education Foundation decided to host another Career Discussion panel webinar on November 11th, 2021 for 90-minutes that will allow students in high school and college to learn more about the various career paths and opportunities in the electronics manufacturing industry, ranging from Aviation/Aerospace, Computing Equipment/Devices, Electronics Design, Industrial (Manufacturing), Materials/Chemicals, Medical, Military/Defense, and Semiconductors.

Career advice and tips came from an excellent line-up of panelists:  Jarrod Webb, Robotics Engineer at Lockheed Martin, Melby Muckom, Senior Engineer at General Dynamics, Tayler Swanson MSc., Engineering Team Member at Digital Instruments, Inc., and Sarah Czaplewski, Senior PCB Qualification & Reliability Engineer at IBM Systems - Supply Chain Engineering. The panel will be moderated by John Mitchell, President & CEO of IPC. These engineers and subject matter experts all participate(d) in the sought after IPC Emerging Engineer’s Program  that is designed to provide professionals early in their careers an opportunity to learn from the dedicated industry volunteers who participate in standards development.

Therefore, these professionals are excellent ambassadors to their employers and excellent spokesperson to inspire the up and coming workforce that this industry needs them. I’ve connected with a handful of them previously and was inspired by their career stories.

Tayler Swanson’s career path included stops as a manufacturing engineer, process engineer, new product introduction engineer and even as an engineering accountant culminating as an Engineering Team Member with a variety of experience and skills. He shared “Any job has tasks that can be either on the forefront of discovery or the necessary grind of work to keep on schedule and move quality product out the door. I love that my job has me working on the grind of electronics manufacturing assembly. I learn from this necessary work while being excited at the opportunity to explore other developments of electronics for a range of applications. Essentially there is a balanced relationship that the day-to-day work keeps the lights on and staff paid while a portion of the excess contributes to an R&D fund for new cool projects and equipment.” 

Jarrod Webb, Robotics Engineer at Lockheed Martin shared that getting engaged with the industry even if it starts off by joining a robotics club at your school will add value to your resume, because it is a conversation starter and will allow you to share technical information. He also shared that networking and surrounding yourself with the right mentors help, because “there will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, better than you but working together you bring something to the table. Building that network of friends in a group that you can attack a problem as a team like a team sport will always come in handy in an interview.” Making sure that you are proactive and taking learning opportunities that comes available will most definitely help you grow your skillset. Melby Muckom, Senior Engineer at General Dynamics reiterated that even though she is a big planner, one’s career path cannot be planned and she learned that sometimes doing something or taking a job that nobody else wants to do allows you to get the recognition, make a difference, and use that to pursue other opportunities. Sarah highlighted that good communication skills are extremely important, because “you can have the best GPA or the most work experience but if you cannot convey or explain a concept it would be problem.”

The goal of this webinar is to not only create awareness of the industry, but also to inspire interested students to consider it as a career option. Everyone’s professional journey is different and unique, and we are excited to host thousands of students during this discussion virtually.  To listen to the entire career panel discussion – please visit the IPC Education Foundation YouTube Channel.

If you or your company is interested to share information about careers or other opportunities like internships, job-shadowing, facility tours – Please reach out to Charlene Gunter du Plessis, Sr Director of the IPC Education Foundation.

For more information on the Career Panel we hosted earlier this year, read the article “Introducing Students to a Career in Electronics” written by my colleague, Aaron Birney, Program Manager: :



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