NW Electronics Design
& Manufacturing Expo

2016 Speaker Profile: Duane Benson


We’re very lucky to have Duane Benson among this year’s NEDME technical presenters. Duane is the Marketing Manager at Screaming Circuits, and will be giving two presentations: “Marketing Strategies for Electronic Firms” and “PCB Design and Layout For More Reliable Assembly.” Duane shared some of his thoughts with us, and we’re glad to be able to share them with you.

What has been one of your favorite work projects in the last few years?

Screaming Circuits built some of the electronics for the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) project. The LIGO observatory is the most sensitive instrumentation every built, and in September, 2015, successfully detected gravity waves. Gravity waves were predicted by Einstein, 100 years prior, but had never been observed or proven to exist until the LIGO detection. I’ve been able to visit the lab at MIT, in Boston, where much of the technology was developed, and the observatory, at Hanford Washington. This is incredibly significant science and it’s really exciting to have had a small part in it.


Tell us about a change you see coming in the industry, and a way in which companies should be positioned to meet it.

The biggest change is the increasing amount of software involved in hard ware projects. Between microcontrollers, and FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays), software and soft configuration has the potential to overwhelm hardware companies that aren’t prepared. The software will continue to be more connected and more intelligent. Hardware companies will need to stop identifying as purely “hardware companies.” They will have to accept that the rate of change in their world is only accelerating, and that many of the old rules they’re hanging on to must go.

What is one thing that you hope people will take away from your presentations?

For “PCB Design and Layout For More Reliable Assembly”, I would like attendees to see that, while expensive mistakes are easy to make, most can be avoided by following a few simple rules.

For “Marketing Strategies for Electronic Firms”, I would like entrepreneurs to understand the importance of early stage marketing and branding, and how to keep costs down by focusing on the important core, and leaving the rest for later.