The Oracle of Ohio
The very essence of why engineering is the future of America and
innovation sat quietly in a bar booth in the basement of a historic
building about 30 minutes outside Cleveland. When we approached, he
stood up, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Don. Glad to meet
Don Baechtel is a longtime EE Times reader, who took me up on me
email offer of driving the Volt by on our Drive for Innovation. I
wanted to see as many readers as time allowed and ask them face to
face what they think the big challenges are. And I figured they'd
love to drive the car.
Baechtel had no interest in the Volt, but he had a yellow pad full
Over the next four hours (a round of beers and a steak dinner), he
went through every one of at least two dozen problems, challenges
and possibilities that his engineering mind and experience summoned.
As dinner wound down, I asked him, "So what's No. 1 in your
estimation? What's our biggest challenge?"
"Quality," he said. "Quality in electronics stinks."
A little light bulb went off in my head, and we set about to
crowd-source the issue. Just how bad is the quality problem? EE
Times and EE Life readers would help us, and they did, offering
suggestions on questions for a survey I wanted to field to help
define the problem.
It turned into a wonderful and informative mini-project, all because
a single engineer cared enough to say "hey stop on by."
Good news is, there are thousands of Don Baechtels out there.
sucks doesn't it?
has quality gone…and what can we do to get it back?
crisis in engineering