Tom-Thompson-Circuit-Works-Corporation-OwnerBelow is the transcript of an interview conducted with Circuit Works Corporation owner and founder Tom Thompson.

How did you personally get involved in electronics manufacturing?

My first job out of military was with (GATX). They were involved in the manufacturing of electric mail sorters. This job taught me the basics of electronics and I worked with them for eight years. Since that company, I’ve gone through two other electronics based companies. I’ve basically been involved in the electronics industry most of my life.

What inspired you to found Circuit Works?

The company I worked for prior to Circuit Works manufactured components for electronic screening microscopes. I worked there for 8 to 9 years, until they moved that division. A group of friends decided we didn’t want to move to New Jersey, and we used that opportunity to found the company.

How have you seen the electronics manufacturing industry change over time and how has CWC adapted to these changes?

We founded Circuit Works because of the changing industry. At that time, anyone could open a circuit assembly operation, if it was through hole. Our niche was surface mount. There were fewer, if any, surface mount manufacturers in the Midwest. This wasn’t a business where you could start a competitor out of your garage, you needed experience, know how, and expensive equipment.

We’ve had to adapt, because now, just about all designs are surface mount. Components are getting smaller and more exact, and creating the smaller components requires more of an expertise than before.

What has been your biggest challenge in operating Circuit Works and how have you been able to overcome it?

The biggest challenge is keeping up with the technology. It takes more specialized equipment to assemble and measure these components. We always need new equipment for monitoring and inspection. Everything is becoming smaller and keeping up with the technology is an ongoing expenditure.

Who is Circuit Works ideal customer?

We like companies that are willing to view us as partners and work with us to make all of our functions work properly. We hope for an open partnership. Regardless of size or where they are located, we work the best with anyone who is willing to truly partner with us.

What does Circuit Works offer customers that they can benefit from that many of your competitors don’t?

We offer flexibility, capability, reliability. We offer close customer service, and we can respond quickly. We offer flexibility; many big competitors run fix schedules and have difficulties moving stuff ahead. If you need to pull parts in, we can work with that schedule. We offer low cost labor no matter what volume of business it is.

What’s your vision for Circuit Works future?

Growth is on our five year plan. We’re hoping to double the size of our company in five years. Grow our customer base and become a full-service company. We hope to do everything from box building, to finishing products, to shipping completed products to the end user. We also hope to increase our number of locations from the three we have now, so we can be closer to our customers.

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