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At the beginning of January, PCD&F/CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY asked a number of PCB industry executives to answer a handful of questions about the upcoming year.

They were:

  • Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much?
  • Do you expect your company to grow faster or slower than the industry at large?
  • Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic?
  • What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year?
  • What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year?
  • If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say?

As seen below, most executives feel 2017 will be better than 2016. A recap of their responses follows.

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Steve Pollock, Vice President of Sales, Essemtec

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? Grow In percentage terms, by how much? 5-7%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? more optimistic

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Great New Products

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? An attack on the country.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Glad for the change in the Whitehouse, and think this will be a growth year for ESSEMTEC.

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Name withheld, sales executive, PCB fabricator

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? No idea

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Same or decrease a little

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Less optimistic

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Growth in breadth of use of electronics.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Continued pricing pressure.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Fingers crossed.

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Gary Goldberg, CEO, Promation Inc.

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? We are unsure if the industry will grow but we do not see any shrinkage.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Yes I expect to grow 25% in 2017. I attribute this to our line of small robots, in line robots, laser marking for trace-ability and other factors.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic. Not because of the economy, or our new President, but because Mfgs see value in automating to become more efficient and cost effective. This falls right into our line of products

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Growth internally

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Tweets (from you know who) that might disrupt trade

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? We have laid a solid foundation from which we will grow and enhance our business by serving our customers well.

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Bob Wetterman, president, BEST

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? We expect a 3-4% growth in placements in 2017 in the US market based our reading of various data trends (MAPI, Mckinsy, Custer, SEMI)

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Due to some new products in training services, stencils and increased mass rework capabilities we expect to grow faster (6-10%) than the industry average.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Based on defense industry and overall optimism we are more optimistic for this coming year. Overall electronic placements in the US will grow which will help our rework/repair services businesses grow.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year?

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? The uncertainty of the ACA "replacement/repeal" health care provision. Continued pouring out of Illinois citizens leaves the rest of us "holding the bag" on promises made by pliticians.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say?

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Rick Kincaid, president, K&F Circuits

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year GROW ! In percentage terms, by how much? 15% to 20%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? FASTER

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? MORE OPTIMISTIC

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? More then one, Taxes on China ,lower tax rate 15% , New President, K & F Electronics is now 45 years old 

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Not enough work each month, hopefully being more consistent for bookings and sales.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? It’s about time the circuit boards came back some.

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Markus Wilkens, president, ASYS Americas

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow by about 10%, mainly driven by the automotive sector

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Same

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Full, elaborated production coming back to the US, integration of higher / more advanced automation solutions

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Price deterioration by suppliers that want / need to grab on to some market share

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Cant' wait, it is going to be an awesome year for ASYS!

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Jeff Timms, president, ASM

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I expect the market in the Americas to stay roughly the same this year. If I look at the global picture, I believe we will likely experience about a 10 to 12 percent global expansion in the market for capital equipment to manufacture electronics.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Based on the current strategic direction of ASM and our current momentum, I expect that ASM will continue to outpace industry expansion as we continue to gain market share.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Though it will not be an easy year, as I look at the climate in Q1 and Q2 of 2017, I am more optimistic than I was during this same period of 2016.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? ASM has the most comprehensive suite of hardware, software, and integration capabilities of anyone in the market. This, combined with tremendous depth in all core engineering areas, provides us with the ability to do great things to enhance our customers' experience using ASM solutions at a very rapid pace.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Simply stated, global political instability.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 is a year of optimism and for many markets, with the continued evolution of connected factories, production and inventory systems, self healing processes, and cyber-human interfaces, opportunities abound for those who can enable automation across the broad scope of the many workflows so critical to highly efficient manufacturing enterprises.

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Rashid Khan, sales / account manager, Fine Circuits 

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? 30-45% this year

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? All company in this industry expect to grow to maximum, but we are working on to better our cost and lead time, our quality and customer service are unbeatable so with this we expect to grow better than last year. There is always room to improve.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Very much optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? We are very excited this year, Our staffs knowledge continues to grow and with our engineering department top natch.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Everyone in this industry have somewhat worry, but as far as electronics improvement is everyday, someone or some electronics manufacturing is inventing new products.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Stay positive.

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Don Cullen, director of Marketing Communications, MacDermid Performance Solutions

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow by 2%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Possibility of lower corporate tax rate in USA

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Protectionism wars

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Change in the political landscape might bring welcome reforms, as long as they reduce trade frictions, not increase them.

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John Talbot, president, Tramonto Circuits

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow, less than 5%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? MORE OPTIMISTIC

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? A new administration in the White House

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? That divisiveness in Washington D.C. will impede growth in our economy

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? I haven’t been more optimistic about the economy since Jan 2008.

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Tony Senese, group manager, Panasonic

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow globally 5-7%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? The same Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? The same

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? United States trade policy

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Price/cost inflation

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Cautious optimism

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David Bennett, president, Mirtec Europe

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I expect the demand for electronics to continue to rise by at least 10% as all segments of human life become more sophisticated and intelligent.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? 2016 was Mirtec Europe’s best ever year, we are confident we will continue to build on this success.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? New technologies being released by our R&D group.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Global events which are out of our control.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? The right technologies at the right time means Mirtec are ready to push on in 2017.

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Vincent Choi, deputy VP of OEM Marketing, Elite Material Co.

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? We projected single digit growth for Y2017 about 3 to 5% that range.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We projected our growth pace to be in line with industry average.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Less optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Alternative of PTFE materials.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Copper foil shortage.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Think out of the box...

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Richard Betz, owner, BETZ & Co.

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? The industry should grow by 5 – 8 %.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? I expect our sales to grow by a minimum of 25%.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Governmental reform of business and personal taxes and regulation reform.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Inflation.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? After eight years of Obama’s economic policies, this year will be like getting out of prison.

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Parvin Dhanji, president / CFO, Imagineering

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Definitely grow by 5% to 8%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster by 5% to 8%.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Growth in domestic manufacturing.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Trump administration...how it will impact global economy.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Optimistic yet worried how Trump administration will pan out.

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Rod Howell, CEO, Libra Industries

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I believe the electronics industry will grow about 5% in 2017.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We are planning for 10-15% growth in 2017.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? We are much more optimistic this year.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The changing political climate. We believe that the new administration will have a positive effect on the business climate in 2017 and beyond.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? A major terrorist attack in the U.S. that disrupts our economy and undermines consumer confidence.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 should be a good year for U.S. businesses and consumers alike with a renewed focus on growth & efficiency.

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Francois Monette, VP of Sales and Marketing, Cogiscan

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? We do not expect that the industry itself will grow significantly this year but 2017 will be the year where leading electronics factories start to invest in industry 4.0 related technologies.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Our company will continue to grow faster that the industry at large, as it did for the past 15 years. This year our growth rate should be even more significant because of our new connectivity solution which is the key enabling technology for industry 4.0.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? We are more optimistic this year based on the recent increase in our growth rate which confirms the validity of our long-term strategic business plan.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? 2017 will be the year where the industry confirms the winning strategies for Industry 4.0. We expect that all vendors (machine and software) will gain a clearer view of their own position relative to industry 4.0 and we expect to confirm our de-facto standard position for machine and software connectivity.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Our main challenge in 2017 will be to keep up with a very fast growth without compromising customer satisfaction.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 is going to be a turning point in our corporate history.

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Dave Trail, president, Horizon Sales

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I think we will see moderate growth in the area of about 5-7%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We have been growing at about a CAGR of about 15% and would expect that to continue this year.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Much more optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The incoming Congress and Presidential staff. I think that the general attitude by most Americans and small businesses is one of sincere optimism, due largely in part to the expectation of significantly reduced corporate income taxes, reduced regulations and increased tariffs on imported goods.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? An increase in personal taxes or new fees, or an increase in the national debt that may be required to help offset some of the shortfall from the reduction in corporate taxes.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Very, very encouraged by the movement to Make America Great Again!

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Dave White President, PDR-Americas

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow 2-4% 

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Same as average

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Trump (Small Business Advocacy-Taxes/Regulations/Capital/Jobs)

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? (Higher Import Trade Tariffs on Manufacturing Technologies - Equipment)

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Make America Great Again – Build it and they will come! 

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Mike Kadlec, chief corporate development officer, Calumet Electronics

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? The industry is positioned for growth in infrastructure and defense spending.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We anticipate more of the same. Double-digit growth over the last three years.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic. What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? A conservative Congress and profit-driven president.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Domestic terrorism.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? I anticipate a trend toward "made in America" and proud to be an American which bodes well for increased domestic manufacturing.

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John Milks, president, Adiva

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? The industry will grow by 12 % in 2017

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We expect to grow faster than the industry

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? There is more uncertainly than last year with the Trump administration.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The continued acceleration of technology due to Moore's law

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Possibility of cyber attacks that could bring the internet to its knees.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Globalization will continue with advances in technology and tools that will benefit those that take advantage countered by those that feel they are being left behind as technology and change happens faster that they can or will adjust.

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Gene Weiner, consultant

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? YES! In percentage terms, by how much? A lot!

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Yes.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Both, more or less.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The “ch’s” change, challenges, chronic trade imbalances, credit card charges, cheap imports, checkout counters, chagrin regarding the political scene, being chastened, flat champaign, and Christmas!

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? It’s end.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? We are living in interesting (and exciting) times!

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Manny Marcano, president, EMA Design Automation

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I expect aggressive growth in the area of >10%.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster than the industry at large.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? MUCH more optimistic than in the last eight years!!

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Trump in power.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Democrats trying to sabotage growth.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? The "Trump Movement" will wake America up and we will have a wonderful economic boom cycle for 4 – 8 years.  

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Doug Dixon, global marketing director, Henkel Electronic Materials LLC

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Yes, the predictions so far from many analysts indicate a 10% increase in component usage and 3-5% growth within the global electronics assembly market. While some of the growth drivers have changed over the past several years with smartphones accounting for much of the early to mid-2000's growth, there is still plenty of innovation and expansion even though smartphone volumes have slowed. Future drivers will be more about systems connectivity (IoT) and advances in Automotive Electronics.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? I anticipate growth for our company at or above average market growth rates.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? My optimism remains similar to that of 2016; while there several new growth sectors, volume declines in former technology drivers will keep average growth at between 3% and 5%.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Automotive Electronics is extremely exciting and an area where electronics innovation contributes greatly. With over 90% of automotive advancement coming from electronics capability, our industry's influence is impressive. Self-driving cars are already a reality on a limited scale, but will become more prolific within the next decade. Sensor technology is having a huge impact on automotive and road safety. Personally, I look forward to driving a smarter car and having the confidence that my roadway companions are doing the same!

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? It's not necessarily a worry but a market condition worthy of significant consideration. While there are incremental improvements, smartphones have reached a level of maturity and growth rates going forward are expected to be flat or slightly declining. The industry will need to shift its focus to use of smartphone technology as the conduit for connectivity and control of other devices in order to realize continued market growth.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Smart cars and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), along with the industry shift to hybrid electric vehicles will make 2017 a very exciting year for the automotive industry.

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Mike Konrad, president, Aqueous Technologies

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Overall, I expect 2017 to be a year of measurable growth for several reasons including the growth of IOT, wearables, and automotive electronics (ADAS, Body Electronics, Infotainment, Smart Powertrain Systems, and Safety Systems).

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Aqueous Technologies serves the electronics industry’s cleaning and cleanliness assessment needs. We see a growth in the cleaning segment separate from and exceeding the industry’s overall’s growth. This is due to the ever decreasing footprint of electronic assemblies and the lowering of contamination tolerance many assemblies face.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Definitely more optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Aqueous Technologies builds products that make our customer’s products more reliable. We do so in a manner that respects and protects the environment. Recently, we reached an environmental milestone. More than half of all cleaning machines sold by us were completely zero discharge models. Last year alone, our products saved more than seventeen million gallons of water worldwide. Not long ago, companies were faced with two alternative choices, high performance or environmentally safe, one or the other. Today, the choices are not mutually exclusive. Additionally, “green” choices were not considered to be “cool” by most corporate leaders. We are excited to see more than half of our customers choosing environmentally responsible products. To quote Huey Lewis & The News: “You might think I'm crazy / but I don't even care / 'Cause I can tell what's going on / It's hip to be square”

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Even though one should avoid the topics of religion and politics in most situations, I will say I am worried about political uncertainty. 2017 promises to be a politically volatile year, not just in the United States but around the world. It is my hope that calmer heads prevail and peace and stability breaks out worldwide.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? I will keep it simple and quote Benjamin Franklin: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

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Name withheld, marketing consultant

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow by 3 - 5%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Prospects for less government regulation, coupled with future business tax reduction and incentives.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Continuation of current tax and trade policies.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 will be a year of change that will benefit some of the newer, more agile manufacturers and suppliers.

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Steve Arneson, vice president, ASC International

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I see the industry growing at a moderate pace. We are forecasting a 20% increase year over year for our sales.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We are looking at medium growth for 2017and beyond. The end of 2015 and all the way through Q3 of 2016 showed slow growth for our company. The Election results have already generated new sales for those customers waiting on the sidelines for renewed energy in the Americas.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Our company is poised to grow with the new administration, so we are cautiously optimistic. Time can only tell how this whole transition shakes out.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The opportunity to revisit old sales leads to determine if these leads will resurface into sales in 2017.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? The political landscape worries me as gridlock within the government and global strife can turn a prospective good year into a nightmare overnight, if these become the nightly talking points rather than global economic recovery.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 will be a year for the record books as long as we all come together, take a stand and do our part in making American electronics industry great again! 

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David F. Duke, president, Stone Mountain Tool

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Not sure on the 'electronics" industry but value added manufacturing in general should improve by 5% growth.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster but that includes one project we are just getting started on that is about 80% of last year's revenues in the first 6 months. Generally about the same but UP.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Way more optimistic - we gotta get value added mfg going in the USA ! This will require an ATTITUDE change from the general public about looking down on people who make a living with their hands !

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The President elect and the fact that if he does 50% of his intentions it will be a wholesale change over the past decade.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? STUPIDITY by the politicians left in place .

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? We need to be POSITIVE about our global position - not apologetic !

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Vic Gondha, president, American Circuits

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow 6%

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Less regulations and less business uncertainty.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Trade war.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Glad, we may finally have business friendly government.

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Robert “Bob" Mills, president and CEO, The ECM Group

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? I would expect the industry to grow in key areas such as Automotive and Medical. Consumer Electronics overall will likely grow; but that growth should come from lower priced components vs legacy product as NPI cannibalizes many OEM product families. I would guess a 4-5% overall growth rate

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? We are confident with wins we are counting on to grow well in excess of overall industry growth in 2017

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? More optimistic

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The incoming President

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? The incoming President (wrt trade agreements, etc)

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Provided the Fed doesn’t do too much to cool the economy, 2017 should be one of optimism given the strong growth seen in Q4 and in the way the economy historically performs post-inauguration.

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Dave Lenhard, founding partner, CE-Exchange

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Yes, slowly though, we see opportunity and we also measure some metric for our business that show promise

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Slow but steady

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? YES More optimistic

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? To see an increase in North American production of electronic goods,

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Political will and how that affects buyer spending

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? Be good in all you do, plan well and deliver just a little more than what is expected.

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Robert Boguski, president, Datest Inc.

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? Grow. 10%. With the new administration I would expect a lot of that growth will be driven by Aerospace and Defense.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? Faster than the industry average.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? Optimistic for our company. Pessimistic for our country. Whether the latter will overshadow the former, time will tell. We are entering uncharted territory, being led by a man for whom life is an endless series of negotiating positions. He may have his bluffs called more than he’s accustomed.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? Growing our business at what we hope and expect will be a faster rate than the industry average. I did an elaborate forecasting exercise over the Christmas-New Year’s Holiday which gives me cause for that excitement. Of course, Trump could screw it all up with one or more ill-considered decisions or unrestrained flashes of anger. One of the adults in his circle should disable his Twitter account.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? I worry that Trump will ruin everything, and that the politics of vindictiveness and score-settling will go mainstream in our country (some would argue it already has). We already see the effects of a basic disregard for commonly agreed-upon facts. I fear this will spread. Congress won’t stop that spread as they have no incentive to do so. It will be up to us as responsible citizens. Ignorance remains ignorance whether one cares to admit it or not. Full disclosure: I speak as a Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton. To paraphrase Lincoln, my Party has lost its way, and we don’t seem to recognize, or acknowledge, or encourage, the better angels of our nature. We are better than all of this. At the same time, pace those adolescents of all ages who trashed their towns the week after the election, we need to act like adults and acknowledge that Trump was legitimately elected. That’s our system, since 1787. No left-wing temper tantrum will change that reality. Like it or not, our political scaffolding was built on compromise—at least that’s my reading of The Constitution—so both sides need to find a way to listen to each other without impugning the other’s motives, resist name-calling, and get to work fixing our many problems. That’s hard work compared with throwing temper tantrums. I console myself with the thought there is wisdom on both sides of the political aisle.

Time to grow up, America. Yes I dream big.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say?

I hope we as a nation can transcend our pettiness and self-centeredness and work together and with goodwill for the betterment of our country.

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Bjorn Dahle, president, KIC

Do you expect the electronics industry to grow or shrink this year? In percentage terms, by how much? We expect modest growth in the electronic industry in 2017 of around 5%.

Do you expect your company to grow faster, slower or the same as the industry at large? I expect KIC to grow considerably faster than the industry at large due to the smart factory industry trend. KIC’s smart oven technologies are available both with new reflow ovens as well as retrofits for all installed production lines.

Compared to this time last year, are you more optimistic or less optimistic? I am far more optimistic this year than last. Last year there were a number of uncertainties such as the US election, China’s slow manufacturing industry, struggling Europe and more. Now some of these factors have been resolved and others seem to stabilize. The reduction in uncertainties enable companies to invest and plan for the future.

What is the one thing that excites you most about the coming year? The industry is at the beginning of a huge new development and investment cycle to upgrade the factories to smart manufacturing. Advancement in sensor technologies, network software and Internet of Things related technologies have reached a tipping point that deliver true value at affordable prices. Factories will run much more efficiently with lower cost and risk. We are only at the beginning of this cycle but what makes it extremely exiting to me is that this industry trend is not limited to the big tier 1 companies. When talking with customers of all sizes they are currently looking for solutions to reduce cost, manage people and process and client data, improve their competitiveness and more, they are describing needs that can be solved with components of the smart factory, if not the whole enchilada.

What is the one thing you worry most about the coming year? Geopolitical issues that can severely damage world trade and our industry’s health.

If you could sum up your thoughts on the coming year in one sentence, what would it say? 2017 is the watershed year where factories will be using data, analytics and full automation to reduce cost and risk, manufacture consistent quality, and build more competitive operations. 

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