I first met Dieter Bergman in the early 1980s, in a small IPC office in Evanston. It had tons of boxes of booklets jammed in between huge copiers and desks so old they could have been updated by slapping an “I Like Ike” sticker on the grey metal.
I had just moved to Illinois from California, where I wrote mainly about minicomputers and the emerging role of electronics in aeronautics. Dieter took the time to explain IPC’s role in the industry, trying to figure out how to explain the role of FR-4 to a journalist who could talk about system architectures and control techniques but hadn’t given solder a thought since shop class in high school.
IPC has undergone significant changes in the four decades since, moving from that dingy facility to a number of newer and better buildings, with a corresponding upgrade in professionalism. During those many transitions, Dieter remained a constant.
Whenever he was the point man for an IPC effort that fit the systems approach of the magazines I wrote for, he was willing to sit down to explain it. IPC technologies typically weren’t in my mainstream areas back then, so he’d have to explain even more background than normal. Often, the interviews took a while.
Even though I’m sure he sometimes would have preferred talking with IPC people, he always made me feel like I was the most important person around during our interviews. Over time, as I got more closely involved in packaging and other areas that were more intertwined with IPC’s programs, we often chatted about more personal stuff, so I got to know him much better.
Whether it was work or finding a great food cart in a Taiwan market, Dieter was always a lion who threw himself into whatever he was involved in. It’s been great working with someone who was a mainstay in building a strong infrastructure for the industry, as well as helping set IPC on a course that will serve it and the industry well in coming years. I’ll certainly miss those conversations, as will all who knew him. Farewell, Dieter.
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