Obituary Dennis Price
Dennis Price  

Dennis Price

Dennis Price was a legend. A great family man and fiercely, fiercely proud of his daughter, Susan. He was a countryman, skilled in the art of game shoots and knew both ends of a shotgun better than most. He also had the patience to train several gun dogs and mentor others who were trying to do the same. He also found time to acquire an encyclopaedic knowledge of printed circuit quality standards.

I met Dennis in 1980, but his story goes much further back. Indulge me a minute, because his life story is connected to the birth and growth of the pcb industry.

It goes back to 1960, when a company called Mills and Rockley were starting to make embryonic pcb’s. Not related, Kenny Mill turned up in in Galashiels in a room above the British linen Bank making those same circuits with Robert (Bert) Currie as Currie and Mills. They grew and split in 1962, with Bert Buying out Kenny, who went on to Start Bepi Circuits in Galashiels – one of the largest manufacturers in the UK. Currie and Mills became Exacta Circuits, first in Netherdale road in Gala and then in a purpose-built facility in Selkirk, in its day the largest facility in the UK.
The production Manager at Exacta, Sinclair Armet, left to form his own Company called Met-Etch and Derek Laidlaw, in Livingston had a design Facility Called Precision Drafting and they joined forces in 1978 to become MEPD.

Dennis worked at Mills and Rockley (who became Delta Printed Circuits) in Skelmersdale before joining Dynachem for a short while. He joined MEPD in '78. and that is where I met Dennis. He was there for 15 years before going to Graphic Electronics in Devon. Graphic was owned by Rex Rozario, but their General Manager was a big lad from Fife called Jeff Murphy – a real character. Dennis and Jeff got on really well and when Jeff left to found a buyout of Kemitron at Deeside, Dennis went with him as Quality Director. When Kemitron was bought out by Neil Martin it became part of the Merlin pcb Group, still the largest family run shop in the UK, where Dennis spent the rest of his career.

He also found time to be elected a Fellow of the ICT and lectured in Quality standards at both Loughborough University and Chester University on our Annual Foundation Course. Dennis was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Institute on his retirement. 

At MEPD he took Andrew Brown and I under his wing and tried to teach us the lore of the countryside. We set off on a road trip complete with shotguns and hip flask and ended up at a huge rabbit warren, where we singularly failed to connect with anything other than turfs of grass! We then engaged in Italian shooting with Dennis driving up the middle of a field with Andrew and I in the back seats, shotguns out the rear windows. Still nothing. He took us to a Stand of crows, where we fired in the air to no avail. Ah well, back to the Woodburn.

He suffered from an aneurism and was placed in a coma where he remained for months. He couldn’t move at all but could hear what was going on. A discussion was taking place between the surgeons, and he could hear Eileen’s voice. A voice said that they had tried to revive him twice and they could only try once more before they had to switch off the apparatus. He suddenly realised that they were talking about him! The rest is history.

Dennis was unique. When they made Dennis, they threw away the mould. He knew those at Mills and Rockley and Currie and Mills and was at Exacta and MEPD, Dynachem, Graphic and Merlin. He encompassed the entire industry and built up an unparalleled knowledge base. It can never happen again.

When I joined the ICT in 2004, I was a one-man band in Kelso with aspirations and wondered what it would be like to have a Technical Help line. Enquiries would come in and be farmed out to industry experts around the world. As it happened, Dennis was the only expert we needed and he became the Technical Helpline, assisting us from the bank of filing cabinets in his garage long after retirement!

There’s a latin phrase you see often– sic gloria transit – a little bit of the glory of the world has passed away and that was Dennis Price.

 

  Members News
 

Welcome, Chairman Bill Wilkie!

bill wilkie

Speaking as an Institute member since the mid-1970s, and having served on the Council since the late 1990s, I have a reasonable recall of the major events of the last few decades. From the point of view of the Institute, surely the most notable one was the appointment of Bill Wilkie as Technical Director and Membership Secretary back in 2004.

From its original inception as a Printed Circuit Group in 1964, followed by its adoption as a division of the Institute of Metal Finishing, then going independent again as the Association of Circuit Technologists, it was eventually incorporated in the mid-1970s as The Institute of Circuit Technology with Doug Taylor as Chairman and established a clear identity at a time when the UK printed circuit industry was booming. The Institute provided a platform for individual engineers involved in printed circuit fabrication, offering a wide range of technical seminars and training opportunities together with professional grading reflecting experience and achievement. It established a membership of over 400.

The ICT began to lose its clear identity when it combined with the Printed Circuit Association, which represented the corporate members of the interconnection industry in the UK, to form the Printed Circuit Interconnection Federation. Then, when the PCIF was absorbed into the Federation of the Electronics Industry and its successors, the Institute was virtually lost in the noise – an insignificant minor component of a major trade association.

So the ICT became an independent organisation again, although by the turn of the century the UK printed circuit industry was but a shadow of its former self and membership numbers were dwindling. We needed new momentum and a new driver.

I had known Bill Wilkie since our days in technical sales at Thiokol-Dynachem. I had moved into PCB manufacturing while Bill had remained in sales and built up a huge network of contacts in the industry. He was enjoying his retirement when the Council of the Institute approached him with a new challenge – would he like to join us on a part-time basis with the objective of consolidating and building the membership?

Bill accepted the challenge! In the following twenty years, with the support and encouragement of Council members but largely as a result of his own efforts and commitment, together with the universal respect he has earned from the industry, he has increased the membership to over 400 As Technical Director he has established training courses and education initiatives and has virtually single-handedly organised our seminars and symposia. We have been represented on a number of grant-funded projects. And there are all sorts of additional tasks that Bill has quietly undertaken in the background, that we may be guilty of having overlooked or have taken for granted.

The Institute owes a huge debt of gratitude to the contribution that Bill Wilkie has made over the last two decades. What started as a part-time challenge has become a mission with a notable record of successes.

Thank you Bill! We respect your decision to retire from the role of Technical Director. You will be a worthy Chairman of the Institute and we wish you every success in that position.

Pete Starkey - ICT Council

Exception PCB

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Jason Conrad

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Conrad Bailey to the new position of Sales Manager. Conrad has worked in the PCB industry for over 30 years and joined Exception PCB Ltd last year. We wish him all the best in his new role.

Graphic

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Wayne LoshiWayne Loshi
Sales and Marketing Director

I have embarked on a new chapter in my career, returning to Graphic PLC as Sales and Marketing Director. This is an amazing opportunity for me to rejoin a company that is at the top of its game both technically and commercially. I will head up and support Graphic's amazing sales team, which has been serving the needs of the industry for decades. I look forward to being part of a company that has ambitious plans for the future and an appetite to continuously improve.

GSPK

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Les Blakeman Richard Ross Natalie Crozier
Les Blakeman Richard Ross Natalie Crozier

We are delighted to announce the expansion of our team with the addition of three highly experienced professionals. Les Blakeman - Business Development Manager, Richard Ross - Technical Team and Natalie Crozier - Internal Sales. This strategic move comes on the heels of the unfortunate closure of Faraday Circuits, a respected UK PCB manufacturer.

Ventec Group

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Leigh Eastwood

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Leigh Eastwood as Technical Sales Engineer. Covering the UK and Western European regions, Leigh will work to bring Ventec’s advanced thermal management and high-speed solutions to a wider audience, providing unparalleled expert-level support to both existing and new customers. Read more...

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