Recently I had a chance to catch-up with Steve Dobson, the managing director of Quadra Solutions, one of our fastest growing CADSTAR distributors. The company’s intent focus on customers has enabled them to expand to provide sole CADSTAR reseller services to the whole of the UK, Benelux, and more recently Scandinavia. Steve’s commitment to the user community is a credit to his passion for CADSTAR; he’s never shy about expressing the needs of the users. Read on to hear what he has to say:
Why did you choose the PCB industry?
I completed an apprenticeship in mechanical and production engineering, and had worked for GEC, one of the engineering giants in the UK at the time. Soon after qualifying I saw an attractive position at a company that manufactured circuit boards. So I applied and joined what was at the time probably the most technologically advanced PCB manufacturer in the UK, TDS Circuits. Over the 10 years with this company I learned a lot about PCB manufacturing and design, but most of all I learned to love the PCB industry.
I then joined Option, also a PCB manufacturing company, but the attraction for me that prompted the move was the opportunity to promote CADSTAR. With a colleague also recruited to join the company, we started the CAD division of Option.
What are the origins of Quadra Solutions?
Quadra was born from the ashes of Option Technologies; all of the Quadra directors formerly worked at Option. Personally I joined Option in 1989, a time when there were eight CADSTAR distributors in the UK.
In the ‘90s CADSTAR was priced around £12k, a fraction of the cost of workstation-based systems. In 1999 Quadra became a CADSTAR distributor in its own right and acquired more and more territory in the UK. We then expanded to become an Autodesk reseller and offer PCB design services.
Over the last 14 years we have grown to become the single reseller for CADSTAR in the UK and have expanded, taking on responsibility for Benelux and Scandinavia. We design over 300 PCBs each year for a wide variety of customers using mainly CADSTAR. This gives us a unique, intimate knowledge of the software, which in turn our customers benefit from through support and consultancy.
How has the recession affected your business?
During the FY2008/9 we felt the recession as businesses started to scrutinize every expenditure and it became much harder for us to close deals. Our reaction to this was to educate and motivate all of our staff to deliver a better service and customer experiences. We focused the business on quality and customer service delivered in a professional consultative manner. Our staff adopted this approach well and despite the difficult economy, Quadra has continued to grow, with recruitment this year taking our headcount to 25.
We reported a record year at the end of March 2013 with sales up 20% to over £5 million and we will continue to invest and recruit throughout FY1013/14.
Where do you think the PCB industry and related technology is going in the future?
Miniaturization and packaging will continue to be the topic of conversation as designers and manufacturers develop strategies to cope with ever shrinking feature sizes and demanding tolerances. Likewise as speeds increase more customers will need to embrace simulation techniques within their design workflow.
Quadra Solutions has just been named the 2012-2013 European CADSTAR distributor of the year for the fifth time, read the press release here.
Find out more about Quadra by visiting www.quadrasol.co.uk