Memories to Jack Balde
"We all miss you already"
Photos of a busy man
1. His favorite Newsletter column mug shot.
2. Jack cheering up the hard working CPMT Executive Director, Marsha Tickman.
3. Jack at a Flat Panel Packaging Workshop which he initiated and organized.
4. Jack receiving one of his many well earned awards from Ron Gedney in front of many of his appreciative peers
5. Applauding to a good suggestion from the audience, Jack gives guidance at an informal talk.
6. The group of hard working Technical Committee Chairs finds Jack making everyone laugh at his off the cuff remarks.
7. Addressing the Board of Governors with sage advice.
8. Giving a verbal "white paper"
9. Jack asking one of his incisive questions with his booming voice from the middle of a large audience. At his best if you were listening, at his worst if you were a speaker who presented bad ideas.
10. A man projecting his ideas to a Society of Engineers.
11. Working long hours with other active CPMT volunteers
John W. (Jack)
1923 - 2003
Some knew him only as the rotund man sitting close to the front of the meeting room, asking piercing technical questions of almost all the presenters in a booming voice that needed no microphone. Others were privileged to have known him for many years, working with him on a book project, or a difficult technical problem, or on the organization of a conference or a workshop on a new cutting edge topic. Those working with him would always get phone calls, or long messages on their answering machines, late into the evening or on weekends, for Jack seemed never to stop thinking about the problem at hand, or about how to organize an IEEE or IMAPS activity on the latest technology, or about exactly what speakers to put together in what order to make that activity the best it could be. Those phone calls always ended with, "I've got a funny for you ,"and Jack would launch into some off-color story guaranteed to coax a laugh from even the most puritanical.
Jack Balde passed away on September 8, 2003. It is doubtful we will see another like him in our profession.
Jack was born on March 4, 1923, in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BS in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1943. Jack began his career at Western Electric and Bell Laboratories that same year, and in his first few years was awarded ten fundamental patents in Tantalum Thin Film technology, the core technology for thin film microelectronic hybrids. This early development of hybrids, with precision tantalum-based resistors and capacitors, led to the industry-wide use of hybrids for precision RF and military applications.
He was later involved in flat under-carpet cable development, which then became an industry standard. He led the IEEE standards task force for this technology (mid-1970s), which continues in widespread use. He received a special IEEE award for this development in 1975. He later also led an IEEE task force on the use of silicone gels as a means of environmental protection for integrated circuits (1981 report), at a time when the norm for reliable ICs was expensive hermetic packaging. In 1980, he retired from Bell Labs, and in 1981 founded Interconnection Decision Consulting, Inc., a firm that has consulted for 200 clients.
In 1985 he led another IEEE task force on lead compliance in surface mounted IC chip carrier packages, recognizing that the high failure rate of these packages was due to improper lead design and inappropriate lead frame material. Without the work of Jack's group, the early-stage development of surface mount package technology, now mainstream, could have come to a crashing halt.
Jack was an early proponent of MCM (multichip module) technology, with a Spectrum article in 1985, one book in 1986, and another in 1987 (both with co-authors). MCM technology was then only getting started outside of mainframe computer companies. He developed the nomenclature for the characterization of various MCM substrate configurations, and led an IEEE task force on MCM standardization. He spearheaded the establishment of a joint annual IEEE-ISHM-IEPS=EIA conference on MCMs beginning in 1990, and was general chair that year and active in every subsequent year. His leadership and advocacy of MCM technology are responsible for the extensive use of multichip packaging in many areas today.
In the IEEE, Jack led the CPMT-TC for System Packaging, which he founded in 1968, for 34 years. (This TC started out as the Computer Society Packaging Committee.) He was responsible for organizing the annual Computer (now System) Packaging Workshops for many of those years. The unique workshop format he introduced enabled packaging professionals to form a strong sense of community and collegiality. The informal nature of the workshops encouraged communication that cannot happen at large conferences. He also worked with CPMT chapters in Europe and Japan to begin similar workshops, which continue on an annual basis, alternating between Japan and Europe. His leadership was both organizational and technical; his talks often set the stage for focusing the discussions on cutting edge questions.
In other IEEE-related activities, he served on the CPMT Board of Governors, and on the CPMT Fellows committee for 10 years. He was a member of the Electronics Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) organizing committee for 33 years.
Jack recognized that electronic packaging is a multidisciplinary field, and that strictly IEEE activities could not encompass all aspects of, and all professionals associated with, packaging. Thus he was instrumental in forming the International Electronics Packaging Society (IEPS) in 1980, to provide an avenue for the interaction of EEs, MEs, materials scientists, and others involved in packaging. He served on the Board of Directors for many years, and was Chairman in 1982. He organized annual MCM workshops for IEPS and IMAPS (the International Microelectronics and Packaging Society) after the IEPS merger with ISHM.
Always on the cutting edge, Jack edited the book "Foldable Flex and Thinned Silicon" for Kluwer in 2002. This advanced 3-D packaging technology may someday be widely used as a result of Jack's involvement in bringing together the work of many early practitioners in one place, just as his work has fostered the development and widespread use of hybrid technology, under carpet cable, non-hermetic IC packaging, surface mount technology, and multichip packaging.
Jack received many honors for his career achievements, including the rank of IEEE Fellow in 1989, the IPC President's Award in 1975, IMAPS Fellow and Life Member in 1997, the Founder's Award from IEEE and IMAPS for establishing the MCM Conference, the IMAPS Hughes Award for excellence in electronic packaging in 1999, and the IEEE-CPMT Millennium Medal in 2000. But more important than these formal recognitions, Jack captured the respect and admiration of those who knew him well. Many have e-mailed some of their recollections.
George Harmon, NIST Fellow, wrote:
"We will all miss Jack, both for his contributions, and as a person. In recent years he didn't travel to meetings as much an in the past. However, as always, he used e-mail to convey his wisdom to us. When a burning issue arose, he used his experience to interpret it and advise us as to the best solution. I personally looked forward to hearing his opinion. Often these were policy issues, but also many on technical direction. When he disagreed with the common wisdom, I observed that he was usually right.
He was an indefatigable organizer of conferences, workshops, standards, and working groups across three Societies (IEEE, IMAPS, IEPS) that I know of. I served on his IEEE Gel Task Force. As chairman and with strong opinions, Jack could have dominated the results, but he never argued when the vote went against him, accepting the collective opinion as his own. I learned to admire him with his objectivity in handling that committee. Above all, he was honest with himself and his peers.
Jack served on my CPMT Fellow committee for about 10 years. The members often had strong opinions, with large standard deviations, but I always looked forward to Jack's ratings/comments. They were well thought out, written, insightful, and extremely objective.
Jack, you will be sorely missed and well remembered!"
Eric Bogatin, CTO of GigaTest Labs, wrote:
"I first met him when I was a young engineer fresh out of graduate school, in my first job at Western Electric's ERC in Princeton. I remember the first time I ever saw him, everyone was crowded in a conference room around a table and Jack was at the center if it, explaining why multi chip modules were go-ing to revolutionize electronics.
I was passing by the conference room and stuck my head in to see why everyone seemed so excited. There were at least 20 engineers standing around in rapt attention. I had never heard anyone so passionate about a vision before. It was a passion that he communicated to all those around him.
Since then, I have always been in rapt attention whenever I have heard Jack speak. I brought Jack in as a consultant for me while I was at Sun Microsystems and had the privilege of working with him on his consulting team when I went independent.
Whether he knew it or not, Jack has been a mentor for me for over 20 years and was the prime influence that steered me into packaging technology and in particular, multi chip modules, where I spent more than half my career.
I will miss his insights and he will be a great loss to the packaging community."
Srinivas Rao, VP of Technology at Solectron Corporation, wrote:
"The message I just received on Jack passing away deeply saddens me. I first came in contact with Jack about 14 years ago. The issues then were MCMs. Anyone that has met with him would agree the first impression one captures is one of size. However, very quickly - once engaged in conversation as I learned - his physical size was really small. What really impressed me (and surely others would have picked the same) was the size and immensity of his big heart. His attitude, passion and concern for technology, solutions, and people were really his winning qualities. He had a logical reason and concern for most anything, but he had an extremely soft side towards people.
I will remember Jack for his technology passion just as much as his 'guarded' compassionate (that he concealed at times) views. I have enjoyed working with him on various occasions - Workshops at Maine, Ojai, and Palm Springs.
I offer my condolence to his family. Jack, you ought to be pleased to know that you have served well, been a good source of knowledge and inspiration to many of us."
Dick Otte, President of Promex Industries, wrote:
"Jack was a major force driving technical progress in our industry. His contributions will be sorely missed. The void he leaves behind will have a major detrimental impact on our Con-ferences and Workshops and IMAPS and IEEE.
Jack's contributions to our industry are hard to underestimate. He was a major force to commercialize SMT technology, a major organizer of Workshops and Conferences related to electronic components, packaging and assembly, an important industry consultant, an author of leading edge technical books, a major participant at industry conferences, a visionary constantly seeking the best, most workable directions for the technologies and, finally, a friend over the years to many of us in the indus-try.
We, in the industry, owe much to his energy and commitment to technical "truth".
Jack will be missed by many of us."
Don Brown, head of the IWPC, wrote:
"I've known Jack for many years. He and I co-authored a book, "VLSI and the Substrate Connection" in 1981, and then in the mid 80's he and I were on opposite sides of the largest patent infringement lawsuit in the history of the US. We served on the former IEPS board of directors together, and worked together on countless activities. His wisdom, kindness, vision and strength of personality were a beacon for us to follow. For me person-ally, Jack was an unforgettable mentor."
IMAPS President Peter Barnwell wrote:
"Jack was remarkable man of whom I have many memories. He was a demanding but always fair individual with great en-ergy and vision. I had many discussions with him over the years and he was a great help to me when I took over as President of IMAPS last year. I will miss him greatly and he will be a tremendous loss to our Society and particularly the Advisory Council."
Noted industry consultant Werner Engelmaier wrote:
"Jack's passing leaves a significant hole for me personally and for our industry as a whole. I met Jack way back in my early days at Bell Labs and I was part of Jack's IEEE Compliant Lead Task Force when we all tried very hard to make SMT work. We had many sessions together at the IEPS conferences and served as directors together.
While I was never a member of Jack's team of consultants, he was extremely helpful when I took early retirement from Bell Labs and started as a consultant. Without him, I may never have had the courage to strike out on my own. Jack, your wisdom, experience and enthusiasm will be missed very much."
Retired colleague Tony Lubowe wrote:
"I first met Jack in 1971 when Bell Labs, in its wisdom, set up an Interconnection Technology Laboratory, staffed by a group of bright young people, almost all of whom knew nothing about interconnection technology. The really wise thing was to send us down to ERC to be trained (and entranced) by Jack. He held court in the largest, brightest, best, corner office in the building. (It took me a few visits to realize he wasn't at least a VP. West-ern Electric's mistake on this was worse than mine.) It was impressive how he patiently trained (and re-trained, as needed) the hordes that descended upon him. We all did some good work for Bell Labs, and AT&T, and Western Electric, and later on, for many other companies, always with Jack available to answer or re-answer a question.
When I decided to retire 26 years later, my family was afraid I would go nuts without working. Jack took me on at IDC and for a while I again enjoyed working with him. I appreciated Jack's understanding on this also - it was clear to me (and us all) that he loved consulting more than anything but his family.
That indeed sums up this hastily written, deadline driven tribute to our late colleague, mentor, and friend. We have been blessed to know Jack. We shall not see his like again.
Len Schaper, Professor, Electrical Engineering,
University of Arkansas --CEO, Xanodics LLC