Succession is a word that makes some thoughtful, others squeamish, especially in an industry where small, private firms play such an important role. Many of this industry's smaller companies have been in business long enough for the sons and daughters of the founder(s) to take over, and many of this "next-generation" leadership have embraced the responsibility wholeheartedly. Of course, some founders also hold tenaciously to the reins of their company, realizing that a succession plan is necessary, but not today.

During a visit with the ever-gracious crew at ARRA yesterday, the topic of succession came up and, perhaps more importantly, the concept of "continuation." As company founders and key employees get older, the average age in this industry continues to rise. Compared to other segments in electronics, such as computers and software, the RF/microwave industry is not glamorous, and does not readily attract new talent from top universities. But for the industry to continue, this must change. It may be as simple as meeting with engineering professors at a nearby college to talk about this industry. Offering to provide a guest lecture on the industry or your engineering specialty may even help to foster a relationship with an engineering school. An injection of young, talented, and energetic employees can only help your company now and later.