Having built my first computer at age 13 (reverse engineered TRS80 in a 19" rack) I have literally been smelling the solder for the past 30 years. Frequently I am asked by my clients to do proof of concept designs which they would be unable to turn around quickly enough in-house. Prototyping early and often is a very cost effective way to find out if a concept will fly, not to mention that it makes for a much more convincing demo than PowerPoint slides.

Since founding Zietlow Design in 1996 I have always invested in tools and training and as a result I am fully equipped to design and debug just about every kind of electronic equipment imaginable. Hands on experience and the manual skills required to handle modern component packages combined with the right tools allow me to tackle jobs that would otherwise have to be sent out to specialty shops. While PCB assembly is obviously not cost effective or appropriate to do manually the same skills are frequently used and needed for bring-up and debugging.

Since I also maintain a small machine shop even modifying enclosures or having to mill out a custom heat sink or motor mount won't be a causing any delays.
I am using Altium Designer as my preferred ECAD tool (I also have Orcad and PADS). Altium is great for its data management, 3D features and easy integration with MCAD.