John McEleney Comes To Huntsville!
The members of the North Alabama SolidWorks User Group (NASWUG) had an extra-special treat at last night’s meeting. Both SolidWorks CEO, John McEleney, and SolidWorks User Group Coordinator, Richard Doyle, were on hand. And Huntsville really showed the love with a record-breaking attendance of 55 users!
We recorded the presentations, and I will soon have the video online. For now, I will give a synopsis of the meeting.
After the meet and greet dinner, John McEleney took the podium and delivered a very interesting presentation on the history of CAD. For those of you who do not know, John McEleney is a Mechanical Engineer and is a Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). Even though he is a CEO, you can tell he is really an engineer at heart. He is an awesome and enthusiastic speaker, and he has a clear vision of where the CAD and engineering industries are headed and where SolidWorks fits into the picture.
He gave a lot of background on the history of SolidWorks, including the original business plan and some preliminary rough sketches of the interface and the merger with Catia. Mr. McEleney also talked a little about the future of SolidWorks and the direction that the engineering industry is headed.
He brought up the issue of globalization, and how companies and engineers have to start reacting more quickly to adapt to changes in the world economy. This includes focusing more on reliable up front analysis to enable faster time to market and looking at alternate materials when designing.
He spoke of how the role of engineer has evolved from someone with a calculator and sketch pad working with a draftsman to one who models and details their own designs, and how the role was again growing to include detailed analysis as well. That is exactly how things are playing out at my company. And seeing as how we had one recent graduate and a co-op attending the meeting from my company, I thought it very fitting for them that Mr. McEleney covered that.
Mr. McEleney wrapped up his presentation with his outlook on the future of SolidWorks, and opened the floor for questions.
We took a short break, during which one of our users, Jim Clyburn, brought a SolidWorks 98 user manual for Mr. McEleney to sign. (Another one of our users, Rich Hall, took his SolidWorks 95 CD and manual to SolidWorks World 2007 back in February and had both John McEleney and Jon Hirschtick sign his manual.) I think this kind of stuff tickles him pink!
After the break, Richard Doyle gave his Tips & Tricks quiz which seems to have become very popular at meetings and conferences. It’s a good way to see how much you know about SolidWorks, including some of it’s history. I’ve taken it twice (he uses different questions each time) and learned something each time.
Rich Hall won first place, taking home a brand new 3Dconnexion SpaceExplorer. I came in second at the meeting last night (I was actually surprised about that!), winning a very nice-looking SolidWorks cap.
Richard also showed the highlights video from SolidWorks World 2007 in New Orleans.
All in all, I think it was one of the best user group meetings we’ve had so far. As I mentioned above, I hope to have the video of John McEleney’s presentation online within the next week. I will post a link when it is available. You can also view all the photos from the meeting in my photostream below.