SolidWorks World 2001 – Orlando

Part three in the series.

SolidWorks World 2001 was another opportunity to go somewhere I had never been; Orlando, Florida. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort was chosen for its ability to host nearly 3000 SolidWorks users, resellers, partners, and employees. I was a little surprised to learn at the airport that I was still an hour away from the resort. Luckily, I ran into some fellow SolidWorks users and we all decided to share a cab (network, network, network). The fare was reasonable, and we arrived at the resort within the hour. Arriving a day early gave me the chance to play 18 holes on one of the great Disney golf courses. The free cab ride to the course offered by the resort was a nice touch. I walked in the footsteps of Tiger Woods that day, and made sure I hit one shot from the famous “Mickey Mouse” bunker.

I was invited to participate in the drawings roundtable discussion on Sunday. The SolidWorks Program Managers asked each roundtable attendee to be prepared with a list of their top ten issues, concerns, or enhancements. I could only come up with four or five things myself, but as we went around the room and heard from the others, I found myself thinking, “Yes that would be a good idea” over and over. I went in with four or five items, and came out with a dozen. (Note: as of SolidWorks 2005, everything on my initial list has now been addressed or implemented). SolidWorks uses the yearly roundtables as just one more tool in the on-going effort to provide the features and functionality that users need to accomplish design tasks.

The 2nd annual SNUG meeting was a departure from the year before. We decided not to spend all of our time introducing ourselves, and instead the SNUG committee put together a formal presentation and saved some room for an open discussion. We ended up with 20-25 user group leaders in attendance, and the meeting provided those group leaders a little more awareness of the committee members and our goals for the coming year(s). The SNUG committee also learned a thing or two about the individual groups.

After a couple of previous conferences, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from the offsite event; food, drinks, friends, and fun. But nobody could have been prepared for what we ended up seeing. Imagine if you will two high level executives in “super-hero” outfits battling it out onstage before hundreds of people. I’ll just leave it at that. After the event, a very large group of users, resellers, and SolidWorks folks met up back at the resort for drinks, some pizza, and an impromptu Karaoke session (sans the Karaoke machine). Most of us stayed until well past closing time, and had a great time.

SolidWorks World 2001 turned out to be the best conference I had ever attended. We had a 2000 person game of “Simon Says” at the general session, outstanding technical sessions, the huge exhibit hall filled with SolidWorks Partners, and a LOT of fun. I also got to meet several key users that were (and still are) highly regarded members of the SolidWorks Community. I left the conference with one thought; only 12 more months until SolidWorks World 2002!

Next..Las Vegas. A tough trip, but worth every minute.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.