A Think Tank in the Desert Southwest

I’ve had the good fortune of once again being invited to participate in the annual Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES) starting Thursday in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I’ll be there representing the SolidWorks User Group Network and get a chance to rub elbows with analysts, pundits, executives, and representatives of all the major CAD user group organizations.

This isn’t an ordinary conference with a huge exhibition floor, thousands of attendees, and hundreds of sessions.  It’s decidedly low-key, consisting primary of thought provoking and forward thinking keynote presentations, informal technology briefings, and my personal favorite – the Mechanical and Manufacturing Congress sessions.

The atmosphere is quite relaxed most of the time, but the gloves come off on occasion.  When you get a few dozen of the major players in the CAD industry discussing issues like ease-of-use, innovation, and interoperability, there’s bound to be some disagreement.  Add in the end-users making their feelings known, and it can get downright…uhmmm…entertaining.  I relish the Congress discussions, and unlike my first COFES, I won’t feel shy about joining the debate.

There will also be a couple of my old friends there this year.  Sean Dotson returns, and this year he’ll take home the CAD Society’s Joe Greco Community Achievement award.  Well deserved I’ll add. 

I’m also looking forward to a visit with a former mentor that I haven’t seen in more than 6 years.  Ed Stevenson has been involved in the CAD Community for a long time, and was a big part of my early 3D CAD experience.  I took Ed’s CAD class near Austin back in the early 90’s, and when I started the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group, he offered plenty of good advice.  I can trace my enthusiasm for SolidWorks User Groups to some of the discussions we had back then, and I’m looking forward to telling him…

"We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I met you last, I was but the learner….."

Just kidding Ed – it will be good to see you.

Check out the COFES website for a history of the event dating back to COFES 2000.  Check back here later this week as I will be blogging from the event

Richard Doyle
My official title is Senior User Advocacy & SolidWorks User Groups - but most people just call me "The User Group Guy". I've been a SolidWorks user since 1997, and was one of the founding members of the SWUGN Committee. Since starting the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group in 1999, my career path has led me to DS SolidWorks and a dream job supporting the SolidWorks User Group Network worldwide.
Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle