SolidWorks User Group Leaders Make Me Cry

I knew there was some sort of surprise planned for the 10th Annual SWUGN Summit meeting here at SolidWorks World.  Devon Sowell contacted me last week and asked if we could shorten things up just a little, but didn't want to say more than that.  So when the crown and jester hats came out during the meeting, we all had a good laugh and I happily joined the SWUGN Committee in donning the attire.  Former SWUGN Committee member Mark Peters has jokingly referred to me as "King" Richard for years, I got the reference, and continued on with the meeting.

What happened next absolutely blew me away.

Near the end of the meeting, Ricky Jordan joined Devon at the front of the room for a short "This is your life" skit, with Ricky relating the story about when he and I first talked about resurrecting the North Alabama SolidWorks User Group.  He continued on, telling about how I convinced him to start his blog.  At this point, I was getting a little emotional, but nonetheless truly appreciating this great moment.

I was relieved when Jeff Ray finally showed up to make his annual address to the user group leaders.  It started off well, and then took a surprising turn.  I was getting a little irritated when Jeff started talking about me.  Jeff knows very well that the SWUGN Summit meeting is about the men and women that lead the SolidWorks user groups and provide such a valuable resource for SolidWorks users around the world.  That's when I started to figure the whole thing out.  When Jeff was finished and the entire room of nearly 100 user group leaders and officers rose to their feet in a rousing ovation, I totally lost it (thanks for the tissues Ben).

There have been many great moments in the ten years that I have been associated with SWUGN and the SolidWorks Community.  The folks that spend an enormous amount of their own time leading user groups aren't just people that like to use SolidWorks, they're a very special group of dedicated, passionate people willing to give their time for the benefit of SolidWorks users everywhere.  You won't find that kind of devotion anywhere else in the CAD industry, or any industry for that matter.  Yesterday was the highlight of my career, and one of the best moments of my life.

Thank you everyone for this terrific honor.  The past ten years have been great, and I am looking forward to the next ten and beyond.  I am very fortunate to be a part of the SolidWorks Community, and I get up every day looking forward to working with you.

As for the rest of the meeting, I'm sorry to say it's all kind of a blur right now.  I'll go back through the PowerPoint and post a report later today.

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