Five Questions Friday with Jean-Francois Niaison of SolidXperts

J-F Niaison - dec. 2009 Name:
Jean-Francois Niaison

Title: President

Company: SolidXperts Inc.

Since 1998, SolidXperts has been one of the leading providers of SolidWorks 3D design software and services in Québec and Eastern Canada. The company has recently expanded its operations to New England.

Web site address:

Job description: Provide vision, leadership and direction for the team and the future growth of the company. Ensure that everyone and every team is working together and pulling in the same direction and that things run smoothly. If we were to use the automobile analogy, I consider my role as the driver as well as the engine oil.

Hometown: Montreal, Canada

1.Why did you choose to do the work you do?
I have always been fascinated by how things work, and that prompted me to get my degree in Mechanical Engineering. I started using early versions of 3D CAD software in the late 80s (Euclid) and got hooked. I also had a strong interest in business and went back to school to get my MBA part-time. When the opportunity arose in 1998 to start a new SolidWorks reseller, SolidXperts, I jumped on it and I haven’t looked back since.

2.What is your proudest career moment?
Over the past 20 years, I have been proud of a number of things such as the awards I’ve won and getting my MBA. However, by far the proudest moment of my career repeats itself every year at the company’s Christmas party when I can take a step back and see how our family has grown. Seeing every year how many people (employees, spouses, children) get to earn a living and take care of their family by working for SolidXperts and how this number grows truly fills me with pride.

3.What goal inspires you most?
Being the best in what we do and being perceived as the best by our customers. Jack Welch (former famed GE CEO) said you had to be No. 1 or No. 2 in a market or else you should get out. I always shoot for No.1.

4.How has SolidWorks made a difference in your life?
SolidWorks has allowed me to combine the three things I have enjoyed the most in my professional life: engineering, 3D CAD and business. SolidWorks is also a great business partner and they have been instrumental in helping us build a strong and growing business.

5.What do you do for fun?

I coach my youngest son’s Intercity Soccer team and enjoy it a lot. I love teaching kids and I love soccer. It’s the greatest sport there is and the perfect “equalizer.” When you get down to it, all you need is a ball. It’s the only team sport in the world that every country plays and can be competitive in, no matter how rich or poor the country is. But as far as excitement and adrenaline are concerned, nothing compares to ice hockey.

Thanks to Jean Francois for taking the time to talk. If you want to nominate someone to appear in a future edition of Five-Questions Friday, leave a comment and let me know.

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.