This time, he nailed it

David Suelflow walked into room 217 of the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Center this morning a SolidWorks World 2011 “attendee.” Two hours, forty-five grueling minutes later, he walked out a Certified SolidWorks Professsional, or “CSWP.”

From the exam room, he strode straight across a wide hall to the outdoor balcony. He looked off into nothing, took a moment to decompress, then came back in and flopped into a chair.

How do you feel? David Suelflow


It was his second shot at the exam. “The first time, I ran out of time and I was super nervous. This time, I was less nervous and said if I fail, I’ll just take the test again.” He won’t have to worry about that.

Suelflow is a veteran designer for BergerABAM, a Washington state civil engineering consultancy. His latest project is a 1,700-foot concrete floating pier prototype for the Navy. With a floating pier, versus a pile-driven one, the ship and dock float in tandem. His design tucks all the utilities – sewer, water, electrical, oily waste – under the pier so the deck remains clean and clear.

CSWP certification is a proud achievement for Suelflow, a valuable credential, a marketing tool for his company, and proof he knows what he’s doing. But there’s another, often unspoken motivator. “I wanted to go to the party,” he says with a grin. “It’s where the cool kids hang out.”

Rumor has it there will be paintball at Monday night’s exclusive CSWP/CSWE bash. Every year there’s buzz about what goes down at these things. The only way to find out first hand is to get certified. (There are 12,000 CSWPs; 400 Certified SolidWorks Experts, or CSWEs; and 20,000 holders of the entry-level Certified SolidWorks Associate, or CSWA, credential.)

Done talking, Suelflow, who grew up in Wisconsin, walked off, a little lighter in his step. “I’ve gotta go watch the Packers game.”

He was searching for his second big victory of the day.



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