Sweet Home Alabama (again)

My SolidWorks 2012 "What ELSE is New" tour came to an end when I got back to Austin on the 29th, but I went back on the road for two special user group meetings the next week.

I don't know what it is about Alabama that I like so much.  Maybe it's the people, maybe the architecture, maybe the climate (I've been lucky).  I spent a few hours a couple of years ago driving around downtown Birmingham and imagined I was in the "Old South" – gorgeous storefronts in old buildings on what can only be described as "Main Street USA".  Funny, when I tell Alabaman's that story, their noses squish up a bit and they ask, "Really?"

The North Alabama SolidWorks User Group celebrated their 50th meeting with a HUGE turnout – 75 SolidWorks users showed up to help Ricky Jordan and Richard Hall make this one of their best meetings ever.  The food and venue were outstanding, and it's always good to see old friends like Gary Hall.  Brad Williamson, now a DS SolidWorks employee, also made the trip and did a great presentation on calculating the volume of water in a tank using optimization.  We had a great time with the "What ELSE is New" session as well.

The Central Alabama SolidWorks User Group began life as the SolidWorks User Group of Birmingham back in September 2006.  The group was founded by Gwen Van Steenberge, who these days is helping to run the family business in Lodi, California (a great read here).  Steve Uptain took over when Gwen left, and renamed the group.  He's done a remarkable job ever since, gradually building up attendance over the years.  Brian Gann started the meeting off with a great presentation on the local BEST competition that was being held that week, and encouraged group members to sign on as volunteers, coaches, or mentors – a great idea I think.  We were also treated to some leftover Halloween candy supplied by Steve's wife.

I'll look forward to a return to Alabama soon, and I still think that Birmingham is a swell little town.  There's supposed to be big news coming out of the Huntsville area this week – be on the lookout for it.

And for my good friend over at The Tool Shed – yes, I got fed, it was delicious, and we wished you were there.

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