SolidWorks World 2014 – The Breakouts

Every year starting in July (or so), a team of more than 30 people starts recruiting, reviewing, and accepting and/or rejecting SolidWorks World breakout session abstracts.  The goal is to provide the best possible technical content for the attendees.

SolidWorks World 2014 did not disappoint – this year’s average score is the highest ever (since 2006 anyway) at 4.23 out of 5.00.


Since I’m the guy that updates the information every year, I get a sneak peek at the scores and comments from the evaluation forms that attendees fill out for each session.  Here is some analysis and commentary on this year’s scores.

NOTE: I’m intentionally not posting the individual scores.  Any presenter that would like to share his or her score is more that welcome to leave it in a comment.

The highest overall score (minimum of five evaluations) starts with a fun story.  This presenter initially told me in September of 2013 that he would not be able to attend and present in San Diego.  In early January, he had a change of heart, and asked if there were any open slots.  We had a couple of cancellations, so he was in.

Congratulation to Toby Schnaars of Prism Engineering for his top rated session “Beginners Surfacing for Beginners”.

SolidWorks Resellers did a great job this year with an overall average of 4.36 – Jordan Tadic (3DVision Technologies), Damon Tordini (Hawk Ridge Systems), Michael LaFleche (CAPINC), and Brian Reel (CATI) round out the top five reseller scores.

SolidWorks employees didn’t fare quite as well, but an average score of 4.21 is nothing to scoff at.  Joy Garon had the highest employee score, but Rob Jost had three sessions in the top five.  Nikhil Kulkarni came in at number four.

SolidWorks user scores were higher this year as well, nearly a tenth of a point better than SolidWorks World 2013.  It will come as no surprise that Ed Eaton of the DiMonte Group had the highest score with his “Will it Shell” session.  In a nice little twist, the number two user session also came from the DiMonte Group – first timer Andrew Lowe just a few hundredths behind.  Two more rookie presenters came in at three and four – Thiago Costa (Lagoa) and Robert Yule (Blue Giant Equipment).  A joint session by Rustin Webster and Paul Collins (Intuitive Research and Technology) was the number five rated user session.

“First-timers” did a fantastic job this year with an overall score of 4.14.  In addition to Andrew, Thiago, Robert, and Damon, Rachel York (CADimensions) scored big with her session “The Certification Game” (I recommended this session to the team – thanks for making me look good Rach).  Other first timers with big scores include Bill Jones (SolidXperts), Michael Marshall (Berry Plastics), Paul Newman and Taylor Lind (both from Vermeer), and SolidWorks blogger (and former SolidWorks User Group Leader) Daniel Herzberg.

Hands-on sessions were very popular again this year, and the overall average of 4.27 is a nice indication that the sessions went well.  I’ve only done one hands-on session ever, and let me tell you, it is not easy.  Congratulations and thank you to all that stepped up to provide these sessions for the attendees.

In addition to grading the sessions, attendees are also encouraged to add comments to the evaluation forms.  Here are some of my favorites:

“Very awesome presentation”

“The best presenter so far”

“Terrific content!  The presenter is one  of the best users of SolidWorks I have ever seen”

“This was the best session I have ever attended”

Every one of these comments (or slight variations of) showed up on dozens of evaluation forms (yes, I read them all).

From a technical standpoint, it’s safe to say that this was one of the best SolidWorks World conferences on record.  Hard work by the SolidWorks team and of course the presenters provided our attendees with outstanding technical information that they can use all year.

And yes, I know it’s only February, but I’m already looking forward to the call-for-papers for SolidWorks World 2015 in Phoenix.

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