"I'd Like to Meet Phil Sluder Please"

L to R; Bryan Ray, Glenn Schroeder, Deepak Gupta, Phil Behm, Jim Lowery, Phil Sluder, Kendra Wardlow, Peggy Frantz, Peter Fischer, Dean Kerste.

The SOLIDWORKS 2016 Launch event was a huge success.  Thanks to all of you that watched the live feed, and special thanks to those that attended the event in person.  I was fortunate enough to be able to invite several of our SOLIDWORKS User Group leaders and one of our top SOLIDWORKS Forum contributors to see the event in person and to meet some of their fellow SOLIDWORKS users.  I have a lot of stories to tell, so bear with me on this very long post (I guarantee it took me longer to write it than it will take for you to read it).

In addition to our out-of-state guests, we were joined by some familiar faces from the SOLIDWORKS Community.

Rob Rodrigues, Ed Gebo, John Matrishon, and Phil Sluder hanging out in the “Senate” chamber. Tom Cote joined us as well, but didn’t get into the picture.

Our out-of-town guests arrived on Monday for the evening reception and a chance to meet fellow SOLIDWORKS users, SOLIDWORKS employees, and press and analysts from all over the world.  The food was great, the atmosphere at the Edward M. Kennedy institute was perfect, and that night I heard my favorite story of the week.

Kendra Wardlow, a relative newcomer to the SOLIDWORKS Community (who, by the way, is doing a terrific job with the Panama City Beach SOLIDWORKS User Group) arrived at the reception and was met by our SOLIDWORKS Community Manager Rachel York.  Rachel loves to make introductions, so she asked Kendra “Who would you like to meet first?”.  Kendra looked around at a room filled with SOLIDWORKS executives and high level employees, SOLIDWORKS bloggers, members of the press, and finally concluded “I’d like to meet Phil Sluder please”. And she did.

Gian Paolo Bassi Kicks off the event

Event day Tuesday was exciting for all of us, and the program kicked off with a keynote from SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi, followed by several speakers with topics on SOLIDWORKS Electrical, SOLIDWORKS Visualize and the SOLIDWORKS Ecosystem.  Next up were three SOLIDWORKS customers; Skully, ReThink Robotics, and StrongArm TechnologiesBOXX Technologies and HP were on-hand as sponsors, and each company had a nice little presentation on their very powerful products. A very good start to the day.

Right after lunch the real treat began, an in-depth look at “What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2016”.  Ian Hogg and Mark Schneider did a great job with the presentation, and there were more than a few oohs and aahs during the 3-1/2 hour session.  Look for more information in the coming days from some of the SOLIDWORKS bloggers.

And don’t miss your reseller rollout of SOLIDWORKS 2016.  Find your event here.

After the event, we all headed back to the hotel for some snacks and drinks,  We talked community, we talked SOLIDWORKS,  and we all got to know each other a little better.

Good food, good drinks, and good friends


Bryan, Dean, Phil B., and Deepak enjoying an adult beverage.

As if there wasn’t enough happening already, on Wednesday morning our guests rolled out of bed early so they could come to Waltham for a tour of the DASSAULT SYSTEMES campus.  In addition to learning all about DASSAULTS’ commitment to “being green”, the entire entourage was taken through the Virtual Reality Center here in Waltham.

Just before we shuttled everyone back to the airport, I put on my reporters hat and asked everyone a few questions.  Here’s what they had to say.

What’s your favorite new feature in SOLIDWORKS 2016?

Jim Lowery – Renaming components in the FeatureManager Design Tree.

Peggy Frantz – PDM Standard comes with every seat of SOLIDWORKS Professional.

Dean Kerste – Compare feature improvements.

Phil Sluder – Improved style splines.

Phil Behm – Improvements to segmenting sketches.

Deepak Gupta – Motion blur.

Glenn Schroeder – Automatic midpoint selection.

Bryan Ray – Breadcrumbs.

Peter Fischer – The new look of the User Interface.

Kendra Wardlow – Profile Center mate.

Due to contractual obligations, Kendra’s company is still working with a previous version.  When we mentioned that the Profile Center mate wasn’t new (it has been improved in 2016), she didn’t care – that was still her favorite.

What was your favorite part of the events?

Jim Lowery – The Skully Helmet presentation.

Peggy Frantz – The Skully Helmet presentation and the presentation by BOXX.

Dean Kerste – Networking at the welcome reception.

Phil Sluder – What’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2016 sessions.

Phil Behm – Meeting some of the SOLIDWORKS Product Definition team and the VR Center.

Deepak Gupta – Liked everything.

Glenn Schroeder – Networking at the welcome reception and the Dassault campus tour..

Bryan Ray – Good friends, good food.

Peter Fischer – Networking at the welcome reception, meeting fellow user group leaders and SOLIDWORKS employees.

Kendra Wardlow – What’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2016 sessions.

Glen Schroeder added that due to his participation in the SOLIDWORKS forums, he feels like he has friends all over the world that he’s never met.  He was very happy that he got to meet some of them this week.

What was my favorite part of the event you might ask?  The previous sentence says it all.  Anytime I can help bring SOLIDWORKS users together, whether it be local chapter meetings, SOLIDWORKS World, or special events like Launch, I’ve not only done my job, but I’ve helped to make other people happy.

And frankly, that’s what makes me happy!

So thanks again everyone for taking the time to visit Waltham and DS SOLIDWORKS.  I look forward to more of these events, and I look forward to bringing more of you together to network, learn, and have some fun.

Until next time…


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