SWUGN Group Leader Spotlight – Nicole Walden

Since 1996, SOLIDWORKS User Groups have been a valuable resource for SOLIDWORKS users all over the world.  The SWUGN Committee and DS SOLIDWORKS provide ample support, but the real stars are the SOLIDWORKS User Group Leaders. Every week or so we’ll spotlight one of our group leaders and the local user group chapter that they are responsible for leading.

Nicole Walden – Chattanooga SOLIDWORKS User Group

Nicole Walden

I first heard from Nicole many years ago when she wanted to start a SOLIDWORKS User Group in Florida, I first met her at a SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting in Houston, and I’ve had the chance to visit the Chattanooga SOLIDWORKS User Group twice now.  Suffice to say, we’ve become good friends, and Nicole is one of the people I look forward to seeing at SOLIDWORKS World every year.  We asked her to talk about her user group, and this is what she had to say.

Who are you and what do you do?

I own a 3D CAD consulting company that provides, CAD process analysis, custom training, implementation services, and more.  I have been working with one CAD platform or another for 23 years.

When did you first start learning/using SOLIDWORKS?

I began my 2D CAD experience at the age of 13.  I worked using CAD to put myself through engineering school. I transitioned to 3D approximately 15 years ago.  I always visualized items in 3D and converted them into 2D, when I was using AutoCAD, when moved over to SOLIDWORKS I was hooked and never looked back.

Tell us a little about your SOLIDWORKS User Group.

This is actually my 3rd user group.  I began one when I was living in Florida.  The 2nd, Joe Lance and I ran together, in Houston. Wish every day I could get Joe and his wife to move to Chattanooga. I have a very loyal group of users who attend our meetings quarterly.  Most of the users in the Chattanooga area seem to have a focus on: sheet metal, weldments,  multi-bodies, large assemblies, and drawings. They are a wonderful group and I am very lucky to have them.

What as the best meeting you’ve had?

The best meeting this year was when Kumar Uptal, from SOLIDWORKS, came to show the users unusual ways to create sheet, 3D sketches, and weldments. Did I happen to mention we had this meeting in a box, on a game night, at the minor league baseball park? One of my personal favorite presentations was more of a quiz. The room was split into groups who competed against one another…. and we played….. What’s this called?  A game where people guess what the real names of things are called in SW. It is fun hearing all the different answers.


Why should people attend a SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting?

I think once people realize they are not alone in having questions that they get more comfortable in asking those questions.  I think having questions and seeking out answers is how we can stay ahead of the game.  Software is always evolving, thus we should always be evolving with it.

Thanks Nicole, we’ll see you in Dallas for SOLIDWORKS World 2016.

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