SWUGN Group Leader Spotlight – Rudy Ottway

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.

Rudy Ottway – Nashville SOLIDWORKS User Group

Rudy Ottway - Murray State
Rudy Ottway

When Rudy became the group leader in Nashville, I knew right away that we had someone that would take the group to new heights.  Rudy and his team have not disappointed, and were responsible for one of the best meetings I have ever had the pleasure to attend.  Here’s what Rudy had to say about himself and his user group.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Dr. Rudy Ottway. I’m an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Engineering at Murray State University in Murray, KY. I teach SOLIDWORKS and AutoCAD in the Engineering Graphics and Design program. In addition to CAD, I also teach 3D printing and oversee our 3D Printing and Prototyping Center.

I have a beautiful wife, Bonnie, and two handsome boys, Gavin and Logan. Hobbies include outdoor activities like camping, hiking, snow-skiing, whitewater rafting, and cycling. I enjoy a little woodworking and tinkering with 3D printing, I like to set goals and challenge myself. I love cheeseburgers!

When did you first start learning/using SOLIDWORKS?

I started using SOLIDWORKS in the summer of 2006. I was slated to teach a class in the spring semester. I was changing careers from a CAD Analyst in Huntsville, AL to teaching at Murray State and my background in AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, and Mechanical Desktop served me well. Well, that and I fell in love with everything SOLIDWORKS!

Tell us a little about your SOLIDWORKS User Group.

We’re the Nashville SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting in Music City Nashville, TN. I have a wonderful group of users that attend meetings regularly, provide wonderful SOLIDWORKS presentations, and give lots of their time and energy to host meetings. We have a great time learning and sharing information about SOLIDWORKS and life!

Are you the founder of the group?

I am not the founder of the Nashville SOLIDWORKS User Group. It started several years before I assumed leadership, but had become stagnant; probably because life got in the way!

When did you assume leadership?

I assumed leadership in 2012 after Richard Doyle asked for volunteers to lead the group at a SWUGN Technical Summit. I was searching for a user group and leading seemed like the best way to get the group going and stay connected.

How long have you been leading the group?

I’ve been leading the group for almost 4 years.

What as the best meeting you’ve had?

They’re all great meetings, but the best meeting we’ve had was held at Gibson Guitar in Nashville, TN. Gibson uses SOLIDWORKS to design solid-body electric guitars. We had great food, an informative presentation, and a super interesting plant tour! Afterwards, as a door prize, Gibson graciously donated an electric guitar worth around $5,000!

What was the worst meeting you’ve had?

I can’t think of any bad meetings that we’ve had. But, a poll of my user group, and they’d probably say the worse meetings are those when I give a presentation!

What have you learned personally from your UG?

The user group keeps me connected to every day users and industry specific applications of SOLIDWORKS. Everything I learn via the user group I share with students and faculty in an effort to keep our Engineering Graphics and Design program relevant for interns and graduates looking for full-time employment. I pass along information about hardware, software, tips/tricks, resources, applications, skills, certifications, and anything that I think will benefit our students. User groups also challenge me to learn more about SOLIDWORKS.

I’ve learned that, on the academic side, we only scratch the surface of SOLIDWORKS’ capabilities and uses.

I’ve learned that I can learn something from each user. I’m humbled when I meet other SOLIDWORKS users. The vast amount of knowledge, skills, and use that people posess is truly mind blowing!

How many users are in the group?

We have 75 members on the distribution list, but have between 25 and 35 at any given meeting.

Why should people attend a SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting?

People should attend a SolidWorks User Group meeting for many reasons…

  • Free food!
  • Free SOLIDWORKS stuff!
  • A great opportunity to meet other users.
  • A great opportunity to learn from other users.
  • A great opportunity to teach other users.
  • A great opportunity to build relationships that last a lifetime!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to lead the Nashville SOLIDWORKS User Group. I have a great group of individuals and I appreciate their contributions to the success of our group. I especially appreciate them helping me in my SOLIDWORKS journey.

I’d like to thank SOLIDWORKS for the many contributions that they make to the success of user groups. I appreciate their willingness to spend a significant amount of time and money toward the advancement of the user group community. Thank you Richard Doyle, your user group team at SOLIDWORKS, and the SWUGN committee for all you do!

Attend a SOLIDWORKS World event. It will change your life!

Get out there and become a part of other user groups. In addition to leading the Nashville group, I try to attend user groups in Evansville, IN and Bowling Green, KY. I’d like to figure out a way I can visit some of the international groups without having to dip into my wallet!

Thanks Rudy, and thanks again for reviving the Nashville group.  We’ll see you and your team in Dallas!

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