Our next guest blogger is Bacon Brotherhood co-founder and Western Massachusetts SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader, John Matrishon. John’s the kind of guy who will get up much earlier than he needs to so he can join you for breakfast and hang at the airport. He’ll drive for hours to help a new user group leader get her group off the ground because she needs a last minute presenter. He’ll make you an amazing birthday cake. The story he’s going to tell you below is a perfect example of his amazing generosity and kindness. Enjoy!
Rachel asked me if I’d like to write a guest post about this idea I had for SOLIDWORKS World 2016. Naturally I said “maybe” so here I am talking about it. I was even asked to talk about myself, which is difficult to do, but I’ll give it a try anyway! Many years ago, I used to draw on mylar with a drop lead pencil, followed by an ancient 2D system, then onto a UNIX based system for my first taste of 3D, until finally arriving at SOLIDWORKS in 1996 to begin the voyage! My first taste of the SOLIDWORKS user group experience was a large group simply called the New England SOLIDWORKS User Group. The group was started by Marie Planchard, whom you may know now as the Director of Education Portfolio for SOLIDWORKS, back in 2003. Thanks, Marie!!! Fast forward to 2009 when I started the Western Massachusetts SOLIDWORKS User Group with a friend of mine, and the rest is history! I visit other local user groups when possible, I’m on the board at a few area colleges, and I’ve attended SOLIDWORKS World seven times now! Every year I make new friends at SOLIDWORKS World. Some of those friends I talk to on a weekly basis, even though we may be thousands of miles apart! When we meet up at SOLIDWORKS World, it’s like no time has passed and we pick up where we left off. This community is truly one that I love, and has been the very rewarding on many levels. Okay, that’s enough of that!!!
Let’s talk about Flat Bradley.
It was early on Sunday before registration at SOLIDWORKS World 2013 in Orlando and Richard Doyle spots me from across the room, and there with him is this new User Group leader attending his first SOLIDWORKS World. Richard introduces us, gives us our honorary SOLIDWORKS User Group Network ribbons, and takes our picture for this blog. Meet Brad Hakeman from South Dakota.
I remember my first SOLIDWORKS World and how much of an overload it can be, so we started to hang out and I introduced Brad to the posse – yes, that’s how we roll. Brad was a welcome addition to the gang, and this continued the following year as well. Once you’re one of us, there is no going back! This year in Dallas I knew Brad was hoping to go, but it just didn’t work out.
This got me thinking of a way that Brad could still hang out with us and follow along on Twitter. What I wanted to do was help a fellow SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader who was unable to make SOLIDWORKS World in Phoenix, and was now going to miss Dallas feel like he was with us. Flat Bradley was created, printed out, and colored in the night before I left for Dallas.
He traveled with me and the Bacon Brotherhood mojo taking pictures all along the way and posting them on Twitter so others could follow along. You could find #FlatBradley on the airplane, at registration, at breakfast, and attending special events. He even snuck into the Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert event on Monday (shh, don’t tell Mike)! Flat Bradley made the Twitter wall many times at the event, and as word got around more and more people wanted to see or have their picture taken with Flat Bradley!
This was more than just a fun thing to do for me. This community is very important to all of us, and attending SOLIDWORKS World is the final highlight of the year for many user group leaders. I wish that everyone had the opportunity to go, and when one of us can’t make it, we are all bummed out. In many ways, it is not just a community, but a family of the closest nerd friends you could ever have! Like me, Brad is a family guy, and many of our conversations revolved around that, so I wanted him there with us at SOLIDWORKS World with the user group family too. There were many adventures but it was still not the same as having full 3D Brad there. This was just one little thing to include a friend, and with the help of Ed Gebo, Casey Gorman, Nicole Walden, Todd Blacksher, Rachel York, and many more – I believe we did just that for Brad. He didn’t ask for it, but too bad, Brad! We’ll see you in Los Angeles for sure!
Thank you to everyone who followed along and helped with this adventure! Remember to go out and visit a local user group! You never know who you’ll get to meet, network with, learn from, or who may be the next member of your own posse! If you happen to see me, Brad, or any other green SOLIDWORKS User Group Leader ribbon leader in Los Angeles next year, please step up and say hello! And keep an eye out on Twitter – you never know who could be “flat” at SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2017!