Today’s post comes from a guest blogger friend of mine who does a fantastic job of introducing himself. I’ll let Dave jump right in! Enjoy!
Husband, Mechanical Engineer, User Group Leader, Brewery Ambassador, Live Music Junkie, Get Glass hopeful. My name is David Antanavige. When I’m not having a crazy time with my wife Steph seeing our favorite Talking Heads cover band in NYC, I’m a Mechanical Engineer for ULC Robotics in Hauppauge, NY, and the current Leader of the Long Island SOLIDWORKS User Group (LISWUG). With LISWUG, I’m trying to earn my first piece of Glass! What? Glass? Let me start at the beginning…
I began my journey in the SOLIDWORKS Community in 2010 while living in Albany, NY. I didn’t know a lot of engineering professionals and, at that time, had few connections to industry in the area. I did receive a few email announcements from the Tech Valley SOLIDWORKS User Group, but I never attended a meeting. Not long after I became aware of the group, I received a phone call from someone named Rachel Diane York. Rachel found my information through the SOLIDWORKS Certification listings, and she literally cold called me one day and asked, “Hey, I see you have your SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal Specialist Certification, would you be interested in presenting for the Tech Valley SOLIDWORKS User Group (TVSWUG)?” and I simply said “Sure.” I had no idea how that one little syllable would change my life.
Initially, I hoped to network with some engineers in my region and maybe find a user or two to collaborate with. I hoped to learn more about SOLIDWORKS. Within 6 months, I had 300 engineers from my region in my contact list. Within a year, I became a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional, and I was trying to find my way to SOLIDWORKS World. Needless to say, I was hooked. Rachel and all the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network (SWUGN) community members were extremely supportive and welcoming. I found myself becoming more and more involved with the user group and when the time came, I stepped in to lead the TVSWUG as Rachel joined a local SOLIDWORKS reseller. This change came not long after she had won User Group Leader of the Year at SOLIDWORKS World. The following year, another SWUGN member I know, Matt Rohr, won User Group of the Year for his excellent efforts with the New York City Group (SWUGNYC). The award is beautiful etched glass, so the joke between us is that “they got their glass.”
Not long after Matt and Rachel were recognized, the three of us happened to attend the same user group meeting where Matt introduced his group as the Group of the Year, Rachel as a former Group Leader of the Year, and finally introduced me as follows: “Hey, everyone. This is Dave. He hasn’t actually won an award for this yet, but he does lead a group. So Dave, when are you going to get your award?” Challenge accepted. Time to Get Glass!
From here, I kicked it into overdrive. I got myself to SOLIDWORKS World for the first time in 2014, where I achieved the only Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert exam at the event. I began presenting for other user groups in my region. In 2014, I also: relocated and began a new job, successfully groomed a new leader for the TVSWUG, and started my own previously mentioned group, LISWUG. During this transition, the TVSWUG was chosen to host one of the SOLIDWORKS Technical Summits of 2015. My new group started off with a bang, bringing in 50 and 60+ attendees at great locations like Leviton Manufacturing. In 2016, I went back to SOLIDWORKS World for the second time and presented two technical sessions. Just this month, my group has begun new partnerships with local FIRST Robotics teams. I’m getting tons of support from my Regional Representatives and fellow SWUGN Leaders (although some of that support comes in the form of always inspiring trash talk…).
All of this has led to many amazing experiences! Things are moving fast! We will have SOLIDWORKS executives leading a discussion at our next LISWUG meeting. I have: presented for over 150 people, received an unsolicited hug from Grace Potter, met fellow bacon brother SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi, been inside the MasterCam offices, and had some really great nights with my fellow SWUG Leaders at SOLIDWORKS World.
This year I’m going to do my best to Get Glass but, even if I don’t, I will continue learning and striving for excellence with my local group. The SWUGN should absolutely be a part of any SOLIDWORKS Users life. I encourage you to get involved! Meetings are not only informative and great networking opportunities, they’re fun and the food is good (at least at my meeting – come visit us in Long Island). And for you fellow SWUG leaders, I challenge you to help us all be our best throughout the year by joining the fun on social media by using #GetGlass. Share your thoughts, ideas, highs, lows, etc., with a fun-loving, world changing, inspiring community of SOLIDWORKS nerds. Good luck, and let the trash talk commence!
As always, thanks for reading! Please check out our 2015 SOLIDWORKS User Group Network Award winners and offer your congratulations (and give Dave a hard time throughout the year)!