Nate Andrews – A SOLIDWORKS Journey

I’m pretty passionate about SOLIDWORKS Technical Support and Certifications. If you’ve ever heard me talk about SOLIDWORKS Certification and creating your ‘Wall of Awesomeness’, you have an idea. I didn’t just wake up one day and become passionate about these things; it started with an amazing mentor.  He’s been part of the SOLIDWORKS community for the past 15 years, and in that time, he’s run the SOLIDWORKS gauntlet. From using it for school projects in college, working on projects in industry, becoming an Elite Applications Engineer for two resellers, into SOLIDWORKS sales, back into industry, and now, he’s living the dream with his own consulting firm. I’m happy to introduce guest blogger, Nate Andrews, who always insisted on perfection and a smile.

Nathan Andrews - A SOLIDWORKS Journey

A little background about myself. I grew up and went to school in western NY and now live in beautiful Charleston, SC with my wife and two kids. I like history, space/astronomy, video and movie creation, Star Wars (reignited enjoyment with a young five year old), soccer and golf. I am also on the board of the local Society of Manufacturing Engineers chapter. I’ve done presentations at several SOLIDWORKS user group meetings, SOLIDWORKS World, local inventor associations, 3D printing groups, Make Spaces, SME and many others.

This is my SOLIDWORKS Journey.

 


Industry, Part 1:

After college, I was an engineer for a company that built the machines that made things! This job was fun because we designed a lot of different manufacturing equipment; think of the television show “How It’s Made”. We made the assembly line equipment. Some industries that I have done engineering work for in the past includes medical, automotive, alternative energy (solar & wind), and industrial equipment. My favorite project that I worked on was being part of the design team that made the assembly line for a blood pressure cuff manufacturer. Every time I go into a doctor’s office I still look for the blood pressure cuff to see if I may have had a part in that product being there.

SOLIDWORKS allowed us to create all the tooling necessary to have a family of common parts for these machines.

Nathan Andrews - CuffsSOLIDWORKS Resellers:

When I moved to my first SOLIDWORKS reseller I thought I knew how to use the software to its fullest extent… and boy was I wrong. I’m estimating that I knew about 15% of the software, since that’s all I used on a daily basis in industry. After all the additional training and learning of the software over eight years, I may know about 85% of the software now. That’s after achieving the “lifetime achievement award” for Application Engineers- becoming an Elite Application Engineer! The software is so vast and expanding that I don’t think anyone can know it all. After a few years, I started training our newer employees and this is where I met Rachel, who was my young Padawan.

A picture of the Elite Application Engineer award (it’s not easy getting a good photo of angled glass):

Nathan Andrews Elite Application EngineerMy favorite part of working as an application engineer with the SOLIDWORKS resellers was in interacting with our customers in training classes. I loved to see the growth in a person’s understanding of a concept with the software throughout the class. I also started to learn more about the software from my students, as well as started to get favorite features in the software. I never thought I’d utter the words “my favorite fillet is the full round fillet”. During a class, students would always ask me if the software can do something, so I would build in time at the end of the class to tackle all of the strange requests. One of my favorite requests was to make an old school phone cord:

Nathan Andrews Phone Cord ModelThe method is to use the sweep command with a twist.

I then moved on from the Application Engineer position into a sales role selling the software. My transition over was fairly easy in the sense that I already knew more about the software than most others. My boss at the time would say that I am the most over qualified person to sell the software. My favorite part of this role was, by far, the ability to go on plant tours with all of my customers and potential customers! After all, I’m a nerdy engineer at heart that just wants to see how something is made! Below are some pictures of some of the tours I’ve been on:

Nathan Andrews Customer 2Nathan Andrews Customer 1Getting into sales was a transition, however. I had to get used to not being the “expert” with the software and letting my Application Engineer do their job.

Industry, Part 2:

After working for almost eight years with two SOLIDWORKS resellers, I decided it was time to get back into an engineering role. I took a role with a company that manufactures very large rotary dryers for the biomass industry. This got me into managing a team of designers & engineers, as well as implementing a strategy to bring the company out of the 2D world and into the 3D world. This strategy includes tying our engineering data to marketing, sales manufacturing and the end customer. I’ve also been working on an automation portion to this strategy, utilizing EPDM and eventually DriveWorks.

Here are some pictures of the work we do (it’s Large!):

Nathan Andrews Rotary Dryer 1 Nathan Andrews Rotary Dryer 2 Nathan Andrews Rotary Dryer 3Coastal Design & Engineering:

There aren’t many companies that take advantage of the full suite of SOLIDWORKS products. The reason why I worked with SOLIDWORKS all these years was because their products were easier to use, and they all worked in concert with one another. My firm will do most design tasks, but my goal is to empower my customers to utilize the entire suite of SOLIDWORKS products in order for them to realize the full potential of the software. This includes creating 3D data (SOLIDWORKS), utilizing that data in marketing and sales (SOLIDWORKS Visualization, PhotoView 360, SOLIDWORKS Composer) and other downstream applications. I’ve also been a very lazy designer over the years, so I hate doing repetitive tasks. Utilizing Design Tables, Configuration Publisher, as well as higher end automation tools such as DriveWorks is something my firm does for our customers. We will also tackle those pesky FEA tasks.

The reason I decided to take a risk going out on my own is so that I can live the American dream working for myself! I’m still new in this game, but I have taken on some cool projects. The coolest one is by taking waste heat and converting that into electricity through some proprietary methods. Dare I say that I am starting to change the world?!? Visit us at www.cdengineering.org.

As always, thanks for reading! If you or someone you know has an awesome SOLIDWORKS story to share, email me at SOLIDWORKS.Social@3DS.com and let’s get started!

Rachel Diane York

Rachel Diane York

Community and User Advocacy Manager at SOLIDWORKS
I was the founding member of the Tech Valley SOLIDWORKS User Group and a huge fan of our fantastic Community. I've taught and provided technical support for SOLIDWORKS as well as presented at many user group events. In my spare time I enjoy: billiards, reading, and playing video games. Please feel free to reach out!
Rachel Diane York
Rachel Diane York