“Because I am a part of the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network, I have met many wonderful people and have made many lasting relationships. Having a product like SOLIDWORKS makes running a User Group extremely easy because people enjoy using the program and want to learn more.”
Betty Baker lives in Arcadia, Wisconsin where she’s the La Crosse, Eau Claire, Winona Area (LEWA) User Group Leader. The LEWA group was founded in 2002 and originally Betty was the secretary then in 2004, she took over leadership of the group and still runs it today! “We hold our meetings in Arcadia, WI because that is centrally located. Most people have to drive an hour or more to get to our meetings. “
So, what has Betty learned from her user group? “There is something to be gained at every meeting. I have learned that we each have a lot of the same questions. We can all learn something from each other no matter how long we have used SOLIDWORKS. There are many different ways to get the same results and it is always interesting to learn how someone else is doing it. Living in Western WI, we don’t have a lot of opportunity to share information with other SOLIDWORKS users other than the user group. Working in Arcadia, WI, the next closest company that uses the software is at least 30 minutes away. “
In addition to being the LEWASWUGN leader, Betty is also a Domestic Case Goods Product Engineer at Ashley Furniture and she’s been there for 32 years! Not only is she the only female engineer at the company, but she was also the only woman in her graduating class in school. Although she does work in a predominately male industry, Betty doesn’t believe being part of the minority gender affects her work or user group experience; “Most of the time I am thought of as ‘one of the guys’. Living in a rural area, I am also typically the only female at most of our meetings. It can be a struggle to be taken seriously and thought of as an Engineer but it motivates me more and makes me strive harder to succeed.”
Lastly, we asked Betty why everyone should get involved with a local user group; “people should attend a SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting whenever it is possible because it is a great way to network with other users and gain valuable knowledge for free. It is the perfect opportunity to learn from the SOLIDWORKS experts and other users.”
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.