“I have learned that we never stop learning. There is always something we can learn from others, especially if we open our ears and actually listen to what others have to say.” Rodney Hall, Augusta, GA SOLIDWORKS User Group leader.
This week we have been speaking with Rodney Hall from Evans, Georgia who runs the Augusta, GA SOLIDWORKS User Group, also known as AASWUG.
Rodney started his career as a CNC machinist programming G-Code to fabricate precision prototype sheet-metal parts. “I actually enjoyed drafting on a board and mastered 2D CAD programs early in my career, but knew the future of CAD would be in 3D. Along came SOLIDWORKS and I set out to convert the world to 3D CAD.”
Rodney first started learning SOLIDWORKS in 1997 and now works as a CAD administrator for a large nuclear energy project where he supports the engineering department and trains CAD users. He also teaches SOLIDWORKS at his local community college and local manufacturing plant, in his words he is “passionate gear head who gets to play with SOLIDWORKS to earn a living.”
When asked who Rodney’s idol was in the industry and why, Rodney replied: “Richard Doyle, he paved the way with SWUGN that makes what we do as User Group Leaders so much easier and enjoyable.”
In his spare time, Rodney will mostly be found with his 1967 Chevelle; “I love old muscle cars and drag racing. I have a 1967 Chevelle that I have owned since high school. I restored it in 2005 with a 750+hp Big Block and 5-Speed. I love taking it to local car shows and talking with others about their own cars.” So, unsurprisingly, when asked what would Rodney do if he weren’t in the engineering industry he would be building or restoring old muscle cars. He also enjoys playing the guitar, kayaking and maintaining his well-manicured lawn.
We were curious to know Rodney’s opinion on why people should attend a SOLIDWORKS User Group Meeting; “Even if you don’t use SOLIDWORKS, users groups are a great place to plug in and network with others to expand your knowledge, opportunities and career contacts.”
The AASWUG members are passionate and always want to learn more about SOLIDWORKS and see what others are working on. “Our user group meets in Augusta, GA. Our users are passionate and always want to learn SOLIDWORKS better and see what projects others are using the software for.”
Rodney chose to lead the group in 2005 after meeting with Richard Doyle at a regional summit in Charlotte, NC. “I attended a regional summit in Charlotte, NC back in 2005 where I met Richard Doyle. I asked him when a group would be started in my town, then in classic Richard style, he inspired me to be “The One” who would start that group.” And he has been leading groups since, in 2009 Rodney passed the Hickory, NC (HSWUG) over to Scott Furr after a change in job and moved to lead the AASWUG, where the average attendance is between 18-28.
The best user group meeting that Rodney attended wasn’t his own; “It was not my own meeting… I once drove 5 hours to attend an SWUG meeting in Tennessee where a SOLIDWORKS executive showed up and we talked until the early morning hours.”
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.