The SOLIDWORKS User Group Network (SWUGN) has a long and vibrant history of empowering people who use SOLIDWORKS products to collaborate with, learn from, and teach others.
SWUGN is run by the users for the users, and over the years there have been many individuals who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the growth and success of the network. Recognizing and honoring those individuals during the annual SWUGN Summit Choice Awards at 3DEXPERIENCE World has been a tradition.
The winners of this year’s awards had a significant impact on moving the network forward in spite of a very challenging year. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to celebrate in person with the winners. Instead, we hosted a virtual event with a packed agenda and had a blast with over 100 User Group Leaders from around the globe.
So who are the winners of the 2020 SWUGN Choice Award?
The Wayne Tiffany User Group Leader of the Year award is given to someone who went above and beyond to support the growth and development of the User Group Network. The 2020 recipient was David Antanavige, Leader of the NY/Penn SOLIDWORKS User Group. David was an integral part of a group of individuals that held user group meetings over 19 consecutive weeks in 2020. He is an extremely passionate User Group Leader and did a lot of work to keep the community connected and growing during a very difficult year. Without SWUGN leaders like David, the SOLIDWORKS community would not be what it is today. David is also a very active SWUGN committee member who helps set goals and guidelines for the SWUGN community as whole.
The Meetup of the Year award was created to recognize a user group event that occurs outside the norms of a typical user group meeting. There were many awesome virtual user group events in 2020 but one, in particular, stood out – with the award going to SLUGME-5 (SOLIDWORKS Largest User Group Meeting Ever). With participation from over 100 User Groups, SLUGME-5 was a huge success – and in a virtual format, lasted 4 hours with engaged SOLIDWORKS users. Congratulations to the awesome user group leaders on the SLUGM-5 team: Eric Beatty, Ed Eaton, and Kam Smith – and their fantastic live-event support team: Todd Blacksher, Mark Schneider, Dan Herzberg and Toby Schnaars.
The User Group of the Year award is given to a specific group that clearly displayed a passion for building a strong user group for their members. The 2020 winner was the Pittsburgh SOLIDWORKS User Group, lead by Jeff Beardsley and Josh Updyke. This group was selected because Jeff and Josh revitalized it in the middle of the pandemic. They also supported David Antanavige’s continuous string of weekly meetings in the Northeast region. The SOLIDWORKS community is fortunate to have groups like the Pittsburgh one with leaders who are so committed to the success of SWUGN and the value it brings to all users.
The Michelle Pillers Community Award is given to a member of the user group community who embodies the enthusiasm that we all have for SOLIDWORKS Products and the User Group Community. This award was especially important in 2020 when we all needed a bit more enthusiasm and positive energy. This year’s recipient was Joe Lance, the leader of the Houston SOLIDWORKS User Group. Joe is a constant source of positive energy and support for SWUGN. He’s always willing to help other user group leaders, their members and anyone in the SOLIDWORKS community. Joe is seen in this photo below getting the crowd hyped up at 3DEXPERIENCE World in Nashville last year.
SWUGN is fortunate to have the support of many sponsors. They provide technical presentations for user group meetings, online videos & blogs, SWAG items for giveaways, and much more. The 2020 SWUGN Partner of the Year Award goes to a Partner that supported the growth and development of the SWUGN Community in a year where we needed support, more than ever. This year’s award went to Driveworks. Heather Hasz and Bridie Mills are front and center at every major SWUGN event and promote SWUGN every chance they get. As a SWUGN partner, their commitment to bring value and support the growth of the network is amazing and we can’t thank them enough for their help!
The SWUGN Reseller of the Year award is presented to a Value Added Reseller (VAR) that provides exemplary support to the User Group community. The SWUGN community and all SOLIDWORKS users everywhere are thankful for the skilled technical teams and supportive account managers at their local resellers. It is certainly difficult to select just one, but in 2020, one reseller was nominated more than all the others. The 2020 Reseller of the Year award was given to Computer Aided Technology Inc. (CATI). At the SWUGN summit, we were joined by Esteban Gaytan and Chris Snider. Congratulations CATI!
Lastly, an award was given to recognize an Application Engineer who works for one of the SOLIDWORKS Resellers and goes above and beyond to support SWUGN. The recipient of this year’s award was Alin Vargatu from Javelin Technologies. Alin has been a longtime supporter of the SWUGN community and in 2020 shared some awesome technical tips in the many virtual user group meetings he participated in. The network is grateful to have support from Application Engineer’s like Alin and we encourage all User Group Leaders to form strong relationships with the talented folks at their local resellers.
Congratulations and thank you to all the winners. You have helped strengthen the SOLIDWORKS User Group Network – bringing value to all in the user community.
You can visit SWUGN.org to join a user group, attend a meeting, request to become a User Group Leader. In the coming week, we will also release a new “SWUGN Hall of Fame” page where the winners of the SWUGN choice awards are promoted. Here you can also find Michelle Pillers’ and Wayne Tiffany’s biography. Both Michelle and Wayne were wonderful people that had a significant impact on evolving SWUGN into the incredible network that it is today.