What Do Night Sky Photography, Dancing, Cycling and 3DEXPERIENCE World Have in Common?

Who is excited for 3DEXPERIENCE® World? This year’s annual user event starts soon and is taking place in the “home of Country music,” Nashville, Tenn., February 12-15.

In last week’s blog I introduced you to some of my friends on the SOLIDWORKS® portfolio management team who will lead sessions at World. This week, I’ve got another round of presenters for you to meet and sessions to consider. You know in case you still haven’t picked out your sessions.

Read on to get a sneak peek of their sessions and some fun facts about the presenters. This team is as passionate about bringing SOLIDWORKS products to market as they are about their hobbies, which include night sky photography, and dancing and cycling.

Meet Priyanka Kanherkar, Product Portfolio Manager

Priyanka joined SOLIDWORKS in January of 2022 and is a product manager that works on Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKSand other cloud solutions.

She has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and more than five years of professional experience working in the design and data management domain. “I have been using SOLIDWORKS for five years now and absolutely love the tool,” said Priyanka.

Priyanka is originally from Mumbai, India and is currently based in Boston. When she is not working, she enjoys cooking a variety of cuisines, along with photographing food. She is also a trained Indian classical dancer.

Priyanka recently discovered a newfound love for winter hikes and night sky photography. “During the summer I enjoy hiking and camping with my hubby and during the winters I thoroughly enjoy night sky photography, especially when the northern lights are at its peak. We even consider ourselves aurora chasers.”

When asked about one of the best aspects of her job, Priyanka shared it’s that SOLIDWORKS makes its software available to kids, inspiring them to learn and create. “I was proud to learn that a 10-year-old got certified in SOLIDWORKS.”

Priyanka Kanherkar on one of her winter hikes. Fun fact: She may look shy, but watch out, she’s competitive and when asked one thing her peers may not know about her, she said, “Many, but let’s just say that I am a super fun person even though I do not come across as such at the workplace and that I love timing myself for any task I do.”


You can catch Priyanka in many presentations at World including, “Tips and Tricks: Connecting SOLIDWORKS to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform” on Tuesday.

This session will include a product briefing and best practices on Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS and how to leverage the collaboration and data management functionality of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Learn how multiple designers can collaborate, design on SOLIDWORKS, share ideas, and manage their projects and data on a single platform.

Her other sessions include the following:

Collaborate With Browser-Based Roles and SOLIDWORKS to Boost Productivity (Monday)

Tips and Tricks to Manage Your Data on the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform (Monday)

5 Best Practices to Accelerate Design Collaboration (Wednesday)

Top 10 Capabilities While Connecting Your Data to 3DEXPERIENCE Platform (Wednesday)

Meet Salih (Sal) Alani, Senior Product Portfolio Manager

Sal joined SOLIDWORKS in 2013 and currently focuses on 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, browser-based roles and collaboration on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. He has experience with SOLIDWORKS and DraftSight desktop solutions, licensing, and more.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Technology in Iraq, where he’s from and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston. He is currently based in the Boston area.

Sal is fluent in Arabic and he’s a fast talker. He and his wife just welcomed a new baby into their family. Congratulations! He is on paternity leave when this blog is being written, but maybe we can get a picture of Sal and his family from his vacation at Disney last year in a follow up blog.

Word is Sal likes to dance so maybe you’ll find Sal tearing it up in Nashville on the dancefloor. Surely you can find him in one of his sessions like “Beyond CAD for Design Acceleration,” taking place on Monday of the event. In this session attendees will learn how to use 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS to manage designs and collaborate on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

He is also presenting the following sessions:

Let’s Explore 3D Structure Creator (Monday)

Single Platform to Power Up Teams’ Collaboration (Tuesday)

5 Best Practices to Accelerate Design Collaboration (Wednesday)

Salih Alani suited up. Fun fact: Before joining SOLIDWORKS in 2013 Sal worked as an Arabic Linguist in Iraq offering English/Arabic interpretation and translation for the US Army.


Meet Eric Leafquist, Senior Product Portfolio Manager

Eric joined the SOLIDWORKS team in 2000 and currently works on the cloud-connected role, Electrical Schematic Designer. Eric has worked in a plethora of other areas at SOLIDWORKS, including education, routing, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) and more. In addition, he’s been involved in evaluations and trials of SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Works solutions. Prior to joining SOLIDWORKS, he spent 19 years in the chemical process industry.

Eric has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration in general management. He is originally from the Boston area and currently resides in southwest Florida. When asked where he is from, he humorously answered in a Boston accent, “I used to park my car next to Harvard…” like Matt Damon in the movie Good Will Hunting. Eric no longer has the Boston accent as he said he lost it over the years.

When Eric is not working, he enjoys cycling and raising money for cancer research. He has raised more than $1.7 million for The Erica Leafquist Fund, a fund he created at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, which focuses on helping raise money for research and new treatments for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.).

In 2012 when SOLIDWORKS turned 20 he was featured in a YouTube video with long-time employees and when asked what the best part about his job was, he said, “seeing what the customers do is the best thing about working at SOLIDWORKS. The emotional paycheck is really what is exciting.” Fast forward to 2023 and it’s still the best thing about working for the company, according to Eric.

You can see what else he had to say in this YouTube video, including how SOLIDWORKS has evolved. To get his views on SOLIDWORKS now you can ask him at one of his sessions at 3DEXPERIENCE World. Eric will be leading a session on Tuesday called “Single Line Diagrams for Mechanical Engineers.” This session will cover how to use single line diagrams for electrical system design leveraging Electrical Schematic Designer on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Eric Leafquist has been with SOLIDWORKS for more than 20 years. Fun fact: When Eric is not working, he spends much of his time raising money for cancer research, and cycling.


You don’t want to miss these great topics and interesting people. It’s almost time to pack your bags for Nashville. We look forward to seeing you there!

There’s still time to sign up or add sessions. Visit www.3dexperienceworld.com.

To learn about the amazing line up of guest speakers for the general sessions check out this blog: https://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworksblog/2023/01/what-to-expect-at-general-sessions-this-year-at-3dexperience-world-2023.html.



Mariana St. Germain

Mariana is passionate about helping businesses and business professionals to leverage the power of technology to bring their dreams to life. In her current role, she is responsible for go-to-market strategy at SOLIDWORKS. Her past contributions include technology marketing at companies like Intuit, Constant Contact, and LogMeIn. Outside of work, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and two daughters, practicing yoga, and being active outdoors.