Designed in SOLIDWORKS. Manufactured in Nebraska.

Lincoln SOLIDWORKS Users Group meeting at TCA

The SOLIDWORKS community is stronger than ever in Nebraska!  What is the SOLIDWORKS community?  It is united group made up of our commercial customers, resellers, educators, students, partners, employees, and user group leaders that are all a part of this amazing design and manufacturing network.

I spent two days in Nebraska under the guidance of user group leaders Todd  Blacksher, Chris Wurtele & Kyle Kraudy.  Manufacturing is happening everywhere I went in Nebraska.  Thanks to my new Fitbit, I walked  20,853 steps, climbed 37 flights of stairs and shared with this community first hand – everything SOLIDWORKS.

John and Chris at RDTool

My first stop was Chris Wurtele’s company RD Tool & Engineering.  Chris is a design engineer, John is co-owner and they introduced me to complex injection molding that I had never seen before.  SOLIDWORKS is more than the design software.  It is used to explore new processes for RD Tool’s customers.

Trevor at RD Tool
Chris introduced me to his young colleague, Trevor.  I was happy to see a Skills USA national final’s t-shirt and find out that Trevor learned SOLIDWORKS in school.

Metro Community College SolidWorks visit

My next stop was Metro Community College, Fort Omaha Campus.  This visit felt very familiar because I taught at Mass Bay Community College for 10 years.  SOLIDWORKS and 3D Printing were totally integrated into the curriculum.

Metro Wildcats Vex Robot in SOLIDWORKS

Kyle Kraudy, Omaha User Group leader and director of engineering for Conductix Wampler, joined us at Millard West High School.  We spoke with students from the Robotics AP class as they prepare for VEX Robotics and Skills USA competitions.  I shared how the VEX Robot components were designed originally in SOLIDWORKS and can be found on – time saver.

Marie and Josh at Alignex Omaha Office

The strength of our community comes from the support of our VARs.  I visited Josh & Matt from Alignex in their new Omaha office and training facility – just beautiful.

Conductix Wampfler

My next tour was of Conductix -Wampler.  If a machine, vehicle, or any device is driven by an electronic cable, it probably has been designed and manufactured by Conductix. The outside custom test facility was every engineers’ dream workshop.  One of SOLIDWORKS main goals is to prepare engineering students for our commercial customers. Conductix held a SOLIDWORKS design skills – speed competition at University of Nebraska and SAE BAJA Team Captain Eric won – spending an internship at Conductix.

The League of Legos at SolidWorks Users Group Omaha

Conductix was host of the Omaha User Group meeting Monday night that featured First Robotics local LEGO team, the League of Legos.  Five girls presented to the SOLIDWORKS Omaha community on their design, community outreach and programming operation of the robot.

Anna Larson Scan MRI

I was fortunate to talk with many commercial users here utilizing SOLIDWORKS to explore innovative products from the food we get from ConAgra to speaking with Engineer Anna Larson from ScanMed working on new MRI coil products.  Wow that was day 1 in Nebraska – Todd drove me to Lincoln.

Tour of Duncan Aviation

Day 2 started in Lincoln with user group leader Todd and a tour of Duncan Aviation with host engineering director, Joep.  I walked through large airplane hangers to see the most amazing custom designed aircraft interiors.  We toured the shops each with master craftsmen – top in their field and the largest painting bays I had ever seen.  I talked with long time SOLIDWORKS user Tigh who proudly displayed his CSWP certificate from 10 years ago.  Fortunately, Todd gave me many more stories for he had worked for Duncan Aviation.

CSWA Southeast Community College

The next stop was Southeast Community College in Lincoln.   I talked with William Gans-King that proudly showed me his CSWA certificate – he carried it in his back pack.  What a great achievement.    At both user group meetings, I met students that graduated from SCC and learned SOLIDWORKS. They have a great 3DPrinting lab too.

The Career Academy 3D Content Central

Next door to SCC was The Career Academy that just opened this August.  The Career Academy is a skills based, life long learning, education for  junior and senior high school students that split their day between a comprehensive high school and technical job training.   I got to see how models from 3DContentCentral were 3DPrinted. We visited the machine shop and the welding bays that were filled with new machines from Haas and Lincoln Electric.

Todd pointing out Metal and Art in Lincoln

Next is lunch! Todd gave me a quick tour of Lincoln that was filled with machined art from the company,  Metal and Art, from decorative waste containers, to sheet metal movie figures outside the theater, to metal leaves that seemed to float in the air.  Manufacturing was front and center Lincoln.

Liana in Innovation Center

Our quick stop at Misty’s showed me University of Nebraska football was celebrated everywhere – our next stop was their new Innovation Campus and Studio, a maker space for both the artist and the engineer. Liana proudly showed us this great space in the final phases of construction.   I had to stop by and check out the SawStop – on of my favorite machines designed in SOLIDWORKS.

U Nebraska FSAE BAJA Teams

A trip to Lincoln Nebraska would not be complete with out visiting the University of Nebraska’s FSAE and BAJA teams.  Todd and I got to speak with Sam, Eric and Charles.  I was able to talk with Eric about interning at Conductix and later Eric would join us at the SOLIDWORKS Users Group meeting.   What amazing vehicles!  This team is host to Formula Lincoln and Formula Electric in June.

One more stop before the Users Group.  This time Todd took me to his company, but it was more than just one customer.  The location had many building that comprised more manufacturing in Nebraska that featured,,, and

FANUC robot at TMCO

I was fortunate to see it all from powder coating to tank welding.  Ok – I admit the Fanuc robots caused me to stop and watch their dance.  Todd took me into the labs of National.  I have great appreciation for the machines that engineers design to test our corn and wheat.  I will never look at a loaf of bread the same again.


The last stop was back to The Career Academy for the Lincoln Users Group and caught up with Chris again.  Rapid and Aerotek were the sponsors and members from the local Society of Manufacturing engineers also attended. The crowd swelled, I stopped counting after 70 people and just had fun talking and watch our users playing with robots and eating pizza and speaking about SOLIDWORKS!.  Todd, Chris and Kyle, thank you for a wonderful trip and the ability to share with the Nebraska SOLIDWORKS community.  Marie



Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard