SWUGN Summit – Nashville

For the first time ever, a SWUGN Summit was held in Nashville, TN today and SolidWorks users from across the region were there in record numbers. All in all, 110 users, presenters, and resellers were in attendance. This was the first SWUGN Summit that I have had the privilege to attend.  All I can say is it was an absolute BLAST! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

Swugnnashville1Swugnnashville2The event kicked off at 7:30am with breakfast.  Despite the heavy traffic, more than  half the attendees were there before breakfast began.  After a healthy mix of fruit, muffins, bagels, sweet rolls, juices, & coffee, we were all set to start the opening session.  Richard Doyle kicked off the event with a great opening presentation.  Richard talked about the successes of SWUGN in the past year and recognized the SolidWorks User Group Leaders in attendance.  A video review of SolidWorks World 2007 was shown and Swugnnashville3 Swugnnashville4 many of the attendees showed interest in going to SolidWorks World 2008 in San Diego. An outline was given showing the agenda for the day and the speakers who would be presenting were named.  Richard Doyle, Matt Lombard, Brad Williamson, Chris Sonon, Gary Hall, and yours truly would be handling the presentations for the day. Richard gave me a few minutes to speak to the crowd about out upcoming User Group meeting next month in Huntsville featuring SolidWorks CEO John McEleney.

At 8:45am the general session ended and everyone was off to the first set of breakout sessions.  The first two sessions being shown were Assemblies (Brad Williamson) and E-Drawings (Richard Doyle). The second breakout sessions followed which were Sheet Metal (Richard Doyle) and Animator (Matt Lombard).

Swugnnashville5Swugnnashville6Next up was the Lunch session which brought everyone back together in the main  ballroom. We were all served at our tables a full course lunch featuring salad, roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, and cheesecake for dessert.  Everyone was really impressed with the meal.  As we started dessert, Richard kicked off a Tips and Tricks Trivia presentation.  Everyone was handed an answer sheet and a timed trivia test was given via Swugnnashville7PowerPoint.  After all the answer sheets were turned in, Richard went through each question revealing the answers. Some of the answers were demonstrated live to the crowd in SolidWorks.  The format for this presentation was without a doubt one of the most unique ideas I’ve seen presented for users.  It was definitely a hit with the crowd!

Swugnnashville8After lunch we had three more breakout sessions.  First up was Drawings (Richard Doyle) and PDMWorks (Chris Sonon).  That session was followed by Weldments (Gary Hall) and PhotoWorks (Matt Lombard). Just before the final session, Richard announced the winners of the Trivia Contest.  The top 14 users in the contest received door prizes.  The top three finishers were:

1st Place – Byron Morgan (Hunter-Douglas) – Tupelo, MS – Prize: 3DConnexion Space Navigator

2nd Place – Bobby Weber (Digital Fusion) – Huntsville, AL – Prize: Free pass to SolidWorks World 2008

3rd Place – Michael Langley (Digital Fusion) – Huntsville, AL – Prize: SolidWorks 2007 Bible

The final breakout session followed with COSMOS (Brad Williamson) and Importing/Repairing Geometry (Ricky Jordan). I have already made my presentation available for download for those interested.  Click HERE to download it.

I can’t say enough about how great this event was.  I’ve been telling many of our NASWUG users that this event was going to be similar to one day at SolidWorks World. After experiencing it, I can’t think of a better description for it.  Events like this really show the power of the SolidWorks Community and how information sharing can benefit all users.

I’d like to thank all the SolidWorks Resellers who helped promote this event to their users.  Alacad, Concepts in Production, MLC CAD, & ModernTech Mechanical all sent out dedicated e-mails to all their customers for this event.

In closing, I’d like to thank Richard Doyle and Matt Lombard for putting together this event.  Richard to this day still has the most passion for SolidWorks of anyone I have ever met.  Richard is the User Community Coordinator for SolidWorks Corporation.  Under his guidance, SolidWorks user groups have grown to a total of 112 groups worldwide.  Matt’s presentations were not only informative, but also hilarious!  Matt has the unique ability to inject humor in many different areas during his presentation.  Most of it is completely off the cuff.  I got my first look at the Matt’s SolidWorks 2007 Bible today. This is simply the most awesome SolidWorks book I have ever seen.  I’ll be ordering my copy soon!  You can order Matt’s book directly from his website.

I’m already looking forward to the 2008 Summit.  (Should I start a countdown clock?) Check the SWUGN site for the remaining Summit dates for 2007.  If there is one coming to a city near you, register as soon as you can.  You won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned….more to come!