SolidWorks World 2011 – A Look Back

Don’t be alarmed, you didn’t miss anything . . . I said that a lot happened in between SWW09 and SWW11, and I wasn’t kidding.

To keep it brief . . .

I was still with the VAR during SolidWorks World 2010 in Anaheim, and I was incredibly busy – so busy that I was unable to attend the conference!  During the conference I was onsite with one of my favorite customers, getting them up and running on Enterprise PDM.  I would check the twitter feed every so often to see what I was missing, but I was so busy with the implementation that the week just flew by.

As we neared the end of 2010, I was presented with an incredible opportunity to get back into manufacturing.  After a LOT of thought, I made the tough decision to leave the VAR, and get back into “the real world.”

Now that I have left the VAR, how did I manage to get to SolidWorks World 2011?

Well, it was nearing the end of the early registration for SolidWorks World, and SolidWorks had a contest to decide who had the best excuse for not registering early.  I had just started with a new company, and I didn’t think the timing was right to ask if they would send me to a conference, so I put something together . . . I submitted it . . . and somehow I ended up winning the contest!

SWW11 – Contest

I think that this was the big turning point, SolidWorks World started to become a really, really big deal for me, and it all started in San Antonio . . .

I am not sure if it was Matthew West that put together the contest, but he was the one that contacted me to let me know that I had won.  To say that I was extremely stoked is a huge understatement – In my email to him, I expressed my excitement and anticipation, not just because I was going to be able to attend SolidWorks World, but the conference kicked off on the day of our FIFTH wedding anniversary.  When Matthew heard the story about how Jade and I were married at SolidWorks World in Las Vegas in 2006, he said “I’ve got to tell some people about this!”

On to SolidWorks World 2011!


(As a side note, I actually started this blog shortly after returning from SolidWorks 2011, so some of this is recapping what was already said in some of my first posts – check out some of them for the “full story.”)

There was so much leading up to the conference that it almost overshadowed what actually happened at the conference . . . Which I didn’t think was even possible.

First of all, I was back to being a regular “Attendee” and not a Reseller, which meant I had a new company name on my badge –


My new employer just happened to have some of the most incredible laser cutting and engraving equipment, so I thought that it would be cool to create something that I could hand out that would separate me from the crowd, and the SWW “keys” were born!


People seemed to really like the idea of a bottle opener/key-chain/business card.  It was such a hit that I have continued to make unique “keys” for SolidWorks World each year.

Matthew (West) had contacted me prior to the conference, and said that they wanted to do something special for us during the General Session one morning.  We were given instructions on where to go to get in early, and told that there were seats waiting for us –

Rock Star Seating

Yes, my wife and I were seated right next to former CEO Jeff Ray for the General Session on Monday.  The new CEO, Bertrand Sicot, was making announcements, when all of the sudden he started talking about us, and several pictures from our wedding appeared on the screens behind him!

Announcement Backdrop

You can view the video clip from the General Session here:  SWW11 – 5th Anniversary

The Keynote Speakers were Gene Krantz and Jim Lovell from the Apollo missions – Many people still say that this was one of their favorite presentations from ANY SolidWorks World conference!  The surprise guest was Kevin Bacon, and I believe his band played at the VAR dinner on Wednesday night. (I was never known for my timing – missed out on an iPod at SWW08 by working for a VAR, missed out on the band by leaving the VAR.)

It was announced that SolidWorks World 2012 would be back in San Diego!  We really loved visiting San Diego in 2008, so we already knew that we would want to go back!

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