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2017

I love all of our SOLIDWORKS User Groups, but the Central Texas SOLIDWORKS User Group holds a special place in my heart.  In September of 1999, I stood in front of a room full of SOLIDWORKS users and welcomed them to the first SOLIDWORKS user group in Texas.

 

We had some laughs last night talking about when the group was formed.  When I said "in 1999" it didn't sound that long ago, but when someone said "that was 18 years ago" we all felt a little old.

 

Four short years later, I once again stood in front of the group to announce that I was stepping down as group leader because I had a job offer that precluded me from running the group any longer.  Unfortunately, the person I handed things off to ran into family and work issues, and the group was in danger of folding.

 

Then came Bill Casnovsky.  Bill stepped up to fill in "for a while" I think were his words, and brought the group back to life in 2006.

 

"For a while" lasted longer than I'm sure Bill thought it would.  He was still there in 2009 when we celebrated the groups 10 year anniversary.  He was still there when Greg Jankowski came to visit in 2010, he was still there when Wayne Tiffany made his last user group tour, and he was still there last night as he announced his retirement as president of the group.  In fact, the only meeting Bill ever missed as group leader came a few years ago when he got temporarily lost at sea.

 

I can't find the words to say how grateful I am that Bill spent 11 years taking good care of my baby.  Thank you for everything Bill!

 

Not surprisingly, Bill had one more brilliant idea for the group - naming Steve Calvert as his successor.  Steve stepped up a few years ago and assumed the roles of group VP and food chairman (a very important position), giving Bill some help that he had never had.  Steve is a regular (and highly regarded) contributor to the SOLIDWORKS forums, and I'm confident that he will not only keep the group going, he will improve upon all of the work that Bill put into the group.  Congratulations Steve on a well-deserved "promotion".

 

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SOLIDWORKS User Group meetings are typically all about SOLIDWORKS (and related products), but some SOLIDWORKS User Groups offer their members a once-per-year "special" meeting.  There's still plenty of SOLIDWORKS learning, but the rest of the evening (or afternoon) is dedicated to food, fun, and making friends.

 

I attended two special meetings in July, the annual "Summer Baseball Meeting" in Chattanooga, and the annual "Dave & Buster's" meeting in Panama City Beach.  Both events were very well attended, there were great technical presentations (Phil Sluder was the featured presenter in PCB), and everyone really looked like they were enjoying themselves.  I had a great time, and want to thank Nicole Walden and Kendra Wardlow for setting up the meetings and inviting me to attend.

 

If your SOLIDWORKS User Group hasn't considered a yearly "special meeting", make the suggestion at the next meeting and have a discussion about what that might be - a baseball game, a BBQ, or even an amusement park or arcade. Who knows, your members might be as happy as the folks in this picture.

 

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