I had the pleasure of participating in the DFWBIUG (Dalllas – Fort Worth BIM Infrastructure User Group) CAD Training Days on Jan 19th in Irving, TX. For those of you who haven’t been to a user group meeting for a while you should know that user groups are alive and well, because of people like Tony Carcamo. I first got involved with DFWBIUG last summer when Tony put together a similar event. At that time, he was a one-man show, doing all of the legwork to round up sponsors, set up the venue, recruit speakers, market the event, and countless other tasks. For the event on Jan 19th, he solicited the help of his friend Kevin Mattice, who he refers to as the Marketing Manager for DFWBIUG. Kevin was there packing gift bags and answering attendee questions at the front of the NYLO hotel while Tony was running around making sure everyone had what they needed (like a projector cable for me – forgot my DisplayPort to HDMI adapter). In addition, Kevin also provided support by creating the event flyer, networking with his customers about this event, and collaborating with Tony on how to make this event a great experience for the attendees and sponsors.
When Tony stopped to take a breath I asked him several questions about the event, mostly around what it takes to put something like this together. “I’ve been putting 6 hours a day into making calls, lining up speakers, working on the class schedule, lining up sponsors, whatever it takes. I have to front a good bit of the money so I hope my sponsors pull through. I wanted this to be a free event for everyone” he shared. Surprised and frankly amazed by the amount of effort and personal risk he was willing to put into this, I had to ask…”Why?” He looked at me a bit puzzled and then I explained “Why do you do this? All the work, the money…why?” He told me “I like having the chance to meet and talk with people who do what I do.” I think there’s more to it than that, but Tony’s modesty was getting in the way. My suspicion is that Tony is generous by nature and knows that all of the folks there really enjoyed and valued the chance to learn, network, and share info about something they’re all passionate about: civil engineering, design, and technology – and he wanted to be the one to provide that for them. Later that day, Lynn Allen, Tony, and myself were talking and Lynn had the exact same question for him: “Why?”. Tony’s unique dedication to his community obviously really stands out and people notice.
After being inspired by Tony’s work ethic and generosity I was proud to know that Autodesk was supporting Tony and his efforts in multiple ways. As a Gold Sponsor we were able to help him out on the financial side, but we also showed our support in person. Along with myself, James Wedding and Ramesh Sridharan were there representing Autodesk and teaching classes. And last, but certainly not least, the illustrious Lynn Allen was also there sharing her AutoCAD tips and tricks that Autodesk users have come to adore. Autodesk partners also turned out in full force, offering up their expertise to teach classes and answer questions in the hallways of the NYLO. It really was an all-star line-up of experts and trainers and the attendees got the benefit of some great training and insight.
I’m a big fan of music, specifically rock music, and more specifically the band Rush. One of the things I love about Rush is their humility, and countless times I’ve heard different members in the band give all the credit to their fans – along the lines of “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our fans, we owe it all to them.” I feel the same way about Autodesk and it’s users. We can put out the greatest technology in the world but if our customers don’t use it, love it, and build a community around it, Autodesk ceases to exist. We get this, and that’s why we’re willing to support user group events like this one in any way we can. But yet again, we have to give credit to one of our users. Without folks like Tony, there would be nothing to support. So hats off to Tony and Kevin and people like them (we know who you are) who organize and run user group meetings and events, large and small. We know it’s a thankless job but keep doing what you’re doing – it makes a difference. And to those of you who attend those events, be sure to thank folks like Tony – you have no idea what they’ve gone through to put the event together. Or better yet, thank them in a way that will really make them smile – offer to help out with the next event. In fact, Tony and Kevin are already planning a big summer event so if you live in the DFW area, maybe you should give them call.