AUGI/ AEC EDGE Spring 2009 : Page 37

AUGI local chapters had a “Show and Tell” as well as a “Q&A” session. WATG pro- vided the venue as well as food and drink. Jim and WATG were very early adopters as they were part of the “alpha” evaluation group of firms that were approached by RTC, these early previews were simply called “pre-release version X”. From all accounts, Jim is early adopter #4. The group decided to meet quarterly. The av- erage attendance was around 35 people for the first few meetings. A couple years later at the en- couragement of the membership, Chuck Keeley (the Building Ter- ritory Manager for Autodesk) and Autodesk the group started meeting monthly. AutoDesk! In February of 2002 Autodesk and RTC announced a slight change in plans, Autodesk intended to purchase RTC! The sale was in the spring of 2002. With Autodesk came some changes to the group, namely in the form of more support. The group found sales staff and local resellers were willing to help offset the cost for food and beverages as well as Autodesk sending various staff to present at meetings when they were already in the region for other reasons. The group had previously enjoyed visits from some of the RTC staff but the frequency of these visits increased a bit as well as how much could be shared with the attendees. speCiAl Guests A little name dropping, the group got to meet Leonid Raiz and Irwin Jungreis who together founded RTC. David Conant, who is the first person hired by RTC with a professional architec- tural background which makes him around employee #3, visited the group at various times both before and after the Autodesk purchase. The group also met Marty Rozmanith (original Prod- uct Manager), Matt Jezyk (current Product Designer) and Dave Lamont (CEO of RTC). ApRil Fools 2004 One meeting (April 1, 2004) in particular holds a special place in Jim’s memory. At the time I had recently joined WATG my- self and Jim was planning the next meeting and discussing the agenda. He had just been given permission to show the soon to be available release 7.0 and he mention to me that it would be inter- esting to compare release 1.0 with 7.0. At some point during the discussion it changed from comparing them to using 1.0 as an im- poster for 7.0. Jim couldn’t resist and took it to another level. He contacted Steve Burri, the product support manager at the time, and asked him if he could provide a fake but convincing looking Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that Jim could ask the meet- ing attendees to sign. There was also an accompanying cover letter explaining the importance of the secrecy and how Autodesk had reduced the executable and file sizes by using “stack-bit data pack- ing”. This gave a certain legitimacy to the charade. As the meeting began Jim made a big deal out of the NDA signing process, even saying that anyone who wasn’t willing to sign would spring_2009 ...augi and the revit users in southern california certainly appreciate their dedication... have to wait outside until we were done with the presentation, everyone signed. He started to demo release 1.0 claiming it to be 7.0. Keep in mind that this group now had some very experienced Revit users, one who shall remain nameless who actually used release 1.0 too, and they were all lured in although some were a bit confused, including the local territory sales manager from Autodesk. Sadly Jim couldn’t keep the charade going very long because he was trying so hard not to laugh. When he saw that even Chuck Keeley seemed to buy it he gave in and told ev- eryone the truth after just a few minutes but every person was fooled or at least a bit confused, Mission Accomplished! FAvoRite MeMoRies While preparing this article I happened to speak with Chuck Keeley and he shared a couple of his fond memories with me. “For me one of the most memorable things Jim ever did at one meet- ing was when a newbie asked how easy it was to learn Revit and Jim asked him, “Have you ever seen Revit or used it before?” He answered no. Jim asked him to “take the wheel” and sit behind the laptop. He asked him to draw a wall without offering any help. He did it. Then Jim asked him to put a door in the wall. He figured it out.” And one more. “I met an architect named Donald Sutherland when he walked into a SCRUG meeting for the first time at WATG. I asked him if he was a Revit user. He said he just bought it a few months earlier. I asked him how it was going so far and he said he had finished 6 small projects and finished construction documents already. (Donald informed us since that these six projects consisted of a 24,000 SF commercial building, a 4,000 SF medical tenant improvement and four (4) 2,500 SF cottage type houses including some custom families) I was shocked. He said the projects were small projects, but I was still taken back by how fast someone could use Revit productively. I then asked him where he was trained. He said he trained himself with the tutorials and with the AUGI support groups. That just proved to me that Revit was intuitive and that smart dedicated people could learn it on their own.” pAssinG the toRCh In 2005 Jim decided it was time, after five (5) years, to pass the leadership of the group on to someone else. The group held an election in May 2005 and there was a tie between Jay Holland and Miguel Cuevas so they both agreed to share the responsibility to run the group. Jay and Miguel have both worked for a number of area firms that have been using Revit for many years now. Jay recently started his own consulting firm called BIM Mentors. Today the group meets at the offices of LPA, Inc. in Irvine, CA. They still meet on the third Thursday of nearly every month. We say nearly every month because occasionally they cancel a meet- ing around holidays, otherwise they meet very regularly. They now have between 30 and 100 people at the meetings these days, 37 department

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