Celebrating 400 Issues of the CAD Manager's Newsletter: An Interview with Robert Green

27 Feb, 2018 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager Column: Marking a major editorial milestone, Cadalyst editors interview the author for a behind-the-scenes look at the newsletter and how CAD management has evolved over the decades.


Editor’s note: Cadalyst is thrilled to be celebrating 400 issues of Robert Green’s CAD Manager’s Newsletter! This installment marks 15 years of newsletter success, thanks to Green’s practical, approachable, invaluable advice and the readers who follow him loyally.

We are incredibly grateful to have Green on the Cadalyst team. Thank you, Robert, for your devotion to Cadalyst and for the excellent content you’ve delivered year in and year out. We know readers would agree: CAD management wouldn’t be the same without you!

(If you haven’t already done so, check out Green’s mini-autobiography here.)

To mark this special occasion, we turned the tables and interviewed the author himself. We hope you enjoy this “behind the scenes” insight from Green as much as we did. Here goes!

Cyrena Respini-Irwin, editor in chief
Nancy Johnson, content director
Seth Nichols, publisher

Cadalyst: What do you hope to achieve by writing about CAD management?

Robert Green: I want to address the topics that confused me in my own CAD management job many years ago. I want to convey that CAD management success requires both technical and managerial prowess. I don’t have all the answers, but I always hope to motivate, inspire, and provide useful ideas that help others become more effective CAD managers.

Over the years, you’ve authored a variety of CAD management-related content. What was the impetus for launching the CAD Manager’s Newsletter in particular?

One big factor was that the e-mail newsletter format allowed for a more immediate response to industry trends than the traditional print magazine, which required two months of lead time. The newsletter also allowed for more interaction — twice per month — than a monthly magazine. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and it has endured.

Do you have a favorite CAD management–related topic?

Standards, hands down. Standards are relevant to everything a CAD manager does, from problem identification all the way through implementation and training. And, selfishly, if you don’t standardize operations, you’ll just spend all day fighting fires.

As is typically the case, Robert Green (kneeling at center) draws a full house to his CAD management presentation, this one at Synergis University 2014 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

How can CAD managers use your writing to best improve themselves?

I’d say to honestly assess where you have a skills weakness, then read through the relevant materials to beef up proficiency. Think of your CAD management skill set as a chain and focus on the weakest link. Keep doing this and you’ll find success coming your way.

During your career, what’s changed about CAD management and what hasn’t?

Well, almost everything about the software, hardware, networks, and information distribution methodologies has changed. When I started as a CAD manager, CAD tools ran on MS-DOS or on a proprietary UNIX workstation of some sort, networks were largely Novell servers, and interoffice e-mail was brand new. If an individual had e-mail — which was unusual — it was typically via the CompuServe Information Service, which was popular at the time for hosting online “bulletin boards,” including most software support forums. Contrast that reality with today’s graphical Windows/iOS operating systems, massive high-bandwidth networks, and universally available Internet support resources — well, you get the picture.

What hasn’t changed is the human condition. Getting people to learn new things, abandon bad habits, follow procedures, and stay on schedule can be as difficult today as ever. I’m fond of saying that CAD management often isn’t so much a technology problem as a psychology problem, and that certainly hasn’t changed.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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