MCAD Tech News (#238)

16 Apr, 2008

Promoting Education, Part 1: Autodeskp>

Like many CAD companies, Autodesk stands behind education, offering a variety of programs and products for future engineers.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photoI've been a proponent of technical education -- math, science, and technology -- for a long time. So much so, in fact, that I became a volunteer tutor/mentor at the local high school in the rural town where I live. The job has proved to be challenging on one hand, but extremely rewarding on the other. We've all heard how the United States lags behind other nations, such as China and India, in math, engineering, and other technical pursuits, and it feels good to do my small part to reverse the trend -- and watch eyes light up and light bulbs go off in the process.

In the meantime, I've also become increasingly interested in what the MCAD community is doing to support educational institutions. As it turns out, it's quite a lot, and I'm very encouraged to see this commitment to the future of our industry. To give you an idea of what's happening, I plan to contact several CAD companies to better understand their perspectives and plans related to education. I kick off this series with Autodesk, which offers a variety of programs that aim to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, while at the same time building a potential future customer base.

To get Autodesk's perspective on STEM education, I spoke with Paul Mailhot, senior director of worldwide education programs. In the approximately two years that Mailhot has been in this position, he has done some very good work building the content and direction of Autodesk's education programs and products, and that's where we began our discussion. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


Can CAD Market Grow in Economic Downturn?

By Kenneth Wong

The dreaded R word is making a comeback. Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke conceded, "Recession is possible." While acknowledging it, he hastened to add, "A recession is a technical term defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research" ("Bernanke Says Recession Possible," April 2, 2008, Associated Press). For manufacturers and construction firms, the term is not just a metaphysical designation. They feel the pinch in weakening orders and rising prices of raw materials ("Manufacturing, Construction Weaken," April 1, 2008, Associated Press).

So how are the IT managers and CAD managers bracing for the inevitable economic slump? Some think loosening the purse strings for well-timed training and well-placed technology might help tighten their companies' operating margins. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Product Innovation Executive Summit
May 1-2, 2008
San Francisco, California
The conference focuses on two major challenges that companies face: identifying an innovative product that will compel buyers to spend money on it and turning that concept into a commercially viable product. Sponsored by Aberdeen. Read more »

Lean Design: CPDA Expert Panel Discussion
May 22, 2008
2 p.m. EDT
Learn more about addressing manufacturing variation up front. A group of experts will show how you can drive Six Sigma quality for your products right from the start of the design process. Read more »

International DFMA Forum
June 10-11, 2008
Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island
Boothroyd Dewhurst will host the 23rd Annual International Forum on Design for Manufacture and Assembly, titled "DFMA Today: Leading the Way to Results." Papers offered this year cover topics such as lean accounting, rapid manufacture, DFMA and PLM, and "win-win" supply-chain negotiations. Read more »

August 25-27, 2008
San Jose, California
Sponsored by NVIDIA, this event will bring together engineers, designers, developers, researchers, artists, gamers, film makers, business professionals, and consumers as a gathering point to share, learn, and create for this important industry, which is redefining all aspects of visual computing. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on