14 Questions with Autodesk’s Brian Haines

April 18th, 2012

What is your role at Autodesk®, Brian?

I’m an Industry Marketing Manager in the AEC Group.  Specifically, I work on the Building side of the group.  I’m tasked with overseeing Marketing Programs related to helping our customers understand the value of the Building Design Suite as it relates to the Autodesk portfolio. 

How long have you been with Autodesk and doing this? Any other roles?

I’ve been with Autodesk for (almost) seven years.  In the past, I was both a Product and a Technical Marketing Manager for FM Desktop.  After that I worked in Product Marketing for Autodesk Quantity TakeOff and later the Product Marketing Manager for the Autodesk structural engineering portfolio including Revit Structure, AutoCAD Structural Detailing, and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis. 

Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be doing what you do now.

I have a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Arizona. I went to work for an architecture firm in Portsmouth, NH, which was funding an Internet start-up in the project collaboration space.  I was their first employee!  They hired me out of college because I had a background in information systems as it related to managing large portfolios of property and I was a CAD manager for the University of Arizona.  Given that opportunity, I went immediately into the software side of the industry.  After eight years at the firm, I was hired by Autodesk in 2005. 

What does a typical day look like at your desk?

Typical?  Ha – I suppose atypical could be construed as typical, right?  We all work on multiple projects.  Given the global focus of my work, the day can start with a conversation with the Sales/ Marketing team in Germany, progress to include catching-up on launch deliverables, and finish with a coordination call between our East and West Coast teams.  It varies…a lot. The majority of our communication is done via phone and net meetings so I make a point to split time in the Manchester, NH and Waltham, MA offices.  When I’m not in the home offices, I try to find opportunities to go on the road which can help me to maintain relationships with customers, channel partners, and other Autodesk colleagues at
events like Autodesk University.

What kind of challenges do you and those you work with face? 

Some of the challenges are making sure that our customers clearly understand the value of what we provide.  The need for a broader set of software tools increases as our customers and their workflows get more sophisticated and the need for collaboration increases.  We need to make sure they understand the value of the entire Autodesk portfolio of products (not just one product).  At Autodesk we take a lot of pride in speaking directly to our customers and understanding their unique industry needs and then providing the best solution we can provide for them.

How many coworkers are on your team and how do you share the work? 

There are seven people on our team.  There are three Technical Marketing and four Industry Marketing Managers.  The work is divided by Industries: Architecture, MEP Engineering, and Structural Engineering. 

Do you or your team get involved in planning for future releases of the software?

As part of the Marketing team, I’m less involved in scoping features for future releases and more involved on the Autodesk go-to market plan for Architecture and Engineering in the Building space.  From a very early stage, we begin working with product management as well as sales and field marketing teams to help deliver our products to existing customers and new prospects.

Do you get to do any planning for Autodesk University or other events?

Oh, yes.  Prior to AU, I’m one of the course reviewers/selectors for the Building Track.  At AU, I work to support customers who have speaking engagements during the week.  These days, those opportunities focus around areas such as Building Information Modeling, Sustainability, and customers who have adopted the Autodesk Building Design Suite.    

Do you check out the activity of other forums like ours at AUGI? How much time do you get to do external research apart from responding to users directly?

Yes, on different levels.  Our social monitoring tools deliver news from the AUGI forums on a periodic basis.  The AUGI forums are a tremendous store of information and always provide useful insights into our customers trending topics.  I also maintain a close relationship with several AUGI volunteers.  I often speak with them to validate a line of thinking or gain perspective. 

Up until recently, you blogged for BIM & Beam, the Autodesk blog geared towards the Structural Engineering industry.  How did you get started?

At that point in time, the blog had several authors who were writing about product tips and tricks.  We realized that the there was a demand for Autodesk news as it related to  Structural Engineers.  I started writing about the various news, trends, and events that were available to our audience and, thankfully, they embraced it!  As any blogger will tell you, it’s a surprisingly rewarding activity.  I always appreciated a reader who took the time to add a comment to my posts.  Many Autodesk customers don’t get direct access to Autodesk, so I also enjoyed the opportunity to speak with them.

What sort of things do you do for distraction, hobbies, travel?

I am an avid bicyclist.  I like to bike as much as I can.  Currently, the largest hobby/distraction in my life is the MBA that I’m pursuing at the University of New Hampshire.  It cuts into my cycling time more than I care to admit.  We’ve had a very mild winter in New England so I was fortunate on New Year’s Day—I did an 18-mile ride on the sea coast of New Hampshire with a handful of other cycling ‘enthusiasts.’  When it does get too cold outside, I usually head indoors for the training bike.  My 16-year-old son is a competitive  swimmer and we spend a lot of time travelling to attend his meets.

What was the last book you read?

Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam by Stephen W. Sears.  I used to live in the vicinity of Washington County, Maryland.  The Civil War era and history has captivated me for as long as I can remember. 

If money were no issue, where would you go on vacation?

I really want to visit New Zealand because of the landscapes (and "Lord of the Rings").  My next sabbatical is in a year and half.  We’re making plans for New Zealand now!

What would we be most surprised to know about you? 

My  hair, mustache, and goatee are misleading.  Even though I might not look like it, I’m a veteran.  I spent eight years in the military and am very proud of that service.

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