Letter from the President - 2011 December

Seasons greetings, AUGI Member!

Yet again, due to the timing of AUGI HotNews, I am on a plane when I finally have time to pen the monthly Letter from the President. This time I am returning from Autodesk University 2011, held in Las Vegas (again). This year included a few new items of note along with the standard fare of events and classes.

It all began Monday afternoon with the AU Freshman Orientation. This new event was attended by about a thousand "freshman" to Autodesk University. I joined a number of other Autodesk presenters providing insight on the event and sharing tips and tricks on what to expect and how to get the most from the event. It was short and sweet and actually quite entertaining.

I am a firm believer that volunteers within the organization are the heart and soul of AUGI. As such I try my best to make sure they feel appreciated when possible. Therefore, we began AU2011 with the 2nd Annual AUGI Volunteer Breakfast on Tuesday morning. During this get together I was able to thank them personally and then distribute a few tokens of appreciation. We also covered some new things going on during AU and answered any questions related to the event as a whole.

Then later around noon on Tuesday we held another meal event for AUGI Moderators. It is no surprise that the AUGI Forums are a prime reason we have this wonderful organization. This is the first time we ever gathered our admins and mods together for some back-slapping and planning for the new year. We are working hard to keep the forums lively and functional and as professional as possible. These volunteers are key to that effort. In general, you don't notice them, which is the goal. But in 2012 we will be making a few changes to the Forums, adding better structure and better aligning products within industries.

Afterwards the Exhibition opened to the International Community Reception. This is the first chance I had to check out the 200+ exhibitors and see the AUGI booth as well. This year we created something new, the AUGI Theatre, where we had Autodesk and other vendors present brief, 25-minute talks about their products and services. From what I saw it was a good success and we expect to repeat that in the future. Also in the AUGI booth was the 2011 Top DAUG contest, except this year we expanded to test on AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor, 3ds Max, and all three Revit products! Hundreds of attendees competed and the top winner was announced on Thursday.

Then on Wednesday morning we held another meal for volunteers—this time for the Board of Directors and our 2012-2014 Board Candidates. Often, members stand for election to the board without really knowing what it is like. This shared meal included background information on the organization and board structure as well as real discussions of the board. As far as I know we didn't scare anyone away, so it must have been well received!

Around noon the exhibit hall opened again and, once again, the AUGI booth got very busy. Also new this year: AUGIWORLD on paper! We distributed copies of a Special Edition, "The Best of the Best," for 2011 to AU attendees. This collection of great articles from 2011 really show off our publication, as we work to return to print media in 2012. But don't worry, you can also read the AU2011 Special Edition via PDF and digital edition on

That afternoon the main event happened—the 2011 AUGI Annual General Meeting! As always, we ran down various AUGI activities for 2011 and discussed plans for the future. We thanked a few key AUGI partners and unveiled a new Awesome AUGI Award. The award is an annual pass to AU in honor of recently deceased awesome AUGI member(s). In this inaugural year, the Awesome AUGI Award is in honor of Dennis Jeffrey and Scott Womack. The winner was Scott Brown, a great AUGI contributor and fitting recipient of the award. The award winner will be determined annually, based on a random work day and the highest number of posts on that day.

We then unveiled the AUGI 2011 Top Ten Wish List. As in recent years, we handed over to Autodesk the final list as voted on by the AUGI membership (more than 10,000 voted) for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, and Revit Structure. Autodesk actually received the top 30 wishes for each product, so look for the lists online to see what to expect in the near future!

At the end of the Annual Meeting we passed out our AU2011 Beer Bust mugs, made possible by Autodesk's PSEB division (AutoCAD)—a huge "thank you" to them for their support! This was followed by the exhibition hall party, the AUGI Beer Bust,  and more theatre presentations, Top DAUG  testing, and attendee networking. I also was invited to participate in an Autodesk AutoCAD Facecast (live video presentation via Facebook). It was enjoyable, but I have not yet seen it (gulp).

The final day of the event calmed down quite a bit with more classes going on. I did have a meeting with Autodesk about 2008 and older AU class content. AUGI will soon be hosting all AU content older than 3 years! Some of us are not able to upgrade each and every year, so this will provide access to some still great content for free. It will be restricted to "logged in" status, so make sure your login is up to date!

Then around noon on Thursday, after the AUGI Tweetup,  we awarded the AUGI 2011 Top DAUG winner. Seven different products were involved in the testing, so we based the winner on the one with the best score and fastest time.  All winners received a $100 Amazon gift card provided by Rory Vance of KnowledgeSmart (the Top DAUG test provider). Brian Hailey was the overall winner; he won a free pass to AU2012 and an HP laptop provided by Tom Salomone of Hewlett Packard.

We then closed and packed up the booth and prepared for the AU Mixer, the final event. Imagine a hall with more than 8,000 old and new friends, filled with food, drink, and music. It was great to have one more chance to network and say goodbye to 2011 in proper fashion. Those who attended AU know how rewarding it can be. At all levels you will get something out of it and leave exhausted and reinvigorated as well. But AU is just one week per year. What can you do for the other 51 weeks? No worries, has you covered. Get online and stay involved. Until next time...

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