The Early Years: Connecting the Dots (2006)
AUGI started off the 2006 calendar year with a facelift of sorts. Gone were the stylistic globe logos of old. Replacing the globe was the new AUGI chat bubbles logo. Representing an ongoing conversation among multiple parties, the new logo and the stylistic header were the first phase of a re-skinning effort that swept the website and ended in the forums. Leading the forum reorganization was newly appointed Forum Manager, Mike Perry. Mike spent countless hours reorganizing the forums to bring them closer in alignment with Autodesk products.
The result of the forum reorganization and increased exposure due to opening the site to visitors was evidenced by the following increases in participation realized during 2006. Web traffic continued to increase at a rapid pace with 44 percent more forum participants supporting a 15 percent increase in overall forum posts. The end result of connecting those dots meant that our members could search and navigate the forums easier than ever before.
AUGI programs were also enhanced with much focus on events and training. The AUGI Training Program, ATP, saw a 76 percent increase in the number of classes held when compared with 2005. But the increasing number of classes wasn't the only story. Attendance also increased by more than 220 percent over 2005 levels with the average class size increasing to average 235 students per class. A new class type called "Fast Track" introduced a single-week class to the ATP program. These new highly focused classes were an instant hit. To put it in the words of ATP program manager Eric Wing, "One topic, one week, one happy camper!"
The AUGI CAD Camp program was expanded to 30 events in 2006, surpassing the original target of 28. Now in its third year, the AUGI CAD Camp program looked across the pond and went international in mid-summer by holding the first ever international event in Guildford, UK. Before returning home, the AUGI CAD Camp team visited Denmark and Hawaii, holding events there as well. By year's end, more than 4,700 participants had the pleasure of experiencing an AUGI CAD Camp.
Continuing to connect the dots in the international arena, AUGI worked on integrating our first AUGI Country Chapter, AUGIjp, whose board of directors was introduced to the membership at Autodesk University 2005 in Orlando, Florida. Rounding out this busy year were the AUGI programs at Autodesk University 2006. AUGI introduced a new event to the AU 2006 attendees, the First Annual AUGI Local Chapter Leadership Conference. This half-day conference was organized to provide better support for local user groups worldwide. More than 50 user group leaders from around the world were present on the day before AU began to receive the newly updated Local Chapter Handbook and attend a series of classes on supporting member organizations. This event, the first of its kind, would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our volunteer Local Chapter Manager, Bill Adams.
Other achievements in 2006 include:
- AUGI President, Richard Binning, continued the international exposure of AUGI by speaking at National Building Designers Conference in Adelaide, SA in March 2006.
- The Architectural Desktop/Building Systems Community was launched, led by Steve Bennett.
- A new tool, the AUGI Toolbar, was released from beta to provide constant connectivity to the AUGI site from the Web browser. It was later expanded from IE to include Firefox.
- The Inventor Wish List was born to increase our support of manufacturing industry members.
- AUGIWorld was delivered in print to more than 8,000 subscription members in the Asian Pacific region through a grant provided by Autodesk.
- AUGI HotNews launched the Archive to enable members to review past editions of the monthly newsletter.
- At Autodesk University, AUGI held its first "Past Presidents" luncheon as way to recognize former leaders of AUGI and continue to benefit from their sage advice.
- More than 27,000 people joined AUGI in 2006 pushing our membership numbers to more than 116,000 by the end of December 2006.
AUGI can count many successes in 2006 to be sure, and many of those successes were based on the able execution of our management services provider. Unfortunately, AUGI has been made increasingly aware of difficulties in areas which are not visible to the members. Difficulty in the delivery of programs by our management services provider has started to become a pattern. The board has seen, with increasing frequency, a pattern emerge that ties programs, projects, and resources directly to funding streams without regard for Board directives, long term feasibility, or membership needs.