Welcome to the first in this new series of interviews of Interesting People of CAD (IPoC).
First up, Heidi Hewett. Heidi has a long CAD history and is well known for being outstandingly good at her job. She made big news recently by shifting camps from Autodesk to Bricsys. Here is the second part of Heidi’s interview.
Steve: Did you have much involvement with AUGI?
Heidi: I haven’t had a lot of involvement with AUGI aside from presenting at CAD Camps they hosted almost a decade ago. I thought they were great events and was sorry to see them fade away.
Steve: What do you think the benefits have been for Autodesk in helping to support AUGI over the years?
Heidi: While I haven’t had a lot of experience working with AUGI, I think any opportunity a company has to get closer to their customers is worth pursuing.
Steve: How much presenting did you do at events like AU and others? Did you enjoy that?
Heidi: During the first half of my career at Autodesk I did a lot presenting at AU, CAD Camps and many other events. My kids were young then. As they got older, I didn’t want to miss all the big things in their lives. So, while I was always willing to travel to events, I didn’t seek them out. Instead, I did more webcasts and limited most of my travel to train-the-trainer events. I especially enjoyed the train-the-trainer events because I felt like I was sharing my knowledge globally without spending all my time on airplanes. Instead, I traveled to a few Autodesk sites in Europe or Asia to train a group of employees and partners from various countries in that region. Then, they would take what they learned, and the materials I provided, back to their countries where they could present it to customers in their local languages.
Steve: You and Lynn Allen worked closely together for many years, right?
Heidi: Yes, I met Lynn soon after she started at Autodesk. She was in the Training department and I wanted to join their team. That’s where we first worked together and became friends almost a quarter of a century ago. I think she’ll back me up when I say we were both 5 years old at the time!
Since then our paths have crossed many times. Each year when I was ready to present the newest AutoCAD functionality, first to employees, I reached out to Lynn so that I could schedule my training session around her busy travel schedule. And, as she was traveling the world, receiving more presentation requests than she could schedule, she referred the AutoCAD ones she couldn’t cover to me. On more than one occasion I’d be at some international event and a customer would bring Lynn’s Tips and Tricks book to me for an autograph, thinking I was her. Or they’d insist that they met me at that same event several years before even though I’d never been there before. Being mistaken as Lynn Allen is certainly flattering!
Steve: It’s kind of bizarre that such a successful team was thought to be no longer required. Do you have any idea what was behind that?
Heidi: I don’t have any insight on the thinking behind it. But, I try to believe things happen for a reason. I wasn’t sure what that reason was, until now… and I’m thrilled!
Steve: You’ve now joined Autodesk competitor Bricsys, which is something of a coup for them. Who contacted you initially? Was it Erik [De Keyser, Bricsys CEO]?
Heidi: Ironically, the first contact I had about Bricsys was from Lynn Allen. Not because she was working for them. But because Vince Aman (formerly from Autodesk, now working for Bricsys) had been trying to reach me through LinkedIn. I was attending a real estate class at the time, in preparation for what I thought was my next career. I received a text from Lynn telling me to check my LinkedIn messages. After speaking to Vince, briefly, I reached out to Don Strimbu, VP of Communications at Bricsys. I’ve known Don since my first years at Autodesk and wanted to hear about his experience at Bricsys.