CADDManager on February 4th, 2015


Recently, the publishers of Cadalyst Magazine interviewed me for their CADSpeed blog as part of their “Expert Interview” series.  The interview included a quick review of CAD Manager duties, the impact of the “maker” movement, qualities of a good CAD Manager and more.

You can read the interview on their blog at  “Expert Interview with Mark Kiker of CADD Manager on Best Practices For Cad Managers”.

While you are on their blog, check out the other interviews on PLM, Innovation, and Seeing the Big Picture.  The list goes on and on.

CADDManager on January 27th, 2015

At the request of Melanie Perry and the AutoCAD Blogger Council… here is my day.  hashtag #CADdork

Started off with a bang – or maybe a whimper. My laptop has been dogging it for some time and I cannot figure out what the issue is. It is running slow and apps are hanging. It is really annoying. It culminated today in a browser failure or two. Firefox tanked. IE locked. I was getting blank white screen on Google. Nothing. But Chrome worked. Maybe Google had finally taken over the world, but I could find nothing about that in a Google News search :(

I have been cleaning and searching for what is causing it for some time. CCleaner, Malwarebytes, uninstalls and more (no luck). Since I recently installed AutoCAD 2015 (went very smooth), I even uninstalled A360, Autodesk Application Manager and ReCap. (They were not the problem though). Still having hangups. Outlook locks, browsers freeze. It happens about 15 minutes after I log in… so I disabled my cloud backup tool that is supposed to only use CPU idle time. We shall see what happens.

On to a meeting to discuss deployment of software tools that are not related to CAD. So not much detail here other than to say that time spent in prep and planning is never wasted time.

On to another meeting that seemed to be focused on planning for a future meeting :) Here are the takeaways I saw from this meeting:

1. Not everyone is on the same page, even if they think they are
2. Defining terms is critical
3. Unified vision is so valuable

After that meeting I went to another meeting. My days are not usually filled with non-stop meeting. This was a unique day.  Anyway, this meeting was to discuss Google Apps and Google Drive and how we might embrace them for project workflow.

Not that much of a CAD Day… but that is what today entailed.

Finally, I sat down to go through email, journal my day and then think about this post.

Today was unique in the number of meetings but not unique in the interactions I have with people.  I as a manager and leader, must interact with others, clarify direction, define tasks, get things moving, and keep the focus where it is needed.


CADDManager on December 18th, 2014

AutoCAD 2015 System Requirements for 32-bit Workstations
(as shown on Autodesk website – more here)

Description Requirement
Operating system
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Pro
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise
Browser Internet Explorer® 9.0 or later
Processor Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon Dual Core, 3.0 GHz or Higher with SSE2 technology
Memory 2 GB RAM (3 GB Recommended)
Display resolution 1024 x 768 (1600 x 1050 or higher recommended) with True Color
Disk space Installation 6.0 GB
Pointing device MS-Mouse compliant
Media Download and Installation from DVD
.NET framework .NET Framework Version 4.5
Additional requirements for large datasets, point clouds, and 3D modeling Intel Pentium 4 processor or AMD Athlon, 3.0 GHz or greater or Intel or AMD Dual Core processor, 2.0 GHz or greater3 GB RAM6 GB free hard disk available not including installation requirements1280 x 1024 True color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Pixel Shader 3.0 or greater, Direct3D®capable workstation class graphics card.Note: 64-bit operating systems are recommended if you are working with large datasets, point clouds and 3D modeling – please refer to the AutoCAD 2015 64-bit System Requirements for more information.


AutoCAD 2015 System Requirements for 64-bit workstations

(as shown on Autodesk website – more here)

Description Requirement
Operating system
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Pro
  • Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise
Browser Internet Explorer® 9.0 or later
Processor AMD Athlon 64 with SSE2 technology AMD Opteron™ with SSE2 technology Intel Xeon® with Intel EM64T support and SSE2Intel Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support and SSE2 technology
Memory 2 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
Display resolution 1024 x 768 (1600 x 1050 or higher recommended) with True Color
Disk Space Installation 6.0 GB
Pointing Device MS-Mouse compliant
Media Download and Installation from DVD
.NET Framework .NET Framework Version 4.5
Additional requirements for 3D Modeling 8 GB RAM or more6 GB free hard disk available not including installation requirements1280 x 1024 True Color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Pixel Shader 3.0 or greater, Direct3D® capable workstation class graphics card.
CADDManager on December 15th, 2014

Wow – Ten years ago today, after coming home from Autodesk University 2004, I joined the blogosphere.  Here is my first post:

First Post

That first post was not much to look at, but now that I am approaching 1000 posts, it has been a great time.  I appreciate all of you that have read my blog, AUGI World articles (about 40 or so) and AUGI Hot News (from 2005 to 2013).  I hope that you were enriched.

Over the years I have had 2.7 million page views.  Memorable posts, to me at least, were the third post I ever made announcing my excitement about being elected to the AUGI Board of Directors.  Others that have been about New software, leadership topics, characteristics of a CAD Manager, the launch of and many more.

My first tech post was on VISRETAIN and my first Revit post was on where to find the Shortcuts file.

On May 9 2008 I posted my first Tweet. 1500 or more tweets later I am still posting away (10% of what Shaan Hurley has – lol)

First Tweet

A lot has happened in the past 10 years. I have served on the AUGI Board for 6 years, been president of AUGI for 2.5 years, served as the AUGI Executive Director.  I have also transitioned into four new jobs, spoken at AU 2004 thru 2014 (actually started with AU in 1996).

Through all of this, I maintain that CAD and now BIM Managers are misunderstood and under-appreciated.  They maintain a professional demeanor, even when not thought of as professionals.  They expand the embrace of design tools even when others are happy with the status quo.  They have superior technology skills combined with management prowess and increasing leadership responsibilities.  They are a much needed technical resource for any firm.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have.


CADDManager on December 4th, 2014

The Final Day started with my final presentation on blending the technical, managerial and leadership skills into your unique working efforts.  Here is a short portion of the presentation:


  • Avoid the draw of Tactical thinking
  • Learn all you can about Leadership


  • Avoid the draw of vision casting only
  • Stay connected
  • Learn all you can about Management


  • Learn everything you can about every area of your firm – even the ones that you do not oversee or interact with
  • Keep your tech skills current

After class was over, I attended the AU Veterans Lunch where Lynn Allen led a survey of questions with live audience interaction striving to make AU better next year.  Some of the items discussed were the dissatisfaction with all meals being held in the Exhibit Hall, class length and quality, and many more.

Top DAUG winners were announced!


I attended Jerry Milana and Fred (Tiny) Babin class on Networking Autodesk Product A to Z – network licensing.  They only gave them an hour for what could have been two hours of great content.  So much to take in and so little time.  This class needs to be expanded/extended/doubled.

The Closing Keynote was a combination of supersonic cars, 3D printing in space and zero gravity fitness equipment.  While some may have thought it was a snoozer… they then brought out the Hover Board – yes are real working hover skateboard like in Back to the Future.  It really worked and the technology might be used in future based isolated building in earthquake areas.


After the close – it was off to the Party at the Palms.  What an extravaganza.

As I look back on this event, I take away new connections, new perspectives and increased expectations for the future.  Tap into learning where you can get it.  Read as much as you can.  Strive for improvement every day.  Until next year… adios Vegas.


CADDManager on December 3rd, 2014

I started my day presenting my class. “The Greatest Lessons I’ve Ever Learned”.  Here is a snippet.

In order to learn (A Lesson or anything), you have to listen well.  To do that you need to keep these things in mind.

  • Don’t judge people as you listen
  • Don’t draw conclusions until the person is done talking
  • Don’t interrupt (my trouble spot)
  • Do organize and repeat what you have heard… “So you are saying that…”
  • Do listen for ideas and concepts and even hidden messages/signals
  • When learning a lesson from another persons story, apply it to yourself and other situations

After class it was on to a presentation on Student Educational partnerships that Autodesk is setting up.  They are not only providing FREE SOFTWARE to students and educators, but are working toward project based learning tools.  They are also connecting via support and funding to organizations that provide learning opportunities for students.

(Some of the partners)

Dan Banach, Lynn Austin and John Helfen of Autodesk lead a panel presentation with two such options.

Project Lead The Way is one.  Andrea Croslyn discussed how her organization worked with students to nurture STEM learning.  They also provide Certiport discounts.

F1 in Schools – Nelson Vale presented on how students in Portugal  joined the competition and after competing for three year took top honors.

It was encouraging the hear that Autodesk has the right thinking… it does not stop once the software is provided. They create partnership for project learning.

After that, another trip to the Exhibit hall and on the way I past the Student 3D Printing area where students were invited in to design and 3D Print their designs.


I also noticed the area where Autodesk employees dressed in lab coats were interacting and survey users to gather data on improving the products.  One person (shown below) was being tested on where he looked and clicked on a web page.  By tracking his actions they can tell if the page is effective in leading a person to specific actions.


The AUGI Annual meeting was prior to the Exhibit Hall opening in the evening.  They presented member benefits, financials and the results of the Wish List (complete with a Genie from a lamp).  Fun meeting and it was standing room only.


On to the AUGI Reception (Beer Bust) and Top DAUG competitions.  Another great day in the books.




CADDManager on December 2nd, 2014

The arena was packed.  Wall to wall people.  Everyone rushing around trying to find a seat.

Embedded image permalink

Lynn Allen opened the keynote followed by a Back to the Future skit and 20 gun t-shirt launcher that shot shirts across the entire arena.

Jeff Kowalski, CTO at Autodesk, discussed how nature produces design.  He says that we need to stop thinking of our computers as drawing tools, start thinking of them as design tool.  He went on to say that today computers are able to design in ways that humans cannot.  Generative design allows us to define the outcome and let the computer generate the design.


Designers need to ask… How could generative design help solve your problems? Could you actually add “life” to it? or “What if your competitors introduce a product that has life in it?


Carl Bass came on stage to rousing applause.  In his usual casual manner, he started discussing how interactions with computers and design have changed.  We use to interact with computers using just a keyboard and mouse.  We now use point clouds.  He then unveiled amazing point clouds and their uses.

Announcements at the event included:

Carl Bass yielded the stage to Emily Pilloton Project H – housing for the needy and a farmers market design and construction project run by 16 yr old students.  See a Ted Talk by her.


After fighting through the massive crowd, I made it to the AUGI Volunteer lunch and chatting with my AUGI buddies.  I look forward to the AUGI Annual Meeting on Wednesday.

My focus this year is education.  Last year I attended many of the ADN classes… This year it is training and education. The first presentation of my day was on project based learning.  They covered how to achieve maximum learning through focused project efforts.  The goal for the student is not to be taught by an instructor, but rather to get the project completed.  Along the road, learning is taking place.  Teachers must leave behind former approaches to teaching.  Allowing students to learn without the teacher being the focus of the learning.  The project is the focus. There may not be an answer when you begin the process.  The students discover the answers as they move along.  The teacher may direct or suggest the next steps, but they let the student move on their own.

More on this at their next presentation – digital steam project – Thursday at 8am

Day two will wrap up with the Exhibit Hall opening – I can’t wait for that!!

CADDManager on December 1st, 2014

The first day started off with the Education Keynote.  Chris Bradshaw of Autodesk hosted the event.  So much good information at the event.  See images below for some of the slide deck.



This is the Learning Universe – what tools we have to learn from.



This image and the one below were from a sustainable design educational contest where students used Revit tools to design a green building.


And the Autodesk Educational Community – by the numbers


I then attended the Freshman Orientation hosted by Lynn Allen.  She informed a packed house of new attendees on the highlights to not miss for the week.  She discussed the AU2014 App that everyone is using.  It is packed full of info.  Even if you are not attending, you can follow the stream of info and tap into many items.

One tool in the App is the Survey tools that she used throughout the presentation.  Quick surveys that displayed the results on screen as they were happening.

At the Freshman event, I met three design professionals for Turkey – Tunc, Onur and Erkan.  They work at Dome + Partners, a design firm located in Istanbul, Turkey.  They do mixed use, theme parks, high rise and much more.  This was their first AU… Check out their designs at  I also met Jeffrey Muhammad, a Professor at Austin Community College.  He is teaching Civil3D to students in Texas.

Innovation Forums were mentioned as the focus of the major presentations from Autodesk.  AUGI was mentioned as a premiere community for networking after the event. Lynn also discussed the Answer bar, Meetup lounges and more.

Certification exams are being offered for free and there was a really long line already.  Many taking the opportunity to test their skills and gain a certification that can be added to their resume.

Autodesk also discussed the Voice of the Customer.  They are testing out new designs and feature, sneak peeks, and they want to listen to your input.  Round tables and interviews are being scheduled so that Autodesk can get direct input from uses.  Check the schedule to see how you might get involved.

So many ways to connect.  So many ways to learn.  This is promising to be a great event again this year.

I ended the night at a Media Reception where I discussed Revit and other BIM tools with Scott Latch, the Building Platform Product Manager.  He said that the Revit team is still striving for new goals in the tools we all use.  He outlined one – Skyscraper – that is available as a Revit collaboration toll.  You can read more here.  It is a cloud tool that has many features for scattered teams and partners.  Look for more on this from Autodesk at this conference.

Well – tomorrow is looking to be very crowded.  I hope to see some of you and to keep the rest informed via my posts.  Follow me on Twitter for news as the day progresses.


CADDManager on November 30th, 2014

As I watch the Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, it is apparent that many have started the annual trek to the dessert.  Flying, driving and taking trains, maybe some even walk. But one thing is obvious, this is THE EVENT to attend for anyone that uses Autodesk products.  It is where you can network, connected, discuss and even argue about the good and bad of the software that drives us all forward.  It is the time when enabling Design, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Entertainment is the main focus with a heavy dash of Education mixed through it all.

The Future…  this is the thread that weaves through the fabric of the event.  Carl Bass, CEO, will kick it off with Jeff Kowalksi, CTO at the opening keynote – The Future of Making Things.  Several other Forums focus on the Future of… How Buildings are Made, How Products are Made, How Infrastructure is Made and How Visualizations are Made.

With these focused topics, almost 800 classes and close to 200 exhibitors, there will be no lack of learning.  And education is what this whole event is about.  Autodesk has gathered about 825 speakers who are the cream of the crop. Some of the best from past events and some great newcomers.  Soak it all in.

And after you have soaked it in – get Certified – its free.  User Certified, Certified Professional and Certified BIM Specialist.  You can tap into this free offer at multiple times during the week.

So much going on – so little time.  See you soon.


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