Phoenix Arizona is the venue for this year's SolidWorks World. This will be my 14th SolidWorks World but first one in Phoenix - which I have been told is the US's 6th largest and fastest growing city.
Last year I was able to do a quick reccy of the Convention Centre and local area. I was impressed with the recently built exhibition and meeting space and also by the superb range of bars and restaurants nearby.
With General Session space, Partner Pavilion and Breakout meetings all close together I'm sure we will have lots of opportunities to explore and network. As ever I'm looking forward to catching up with the friends / business partners I've made over the years and to meeting new people too.
If you are reading this and going to be in Phoenix please visit our booth #324.
We have a Design Club at DriveWorks that meets after work.
I commissioned the group to create something for us to have on the DriveWorks booth at #SWW15.
It's really cool and I can't wait to see what other people think.... of it so come and take a look.
And if you won't be in Phoenix I'll try to post lots of photos each day.
DriveWorks HQ is a 250 year old barn situated on Laskey Lane Farm in Thelwall, Cheshire. The barn has been restored and modernised to become the home of DriveWorks but over ten centuries ago it was very different.
At that time, Thelwall was a frontier town, positioned south of the river Mersey.
The Danes occupied the lands to the north and the Saxons held Thelwall and the lands to the south of the Mersey.
Thelwall’s existence was first officially recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of AD923 when King Edward the Elder is said to have ordered “the burgh at ThelWael” to be repaired and manned as a defence against the Danes and Northumbrians.
This account can been seen on the gable end of the 17th century Pickering Arms pub in the village centre – just down the road from DriveWorks HQ.
DriveWorks HQ is situated on the Laskey Farm site, constructed in the mid 1700s. There is an oak beam on site dated 1672 and the initial WM. The discrepancy in dates is explained by the fact that old oak built ships were once brought up the Mersey to be broken up for valuable building timbers.
Our site was originally part of the large Stanton Estate – the Stanton Manor House is now Chaigeley School next door.
Laskey Farm was occupied as a tenant by John Cooke (the present owner’s Great Grandfather) until 1928 when his son-in-law George Platt purchased it for £1,000 from the Stanton family.
Laskey Farm operated as a working farm until the 1950’s when Arthur Platt started the process of developing the farm buildings as commercial premises.
All of the surviving buildings are named after their original uses, which explains the names of the DriveWorks offices: • The Barley Store • Bridleside • The Battery House • Springbrook
The names of our neighbouring buildings, occupied by other businesses are listed here.
All of the original farm buildings once had the sandstone roofs common throughout 17th century Cheshire. These were extremely thick heavy slabs and only one such roof at Laskey Farm now remains.
The roofs of the Barley Store and the Buttery were renovated in 2001 and the material preserved to maintain the unique character of typical Cheshire building.
Next to the entrance of the Shippon building (Cheshire name for a cattle barn) are two cattle troughs each carved from a single piece of sandstone. These are the only surviving Laskey Farm troughs and are well over two hundred years old.
The farm buildings are all situated down Laskey Lane that originally ran down to the River Mersey and over a wooden bridge across to Woolston and Warrington. The name Laskey is thought to be a shortening of Last Quay which refers to the fact that it was once the furthest navigable point up the Mersey from Liverpool.
Laskey Lane fell into disuse in the 1890’s with the cutting of the Manchester Ship Canal which re-routed the Mersey to the north and made the bridge obsolete.
It wasn’t until 2001 when Councillor Mawer approached the Platt family on behalf of Warrington Borough Council. With the helping hand of a £40,000 grant, the southern part of Laskey Lane was restored as a permissive bridleway. Today, this allows horse riders’ access to the picturesque canal banks.
Phil is back from a very busy month in Australia visiting InterCAD, their customers, SolidWorks User Groups and Australia’s attractions.
Phil, DriveWorks Tech Team Manager has finally returned from Australia. He was there for over a month where he managed to squeeze in a lot of visits and get an impressive tan.
Phil visited DriveWorks Reseller, InterCAD, at their offices across Australia. He spent time with the sales teams and business development managers and saw great sights like the DriveWorks flag we tweeted about.
With InterCAD, he got the chance to visit some DriveWorks customers and see first hand how they are using DriveWorks Software to automate their design and sales processes. Throughout the whole of his trip, Phil visited a total of 17 customers. One of the customer’s had previously visited the UK for some training so it was good for Phil to catch up with them.
The Sydney and Melbourne SWUG meetings both had visits from Phil.
At the Melbourne SWUG, Phil presented DriveWorksXpress to the group and showed them what they can do with the software that’s already installed inside SolidWorks. He was then followed by Steve Galienne who explained DriveWorks Solo and what can be done with the free 30 day trial. There were other presenters and lots of raffle prizes on offer there too. DriveWorks provided a PowerBank that Phil presented to the winner.
The Sydney meeting was hosted at the impressive Amada Oceania Centre. Phil presented to the SolidWorks users what they could do with DriveWorks Solo and the free 30 day trial.
Phil took along a PowerBank courtesy of DriveWorks and it was won by Darren Clune who is currently learning how to use SolidWorks at college.
Whilst in Sydney Phil stayed with InterCAD Applications Engineer, Bill Murch who lives in a remote area where Phil saw a wild wallaby. He and Bill then visited The Australian Reptile Park, where Phil was most impressed by the Tasmanian Devils and the saltwater crocodiles.
Phil had plenty of time to visit many more of the tourist attractions in the beautiful country of Australia too. He has returned with some pretty impressive photos that have made us all green with envy at DriveWorks HQ.
Around his time at InterCAD and the SWUG meetings, Phil visited the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and saw a 360° panoramic view over Sydney at the Sky Tower.
In between all of that and lots of travelling, Phil also managed to squeeze in a friend’s wedding AND went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
We’re glad to have Phil back although I’m not sure he’s glad to be back in rainy Thelwall!
Robert Hayward, member of the DriveWorks Tech Team and LJMU graduate, has had great success already.
If you’ve ever had a support call with one of the DriveWorks tech team, it may have been with Rob Hayward.
Rob was on placement at DriveWorks for 15 months before returning to Liverpool John Moores University for his final year. He graduated with a first class degree in Product Innovation and Development. He then returned as a full time member of the DriveWorks team.
Pictured above is Rob with the other Product Design Engineering graduates that attended the week long New Designers Show at the Business Design Centre.
Rob said “New Designers 2014 was really great experience and a perfect way to conclude my time at university. Exhibiting alongside the best design graduates in the country was a privilege.”
Proving his love of designing and product innovation, Rob has started ‘DriveWorks Design’. A group of around 10 DriveWorks employees meet every Thursday and work on designing and manufacturing exciting projects. They are currently working on a new DriveWorks booth that we’re hoping to show off at SolidWorks World!
Rob really enjoyed the afternoon, he is hoping to return for some similar sessions soon. He said “I think all of the students benefited from the visit and it certainly broadened their understanding of how important developing CAD skills can be!”
The blog post is based on conversations with Maria and Glen as well as what he saw first hand whilst he was visiting.
Gordon describes DriveWorks as a ‘dynamic company with a great culture’. He especially comments on Maria’s passion for DriveWorks, ‘not just profits, but mostly her products, her customers and most importantly her people’. This is reflected in Maria’s description of the DriveWorks team as her family and her commitment to maintaining a great corporate culture.
Gordon explains that the great company culture was clear from the interaction he witnessed between Maria and the DriveWorks team. He noticed that Maria’s leadership approach is part of who she is and how she acts, not just something she has read in a book. This leadership approach is shared by all members of the management team and as a result, it is very consistent, resulting in a clear understanding and acceptance by everyone of the DriveWorks culture.
Giving staff freedom is one of the necessities for a great corporate culture according to Gordon. He said at DriveWorks there is a definite work hard play hard culture, proving Glen and Maria’s trust and confidence in every member of the DriveWorks team. This trust and confidence is based on the rigorous recruitment and personal development plans in place at DriveWorks. It is very important to find people with the right attitude who ‘fit’ within the company.
As a leadership consultant, Gordon told Maria to continue doing what we are doing and change nothing because DriveWorks is way ahead of many companies. Of course, Maria being Maria, replied “that’s fine, but I’d like you to tell me what we could do to make it better!”.
What does this great leadership mean for DriveWorks?
The positive attitude and culture filters down from the DriveWorks Management Team to the rest of the team and this reflects in everything we do at DriveWorks. The DriveWorks team is made up of happy, motivated staff who are willing to learn and work hard. The DriveWorks philosophy results in the great products we’re continuing to develop and the high standard of support we provide for our Partners, Resellers and their customers.