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Challenges and opportunities for CAD managers…sometimes they are the same

Keeping up with all the changes in the industry can be overwhelming and challenging, yet at the same time they can be viewed as opportunities to make organizations more competitive.

Recently, a roundtable of experts convened at Autodesk headquarters in San Francisco, where they shared their perspective on the industry and its changing landscape.

Our experienced CAD managers addressed the many challenges and opportunities they face. For some it was finding quality users, while others tackled technology and mobility.

“The challenge is that if everything is becoming mobile, how do we take advantage of that?” — Shaun Bryant, director at CADFMconsultants.

For Bryant, a big challenge and opportunity is keeping up with all the changes. He thinks that mobility makes everyone more productive, more strategic, more innovative, and that in the long-run, being more mobile will help get more work.


“You have things like augmented reality, for example, which is something Autodesk is getting into in a big way,” Bryant said. “You’ve got things like photogrammetry with Autodesk Recap, where you can fly a little drone around a building and build up a 3D point cloud. That can then be dropped into Revit and you can do a refurbishment of that building. There is some amazing technology going on out there. Recap is one of the Autodesk products I love. You can save time. You can do an entire exterior building survey using a drone, instead of getting a guy out there with ladders and laser lights and everything else. So the tools are there, and there are a lot of challenges there. But also a lot of advantage there, as well.”

“To me it’s almost like you can be a modern day Da Vinci.” — Robert Green, a recognized leader in CAD management.

Green is excited about the future and the possibilities for being more competitive.

“What really enthuses me is the fact that with hardware becoming 4, 10 times more powerful every two years,” Green said. “[And] with software able to do huge point clouds, [we’re] able to model virtual reality in ways we couldn’t even have dreamed of like two years ago. You can have all the tools you need right there on your own desktop. I feel confident when we look back five years from now what is really going to excite us is…what one person is going to be able to do is probably in excess of what 10 people can do today.”

“Can I flip flop on this?” — R.K. McSwain, CAD manager at LJA Engineering, on opportunities and challenges.

McSwain’s focus was finding good, quality users.

“It’s been a challenge to have people come in, whether they are new or experienced and continue to grow,” McSwain said. “We’ve had a challenge with new users coming in and even though we provide good training, they just don’t pick it. [However,] some of the opportunities I see is that we’ve taken some complete green users off the street and trained them, trained them well, and they have taken off, learned the software, and learned how to be a productive user for us.”

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