Solid Edge University: Getting Past the Bean Counters

By MLombard

atlanta_hotels.jpgWhat Solid Edge users would not want to take a trip to a conference covering the CAD software we all spend so much time with every day? There are dozens of classes on every imaginable topic, you can meet vendors for partner software and services face to face, make contact with the execs and developers of the software who are responsible for making decisions that affect the software your career depends on, and you can learn from other people who do the kind of work that you do or need to do. SEU is a cornucopia of opportunities where you select what you need.

But face it, you’re probably going to have to justify the expense of the trip to the management and bean counters at your company. For this reason alone, a lot of engineers shy away from asking. But the economy this past year has improved in some sectors, and there may be money for those who can justify that the company will see some sort of benefit.

This post will give you a few ideas on ways to save, and arguments you might make to show how much value you can bring home from the largest gathering of Solid Edge users in the US.

First, look at my previous post about the three main ways to save:

  1. Early bird specials #1 and #2

  2. 3 for 2 special offer

  3. Become a presenter at SEU14

And what’s the cost? $650 unless you take advantage of one of the several opportunities to save. That’s less than the cost of most reseller training courses where the networking opportunities and topic options are comparatively limited.

Atlanta is a great city for a conference. It’s not like you’re going to Vegas or Orlando where the trip looks more like a company sponsored party than a technical event. In the air travel world, all flights lead to Atlanta, so you’ve probably got access to a cheap non-stop flight from your location.

Once you get here, you can take the MARTA from the airport to the hotel for $2.50. No crazy cabbies, no need for overpriced limos. Keep the cost down and get to see the city. Leave your cross country skiis at home, though, by May the brutal snow season in central Georgia should be over.

While the Westin is a landmark hotel, and is giving SEU special rates, you can save if you’re creative and willing to spend the night a little distance from the conference center. The Westin is the big cylindrical building, so you really can’t get lost in the city.

Most of your meals are covered at the conferece, including breakfasts. I can say from experience that you won’t go hungry.

Leave your coat and tie at home. Bring comfortable shoes. This is a business casual event.

Some of the best time you’ll spend will be at the reception Monday evening. Make sure to get there in time for for this. You will find food, drink, and time to make connections with people important to your company’s engineering process. This is a networking opportunity that regular users don’t get every day, and the professional connections you make here can greatly affect your company’s engineering productivity.

Once you’re in the swing of things, it’s too late. Make out your schedule for sessions you want to attend and people you want to talk to before hand in order to make the most of your time.

One of the big advantages of attenting SEU is that you’ll get to see first hand the first public presentation of what’s new in the next version of the software, ST7. This is important from a CAD admin and implementation point of view, as well as for budget planning.

There is a “benefits of attending” summary sheet you can download here, which will help you get started with a letter to the powers that be to get the approval started.

And of course, the related events for Developer Day, Design Management Workshop, and FEMAP Symposium.

Best of luck with the approval process, and I hope to see you in Atlanta!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at