GrabCAD News: New Office and Amazing Hires

Hi, this is the first time you have heard from me and I’d like to say thanks for welcoming me to the GrabCAD community. I’ve been a full time member of the GrabCAD team for a couple of months now and it has already been a tremendously exciting ride. I want you to tell you more about my history and introduce you to our new hires, Stuart Reid and Dan Dignam, who are opening a GrabCAD office in the birthplace of CAD. I will also introduce you to new talent in Boston and Tallinn: Amos, Mart, and Taavi.

What Is My Story?

I’ve been involved in the Mechanical CAD industry since 1983. Why? Because, I believe that the CAD industry is a fantastic place to work.

  • You have the best customers in the world.
  • Your customers are people that are inventing new things.
  • Or, your customers inventing new ways to make things.
  • New and better products improve the quality of life for all of us, every day.

I spent the first 13 years of my career as a Software Programmer and Director of Development for what is now Siemens PLM (previously called Unigraphics). Next, I served as Managing Director of Shape Data. At Shape Data, I learned that special people change the world by doing special work. I later served as General Manager and Executive VP of CAD at PTC, the company that developed Pro/Engineer, the product that introduced feature-based parametric solid modeling to the market. It was released in the early 1990s and is the paradigm upon which all of today’s successful mechanical CAD products are based.

I’ve seen CAD evolve from simple wireframe technology running on 16 bit computers without virtual memory or shaded images to technology that can be used to model the Airbus A380 aircraft and produce images that are virtually indistinguishable from photographs.

And now, at GrabCAD, I have the privilege of being involved in “changing the way the world is built, all engineers at a time.”

Who Is Stuart Reid?

I first met Stuart when he was working on version 1 of Parasolid.  I was a customer of Stuart’s when he was the first employee at D-Cubed, the company that wrote the really cool sketch solver used in most of the world’s CAD systems.  Most recently, Stuart served as the Director of Interoperability at SolidWorks.  I can also tell you from my time living in England that Stuart is a great football player (that’s soccer for my American friends).

Why is Stuart joining GrabCAD? In his words:

“I was really impressed by GrabCAD's focus on its users. The whole team is committed to finding out, or working out, what the GrabCAD community needs, then making it happen, all with the best possible user experience.
There is an amazing opportunity right now to leverage the power of the web to build great tools for the GrabCAD community, and hence make life more fun, more productive and more profitable for hundreds of thousands of mechanical engineers all around the world.

When Ian Braid and Charles Lang started Shape Data in 1974, becoming part of the Cambridge Phenomenon in the process, I wonder if they imagined that nearly 40 years later, Cambridge would still be a centre for 3D excellence, attracting the best CAD and computer games companies in the world. It is an honour and a privilege to add GrabCAD to a roll-call that includes Siemens, Autodesk, SolidWorks, Jagex, Ninja Theory and many more.”

Shape Data was founded by the inventor of boundary representation solid modeling and succeeded in developing the Parasolid modeling kernel, the solid modeler that powers many design and manufacturing software products including: SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Siemens NX, and many others.

Who is Dan Dignam?

I first met Dan when he was fresh out of school, working on the Siemens NX assembly modeler.  Dan later joined SolidWorks as Chief Architect. In addition to being a talented software developer, Dan is also an avid cyclist. He already pedaled thousands of miles through France and England this year.

I have had the pleasure of sharing a few curries and more than a few beers with Dan and Stuart.  They are truly special people and we’re thrilled to have them as part of our team.

So how are we going to deliver a great web-based service to mechanical engineers?  The most trusted, secure and available service in the manufacturing industry?  We’ve been lucky to add very special people and talent to our development team in Tallinn, Estonia and Boston, USA.

Who is Mart Oruaas?

Mart Oruaas joined our team as Software Architect. He is known around GrabCAD as “Smart Mart” because he is always thinking ten steps ahead and he always considers the big picture. Before joining the team, Mart was an Architect at Microsoft and Skype.  When asked, “Hey Smart Mart, why GrabCAD?” Mart’s response was:

"Why do I work for GrabCAD? Because well-designed physical things are way cool and having a chance to change the flow of product design is just amazing. I have been part of large disruptions to well-established industries and processes before, it is now time to do the same with CAD."

Who is Taavi Tuisk?

Taavi Tuisk joined our team as Manager of Production Operations.  Before joining the GrabCAD team, Taavi was the Application Operations Engineering Manager at Skype, keeping Skype up and running and available 24/7.  Taavi is committed to ensuring the GrabCAD production architecture delivers the same highly available and secure experience that made Skype the world’s largest international voice and video service.  Why did Taavi join GrabCAD?

“Grabcad is a possibility to test my skills and knowledge, [which] is so hard in big companies. There is a very real opportunity to implement ideas and technologies, fast, that you [could] only dream of in big corporations.”

Who Is Amos Benninga?

Finally, Amos Benninga joined as Chief Architect.  Amos is a veteran of the Boston software community.  I met Amos at BladeLogic (now part of BMC Software), where he developed software that allows the world’s largest corporations to manage IT infrastructures on an unprecedented scale.  Amos joined GrabCAD because it is the most exciting software company in Boston:

“I couldn't stay away from GrabCAD because of the excitement I see from everyone involved. Seeing the passion and involvement of the user community, of investors, and most of all of the GrabCAD team.”

Please welcome Stuart, Dan, Mart, Taavi and Amos to the GrabCAD community.  And remember, we’re here to serve you. GrabCAD loves engineers and we’re here to make your life more fun and productive every day.