For those of you who don't know me, my name is Jason Newell. I am an Applications Architect for The Charles Machine Works, Inc. in Perry, OK where I have worked for 16 years in the IT department. During the early years of my tenure, I sat in the Engineering building and worked side-by-side with Engineers every day. During that time, I gained an appreciation for CAD and the technology challenges that Engineers face. I was just learning programming at the time and I can still vividly remember the satisfaction I felt helping my co-workers be more productive in their jobs.
The year was 2000 and I remember how incredibly difficult it was trying to learn how to automate Solid Edge. At that time, all that I had available to me was an outdated SDK, few examples and a customer only NNTP bulletin board. Googling "Solid Edge API" back in 2000 was like Googling for "The meaning of life", no real answers. Needless to say, it was frustrating and terribly difficult. It's not my nature to ask for help but out of desperation, I posted my questions in the customer only NNTP bulletin board and actually got helpful responses. It was those handful of people that took time out of their day to help me that inspired me to do my part in giving back to the community.
In 2005, I started JasonNewell.NET in an effort to grow the Solid Edge Developer Community. I feel that my efforts were mostly successful but I think we all felt and knew that it could be so much more. The main problem with me hosting the community is that I got lost along the way and couldn't give the community the attention it needed and deserved. There is only so much time in the day and we all have lives outside of work. If anything though, I think we proved that community works and is necessary.
Fast forward to today, 13 years after I started this journey, and here we are. As I stand here today, I couldn't be happier. Not having to maintain a community website and forums is a huge stress relief for me personally and helps me focus on the task at hand, helping you. Siemens also graciously granted me "Community Manager" status here on our new home. I'm not sure what all that entails quite yet but it does allow me to post blogs which I plan on doing a lot of. While my day job doesn't involve much Solid Edge programming these days, I have done my best to be the face and voice of the Solid Edge Developer Community throughout the years and will continue to do so.
So many people to thank but I specifically want to thank Karsten Newbury for listening to me, Dan Staples for believing in me, Mark Burhop for putting up with me, Susan Alig (Cinadr) for working with me and Matt Lombard for having the courage to make "the switch" and help us grow our communities to make them the best they can be. Hats off to Siemens for listening. If I've learned anything in my 16 year career, it's that change takes time.
In closing, I would like to leave you with the following thoughts. How much have you benefited from community contributions over the years? How much have you given back to the community? Where would our community be today if those select few back in 2000 hadn't taken time out of their day to help me resolve my questions and inspire me to make a difference? I've often wondered how many people I've been able to help and inspire. Though I'll never know the answer, I take great satisfaction in knowing that I've had a hand in making a difference. I encourage you all to join me in that satisfaction by being active in the community. We are stronger together than we are as individuals.
Editor note: This post is also available on the Solid Edge Developer Blog.