BILTna 2017 Speaker Spotlights!

Purvi Gandhi Irwin | Senior Applications Specialist at CADD Microsystems

Session: Finding Your Way: Using Revit to Create the Best Signage Package EVER

I’m a Senior Applications Specialist with CADD Microsystems, in Alexandria, VA. That’s a fun title, right, but what does it actually mean? Most of my time is spend assisting A/E firms with anything and everything having to do with Revit (with a little general IT sprinkled in). I create Revit implementations, troubleshoot, brainstorm, and problem-solve, often pushing Revit to its limits. I also teach in a classroom, from a standard 4-day introductory Revit course, to single day advanced courses, to custom classes for architecture firms in DC, MD, and VA. I also develop new courses, based on what our customers are looking for.  I am also always learning, as it is my job to know more than my customers, and I love teaching and seeing the lightbulb that comes on when people really start to understand Revit.

Outside of work, I spend time with my husband and 3 kids, am active in my community with neighborhood groups, my daughter’s school PTA, and I am the vice-chair of the Parker Gray Board of Architectural Review in Alexandria, VA. I am passionate about our built environment and preserving our physical history. I also love to craft, read, and cook. At work, and in life in general, I am motived by solving problems. I love a good challenge and pushing boundaries to make things work in ways that they weren’t necessarily intended.

Signage is important to any building but it is something that is easy to do poorly. I love schedules and making them show me any and all types of information. I also enjoy pushing the limits of bidirectional associativity in Revit, and using automated ways to quickly change information if needed (hooray for key schedules!)

I have never been to a BILT conference before but have always wanted to go. I’m not gonna lie, the most exciting part about attending this year is that I will get to completely geek out for 4 days with people who get just as excited about Revit as me (which is actually one of the reasons that I love my job so much, too)! I am also excited to meet people who know more than I do and to bring back knowledge that can help me assist my customers even better!

Heather Lech | Product Owner and User Experience Designer at Autodesk

Session: Design-A-Feature: Help Design the Future of Connected Experience Between Site and Architecture!

I am a recovering former architect who now works at Autodesk designing great software for YOU! I would say my role boils down to two things:  a Translator and Prioritizer. I talk with AEC customers and gather their requirements and then translate that to our software developers for implementation.  The other thing I spend a lot of time doing is prioritizing – we have a lot of requests and enhancements that we know need to be fixed, but we need to prioritize those, so that we are making the most impact.

I‘ve had some great travel experiences including caring for elephants at an animal refuge in Thailand, documenting ancient walls at an archeological site in Turkey, getting up close with a gorillas on a mountain trek and teaching FormIt and Revit in Rwanda. And I’m looking for ideas on what to do next!

I enjoy good food, drink and seeing things from a different perspective! I get all of these when I travel and interact with different cultures.  And sometimes you don’t have to go far to find a different culture. For example, building architects and software engineers tend to have very different approaches to a challenge!

At Autodesk, it’s easy to design for specific products – but I believe that the place where our customers spend the most time it in the space between our products. This is where all the heavy lifting happens – like moving data between design phases, or sharing information between disciplines. The “space between” is the most difficult place to work and it often gets the least attention from software designers – my workshop will focus on the “space between” Site and Architecture and hopefully generate some solutions to a better connected experience!

BILT is my favorite conference to participate in – the excitement and energy for BIM is inspiring and it energizes me to continue working hard to improve the efficiency and quality of software.

Melonie Beskowiney | Design Technology Specialist at DIALOG

Session: Transitioning your Landscape Team from AutoCAD to Revit

I provide support, training, and build/maintain standards of all things Revit, and help manage the BIM aspects of projects. And more often than naught, I am just an “ear” for people that need it!

Outside of work, I have many interests. My latest interest that I have put a lot of energy into is night photography, or Astrophotography. This means pictures of the Milky Way, Aurora, etc. It is a time where I can leave the busyness of work behind and just re-energize with nature and calm the heart and mind! My Instagram handle is @ultimatemelly for anyone who wants to see where I spend much of my time outside of work!

What keeps me going is when people I work with catch on to something “cool” that I show them, and then take it several steps further on their own initiative. I like to plant the seed, so to speak, and watch it grow. Outside of work, what motivates me with photography is being able to see things differently through a lens that my eyes will never pick up on their own. When I get back from a road trip, and I process those photos, I’m amazed at what I see there. It’s kind of like opening presents after going away somewhere!

I think that Landscape teams are often left behind, and not really thought of until toward the end of a project when they are thrown on to “make the grounds pretty”. I believe it is important to include them much earlier, if not the start, so that coordination and collaboration can be done effectively. I’m not a Landscape technologist or designer myself (my background is Architectural Technology), and my reason for this class was to make people aware of why this discipline should not be left to continue working in 2D. I was thrown into a Landscape project in AutoCAD to help push a team to a deadline (and because my own project had come to a close), and I simply could not believe the lack of coordination that consultants had with this discipline. Everyone but Landscape was in Revit, and basic grading was missed because the Landscape team didn’t even know there was an underground parkade where they were trying to design an elaborate courtyard! All they needed to be able to do was cut a section to see this. This is just one of many issues that I saw on this project that could have been solved if everyone was using the same tool.

I actually have only attended one BILT conference (last year), and thoroughly enjoyed the networking. I got to know so many people in the industry, many of whom I am still connected with today. The atmosphere for both networking and learning is great!

Kimberly Fuhrman | Sr. BIM Technical Specialist at EDGE-Global Technology Solutions

Session: More FormIt 360 (+Revit), Less Napkin Sketches!

I’m based out of Rochester, NY. I get to provide BIM consulting services, production and software support, and training to a variety of architectural and engineering clients in the PA-NY region. I’m also part of the Autodesk Expert Elite and Autodesk Developer Network. Having a direct connection to the people who create the software we work with every day, giving feedback and really being heard is an amazing thing. Every day is something new and challenging. I enjoy traveling, and have come to learn that the drive between my hometown in southcentral PA and our Rochester office is probably the most scenic route from PA in any direction.

I’ve presented several sessions at Autodesk University, but aside from being a panelist for the FormIt workshop at RTC last year, this will be my first year presenting at BILT NA. I’ve teamed up with Tobias Hathorn from Autodesk (because Carl was a little busy :). FormIt can take designers from those napkin sketches in conceptual design and transform them into tangible (and detailed!) massing that can be used directly in Revit. The user can perform energy analysis with Insight 360, collaborate in real-time, and even use Dynamo scripts. We’ll be diving into the processes and techniques to create quality FormIt models for presentation.
This will be my third year attending BILT NA. No matter what your skill level, there is always something new to learn. I think the sessions I enjoy most are the ones that push the envelope of the technology but still provide practical application for all users. The expertise of the BILT NA speakers is bar none, and I am thrilled to be counted among them this year.
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