Confessions of a NYC-RUG rat

Meetings – like building projects – that start well usually end well.

Last night I had the opportunity to sit in on the New York City – Revit Users Group meeting. And boy am I glad that I did.

You might recall a couple months ago we featured Chicago’s BIM-IPD Group here in these pages in The Sweet Necessity of a BIM-IPD Group Meeting. The NYC group meeting doesn’t leave you with the warm and fuzzy feeling of its Chicago cohort and counterpart. Chicago – and most of the Midwest – is still playing catch-up so has all the charm and appeal of an underdog, like the Cubs.

The impression with the NYC group is that they have been there and done that – all business, all the time. Once it started, the meeting ran like a machine – a finely-tuned, well-designed and very-expensive machine. But first there was some housekeeping to tend to…

6PM sharp: The evening’s host, James Vandezande, welcomes everyone and then just as suddenly signs-off for 15 minutes of networking. “Those online can enjoy the slide show”

So the first 15-20 minutes of the meeting was occupied by networking –– which in-person is a great use of such a gathering, but for those of us on muted standby, a bit awkward. I attended the March 2010 Meeting – NYC-RUG is a Meet-Up group – via the miracle of the GoToMeeting webinar. Try as I might to make small talk in the tiny GoToWebinar dialog box, mingling with my muted colleagues, I took my seat and waited for the show to begin.

6:13PM: James tells us to stay tuned for another 5-10 New York minutes.

Just like New York itself, the meeting with its take-no-prisoners approach promised content that would give the participant a leg-up on others in the industry. If you want to know what is happening right now in the world of BIM and Revit, with a whiff of what’s happening next – this is the place to be.

6:17PM: They start the background slide show – just like at the movie theaters before the coming attractions and featured film – only for construction industry computer geeks. Promotional images of local architect’s BIM renderings and trivia questions flash forth.

Q: What was the first release of Revit for Autodesk? (4.5)

Overseeing the festivities is James Vandezande – known to some as James Van – AIA President of NYC-RUG, prolific blogger at All Things BIM at http://allthingsbim.blogspot.com/ where he has recently featured the London RUG.

6:22PM: Weird subterranean webinar sounds emanate from my laptop. Someone doesn’t realize that they have their microphone on.

Q: Revit Structural can render which of the following materials? Wood, Steel, Concrete or All of the Above? (All)

James Vandezande, along with industry leaders Phil Read and Eddy Krygiel, is also one of BIM’s three musketeers at the Architecture | Technology blog Arch | Tech where the team approach to blogging is perfectly in sync with the collaborative work processes of the blog’s content matter, if not with the times.

Q: John Travolta starred in which feature film… (OK, not actually)

For those already familiar with this firepower blog, make note: along with the creation of a new domain address architecture-tech.com, they have a new email address for tips, suggestions and commentary on their upcoming and highly anticipated book. Imagine Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio collaborating on a book about mastering baseball. Mastering Revit Architecture 2011 will be out in August. It’s a must-have.

A senior associate at HOK (as was David Ivy in the previous Chicago’s BIM-IPD Group post) James Vandezande was the NYC-RUG’s first presenter at the 1st meeting 2 years ago and a very good person  in the industry to know and follow http://twitter.com/jvandezande. Last night’s meeting took place at the Pratt Manhattan Campus, 144 W 14th St Room 213 – check here for future locations. You might start to get the impression that HOK has a monopoly on these groups. That’s your prerogative. HOK is an industry leader in many ways – making early and exceptional use of Web 2.0 among many other categories – but this is surely a matter of timing or coincidence.

6:25PM: The meeting is about to begin – please take your seats. There’s a full house – standing room only – which speaks to the popularity of this group and the importance of the topic presented tonight. Those attending on webinar are made to feel welcome.

As organized as an executive board meeting, the NYC-RUG meeting started with an agenda

6:00-6:15PM               Networking

6:15-6:30PM               Welcome and Announcements

6:30-8PM                    Presentations

8:00-8:30PM             Q/A and Comments

This particular meeting is a joint event with the NYC metro BIM group, headed-up by Hosney Abdelgelil, NYC BIM lead organizer and co-founder. Hosney explained that BIMPlex is a regional institution which in its completed format is a collaboration forum for academia, industry and the legislature, with a mission to find the best means to guarantee lowest overall cost, optimum sustainability, energy conservation and environmental stewardship through Building Information Modeling Technology. You can learn more about it here.

Before getting to the meat of this blog post – and meeting – we have some housekeeping to tend to.

Those attending received a digital copy of the just-released BIM Deployment Plan: A Practical Framework for Implementing BIM.

Ideas for future meetings can be suggested, discussed and voted upon at the NYC-RUG Meet-Up site.

Which brings us to next month’s do-not-miss meeting: Beginner’s Guide to Revit presented by Revit specialist, Trainer and BIM Architectural Consultant and NYC-RUG member Michael Horta.

Next up is a slide that tells the group who they are and why they are meeting in the first place. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. These guys are good.

The slide says that we are a group of professionals from the construction industry, academia, design and the media. NYC-RUG is a buildingSMART alliance (bS a) interest group, which itself is part of the National Institute of Building Sciences NIBS which has over 5000 members of its own. The group – comprising 550 members and counting – was formed about 2 years ago to meet and network with industry professionals. To see if there is a group that meets in your neck of the woods, the list of 15 current buildingSMART alliance’s Interest Groups can be found here with more on the way.

6:42PM: The presentations are about to begin.

Chuck Mies, Autodesk – BIM Solutions Executive presented BIM and the Application to Lifecycle Management.

Richard Thomas and Aaron Phillips, both of SHP Leading Design, presented BIM Design and Construction Requirements on their experience working with Indiana University, an early BIM owner adopter.

How good were the presentations? Suffice it to say I took 12 pages of notes and the latest bid for a copy is $615 on eBay. The presentations were top-notch, fact-filled, far-reaching, future-oriented, fast and best of all, free. The quality and content was AU level. Here’s my confession: I can honestly say I am a positively changed industry professional for having participated in NYC-RUG. What possibly more can you ask from a meeting?

The recording of the meeting will be posted soon here. Watch the NYC-RUG Meetup Message board for an update as well as for members to submit an idea for an upcoming meeting with the Ideas tab in Meetup.com. Here’s something nifty: If you want to know how to create a GoToMeeting/Webinar recording and how to convert it at a later date you can do so here.

8:07PM: A lively Q/A and closing comments.

It’s timely that next month’s meeting is the Beginner’s Guide to Revit because attending a NYC-RUG meeting is a lot like learning to use Revit. You have to put in some time upfront – some housekeeping to tend to. But once it starts moving the pay-off comes in droves.

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2 Comments

Filed under BIM organizations, collaboration, education, people

2 responses to “Confessions of a NYC-RUG rat

  1. Pingback: BIM Architectural Design » NYC-RUG rat on the prowl

  2. Pingback: 55 Ways to Help Your Evolve as an Architect « Architects 2Zebras

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