By: Michelle Rasmussen
Autodesk University 2018 in Las Vegas is just around the corner (November 13-15). AU presenters around the world are wrapping up their presentations as I write this. If you have ever thought about attending, now is the time to register. Early bird pricing ends soon. If you are thinking to yourself, “Is it really worth that much money?” I will be the first to tell you that it is.
Not only does Autodesk put on a great conference, they really strive to make the experience the best it can be. They do so by making sure they acquire only the best of everything. Here are the top 5 reasons I love AU over any other conference throughout the year.
5. The best venue: The Venetian/Palazzo is my absolute favorite hotel in Las Vegas. Every room is a suite with a separate bed and sitting area. I also love that I can get from my room to the conference area via the scenic canal shops on the second level where I can enjoy free entertainment on the way. The best part is that I feel like I am outside even though I am not because of the way they have painted and illuminated the ceiling (shown in picture below).
4. There’s plenty to eat…and drink! AU provides all attendees 3 meals per day, each day of the conference. It amazes me how streamlined the food lines are. Even with 10,000 people to feed, you can easily get into the dining hall, get your food and be seated within 10 minutes. In the evening, they provide both food and alcohol in the exhibit hall. In between classes, they provide snacks to make sure you are able to concentrate on the information being taught.
3. Great place for Networking: Did I mention there are often 10,000 or more people that attend AU? Even if you cannot find a class specific to the topic you want to learn, you can always find an expert on your topic through networking. Find that expert, ‘buy’ them a drink in the exhibit hall (remember they are free!) or exchange business cards to gain the knowledge you need to succeed. If you do not learn something new this week, then you are not trying.
2. You get to see the future today! The exhibit hall showcases some of the most amazing technology that many have not seen before. Companies showcase how they are designing bigger, better, and more efficiently. I was completely amazed over 10 years ago when I saw my first 3D printer at AU. I cannot wait to see what new technology awaits me this year. Here is a video Autodesk put together highlighting a few things we saw last year:
1. Amazing classes taught by people who use the software: It is one thing to teach people how to use the basics of the software; it is another to teach real world examples that use outside the box thinking to get the job done. Sometimes, engineers who are geniuses at making the software work for their needs, may not always be the best presenters. That is why Autodesk has a speaker mentoring program just for Autodesk University speakers. The mentoring program is multi-faceted and includes:
- Asynchronous learning modules to teach the presenters how to prepare their handouts and slide decks.
- Weekly office hours where award-winning AU speakers answer questions live every Friday.
- A Slack channel to allow presenters to network and ask questions as they arise rather than wait for the weekly broadcasts.
- One-on-One mentoring for new speakers and veteran speakers who want to improve their ratings.
For the last two years, I have been honored to be a part of the steering committee that helped define the mentoring program we know today. I have also been fortunate to have at least two people each year as mentees. It feels so good to be able to take someone who has never presented before and help them become a top rated presenter.
I stand amazed at how many AU veterans are willing to help others improve. According to Autodesk, the one-on-one piece of the AU Speaker Mentor Program has three times the number of participants as it did when it first began. There are around 250 participants in the program this year. Though many of the mentees are first time speakers, a few returning speakers also signed up to be mentored.
The mentors selected to participate are hand picked and invited to the program. In order to be invited, they must have spoken several times at AU and be among the more highly rated speakers of the AU community. In fact, many have won speaker awards from past conferences. I love what Janice Miller-Kellerman, Content Manager, Autodesk University, had to say, “Mentors must not only be adept speakers, but also must share the mindset that honing the quality of our instructors raises the quality of the conference as a whole...”
If you have not already registered, go to www.au.autodesk.com and register today. If you want to meet up with me or any of my ASCENT co-workers at AU, here is a short list of some of the places we will be:
- November 13-15 during Exhibit Hall hours: ASCENT booth #A210
- 6:00-7:30 pm – Welcome Reception
- 6:00-7:00 am - AU 5K and Fun Run by the Venetian Fountain outside.
- 7:00-8:00 am – Autodesk Military Veterans Network: Breakfast Session in Galileo 1006, Level 1 - Join us for our Military Veterans Breakfast session and connect with other military veterans to learn how to leverage Autodesk solutions to elevate your career. -- I am one of the people presenting at this networking event.
- 9:15-10:15 am – Session AE196307 – Up Close and Personal with Arnold: A Workflow Process for Using Arnold in 3ds Max 2019--Renu Muthoo from ASCENT is presenting this session.
- 1:00-2:30 pm – Session BLD225500 - A Coming Convergence? Revit 2019 and Advance Steel Interoperability.--Martha Hollowell from ASCENT in presenting this session.
- 1:30-2:30 pm – Session BLD225827 – A Winning Combination: 3ds Max 2019 and Revit Interoperability.--Renu Muthoo from ASCENT is presenting this session.
- 5:30-6:30 pm – Women at AU Networking - Join women and male allies from every industry to share knowledge and strengthen bonds with others who are solving the same challenges as you.
- 6:30pm-close – Exhibit Hall
- 6:00-7:00 am – Sunrise Yoga
- 8:30-10:00 am – Session CS226509 - Secrets Revealed for Construction Simulation in Navisworks Manage.--I am presenting this session.
- 7:00-10:00 pm - AU party! - Have fun, enjoy great food and drink, and don’t miss the awesome activities and live entertainment.
- 5:00 pm-7:00 pm - Farewell Happy Hour
I cannot wait to see you there!