Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Revit Point of Views – Part 1 - Perspective


Have you ever had that idea rolling around in your head…something that you needed to get off your chest, out of your system, and cleared from the deck?

Man, I’ve had this one for a while.

December 2019 had rolled into January of 2020. I had wrapped up a series about how we at Gannett Fleming were developing Revit content, and the standards and procedures our users should follow when creating Revit families that were to be used in a project. There’s a lot that goes into this…getting your parameters aligned with your schedules, making sure subcategories for solids are correctly defined to allow more control over what you see, and general best practices for what not to do.

I had also received notice in December of 2019 that I’d won my fourth AU top speaker award for labs, for “Charging Ahead with Revit 2020 MEP Engineering”. Little did I know that it could be the last time I would do a live presentation for Autodesk University…the jury is still out on this, but I can’t tell you how much I love doing these live presentations. It’s easy to feed off the energy in the room, where you have a group of like-minded people that all have the same perspective, to get better at what they do, and increase their passion for the craft that we engage it.

Mid-March rolls in and it has already been a rough start to the year. Watching our government turn into a bunch of spoiled two-year-olds fighting over who gets to be on the top of the hill, with an impeachment that was a true travesty and embarrassment for all of us. Sneaking around in the back of the room was story about a virus that was coming out of China, where I had made some good friends on the Autodesk development team that were helping is improve the electrical features of the program, didn’t really sit high on the radar…but all of the sudden, we were sending nearly 2600 employees home.

Amazingly enough, our fearless CIO, Kevin Switala, had already started having our team begin planning on improving our resiliency, playing out what if and worse case scenarios, including business continuity if we lost key staff to a virus that we thought we knew, but didn’t understand. But yet within a short period of time, we had addressed licensing issues, VPN connections, protocols for sharing files, improving communications with Teams…we were working it out.

June 19. I got a call on a Saturday morning…we were under a cyberattack. Some asshole (yea, I said it) decided to ignite an electronic bomb with extortion in mind. We weren’t the only victim, but at the same time, we were not as prepared as we wanted to be. No company ever wants to admit this happens to them, but in reality, there’s a lot of bad actors out there that want nothing more that to tear down what you build, to take, to steal, to ruin. It sucks that there are people out there like this.

And yet, we came together as a team and grew more as company and family over the next several months. As a liaison to one of our business groups, I had the unenviable role of being the bearer of both good and bad news and wore the target on my chest to take the heat for lost files, lost time, lost work. And yet our resiliency to rebound, to get the job done, to fight through all of it, and change a century-old business model around into something new at the same time…I’ve never seen anything like it. If anything, I got much closer to the people I call my colleagues, who were now like family.

By December we had pretty much completed our migration to cloud based systems such as BIM 360 (Collaboration? Collaboration Pro? Autodesk Docs? I’m still confused…). We had started turning things around, and I was able to get back to focusing on what I love about my job – teaching others.

We had been debating about starting all of our vertical design projects in Revit for the past few years, but with the change of guard on our collaboration tools, the push was coming much harder. We finally got our leadership team together to try and understand what the root causes were and why so many designers were having issue transitioning from 2D drafting to 3D modeling.

January, I started feeling a bit crappy. A cough developed that wouldn’t go away, probably the same bronchitis I get every year with my asthma and allergies. Maybe the stress from the previous year’s chaos was finally catching up with me.

Two rounds of antibiotics and I still felt like crap. Since I had not moved to a new doctor here in Supply, where we had bought a house on the coast and remodeled to spend our next twenty years in, and enjoy retirement, I found myself in a local clinic again, meeting the awesome nurse practitioner who I had started working with a few weeks before.

February 19.

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