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Catching Up With: Nick Sweeney, PLM Applications Engineer at InFlow Technology

Catching Up With: Nick Sweeney, PLM Applications Engineer at InFlow Technology

Recently, we had a chance to sit down and have a ‘catch up’ with Nick Sweeney.

Nick is a PLM Applications Engineer at InFlow Technology. It was great to have someone like Nick share his story as not many years ago he was a student at The Ohio State University.

In addition to this, Nick was also on placement with DriveWorks in the UK whilst completing his university studies.

Let’s see what Nick has to say about his time with DriveWorks, thoughts on certifications and his very first SOLIDWORKS World in Palm Springs!

Nick, it’s great to catch up with you and learn a bit more about the path that has led you to InFlow Technology. Let’s start by having you share a little about yourself and where you are from, etc.

Sure, happy to share – first off, I’m born and raised in the suburbs outside of Columbus, Ohio. There are 5 people in my family, my parents and 2 siblings (brother/sister). My father (Jeff Sweeney) has worked in engineering since he graduated college and with SOLIDWORKS since 1996, so engineering and SOLIDWORKS have always been a part of our family. He studied Agricultural Engineering at The Ohio State University (OSU). My siblings and myself are all attending or have attended OSU and my mom works at OSU now!

When I began my studies at OSU, I was an Engineering Physics major. Growing up, I participated in a lot of STEM Programs. A lot was through my 4H Club and I was really into Robotics.

In high school, I loved physics and loved watching shows like MythBusters. The Engineering Physics major seemed like it ticked all of the boxes for me but it proved to be very challenging!

The overall coursework was manageable, however, once I arrived at the course Calculus 3, I started to think that I may not want to continue in this major. When I thought of other majors, I was interested in business or marketing.  Over time, I started adding more business-focused classes to my schedule.

It wasn’t until after my 2nd year at OSU that I officially switched to a business degree with a focus in marketing. In Fall of 2018, I received my bachelor’s degree in Marketing from OSU (it was a semester delayed as I spent a full semester abroad working with DriveWorks!)

As a student at OSU, did you take advantage of any internship or placement opportunities?

Yeah, I actually had a few internships that I was fortunate to have while attending school. During the time period of 2015-2017, I worked as an Application Support Intern at 3DVision (now CATI/InFlow Technology). I provided SOLIDWORKS technical support for our customers.

While I learned about SOLIDWORKS at school, it was great to learn from industry professionals like my father as well as someone like Keith Rice. Their industry experience along with helping customers with their real-world problems really helped expand my knowledge of the software.

Within the first year of working there, I achieved my Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional credential.

After graduating OSU, I went on to work at CATI/InFlow Technology in 2019 – so my time working there worked out well for me. I also spent a year working for the Columbus Crew while I was in college. It was in a customer service type of role as well, mostly checking tickets and helping people find their seats. Being a big soccer fan, that was really fun for me.

As you know, I also interned with DriveWorks for a semester in 2017…but more on that later!

Nick, can you please share what you do at InFlow Technology?

My official role at InFlow Technology is PLM Application Engineer. What I do on a daily basis is act as a ‘Swiss Army Knife – meaning I get to do a lot of things that help the business.

While my daily workload includes lots of pre-sales activities, I love the chance to help customers identify solutions to their problems. In addition to this, I have the chance to help customers with PDM issues or perhaps a customer working on their DriveWorks implementation. The scope of my day varies based on the day – I also help manage some of the internal projects that we have at InFlow.

It is fun to have the marketing background that I have; I have realized that I can implement some of my marketing interests into my role at InFlow and have been working on this for the last year.

I’ve had a chance to work on the InFlow Podcast as well as creating some technical content for our YouTube channel and other areas (making videos about PDM, DriveWorks, etc.).

It has been a lot of fun to start the InPOD by InFlow Podcast. When asking about starting this program, I was told to ‘go for it’ and have fun.

Once I got the equipment set up and started doing them it’s been great to reach out to lots of people to talk technology and other areas of the industry.

(Editor’s Note: members of the DriveWorks team have featured on the InPOD by InFlow podcast, and it’s a lot of fun. Listen to the DriveWoks episodes – Tom Wormald and Bridie Mills & Heather Hasz.

Let’s chat a bit about your time at DriveWorks – share with us how this came to be and perhaps a bit about how you spent your time working in the UK?

It was GREAT that I had the chance to be the first DriveWorks intern from the US! Having known both Glen and Maria for the better part of 20 years, it was great to have the opportunity to work with them as I completed by studies at OSU.

During my Freshman year at OSU in 2015, I started looking at options for spring break. My father was headed to Chicago to attend DriveWorks World and asked if I wanted to join him, so I did. During the week, I spent time with Glen, Maria, and the team. At the end of the week we jokingly (at least I thought) discussed that I should come to work as an intern in the future.

Over time, I started to give this real consideration and sent Maria an email in 2016 to start the conversation. After travelling to SOLIDWORKS World 2017 in LA, I once again had a chance to work with the team and speak more with Glen and Maria about this opportunity. At the time it became ‘real’ to me that I could travel to England to work with the team – this had a real chance of happening!

Once we worked through the details of my placement; I took a semester ‘leave of absence’ from OSU and travelled to England in August of 2017 to start my internship with DriveWorks. While OSU wouldn’t grant credit for the work, I knew I was doing this for my own personal and professional growth and development.

What was your role with DriveWorks during your placement?

My role on the team was Technical Marketing Intern. Over the course of my 3 months there, I worked with many people, but my ‘manager’ was Rob Hayward. Rob was more of a mentor to me than any kind of boss – it was never a boss/employee relationship. He was a great mentor to learn from and he taught me so much. We worked well together and developed the Quick Tips video series.

Tell us a bit more about this role in Technical Marketing at DriveWorks.

It was really great for me to be a part of a team where everyone works together and wants you to be successful. During my day, it wasn’t uncommon for me to run into Glen in the kitchen and just talk to him about something I was working on or even an idea that I may have had. The overall sense of ‘how can we help you’ or “how can make this successful” was in every part of the business.

A large part of my time was working on the Quick Tips video series with Rob. The idea for this project had already been developed before I joined the team, but Rob and I worked well together to bring it to life.

Why Quick Tips?

The idea of the quick tips video series was to create a variety of short videos that highlight a different feature or piece of functionality within DriveWorks inside of 2 minutes.

In a world of social media and quick ways to access content, the goal was to deliver this valuable technical content in a short amount of time to keep people interested and not clicking away from it because it’s too “long”.

We wanted to create something engaging that could convey the content fast. I really loved making these videos, it was a lot of fun.

We ended up making about 5-6 Quick Tip Videos on DriveWorksXpress and many others on DriveWorks.

Was there anything about working at DriveWorks that was inspiring or that you’ve taken on with you into your professional career?

Absolutely – one of the things I loved the most about working at DriveWorks was how closely the teams work together. While there are Technical Teams and Sales/Marketing they all work really closely together. The collaboration between the teams was great.

During our meetings, we would be sharing ideas and updates with each other but at the same time discussing how we can help other areas of the business and support other teams in their efforts. It was what I called a cross pollination between teams.  It’s not always seen and of course I hadn’t been aware that this was possible – my experience up until that point had been sales/marketing working separately from technical teams.

Personally, I had an opportunity to learn how to work with people and develop a better sense of patience as well as collaboration. At the end of my tenure with DriveWorks, I left having learned the value of teamwork and what it really means to be part of a team – it was humbling for me.

My work at DriveWorks has definitely helped develop me professionally and has had an impact on my role at InFlow and working with this team.

There’s More to Come

It was a pleasure speaking with Nick to learn more about his education, his current role at Inflow Technology and of course, hearing his fond memories of working at DriveWorks!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Nick where we will be speaking about the importance of certifications, attending virtual networking events and more about his time at DriveWorks.

Explore DriveWorks Quick Tips

Check out the DriveWorks Quick Tips created by Nick during his time at DriveWorks.

Visit our YouTube Channel and find lots of great content to help you achieve more with DriveWorks.

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