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Catching Up With: Sean O’Neill Part One

Catching Up With: Sean O’Neill

Senior Strategy and Community Manager, SOLIDWORKS

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Sean O’Neill.  Sean joined Dassault Systems as the Senior Strategy and Community Manager.

After spending about 5 years working as an Applications Engineer and in product marketing at a SOLIDWORKS reseller, Sean has taken on an exciting opportunity to create programs and content to inspire SOLIDWORKS users around the world.

Sean helps connect community members who go above & beyond in sharing their SOLIDWORKS passion and expertise. In his role, Sean also looks to amplify the voices and efforts of many community members who seek to inspire others through their use of SOLIDWORKS products.

Sean, it’s great to have you share a bit of your story with us – let’s start by having you share a bit of your background and the path that led you to SOLIDWORKS.

As a kid, I was always interested in how things worked. As I got older, this interest developed, and I studied Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. My interest in engineering was coupled with an interest in the coding side of things – which could have probably led me down the path of a computer science education as well.

When I finished school, I was hoping to find a path that would allow me to combine both engineering and coding. Through a friend, I learned about the SOLIDWORKS reseller, Prism Engineering and the employment opportunities that were available. It sounded pretty cool at the time, so I went for it.

My original role at Prism was Applications Engineer. As a small team, we wore a lot of different ‘hats’ and this was just one of them. This role required me to do a lot of demonstrations as well as support the SOLIDWORKS product catalogue. It was a great opportunity for me to explore and get to know the software but also learn the business side of things.

We worked with really cool customers and helped them in so many ways. It was great to see what people were making in all areas of industry as well. Again, with my interests in coding, I also had a chance to work with the SOLIDWORKS Application Programming Interface (API) as well as DriveWorks. There was a lot going on!

Our Marketing Manager left just as we were planning a SOLIDWORKS product launch. There are a lot of things involved in planning this event and we had no one to do it.

Sometimes – you have to take the opportunities when they present themselves, right? That being said, I decided to throw my hat into this new area of the business – I am happy to report that I survived that launch season and things went really well!

Rachel York and I had worked together in the past, and I joined the SOLIDWORKS Community team just after SOLIDWORKS World 2019 – it was a bit surreal to be back in the office of my former employer watching the event via social media knowing I would be joining the team soon!

Sean, we’d love to learn a bit more about what you’ve been up to as Senior Strategy and Community Manager. What are some of the programs you have been creating and managing?

When I joined the team at SOLIDWORKS, I felt really fortunate as it was during a time of a lot of change, not just in our industry, but around the world.

There are 2 programs that I have really enjoyed creating and working on since joining SOLIDWORKS – the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program and the SOLIDWORKS Influencer Program.

SOLIDWORKS Champions

Our goal of the SOLIDWORKS Champions program was to acknowledge and connect community members from around the world that go above and beyond.

Over the last 20 years, there have been so many people in the community that have had a lot to contribute and share. While many SOLIDWORKS user group leaders are part of this program, we wanted to make sure we invited everyone that had something to contribute.

We created this environment for people to get together to share their stories, passion, and expertise with each other. The Champions program was launched about a year ago, and I am thrilled to say that we have over 300 members that represent at least 40 countries from around the world.

Members of the SOLIDWORKS Champions program are given an opportunity to take part in lots of programs where they may have a chance to see things early on in development.

Whether there are Champions that have volunteered to work with R&D and give feedback on the development of a product or working with Product Management on beta testing a new product – it really gives us a chance to get feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

We host a bi-weekly meeting and it’s not uncommon to have a subject bring about a healthy debate. We are fortunate that we have members of the program that aren’t afraid to disagree – I think it’s healthy and gives a lot of perspective. Some members of Champions have even worked with the Certification Team on new programs and certification exams.

Looking back over the last year, I almost feel that this program could not have come at a better time. During a time when the world has been in different phases of lockdown and meeting through virtual environments, we have been connecting all of these people. In some way, we will hold a special memory of the creation of this group that we can look back on 5 or 10 years from now.

SOLIDWORKS Influencers

One of the things I really enjoyed doing before I joined SOLIDWORKS was creating content to support the community. Even now, I love creating videos to post on YouTube.

When we set out to create the SOLIDWORKS Influencer program, we wanted to partner with sort of high-level third-party content creators (most of them are on YouTube).

We have a lot of products and many of our users may not be familiar with them. Working with some of these YouTube personalities such as Jeremy Fielding,  Hacksmith and Linus Tech Tips are bringing interesting and educational SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Works stories to light. It’s a lot of fun working with them on these projects.

I’m really excited to work on both SOLIDWORKS Champions and Influencers as they have allowed me to embrace things I really enjoy doing – working with SOLIDWORKS, creating content and storytelling. These programs create a lot of value for a lot of people.

There’s More to Come

It was a pleasure speaking with Sean, learning about his role at SOLIDWORKS and hearing about his time creating and working on the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program and the SOLIDWORKS Influencer Program.

Look out for Part Two where we will be continuing our conversation with Sean about how the pandemic has impacted the SOLIDWORKS Community and 3DEXPERIENCE World.

3DEXPERIENCE World 2022: Save the Date

This year 3DEXPERIENCE World will offer a hybrid event February 6-9, 2022.

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