Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I suspect that it isn't very widely known, but knowledge and proficiency with CAD tools used by engineering departments, is not of much, if any importance. The only important thing is if the engineers "like" interacting with you. The supposed philosophy in our country,  that if you work hard and are good at something, that those you work with and/or for, will appreciate you and your work is totally false. I've had several engineers give me something they were having difficulty with, just to have them be perturbed by the fact that I was able to complete it when they weren't able to. I can't recall a single time that they were pleased or thankful. Most of the engineers I've experienced, gladly sacrifice good, productive and efficient use of the CAD tool for someone they liked interacting with. Of course there's a serious conflict of interest and ethics involved for the company to allow the engineers to cost the company so much due to the sacrifice of good, efficient CAD data and usage.
I've had several experiences like being given a highly inaccurate assembly model while at ECS, to place another assembly into, and base a design upon that highly inaccurate assembly model. Of course a design referencing, and based on a horrible model, has almost no chance of resulting in it fitting up properly.

Broan - Contract Designer

Nothing good to say here either, a ridiculous CAD administrator, a boss with an attitude and poor treatment of contractors so the employees could feel important, or at least more important than contractors. It was also another low producing engineering department, they're a lot like parasites bleeding the entire system, I've run into a lot of the attitude that they think they're somehow, very important, can waste time and money, hold the company back and sacrifice productivity, but that they are also somehow deserving.They also blatantly practice mobbing tactics.

Modine Manufacturing - Contract Designer

This experience is similar to ECS/Carlisle culturally, and it's also a very good example of really poor CAD administration. They had a CAD administrator that was obviously in his position for some reason like internal politics, perhaps just that the CEO "likes" him. CAD wise it was also similar to MPC in that they had multiple CAD systems and as far as I could tell there was very, very little useful administration of any kind. The productivity of the engineering department was probably the lowest I've ever seen anywhere, it was such a political mess that it was a bit of a circus, but in a negative way, especially for designers. Someone would create a design which had several flaws apparently due to poor usage of the CAD tool, but they would make it a standard that had to be followed and it couldn't be addressed or improved upon because that person had design authority over that product line. Some of those "flaws" created fairly major hurdles when creating new parts and designs which, those standards applied to.
I had engineers who didn't discuss much of anything so you could address anything, provide misleading information and then complain that the result wasn't what they wanted or that you didn't follow his instructions, even though the misleading/conflicting information was obviously intended to provide them with that result and complaint. One engineer in particular just simply didn't like anything I gave her. I've had quite a bit of experience with accommodating for multiple and similar configurations as well as limiting the total number of parts, but she was either purposely not going to like anything, had no or limited experience doing the above, or possibly had totally different experience, methods, or opinion of how to accomplish the design goals, because it simply couldn't result in what we were supposed to accomplish.
It was also similar to ECS in both the backstabbing and creating their own personal little world for themselves, benefiting only themselves and feeling very exclusive, which was only an illusion they created for themselves. One day I left at the end of the day and the CEO practically walked into me, and then walked out to the parking lot right behind me. Once I got into my car and pulled away from my parking spot he was right behind me again, positioning himself so his headlights were pointing in toward me. I personally suspect that he then made a claim that I flipped in off, which I didn't do, in fact I was driving defensively trying to get away from him. I had a very low opinion of him, largely due to my observation of him in the lunch room where he seemed to have a table for himself and other "alpha males", sort of like his entourage or posse. The other reason I had a low opinion of him was because of another observation related to the staffing at the corporate headquarters where I was working. I only worked there for six months, and didn't see everyone, but I only noticed two African Americans who weren't part of the entirely African American cleaning crew that came in at the end of the day. Other than Caucasians, the only other race I noticed was Indian, most of whom were in the FEA group, apparently they were of the belief that Indians are especially or uniquely talented in this particular area. The one I worked with, Issac Dandan, was extremely difficult, and appeared to have zero comprehension of the CAD tool, and from some of his instruction it would appear that he didn't have a very good grasp of model geometry either, which seems impractical for someone doing FEA work, something which reinforced for me, that he was intentionally being difficult. Much of what he requested was incompatible with the model. For example some of his "ideas" that he wanted to look at for the inlet undid some of what he was saying performed well but was totally incompatible with it. So he was either being intentionally difficult, or he's kind of dumb. From my experience with him, I can say he was totally clueless concerning the use of CAD, but much of it could have been his being intentionally difficult.
They appear to bring in a lot of people from GE Healthcare in Waukesha, from the way I was treated I would say that it's some form of cooperation between the two companies. They made it about as impossible for me to do my job as they possibly could, in fact, much of the time I had little or no work to do. Even though I sought out some feed back from my supervisor, I couldn't get them to to openly communicate or discuss anything useful. From my experience, I can say that it was pretty obvious that they were purposely being difficult, with the intention of claiming that I was being difficult. Some individual that officially had some oversight of contractors happened to mention that he lived near some ECS people.

Added 8/6/2015
This company was a privately held, probably "family owned", and it's still very obvious from the inside. It's another environment where the people and management are a reflection of the CEO, and considering the CEO, that's not a good thing. We've got to put an end to the philosophy that those in business management should have near total freedom to operate as they see fit, we must establish stronger guidelines and ethics in the business world, beyond just sexual harassment and protections for just protected groups, only. The abuses of authority within companies like this one need to be eliminated, but with our politicians having the hands in the pockets of business that will probably never happen. Is the ability to abuse authority really supposed to be the incentive to attract what they claim to be the "best" management? Employees like Mark Johnson, his supervisor the head of Product Development, Issac Dandan, Karen Sutherland, and several more whose names I don't remember.

GE Healthcare, Contract Designer

My boss here, Mike Maki, was probably the very worst boss I've had, he liked to whisper nasty insulting things so he couldn't be overheard. He did a lot of intentionally bad micro-managing, but all responsibility runs downhill, with nothing sticking to him, the responsible party. He was also working with a contract project manager who lived near the recruiter that recruited me, and he had been the head of project management at ECS/Carlisle IT, and had been fired by Carlisle.
An example of his tactics, I ended up with all of the plastic covers all of a sudden after being kept away from them. They were late getting them finished up and released to the molder, even though he stalled progress on them for a month allowing someone to work on them part time, offsite. Several of them were modeled very, very poorly, so they required far more work than should have been required to make additional changes that hadn't yet been completed. Since I had been kept away from them I had pretty limited specific knowledge about them, but all of a sudden I was expected to be far more familiar with them than my exposure would actually permit. His little trick here was to wait until I had finished several of them, referencing what had been done so far, then suddenly informing me that the areas where they matched up, really shouldn't match up the way they do, something he admittedly was long aware of but hadn't had the previous person change, and didn't bother to mention to me until 1/3rd to 1/2 of them had drawings created and had been released to the molder as complete. He had a lot of previous experience with covers over 30+ years there, and at least a year with these particular covers and something like 2-3 years with this specific machine. Another example, he would give me a lot of verbal information about one part that hadn't really been designed yet. And then the same or next day he would give me a bunch of information and work which had to be done first. His intent was two fold, one being that I would probably forget many of the details for that yet to be designed part, and secondarily, I would never have a chance to get that part designed because he kept me occupied with work that was running late, and involved far more work than he was claiming, all while he was fuming and falsely claiming that I was remodeling a part or parts which I wasn't but they definitely needed to, because the part/parts were failing miserably due to fairly bad design mythology and modeling, and just plain shoddy work because the previous guy knew it would be my problem to deal with. Also, he didn't create geometry that was very conducive to rounding, future modification or not creating a lot of geometry checks, and creating a lot of unnecessary and bad references which added a lot of time and work to making changes to his models. Since I have had a lot of experience making design changes to my designs, and being able to work with Design Automation, I have learned and use several techniques that make it far easier and efficient to make model/design changes, so I know something about this. These are only a couple of examples of his every day management of my time and work on this assignment. Of course, while he's running interference on a daily basis, he's also dissatisfied with the progress. He was a nasty person to be around, his attitude and arrogance were very offensive, as were his many "opinions" he voiced. His actions are spelled out in the below article.

While I've experienced malicious management and manipulation several places, this guy was one of the most obvious and blatant one I've experienced, but definitely not the only one. Perhaps during 30+ years working here, he may have been screwed over so much that he had no qualms about screwing people, especially less than human contractors. It was probably his way of getting back at his employer for the poor treatment he received over the years, all while not being considered to be the responsible person. I also believe much of this had to do with job security for the existing employees with quite a bit of seniority, they wanted GE to believe that they couldn't be replaced, and used resulting problems with work done by contractors as proof of that. His "designer" that was an official employee couldn't, or simply didn't complete much Pro-E work, he had been an Ideas guy, but he still wanted to dictate to contractors, and have contractors take his horrible model work, especially within Assembly Mode. He would check in some of the worst crap a designer could create and we were supposed to get it into the assembly structure properly and in the correct location and do his drawings. He was also rather offensive to interact with, much like his boss Mike, but in addition to being arrogant he was also very obese, but thought he was quite admirable.
Again, their CAD guys weren't very good, but they had just switched over from another CAD system a few years ago, they were far too proud to admit their lack of knowledge and ability, apparently believing they had a lot more understanding of the tool and it's use than they actually have, but still wanting to judge and dictate to others who were far more knowledgeable than they were. It looks as though all contractors end up leaving here mad. Their spectrum of understanding of using Pro-E, both as a design tool, as well as the efficiency it can provide, is far more limited than they will probably ever know. It's much like a person who only sees about one-third of the picture, and acting upon it and make decisions as though they had full comprehension of it. This is where I think our nation went so very wrong on the idea that seniority should be thought of as important. Sometimes there is value to it, there would be some value to having designed covers for machines before, learning what worked well and expanding on it, and correcting what didn't work well. But that isn't the case here, they simply leverage the fact that they as well as the boss are a sort of club and can use it as an advantage in the workplace, especially against contractors. All they actually do is waste time and money till they get the retirement they will get, never really having to compete for their jobs because the boss who has 30 years there will reinforce and protect them and the entire lot can feel superior and exclusive once they've gotten rid of the contractors. Of course when problems develop, many of which they caused in one way or another, they simply blame the contractors that are no longer there, who can't defend themselves or explain how or why something ended up a certain way.

ECS/Carlisle IT - Designer

As far as maliciousness, dirty tricks, and deceit, this place ranks very, very high. Highly unqualified, and self-serving opinions being made and happily accepted is a daily occurrence. The "culture" here is everything that is wrong with our society, the worst of the worst, with self-interests being the main factor for everything. Some guy named Jeff Behlendorf who had totally mastered believability, is a master BSr who always claimed to know what should be what, but as far as Pro-E goes he was either an outright liar, or was vastly over confident about his actual ability/knowledge, personally I lean toward malicious liar. He was of the belief that Pro-E administration is remembering all of the messed up things that had been done, and never moving beyond them to actually make Pro-E work the way it's intended to. I believe that it's foolish to remain inefficient simply because of previous misuse of the tool, whether it's due to lack of experience or gross incompetence. Much like waste in manufacturing continues to add up every day, continuing poor practices and inefficiency with your CAD tool will continue costing the company money and time until you end/correct the wasteful practices. Frankly, I think it's really a case of either, not knowing how bad some of the work really was, or intentionally hiding it by never acknowledging it. It was obvious to me that Behlendorf and the rest of the engineers here were trying to force the original owner to sell out by negatively impacting profits and efficiency because they felt that they weren't being treated appropriately. And that people they didn't like were being scapegoated as a rouse to cover it up. My observation is that is how he created the illusion that he knew everything for those above him, which is beneficial for promotions and influence.

An example of one of his tricks is when he sent me to "help" the guys in manufacturing with a mapkey. Jeff claimed that his mapkey supposedly set the bend allowance, I tested that out by running his mapkey and checking the bend allowance to see if it had changed to something appropriate. The test conclusively proved that it did not set the bend allowance, and I emailed him informing him of that. Then shortly after that one of the less competent designer, at least on Pro-E, had some issue with his parts not having the correct bend allowance assigned, something that would have been caused by people believing Jeff's mapkey was actually assigning it, which it wasn't doing. I think they took the opportunity to fraudulently place the blame on me, even though I had nothing to do with it and I was the one that finally got their bend tables to work as they are intended to, which they hadn't the entire time I was there. Once I got the bend tables and material assignment to work properly, the parts were actually getting the correct bend allowances assigned to them prior to going the manufactures guys with extremely limited Pro-E capabilities. Frankly, they were so horribly inept with Pro-E that they never should have been considered to be qualified for their jobs, but they were related to others there and especially close family friends with the owner, and the correct religion.

Another example of his tactics, the evening we made the switch over to Wildfire 5.0, he took it upon himself to write some sort of script to change all of the search paths within their CAD directory. When I came in the next day people were failing to pull in the correct files or files at all. He had done it incorrectly with the result being a totally invalid path. I had to go through the directory and correct the search paths in order to correct the issue. No one stated it directly, but knowing them I'm all but positive that it was made out to reflect negatively on me when it was actually Jeff Behlendorf who had, almost certainly and purposely caused that issue so he could throw me under the bus, which is his primary tactic. Well, actually, his primary tactic is BS, which then leads directly to throwing people under the bus.

Jeff was by far, not the only one here using dirty/dishonest tactics and BS, it is the culture of this place, he's just the most prolific at it and one of the most influential. His tactics pretty much set the tone here because you were going to have to deal with him in some way, so you were going to be subjected to it and it became the norm here. The main issue with these methods and practices is the victims. The victim is all of us, those who are working hard and doing a good job, the employer/company with higher costs and losing good people in favor of the malicious and deceitful who are only obsessed with themselves, their status, position and salary, who get a big ego trip from screwing people. Of course, with the higher costs companies incur, comes higher prices for their products, so the entire country and economy is harmed as a result. It goes all the way to trade deficits because the prices are higher than they should be. These people are totally oblivious to how harmful their behavior and tactics are because they're all self-obsessed narcissists.

Another example of a major screw up that cost them time and money every single day, and very likely until the company either corrects it or ceases operation, is the method that I think Jeff  probably implemented to provide additional spare hardware in their installation kits. He always felt that whatever he "thought" or did was unquestionable, and he was always defending what had been done, so poorly. This description is very PTC CAD specific, but they created a yes/no parameter, which results in only two possibilities, in their parts, opposed to a string parameter which would be scalable, or far more versatile. They wanted three results, something you really can't get with two possibilities. They wanted supplied rivets to be multiplied by 10%, and they wanted to add one extra for other hardware like Hi-Loks, bolts, nuts and washers. The relation multiplied the existing quantity by 10%, and added one, so when the quantity reached ten, you would actually get two extras instead of one. Actually, because of rounding, a quantity of five or six would generate two spares. Rivets are pretty inexpensive, as well as washers, and for the most part nuts, but a lot of Hi-Loks, screws and bolts aren't, especially when you get into titanium. Then they created a relation in the BOM that would multiply the existing quantity by something like 10%, that relation only multiplied parts with a yes value for that parameter, so they were giving away way far too many of the more expensive hardware than they wanted or intended. That was by far, not the only issue this caused, since it only existed in the BOM on the drawing, it wouldn't be reflected anywhere else, so if you exported the component list from the assembly, or from the PDM system, the totals would be different from what the drawing's BOM would call for, which caused issues with other departments like purchasing and project management, or anyone else wanting a parts list, especially prior to drawing completion. Considering the criteria they were given, that they wanted spare hardware of 10% additional for rivets, but just one extra for other hardware, this solution did not satisfy the criteria and only added unnecessary and undesirable cost. This result fits very well with a very strong suspicion of mine that many of the engineers and engineering management here, was trying to hurt the company financially so they might be able to take control of it, or so it would be sold to someone more aligned with their views and desires.

Added 8/6/2015
Jeff Behlendorf is by far not the only or the very worst person here, but with the influence he acquired, he's one of the most dangerous. There's no doubt in my mind that he as well as others "campaigned" against me when Carlisle IT bought the company. I really don't know anyone here, that I had any dealings with, that I trust or respect. There were a "few", meaning three, maybe four that weren't unfriendly, and I don't have enough experience with all of them to say that every single one of them is a horrible person, but since all of the ones I did have enough experience with to make that observation, and since they were all so close, inter-related, and so similar, it's pretty safe to assume they're probably not exceptional people either. They do seem to believe they, as a group are the definition of "good people" and everyone else is not. To name a few of the worst I did have far too much experience with, most of the engineering staff and all of the design staff, and quite a few in manufacturing, amongst others in sales, purchasing and office support staff. The very worst after Behlendorf would be Tommy Antczak, Jeff Bitant, a brat named Tim something, then the rest of the engineering staff. The entirety of the electrical engineering group was really a nasty bunch especially two of the younger ones I was sitting next to for a while, Matt Risic and Scott, major college brats and their buddy Nick. I can't leave out a nasty pair, Mike Boettcher and Matt Rieck, brats isn't descriptive enough for those two, they acted like they were in a frat house most of the time. There was also a Hispanic family, a mother who worked in housekeeping, two daughters and a son, They were a problem for me the entire time I was there, sometimes a little less than other times, but none the less a problem over the entire time. They seemed to have special privileges with the original owner, I always suspected one of the daughters may have been a half-sister of the one of the owner's relatives. I worked on a Saturday once and that sister came to work in her high school cheerleader outfit, there's only one reason I could think of for doing that, she was probably hoping to be a temptation of some sort, and then make accusations even if they had to fabricate them. So I decided that I needed to avoid putting myself in a position where they could do that and limited working there on Saturdays as much as I could. The other sister had gotten an engineering degree and was always a total snot to me, I really can't remember a time that she wasn't, but she put forth a rather contrite charm for everyone else. The entire design staff of mostly incompetent Pro-E users led by Steve Kantorski, some of the most dishonest, malicious and mostly incompetent people you'll ever experience, and yes, they do reflect significantly on their lead, the total brat HR guy, Nathan Schoepp, that Carlisle brought in, and last but definitely not least, the President of Carlisle IT, Johnny Berlin.

One of the most bogus "claims" here is that I wasn't following their standards on what should be sub-assemblies that they took a short-cut with by just creating simplified reps instead of properly making the sub-assemblies. It was something they could get by with when the sub-assemblies (Kits) weren't used anywhere else, but they admittedly had difficulty knowing what should be in the "Kit" because the structure was all inclusive. I was given the task of creating "Kits" which could be used in other assemblies/installations, and the parts would often be in different locations. The only practical approach to accomplish that is to make them separate assemblies and assemble it as a sub-assembly into the assemblies/installations. And then, in order to satisfy the parts being in different locations, the only practical option to satisfy that, is to make instances and vary the locating dimensions so the parts will be placed and shown in the correct locations. It was like laying in wait for them to pounce and make false accusations that I hadn't followed "their standards" when those "standards" didn't satisfy the requirements I was given to achieve.
They were often saying they might utilize a PDM system, and this proper structuring of parts and assemblies works best within the PDM system. It also drastically reduces the time it takes to add a "Kit" into multiple installations/assemblies, by just assembling all of the parts as an assembly, instead of the time required to assemble each and every part seperately, as well as reducing the chances of adding in incorrect parts or installing them incorrectly.Then in a PDM system, when changes occur to the "kits" you would be forced to revise all of the upper level assemblies instead of just the "kit", and you would have to do the work multiple times rather than the one time it should take.

Added 10-15
Another apparent case of extreme Foolishness or Fraud on their part, which was always based on Behlendorf's stated "opinions", always presented as absolute fact, has to do with my having turned on a configuration option notifying the users that a Geometry Check had just been created as a feature is created. Otherwise the user would have no idea that he's just created bad geometry which can be a problem for FEA Analysis and when the model is exported as a Step or IGES file to other CAD systems, as well as on following features, and especially rounds. They started to see this notifications and conveniently, foolishly, or deceitfully made it out to be a result of my having "broken Pro-E". You have to be pretty dumb Pro-E wise to come to such a conclusion, so that leaves a lot of room for it being a deceitful claim to others who would have absolutely no idea they were being lied to, including possible future employers. It is Behlendorf's method of operation, because of what he believes to be an all knowing, extreme intellect, and how extremely stupid he thinks other people are, to jump to these assumptions so quickly, and conveniently. They are great opportunities to sound brilliant and throw other people under the bus. Throwing people under the bus should only occur when if there was actually a problem, notifying sloppy modelers that they're creating horrible models isn't a problem, it's a step in the correct direction for them to become aware of how bad they techniques and models are. There's an assumption of the foolish, that people in positions such as Behlendorf's, will want what's best, these examples are proof positive that it's a very false assumption.

One of their favorite tricks was to only say hello or be friendly whenever they had a "witness" standing by, or I also noticed it usually coincided with the individual just having screwed me by misrepresenting something I was supposedly responsible for to someone. They would very rarely say anything to me, but they would catch me unprepared to respond, and say something and then their "witness" would state that I was unfriendly to them. The other trick was to start an argument with me, or say something ridiculous and/or false and misleading which I would either respond to appropriately, or just leave the discussion because it was so ridiculous. As usual they would take the discussion past my supervisor or other "witness" so they had the opportunity to take it as being something negative on my part.

Race, religion, family relations and personal friendships rule, not only as the main hiring criteria, but also in who is believed no matter what they say. Even though they had several experienced users, most of the work was pretty bad, only slightly better than what I found at Fleetguard. Along with some other companies, they prefer to establish their own little isolated world where they rule, and prefer to pretend that the rest of the world and what they were doing doesn't matter, that it is their little world to make their own and personally benefit from. If your part of the "in crowd" or related to the right people your "errors" and poor work are overlooked, if you're not, every little thing is exaggerated to ridiculous levels and things that aren't issues, are made out to be issues. This is one of the companies that does nothing but profit from and add to the costs of everything. Slandering people is prevalent and something they feel proud of and boast about. The dirty tricks, manipulation and deceit aren't limited to the engineering department, it's through and through, and a major tool of the HR department. Some examples of my contributions which also shows their lack of knowledge of and poor usage of Pro-E:
1. I implemented several things which permitted automatic and accurate information to be passed on from model to drawings, much having to do with repeat region BOMs.
2. I gave them the 2D repeat region table for family table instances, they had been manually creating non-parametric tables for “tabulated” type drawings.
3. Sold them on a note directory, no one knew, especially newer people how notes should be worded, and they were doing a lot of revisions that simply reworded/corrected notes on drawings. We had the individuals who knew how they should read, and built up a directory of notes that could be pulled into drawings even if you didn’t know what it should say.
4. I also created a few notes that included parameter symbols that could read the values from the model or drawing parameters when it was brought in.
5. I corrected a problem that was preventing Pro-E from finding bulk item parts for assemblies, and setup some bulk item parts and a bulk item “start part” which would be read into repeat regions correctly. They had problems retrieving the bulk item parts, so they were using empty parts and then manually writing relations for each and every one so they would display correctly in the BOMs.
6. I created a batch of Template Drawings which automatically created some defined views. I created a mapkey that would automatically retrieve the repeat region table, and automatically place it in the correct location.
7. There were several missing “standard” parts, Dzus Rails, Blanking Plates, and Terminal strips that I created actual parametric models of that could be family tabled, modified via parameters or simply created quickly by doing a save-as. I did this when I had projects requiring these parts and they weren't available due to horrible CAD work and irresponsible people/work. Several of the length dependent rails and strips were often mirrored over and then cut to length.
8. More things than I can probably ever recall over nearly five years there.

The entire crew, including the design lead, was totally oblivious to using the CAD tool to their advantage, they obviously felt using it poorly provided themselves with job security. The more modeling they had to do the more work there was, and perhaps, since they were miserable they could cost the company money and feel they were coming out on top. I also suspected that having to constantly model parts, even standard off the shelf parts was so they could bill the customer for that additional, but very unnecessary time. Airlines used to just pay whatever it cost, so people/companies could take advantage and add to their profits.

Here are some other examples of my work done here and elsewhere, which has made less capable/qualified co-workers feel threatened most everywhere I've worked. The biggest issue in the workplace appears to be more immediate superiors who have done a poor job of utilizing the CAD tool and don't want any improvements over what they did, because it might affect their status and expose that they hadn't actually done that good of a job.

Here's an example of total incompetence and irresponsibility here, They would often be required by an engineer or manufacturing to include some data in the BOM that wasn't included in the component's parameters. What they had been doing, apparently from the time they switched from AutoCAD to Pro-E, was to type a little note out in an empty spot on the drawing and then drag it and place it over a cell of the table. Non-users would have no idea how horrible this practice is, the table is "live" or parametric which means it updates as the assembly model changes, a row can be removed or move as others are added and/or removed. So what happens is the note would inevitably end up displayed in the wrong row so the usefulness of the information it conveys is no longer with the component it pertained to and is now a source for confusion  since it's in the row with a different component that the information does not pertain to. This was an issue for the people trying to follow the drawing, caused revisions, consuming time and money. It was a huge frustration to me when I had to redo this on some of my drawings because it was so extremely incorrect.
The only and correct method for getting data into the BOM that wasn't part of the component's parameters is to have a designated comment column. This functionality relates the cell to the row for the component it relates to, so if the row moves, which they inevitably will, the note stays in the cell in the appropriate row. When I was finally permitted to make some changes this was one of the things I implemented, when I attempted to discuss/educate the others in the department it was pretty much ignored, they didn't want to hear it. The obvious thing here, is that they really didn't want to correct things which were problems, time consuming, and actual issues. Even the people who would apparently benefit from correcting these things highly resented the corrections, apparently because they would bare some responsibility for the department doing it incorrectly for so long and costing so much difficulty and expense. I was probably the only one utilizing this functionality, but at least I wasn't wasting time double checking if the data was still displaying in the correct row or doing revisions of my drawings to correct it.

This is just one of many atrocious missuses of their CAD tool here that I worked to correct while I was there. 

Their method of operation was to screw things up, and they were pretty good at it, intentionally, as well as blindly. You could tell these guys how to do it, what  was required to get it to work, and they would still screw it up and then try to fraudulently place the blame on you. From my experience here I can say they felt I caused them to be blamed or risk being blamed when I uncovered or corrected these things, so they would fraudulently blame me for their supposed difficulties doing what their job is supposed to be. As a Designer, our primary role is getting what needs to be done, done, correctly and efficiently. According to this, they were pathetically unqualified.

Fleetguard - Contract Designer

This was also a bad experience, they had been purchased by Cummins, and there were obvious signs of strife between them and their new owners. It was also one of the biggest political messes I worked in, it was far more important to have friends or relations, than it was to do your job well, or actually be qualified. My supervisor seemed to have a huge chip on his shoulder about something and the only time he had anything to do with us "contractors" was to sign our time sheets. I remember hearing one of the lead engineers saying something about wanting to set us up at tables, because that's how he started off as a co-op. They had a very influential checking group that was manned by high school graduates. Debating what should go on drawings was a daily occurrence, and whatever you did on the drawing was totally undone by checking, but they couldn't or wouldn't define what they wanted so you could skip redoing drawings. I came to the conclusion that it was just a matter of insiders wanting to keep outsiders out and preserve their jobs and status within the company, and they enjoyed being able to screw with people. I think I was caught up in the middle, so to say, in that I had committed to following Cummins CAD standards, but they were resisting Cummins, which I was unaware of. I believe Cummins' standards are/were very good, but their people hadn't actually adopted them, they were very, very different. They had been getting away with really shoddy work for a long time, and I believe their difficulty with Cummins standards were both, stubbornness and not liking being told to do it differently than they had been, and simply not understanding the purposes and not being good enough at it.

MPC - Product Designer

As far as ownership and management, this was one of the very worst companies I worked for. The guy heading the design group was a personal friend of the owner and was referred to by most everyone as "Satan". It was probably the most hostile environment I worked in, a very uncooperative work environment. They used several CAD programs, so the Pro-E usage was kind of ridiculous. I was given the wrong reference/example for a cap design by "Satan", which ended up being a problem. The, then lead designer for Pro-E work was really a Catia designer, and was actually pretty bad on Pro-E.

Bergstrom - Contract Designer

I got stuck being assigned to an obnoxious snot someone decided was management material. He had done "some" Pro-E work, so he thought he knew it all and everyone else was stupid. He did an intentionally horrible job of communicating or providing accurate information/instructions. He's the second from the bottom on my list of least respected engineers.

Swenson Spreader - Designer

They had a "company" desire to be able to use Design Automation using Pro/Program, it was actually a goal of the General Manager, and the reason they purchased Pro-E. When I came on-board they had just one user, who was beyond clueless, but he thought his BSME made him a scientist and brilliant. After several months of no movement on the Design Automation project, which had been delayed a very long time because of the clueless "scientist" and his foolishness, I finally got a chance to start on it. I was doing it successfully, as evidenced by the video I uploaded here, or here. Since my boss and the clueless scientist had delayed for so long I was making both of them look bad and they began trying to create every problem, delay and criticism into the fray as they could to slow progress and probably claim I wouldn't be able to do it. I would come in, in the morning and couldn't get on the server, or on the ERP system. While the ability to do the automation using Pro/Program was the issue for them, they began throwing other things at me like lack of experience with company internal workings, and being unfamiliar with it's parts, components and products. The project also became about redesign and simplification by reducing very similar parts with small differences. I totally had the project under control but all of the roadblocks and mobbing within my work area, mostly by the "scientist" and some friends he brought into the department, I ended up quitting because of the stress they were creating, and wasn't being resolved. The biggest roadblock was my boss, who lost the General Manager position to the, then General Manager, and often verbalized and expressed his hatred for him and everything he did, became unavailable to me even though the product line I was Automating was, and had been his for more than a decade. I never imagined this type of spiteful undermining of work being allowed, or simply existing in the workplace. This "scientist" ended up becoming a lawyer because he never belonged in engineering, because his only strength was memorization and his only demonstrated skill was eating breakfast and being on the Internet for the first hour at work. I was in a meeting, after the General Manager left they all talked about what an idiot he was and that with a few more problems they hoped he would get fired. I'm pretty certain that a design they forced on me, was one of the problems they were hoping would contribute to that happening.

CAT - Drafter/Designer

I worked in four positions in and around CAT in IL, most of the people were miserable and unhappy. They were, perhaps because of a company policy, more polite than most other places I worked. This is one of the places where I was given bogus instructions, most likely so he could claim how stupid I was. I remember a support person who seemed quite good, his boss who wasn't all that good must have felt threatened by his expertise because his contract wasn't being renewed and he was leaving. They were loosing a good worker and knowledge, just so a CAT person could protect himself. Perhaps the contract person was getting a lot of good feedback and he was concerned about his future. I had some major difficulty with some Pro-E support people, mainly a fellow I was working next to and was moved to support with administrative rights. Mysteriously, soon after his move I began experiencing a lot of file tampering on my computer. In fact I recall coming back to my computer once after having locked it, and it was unlocked. While ACCS was the worst as far as various abuses of ethics, such as soliciting music to copy from subordinates and being extremely dishonest, Butler was also highly malicious but in a less obvious way.


These are the books I first learned from, I hunted these down from regional colleges and on the Internet. The one at the bottom-right teaches what many of the designers I've worked with are missing.

When I first tackled Design Automation this is the book I started with. There's quite a bit of disbelief and a great deal of incorrect assumptions concerning Design Automation using Pro/Program. Most people couldn't be more wrong about its capabilities as well as its limits. Most Pro-E/Creo users will talk about it as if they were able to use it effectively, but they're always "full of it".

The update manuals I've used to update myself to Creo with, it appears to me that a lot of people that learn by memorizing step-by-step, think it's different than Wildfire. I totally disagree, I find that it's still Pro-E under the UI, and really haven't had any difficulty with the transition. It's my personal experience that those who learn by memorizing step-by-step tutorials have difficulty with CAD because most every model, design and assembly is different and more importantly, it's very different from learning Excel, so it prevents improving upon skills and methods as well as continuous improvement which is encouraged in every other area or business.

I've also supplemented my work experience and skill-set by learning functionality that isn't always available due to licensing, or functionality that I haven't been allowed to utilize for various reasons, usually because the rest of the group didn't know how to use it, or due to time constraints imposed upon me by project/engineering management.

I also worked on learning to use Mechanica, I'm extremely impressed by it's ability to leverage the parametric model to do Sensitivity and Optimization Studies. It's extremely powerful and is done in an "Automated" fashion so it can run through multiple iterations in a small amount of time. Anyone sacrificing this amazing functionality should be fired and run out of the engineering profession. The two obvious reasons for robbing a company of this functionality are the lack of ability to actually successfully utilize CAD functionality, and students using/learning Ansys in school. On the CAD side, very, very few people are good enough, or have advanced beyond "training" to be able to make parametric models effectively, which is also the case with Design Automation using Pro/Program. While there are probably a number of Analysis people who are advanced enough to utilize this, most of the analysis people I've worked with are pretty horrible with CAD, and minimize it's importance, usually because they are unable, or don't feel the need to. In the engineering field, these people are given a tremendous amount of freedom and authority, as well as a lot of input into decision making so they have a lot of control and influence, which usually includes eliminating the people with CAD skills from the process, as well as hiding and covering up their lack of skill and ability to use the primary tools of engineering.

Here are some other books I've utilized to enhance my ability and knowledge. These books are actually far from the extent of my effort to become as qualified and skilled as I could, I also have a lot of videos and documents I obtained from the Internet. This effort, actually worked against me because co-workers and many supervisors who were designers, or weren't able to learn CAD were either threatened by my ability, or conveniently refused to believe that I'm more capable and competent. Some places, and specifically one place, wanted to work at the level of the "lowest common denominator" as far as CAD ability. Since the most senior people, including the supervisor, in the design group were the least capable, I was supposed to accomplish what they couldn't, but somehow, do it at their skill level. If there's ever been an impossible requirement, I think that has to be it, especially when they have approval, and have little desire to learn too much more than they already do, especially if it requires extra effort.

I also put quite a bit of effort into learning Surfacing, using both Pro/Surface as well as ISDX (Interactive Surface Design Extension). As mentioned above, this is actually a fairly small portion of the resources I obtained and time used doing so. I obtained some training, and everything I could find on the Internet. Then to even further expand on my skills, I found quite a few Catia Surfacing Tutorials and did them using Pro-E/Creo as well as ISDX. The two Cadquest manuals aren't the first I purchased, just the most recent. I always heard, and hear from many designers and hiring managers that Surfacing is only for doing automobile styling. I couldn't disagree more, it's probably the best way to go, most of the time, and even when basic solid modeling is appropriate, there are still a lot of uses for surfaces as the simplest and cleanest way to accomplish quite a few things.

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