Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Carl Bass Story

By Tim Grimm

Yesterday Carl Bass announced that he was stepping down as Autodesk CEO.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to share how Mr. Bass made a difference in my life, and in my career. It relates to this site, so I feel it appropriate to do so here.

As some of you may know, I took a rather meandering route to Revit, having first been a US Marine, then a MicroStation and, later, a Bentley BIM guru. It wasn't until my employer chose to make the change to Revit in 2011 that I embraced Revit. Frankly, I had been a vocal resistor until then.

It was shortly after this that I had the pleasure of attending Carl Bass' keynote presentation at the inaugural North American Revit Technology Conference, which was held in Huntington Beach, CA in summer 2011. Carl gave a great presentation, and my perceptions of him from observations at the event, that he was warm, approachable, engaging and engaged, would prove out over the following years.

In early fall 2013, I was visiting Luke Johnson's What Revit Wants blog, as I frequently do, when I noticed a new graphic in the banner stating, "Autodesk Expert Elite." Wondering what that was, I did a quick Internet search and learned that, "The Autodesk Expert Elite program was created to recognize customers around the world who have contributed a significant amount of time, knowledge, and assistance to our customer support community. These people have demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and use an engaging style of collaboration that contributes to a healthy and valuable customer community."

What Revit Whats is a great resource. And, by that time, Revit Add-ons had been at it for about 2-1/2 years and was truly finding its legs, so I thought to myself, "Hey, I wonder if I could qualify for this..."

I must've been feeling my oats that day because I took a rather direct approach and decided to attempt to contact Mr. Bass himself about the program. I sent him a connection request on LinkedIn. He accepted it almost immediately. I then messaged him, introducing myself and the Revit Add-ons site, and expressing interest in joining the Expert Elite program. He responded almost immediately, praising my site and letting me know that he would forward my information to the person in charge of the program, Katinka Sante. Katinka responded the following day, saying, in essence: Great site! You're in; we just need to do the paperwork!

I was so very impressed by Mr. Bass taking the time to field my questions, and by his and Katinka's quick responses. And it was great to be recognized and rewarded for my work.

Autodesk Expert Elite has a number of benefits, including community recognition and access to Autodesk software. Even now the program is small, 330 members according to the Autodesk Expert Elite website, but, at the time, it was literally a handful of people, and I felt, and still feel, very fortunate to be among them.

Ironically, while I figuratively carried Bentley System's water for 20 years, in a single day (after just 2-1/2 years of experience), Autodesk did more for me and my career than Bentley Systems ever had. And that was largely thanks to CEO Carl Bass.

Thank you, Mr. Bass, for the above, and for leading a company that has been, in my experience, a true pleasure to work with. And good luck to you in your future endeavors!

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