April 8, 2020

Chad Franklin on CAD, Communication, and Gratitude

This interview is part of a series featuring the members of our diverse AU community, from speakers and conference attendees to forum participants and online commenters. You are AU.

Chad Franklin

1. What’s your current job role?
I am the corporate CAD coordinator at Associated Engineering, a multidiscipline engineering firm with 1,000 staff in 21 offices across Canada.

2. What are your main areas of expertise and interest?
CAD management and AutoCAD (and AutoCAD-based) software customization (AutoLISP, macros, scripts), including the automation of software configurations. I would consider myself an AutoCAD Sheet Set Manager and AutoCAD Tool Palettes expert, both of which I have extensively leveraged within Associated Engineering. I am also highly interested in promoting drawing production best practices aimed at reducing production budgets while ensuring high-quality design, drawing, and deliverable output.

3. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Creating productivity solutions which assist staff to get from point A to point B in an efficient, streamlined workflow. Being able to help staff whenever a challenge is faced is very rewarding and something that I (frequently) can resolve with my 25 years of experience using Autodesk products.

4. What one challenge in your work would be most satisfying to solve?
The ability to mitigate common errors and inconsistencies, and to promote positive software collaboration through strategic technology solutions. Also the ability to provide “one-click” self-help solutions to common troubleshooting and support requirements (currently in progress).

5. What one thing should new graduates entering your field know?
Effective communication is key! The cost of miscommunication is exponential and negatively impacts project budgets, promotes user frustration, and significantly hampers coordination and collaboration efforts. Stop and listen, contribute, and ask questions.

6. What is your all-time favorite AU class and why?
Sam Lucido’s AU 2013 class, Mighty Macros: Powerful Commands to Pump Up Productivity. Sam’s class was truly inspiring. It triggered my interest in applying AutoCAD customization and best practices, and leveraging efficiencies within available AutoCAD tools and features.

7. What are you most proud of?
Being a member of the Autodesk community, an Autodesk Expert Elite member, and Autodesk University speaker for the past three years. Each year I’ve taught at AU (2017-2019), I’ve been acknowledged as one of the top-rated speakers.

Chad Franklin teaching a class at AU

8. Why do you create, design, or innovate?
In my role as corporate CAD coordinator, I strive to innovate new methods, workflows, and toolsets aimed at redirecting the end user’s focus to design and create the project at hand, rather than expending effort to hunt for CAD standards. These can be preconfigured and available at your fingertips, literally via Tool Palettes as an example. For more information, refer to my class, A CAD Manager’s Guide: Using Tool Palettes to Manage Standards and Configuration, which I taught at AU 2017 and AU 2018.

9. If you could give your 16-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to those with experience and absorb as much as you can. These individuals have been there and conquered many problems or challenges within the industry. Learn from their mistakes/successes and tap into their knowledge base. Consider getting a mentor. Set a game plan with goal posts to aim towards. 

10. Who’s your greatest hero, real or fictional?
My Dad, lost to cancer in 2004. His strength, perseverance, and humor are a few of his traits that I truly admire. I miss him every day.

11. What new skill, personal or professional, would you most like to learn?
Personal: To finally master the art of chopsticks. (Sighs.)
Professional: To learn how to use Revit. (I am primarily an AutoCAD/Civil 3D user.)

12. If you could contribute one thing to making a better world, what would it be?
To somehow convince everyone to take a single moment in their day to slow down (or ideally stop) and just take in the beauty of something—the world around you, your kids, pets, that leaf blowing down the street. Be grateful for what you have and consider that many others in the world may not be as fortunate as you are. The simple things count!

Check out Chad’s profile (and follow him) to learn more about his work and contributions to the AU community.