9 ½ years is a long time. Most soldiers serve what’s called a 6+2 – six years active, two years what’s called inactive reserve. I ended up serving 9 ½ years due to what’s called Stop Loss after my unit was called to active duty in November 2003. To make an incredibly long story short…I was one of the Truckmasters of an Army Reserve transportation company. A transportation company with M915 tractors without armor. Running convoy operations in a convertible wasn’t our idea of a good time, so we went to work. The maintenance platoon mocked up something that might work, I modeled it up in Autodesk Inventor, created manufacturing drawings and assembly instructions, and we ended up installing our “armor kit” on over 3,000 vehicles in less than 3 months.
There’s a great story about this picture… I’ll tell you over a beer sometime. I’m on the left.
Ok, back on track. We didn’t do it to talk about it 12 years later in a blog. We did it to save lives. In retrospect that is the single greatest trait you will find in a Veteran. The ability to see a problem at its most critical level, develop a plan of action, and execute. This is where what I do now, and a problem that needs to be addressed merges. Too many of our fellow veterans are having a hard time finding meaningful employment upon returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a problem that we at Autodesk have a responsibility to help alleviate. We can and should make a difference by helping Veterans learn how to use our technology to solve design challenges, and gain meaningful and lasting employment.
So how exactly can Autodesk help? First thing is that virtually all of our software is available at no cost to anyone that wants to learn how to use it. Students, Educators, Hobbyists, and of course Veterans. Check out what’s available here – http://www.autodesk.com/education/home but that isn’t really the purpose of this post.
Free software only gets you so far. You need training, and every soldier I know prefers some level of instructor led, community oriented, and project based learning tools. That, combined with a little half-right-face, push-until-I-get-tired type of motivation is always a good time, too. This is where my team fits in… Now, I haven’t exactly asked our CO (or CEO in this case…) if this is cool, but as you guys know, sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness, and when it’s for the right reasons you usually don’t even have to go there. This is just the right thing to do.
Every two weeks my team leads a virtual, instructor led class for our commercial (paid subscription) customers for Fusion 360, Autodesk’s next generation Product Innovation Platform. I want to personally invite any Veteran to attend these classes, and have ongoing direct access to any of the product experts in the community and those on my team as you learn the software. No matter your motivation to learn; to gain employment, run your own machine shop, solve your own design challenges, or pursue an idea to improve something.
I’m not asking you to be a commercial subscriber to get into these training sessions, I’m just asking you to send me an email letting us know the following:
- Branch of Service (Country if other than the U.S.)
- Experience with design tools (none, some, already a ninja)
- Objective (learn something new, gain employment, make something great)
And that’s it.
So here’s what I’d like to you to do next. Check out what Fusion 360 is all about by watching the video below.
Next, go here – http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview and click the link to download the free trial. From there, it’s easy to register as a hobbyist/startup to get a year of free use.
If learning how to use design and engineering tools is something you are interested in, we want to help. We owe it to you. Drop me an email at email@example.com with the details described above and let’s do this.
OIF II March 2004 – April 2005
Truckmaster, 172nd Transportation Company