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DE 15th Podcast Series: Jeff Ray, SolidWorks

PrintThis month, Desktop Engineering (DE) celebrates its 15th anniversary, with a special print issue featuring articles that reflect on where the industry has been, where it is now, and where it may be heading. In 1995, when DE editors were perfecting the layout of its premiere issue, SolidWorks, an upstart at the time, was also gearing up for the release of its first version. Last week, I turned to SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray to gather his reflections on the past 15 years.

magazine cover“There was great engineering software, but it was very hard to use,” he recalled, looking at the landscape in 1995, “and it wasn’t available to everyone, because it was using hardware and software systems only available to big companies, [who can afford] the financial, HR, and technical resources to back it up … Windows really democratized technology and put it in the hands of those who had ever had it before.”

At the present, he believes, “We’re on the cusp of another platform change with online computing … It’s powerful because it removes barriers we don’t even know we have today. We’re so used to dealing with the limitations of desktop software that we just take them for granted and treat them like the laws of physics–as immovable as the laws of gravity.”

I asked Ray to imagine the headlines we’ll probably see in a future issue of DE, say December 2025. “A group of high school students has safely launched and returned a manned vehicle to Mars,” he suggested.

He takes pride in his customers’ success, including Schramm and Center Rock, both responsible for designing and delivering some of the pivotal equipment needed to free the trapped miners in Chile. “Our customers are the real unsung heroes of this business,” he said.

For the complete interview, listen to the podcast below:

Podcast logo4

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.


  1. I need a good resouce books to help me learn solids works. Please suggest
    something. jerryscheer@earthlink.net

  2. Is there feed (XML link) to the DE 15th Podcast Series so I can download and listen to them on a (non-Apple) MP3 player versus the player on your blog. Thanks.

  3. Hi Jim!

    DE audio podcasts are available at http://destats.audioacrobat.com/rss/deskeng.xml.

    You can also find them posted to iTunes as free downloads at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/desktop-engineering-magazine/id413745626. If you’re using iTunes, perhaps it’ll be easiest if you just search for Desktop Engineering in the Podcast section of the iTunes store.

  4. Kenneth:

    Thank you for the link; it is the one I was looking for – I use ipodder (forerunner to juice receiver), an open source program to download and manage my podcasts. I don’t see the podcast associated with this article “DE 15th Podcast Series: Jeff Ray, SolidWorks” in the feed. Have some of the podcasts been dropped from the feed? Thanks again and regards.

  5. Jim, I just wasn’t very good at updating the podcast catalog every time I uploaded a new one. 😀

    In the next few days, I plan to update the catalog, so all the unlisted ones should show up. Thanks for your patience.

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