We sat down with Kevin Vandecar, one of the Forge DevTech managers and advocates. He tells us a bit more about his background and some of the things you won’t want to miss at this year's Forge DevCon. And if you want to catch him at Forge DevCon and Autodesk University you can find him teaching a 3ds Max Design Automation API class and a Model Derivative API Tips & Tricks class.
Can you tell me your name and what you do at Autodesk?
I’m Kevin Vandecar and I have two primary roles. I’m a developer advocate supporting Forge and 3ds Max APIs. I am also a manager of the DevTech groups for the manufacturing and the media & entertainment industries. I manage a really great team who support the APIs for Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor and Fusion 360 APIs, plus all aspects of the Forge platform.
Tell me a little bit more about your background?
I earned my degree in engineering with a computer science minor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Back in that era, design was primarily done via manual drafting. CAD was just becoming a viable solution and I was so excited by it, that I convinced my counselor to switch my minor to computer science! Never looked back!
As soon as I graduated, I moved to California and found worked in various CAD positions (elevator design, realty mapping, commercial architecture design). During this period, I had the opportunity to do extensive customization within AutoCAD. This led me to Autodesk, as they were looking for an “AutoLISP guru” to do product support for AutoCAD customization. This was in 1990, and I was one of the first three developer support engineers at Autodesk. This is also where I met my future wife, Christal!
After 11 years of incredible professional growth at Autodesk headquarters in Marin County, California, and Neuchatel, Switzerland I took a consulting position at Imaginit, who also now happen to be a Forge System Integrator! A relocation to Manchester, NH brought me back to Autodesk, where I worked for the AutoCAD Architecture (ACA) engineering team. During that time, I helped to develop the ACA .NET API. Autodesk was also forming the Autodesk China Research and Development center, where I met a future colleague Zhong Wu (I’m sure you’ve seen some of his posts).
That’s also when I met Mikako Harada, who I also work with now. Moving into the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) team has given me the opportunity to use my software development skills to help others. For nearly 10 years now Forge and 3ds Max APIs have been my focus as part of the ADN and Forge Partner Development group, working for Cyrille Fauvel, who has been the best boss I have ever had. ?
Can you go over a bit of your area of expertise?
I currently support 3ds Max API, including the new Forge Design Automation engine. and before that worked on various aspects of AutoCAD. I’ve been an advocate for Forge since the beginning; back when it was called ‘View and Data API’. This has included many presentations and demos to spread the word about Forge. You can check a few out below ?
What do you like about Forge and being part of the Forge team?
The Forge Partner Development Team is a fantastic group because of all the hands-on opportunities. We get to work with brilliant partners with great ideas, and from a technology standpoint we are on the cutting edge. Cloud development is providing us with the opportunity to work with a diverse set of technologies beyond C++ and .NET. Because of Forge, I’ve gotten to expand my knowledge about web development. Our Forge Team is highly experienced and doing a great job of advocating and supporting Forge customers and partners. I really enjoy working in this team, and I am learning from them all the time.
What are you looking forward to (or hope to see at Forge DevCon)?
Meeting our customers and partners! That is what is so powerful about AU in general, and now that Forge DevCon is adjacent to AU, it's just an amazing opportunity to talk with people that are using Forge and others that are new to it and wanting to learn more. I really enjoy learning how customers are using Forge. Every application is unique. It’s just an amazing experience.
Have you been to Forge DevCon before? If yes, can you tell me about a memorable moment you had?
Yes! Last year I was organizing the AR/VR playground in the Forge DevCon Village (It’s going to be even bigger and greater this year!). A really enthusiastic customer (HGA.com) approached me at the last minute to ask if they could participate. Logistically, it wasn’t easy, but we managed to make it work, and I’m glad we did, because their app demo was fantastic. They were using Forge connectivity with the BIM 360 APIs in the architecture space. They had a VR solution and brought their own hardware to demo to other customers. It was really great to see their application, and the positive responses by other attendees. You realize when you are at Forge DevCon that there are so many customers with great ideas and applications. It is a great opportunity for learning and collaboration.
You can also ceck out a demo of the app
If you could imagine any technology possible, what would you imagine and why?
Meeting people face-to-face is so essential for collaboration, but I really am not a fan of airline travel these days. What I would really like to have is a way to travel through space, but not time. But, when it’s realized, I hope it would be more like the Star Trek “beam me up” experience, rather than “the Fly” technique.