CLEARWATER, FL, USA — At first glance, Mike Arroyo may seem like a mild-mannered guy. But once this nicknamed “MicroStation Evangelist” gets on a roll, there is no one that can escape his enthusiasm. His zeal has converted droves of CAD shops to the MicroStation doctrine and his knowledge of MicroStation has shaped MicroStation-training courses for years. Now, his fervor will be redirected to helping Axiom customers.
Interestingly enough, Mike’s undergraduate years were spent as a student of theology and philosophy, earning a B.A. degree from Elmhurst College in Illinois. He continued working on a Masters degree at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama when a friend asked him to “help teach a computer programming class at his local community college.” From that point on, he was hooked on computers.
Mike took some time out of his busy day to sit down with MicroStation Today to chat about his past, present and future in the MicroStation field.
MicroStation Today: Mike, for those few MicroStation users who may not have yet heard of you, give us a brief summary of your background in the CAD field.
Mike: I worked in a production environment for several years at Northrop DSD in Chicago and taught CAD courses at Harper College as an associate professor in the Engineering department. Then, in 1989, I accepted a training position with Intergraph.
During my years at Intergraph, I experienced some of my greatest growth. When I wasn’t teaching MicroStation, I was giving presentations at tradeshows and user group meetings. I became the unofficial “MicroStation Evangelist.”
In 1994, I left Intergraph and started a new company called Softvision. We focused on providing the best educational experience to our customers including the use of the World Wide Web. Our creativity and energy caught Bentley’s attention and the Bentley brothers summoned us. We discussed the value and the impact of good education, which resulted in the birth of the Bentley Institute.
Within a few months, Bentley hired the entire Softvision staff and I was named the Director of Education, given the charge to launch the Institute. However, this role was interrupted. The tension between Bentley and Intergraph continued to build until a legal battle for control of MicroStation ensued. I was reassigned to do tradeshows and conventions as a keynote speaker and to expand the “academic program” — which was an initiative to incorporate MicroStation into more academic curriculums — for Bentley.
In 1997, I resigned my position at Bentley and refocused my vision of using the Web to deliver better MicroStation training. By late 1999, I was part of the launching of JCafe Incorporated and LearningBay. LearningBay was the first of its kind: a web-based learning management system. And now I am with Axiom.
MST What made you decide to join Axiom?
Mike: The move to Axiom was an easy one. I had been working closely with the staff here for over a year, helping position and sell LearningBay. I knew that if LearningBay and our MicroStation courses — recently released on CD as the DGN Personal Trainer courses — were going to impact the MicroStation community in a great way, I had to move to Axiom.
However, another reason for making the move to Axiom included the opportunity of working closely with Retrieve. This is a unique knowledge system designed to help organizations capture, organize and distribute their best practices and policies, using a web browser. This will be the hottest product in 2005. I am really jazzed!
MST What do you think of the Axiom bunch so far?
Mike: The staff at Axiom is very unique. Their primary focus is to provide the best software and support to their customers. This is almost an obsession. Everything is measured and calculated to provide the greatest impact to the customer experience. And yet, they make the work environment very enjoyable.
MST If you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Mike: I would love to have a conversation with Steven Hawking. He possesses one of the most brilliant minds in science in spite of, or perhaps because of, his debilitating disease — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a disease marked by the gradual degeneration of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement, which causes muscle weakness and atrophy. Our conversation would include a discussion about the fabric of space, black holes and his point of view on string theory. [Editorial note: String theory is a unified theory of the universe, which postulates that the fundamental ingredients of nature are tiny moving objects, called strings, and not static particles. This is hoped to be the theory that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena.]
MST Favorite quote?
Mike: “Short pencil is better than long memory.” This is a quote from the fictitious Honolulu Police Force crack detective and worldwide celebrity, Charlie Chan.
MST When did you last “break the rules”?
Mike: Last week…but I can’t tell you any details. Let’s just say I made it to work on time.
MST Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Mike.
Mike: No problem, anytime!