By Ryan Kirk, CEO, Propared & President/Founder, Tinc Productions

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, every job presents new and interesting challenges. Through my 15 years working in the live event world, I’ve gleaned a handful of principles that have best positioned me for success, both on the job and in booking the next. Some of these I learned the hard way and others I learned from the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege to work with. Over time, I realized each experience has better prepared me for the many situations we live event pros encounter over the course of our careers. I hope they work for you, too!

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  • Appropriately set expectations for your crew and colleagues before the work begins. Make sure everybody knows some basic, high level information (e.g., what the project is, the major players in the room, who is in charge of specific tasks, and what goals need to be accomplished by the end of the day). This will go a long way toward helping the team prioritize their work, allowing them to make proactive decisions that keep the project on track.
  • There is never just one client. When we work in events, everyone we work around is potentially our boss or colleague on the next job. The individual or organization paying for the event, other members of the management team, crew, vendors, suppliers, strangers who happen to be on site for a different purpose, and even the venue itself, could want to hire or work with us us tomorrow. Treating everyone as your client and showing each individual respect and consideration will set you up for long-term success.
  • Do your homework. If there is something you can plan prior to the event, do it. Make detailed site survey notes and learn how to create and read basic drafting. Nothing can derail a job faster than having the wrong materials for the space. Use high quality drafting technology such as Vectorworks software to make sure that those expensive video walls are going to fit through the door before you get onsite.
  • Do your homework, part 2. Let each event inform and teach you about what went well and what you would do differently. Keep these lists and before the next job, go through and prepare yourself. If you have questions, research the answers and gather feedback from colleagues. Assess the tools you used: how did they work, what techniques can you use again or acquire? Constantly hone your craft and continue to learn. There are always new techniques and technologies that can keep you at the top of your game.
  • Give back. We have all benefited from the guidance of life-changing mentors and colleagues. Those who came before us laid the groundwork for our success and then turned around to share their knowledge and expertise gleaned over decades of hard work. It’s our responsibility to do the same for those aspiring live event professionals joining the industry today. Teach a workshop, lead a master class, or donate time and resources to non-profit organizations. Not only does this improve our own understanding of the work we do, but it also ensures that our industry continues to move forward, raising our collective quality of work and career security.

Looking to expand your understanding of how building information modeling (BIM) transforms the design process while earning 1 HSW LU? We have just the answer with our latest article in the May issue of Architectural Record. Written by Peter Arsenault, FAIA, “Building Information Modeling as a Design Process” presents a compelling look at the future of architecture.

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Image courtesy of Richard Garber, AIA, and GRO Architects, PLLC


Arsenault writes that working with BIM from the earliest design stages “allows total flexibility when making design changes or alterations,” giving architects, contractors, and more the freedom to build, assess, and analyze within the realistic landscape of a virtual workspace. Moving beyond drawings and models, BIM processes use “designer-defined information to create buildings electronically, in effect building them first within the virtual environment of BIM.”

This represents a paradigm shift from a linear “possible-to-real” approach to a dynamic “virtual-to-actual” approach that centralizes all aspects of the design process, as well as delivery of services, creation of deliverables, and construction. With an integrated system that takes you from design to construction, you can effectively reduce costs, save time, and manage your projects with ease.

The BIM process does more than create virtual buildings; it develops a functional environment for virtual reality experimentation. If all of your data exists within your BIM design, you can easily test for sustainability, analyze energy efficiency, and quickly make changes that, years ago, would have required intensive time at the drafting table.

Image courtesy of GRO Architects, PLLC


Still, many traditionalists see BIM workflows as antithetical to the drafting board. In reality, it reconnects modern architects with the role of “Master Builder” through the iterative process of modeling the building, engaging in the selection of materials, and overseeing the construction process. Equipped with a collaborative, cohesive BIM workflow, designs are transformed into actualizations that include everything from building materials to assembly techniques.

Read the full article and take the online test to better understand how to marry your design process with BIM standards while earning your Continuing Education credit.

A design is more than a representation of an individual’s ideas; it’s a reflection of their experiences, environment, and the time in which they live. In short, design is a physical manifestation of a culture, an expression of a society’s values and ideology. That’s why we’ve created the fourth edition of MODUS News magazine: a collection of incredible projects, each designed with Vectorworks software by visionary architects, that provide a snapshot of the world’s diverse and captivating cultures. So begin your exploration and find the inspiration you need to transform the world.

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The fourth edition of MODUS News showcases award-winning work from world-renowned designers, including:

  • Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy
    McGregor Coxall, Australia
  • Rijksarchief Bruges
    Salens Architecten, Belgium
  • Ridge House
    Simcic + Uhrich Architects, Canada
  • Mediatheque de Thionville
    Dominique Coulon et Associés, France
    Holzer Kobler Architekturen, Germany
  • D.T. Suzuki Museum
    Yoshio Taniguchi, Japan
  • MoMA Redesign
    Yoshio Taniguchi, Japan
  • Bin Nisf Headquarters
    The Associated Architects Partnership, Kuwait / Portugal
  • Rozet Cultural Center
    Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Netherlands
  • Würth Haus Rorschach
    Gigon/Guyer, Switzerland
  • University of Oxford Biochemistry Building
    Hawkins\Brown, United Kingdom
  • Clyfford Still Museum
    Allied Works Architecture, United States

You can get your own copy of MODUS 4, complete with project descriptions, firm bios, and, of course, beautiful images, by emailing Still need more inspiration? Check out the online editions of MODUS News 1, MODUS News 2, and MODUS News 3.

If you’ve heard about the exciting features coming in Vectorworks 2016, you can see them for yourself at booth #3181 at the AIA Convention 2015, where Vectorworks Architect experts are on hand to answer all your questions about the current version of the software, as well as preview three tools we know you’ll love once 2016 hits the market this fall:

  • Marionette: As the first and only cross-platform graphical scripting environment available in a BIM authoring tool, Marionette lets Vectorworks Architect users create complex design variations and intelligent parametric objects in a Python-based environment.
  • Energos: Vectorworks Architect users can make critical performance decisions based on real-time feedback directly in their models with Energos, the only BIM authoring tool that uses the highly respected Passivhaus calculation method to create building energy use analysis results.
  • Project Sharing: Design teams will be able to work concurrently in the same Vectorworks file using
a multi-user environment to streamline project workflows, enhance collaboration, and document designs.

AIA 2015 BoothWhile you’re at our booth, ask about our exciting new cloud technology updates: Vectorworks Cloud Services 3.5 and Remote App 1.1. The improved Cloud Services App gives you control of the time and frequency of your uploads to cloud storage and comes with enhanced visibility settings, meaning you can toggle your model’s visible layers while working on your mobile device. Version 3.5 also runs on Vectorworks 2015 Service Pack 3, providing a more stable user experience. The updated Remote App lets you navigate through your designs from mobile devices, which now includes Android products.

You can also find us outside booth #3181. We’re sponsoring educational sessions every day of the convention at the Georgia World Congress Center:

  • Better IPD Using the National BIM Standard: United States (1 AIA LU)
    May 14, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room B406
    Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Assoc. AIA, IES
    Vice-Chair, National BIM Standard – United States® Version 3 Project Committee, Austin, Texas and Architect Product Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks
  • Sketch to BIM: A Design Workflow Philosophy (1 AIA LU)
    May 15, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room A411
    Steven Alden, AIA, NCARB
    Director of US Sales and Marketing, Nemetschek Vectorworks, Columbia, Maryland
  • BIM and the New Master Builder (1AIA LU, GBCI)
    May 16, 12:30-1:30 p.m., CE Theater C, Booth 4333
    Rob A. Glisson, AIA,
    Principal, ROJO ARCHITECTURE, LLC, Tampa, Florida

Visit the Vectorworks Cloud Services page to download our updated Apps and stay tuned for further updates on Vectorworks 2016 software as we get closer to its release.

The results from the fifth annual NBS National BIM Report are in, and Vectorworks Architect software has been named the most popular CAD program in the United Kingdom. Out of the hundreds of designers who completed the survey, 29 percent of respondents said that they use Architect for designing with a BIM workflow. This comes as no surprise, as the number of Vectorworks Architect, Spotlight, and Landmark users in the U.K. has grown dramatically over the past five years.

NBS 2015One of the primary factors behind this growth is Vectorworks Architect’s ability to support a legal mandate requiring BIM deliverables for significantly sized, government-funded projects in the U.K. by 2016.

“We’ve witnessed a rapid and widespread adoption of BIM workflows from our customers, and we’re committed to further enhancing our software’s capabilities as a BIM tool and promoting BIM workflows that are collaborative and free from the constraints of any single tool or vendor’s platform,” said Sean Flaherty, CEO at Nemetschek Vectorworks.

Over 8,700 new designers in the U.K. chose a Vectorworks program as their design solution over the past five years, and as the 2016 mandate draws closer, more architects are utilizing Architect software, contributing to a 44 percent increase in new U.K. users in 2014.

“We are using 3D modeling from the outset on most projects now,” said Robert O’Leary of O’LearyGoss Architects, a 12-person firm in Bristol, U.K. that uses Vectorworks Architect for residential development, healthcare and community design. “Modeling allows us to examine design solutions in context ourselves. We also enjoy less risk of errors between different drawing types, and the ease of generating plan sections and elevations once a change is made.”

Read the full NBS report here.

Helping to create an environment where people can connect with their spiritual side is challenging, especially across 12 campuses — each of which is large enough to be called a “megachurch” — but this scenario is just another day at the office for Church of the Highlands‘ Lighting Director Brian Worster.

“Everything we do is to empower the people of the church to do ministry,” Worster says. “We have a lot of lighting elements you’d find in a concert, like Martin MAC Vipers, 250 Washes, and Auras, but if you aren’t careful, the lights can be distracting rather than complementary. We work to make sure that we don’t overpower the message of the service by being too flashy.”

OpelikaLaunch_095FEB0115The lighting design itself is just one facet of Worster’s work. Ensuring consistency across multiple services at all 12 campuses is one of the trickiest parts of his job. While Church of the Highlands has a team of three full-time lighting designers at the main campus in Birmingham, much of the real-time lighting is done by a group of over 60 trained volunteers from the congregation known as the “Dream Team.”

“We teach them the technical stuff of course,” Worster says. “But we also share our philosophy about lighting during a worship service — creating an environment that doesn’t distract from the main event. However, once they know our style, individual designers have a certain level of freedom to adjust things based on their venue and the style of their Campus Pastors. I could program the lighting for everyone every week and it would be technically perfect, but it’s much more rewarding to give them the information and watch them do it for themselves.”

As many of the volunteers, as well as the church’s leadership, aren’t trained lighting designers or technicians, Vectorworks Spotlight software plays a critical role in helping Worster to communicate his creative visions. Spotlight’s ability to take detailed 2D plans, quickly produce 3D renderings, and share PDFs from the view of the actual camera positions in the model helps everyone to understand Worster’s ideas and ensures that the heart of the services are consistent no matter where or when they’re seen.

Highlands- MotionAnother important part of Worster’s workflow is using Vectorworks partner products from Landru Design. Since most of the songs played during the services have corresponding video components, the VideoScreen tools are integral to many of his designs. The SoftGoods 2 plug-in objects also helps him communicate where all of the pipe-and-drape runs need to be positioned to give churchgoers the best experience.

“Andy Dunning over at Landru Designs is like my Yoda,” Worster says. “He has been an incredible resource, friend, and mentor. I grew up going to concerts that he designed, so it’s really cool that I get to call him up now with questions.”

To learn more about Vectorworks plug-ins from Landru Design, visit our Partner Products page. And to see more of Worster’s work for Church of the Highlands, check out their website.

With looming deadlines and increasing workloads, the last thing any designer wants is to waste time—especially when that time could be better spent focusing on creativity! That’s why this month’s tech roundup is focused on tips for helping you do integral tasks quickly and more easily.

Survey data comes in multiple formats, including text files, which can be used to help you map out a site for your landscape or architectural design. Watch this short video, and we’ll show you how to transform data into a site model with just a few simple steps by importing a text survey file containing coordinate information.



When you’re working with NURBS surfaces, you often want to make changes as your design progresses. This video shows you the multiple ways that Vectorworks software lets you easily and efficiently modify these surfaces using vertices and settings that you control.



As always, if you have any questions about these videos or your Vectorworks software, reach out to us at or tweet at us @VectorworksHelp.

Hundreds of our software users, international partners, and invited guests streamed into Philadelphia, PA for thought-provoking keynote speeches and engaging breakout sessions during the Vectorworks Design Summit, which ended today. And while attendees happily anticipated our Customer Appreciation Party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last night, as well as CEO Sean Flaherty’s look back at our 30-year history and how we’re positioning ourselves for continued success for the next 30 years and beyond, what they may have not expected was an unprecedented preview of some new features coming in Vectorworks 2016, presented by our Chief Technology Officer Dr. Biplab Sarkar.

“A lot of what we do here at Vectorworks is guided by you,” Sarkar told the crowd. “We’ve worked hard to give you the tools you need to transform the world.”

These revolutionary new tools include project sharing capabilities, energy analysis features, visual scripting, point cloud support, and other robust design tools that can increase your efficiency, giving you more time and more techniques to explore your creative vision.

While the Design Summit attendees got the first look, you can still see these new feature previews for yourself at the AIA 2015 Convention in Atlanta, GA from May 14 to 16 at the Vectorworks booth, number 3181. And to read all the buzz surrounding the Summit, follow @Vectorworks on Twitter and search #DiscussDesign.

Want to take your designs to the next level? Then we’ve got some reading material for you.

Expert trainer and author Jonathan Pickup has updated his two guidebooks: Vectorworks Architect Tutorial Manual, Seventh Edition and 3D Modeling in Vectorworks, Seventh Edition, providing both new and experienced Vectorworks Architect 2015 software users with professional training tools at their fingertips.

Pickup 3D Modeling_Architect Book image

Vectorworks Architect Tutorial Manual explains how to incorporate Vectorworks 2015’s tools into a design-based BIM workflow and how new ways of drawing can increase efficiency, all while taking readers through the basics of the software interface. Readers learn how drawing with objects, rather than lines and arcs, and creating projects using BIM principles can improve their workflows.

“What BIM means is that when you draw something in Vectorworks software, it’s more than just a plan representation,” said Pickup. “Many parts of a Vectorworks drawing are much more than they seem. A door, for example, has a model part to which you can attach information about the door, add door hardware, or even indicate the supplier and cost of the door. This information can be generated as a report whenever you want it.”

The 3D Modeling in Vectorworks text is laid out in three parts to guide readers through the process of crafting a 3D project step-by-step:

Part 1: Educates readers on using the software’s tools to create individual 3D models

Part 2: Reveals how to use these models to create a freeform architectural project

Part 3: Shows the workflow in action, allowing readers to learn to split up projects

The book also contains exercises that feature the new Deform tool, teaching readers the twisting, tapering, building, and bending modes.

“Jonathan Pickup’s no nonsense books, with their easy-to-follow graphics and video tutorials, make his manuals the default standard for training on all the Vectorworks packages,” says Architectural Technologist Stephen J. Scaysbrook, MCIAT ACIOB, of Konstrukshon Ltd. “I love the way that Jonathan teaches both Vectorworks software and drawing techniques.”

The Vectorworks Architect Tutorial Manual and 3D Modeling in Vectorworks are part of Nemetschek Vectorworks’ self-paced training options. For more information and to purchase these manuals for $75 each, visit

The texts will also be available for purchase when Pickup signs copies of all his books on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET in the Paris Foyer at the Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel. All registered attendees of the Vectorworks Design Summit are welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Are you a student looking for some financial assistance? Or do you work with students whose designs deserve recognition? The second annual Vectorworks Design Scholarship program is here to help!

The submission process is simple. Students from all over the world and across all design disciplines submit their best individual or group project, which may include work completed for a class assignment. Then, they answer three questions, each in 150 words or less, by August 31, 2015, for a chance to win up to $10,000. We’ll announce the winners on October 15, 2015.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s visionaries, solving all types of design challenges that the Vectorworks Design Scholarship program lets us celebrate,” said Stewart Rom, chief marketing officer at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “We established this program to support their academic dreams by offering financial assistance, and we can’t wait to see the inspiring work that students submit this year!”

Regional winners will receive $3,000 and advance to compete for The Richard Diehl Award and an additional $7,000, named in honor of our company’s founder and chairman. Additionally, winners’ schools will receive free Vectorworks design software, as well as free in-person or virtual training for faculty and students.

Get inspired by last year’s top winning project from University of Pennsylvania graduate student Diego Bermudez, who wowed judges with his submission, “Circasia: Engaging the Creeks,” as well as other winners. Encourage students you know to apply for their shot at $10,000.

Email us with any questions and follow @Vectorworks and #FundMyVision for program updates and submission tips.