October 10, 2005
Grow the Engineers of Tomorrow
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on AECcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by AECCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! It looks like an offer that's too good to refuse - if you are a student or instructor, you get to download free 2 ½ D software that is the bona fide commercial version, and use it for a year and a half, when you'll be eligible for an upgrade.

So what's the product and where do you get it? The product is Bentley's MicroStation PowerDraft, a professional level application for production 2D/2 ½ D drafting in architecture, engineering and construction. Read about this great offer, designed to lure young people into the engineering profession, in this week's AECWeekly Industry News.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Awards, Moves, New Products, and Upcoming Events.

AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Grow the Engineers of Tomorrow

By Susan Smith

It looks like an offer that's too good to refuse - if you are a student or instructor, you get to download free 2½ D software that is the bona fide commercial version, and use it for a year and a half, when you'll be eligible for an upgrade.

So what's the product and where do you get it? The product is Bentley's MicroStation PowerDraft, a professional level application for production 2D/2 ½ D drafting in architecture, engineering and construction. PowerDraft has an easy-to-use graphical interface, intuitive viewing techniques and is industry ready - so you can complete an 18-week course with usable CAD skills to take anywhere in the AEC market.

The download, offered by BE Careers Network, features the MicroStation PowerDraft application, an 18-week curriculum for teachers, and a student guide that can be reproduced without extra charge. Better yet, the download is available in nine languages - Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Spanish at the
BE website. Chinese versions are available at the

With the software comes the student and instructor manuals - I had a chance to browse both the student and instructor manuals and found them to be very well written and easy to read and understand.

Who is eligible? First of all you must be a student or instructor at the middle, high school or university level to be eligible. The download is strictly for academic purposes and users receive the full commercial software for a limited term license for 18 months. Because the software upgrades during that time, Bentley will ask them to renew it after 18 months.

Other AEC software companies have been very successful offering free software to schools and universities, and Bentley has always provided steep discounts with their Bentley Education Network (now known as BE Careers Network). However, Bentley's latest campaign to gain the mindshare of up and coming school age potential engineers is aggressive, to say the least.

According to Scott Lofgren, global director for BE Careers Network, Bentley is responding to the dearth of engineering students and engineers in the U.S., although the program is offered globally. “Across the globe, we have about 2,000 universities and schools using our technology,” explained Lofgren. “China and India are graduating students in this area at a far greater rate than we are. We have to stimulate interest in this area earlier, so that's why we came out with this PowerDraft download - free. What's cool about it - we just started ten months ago, and the download numbers as of Friday show that it's loaded on 42,671 computers already.” Over the course of the
past 10 months, 46.3% of those downloads have come from the U.S., and 53.7% are international. Not surprisingly, half of Bentley's revenue comes from outside the U.S.

Lofgren is visiting various states, speaking to Departments of Education and Departments of Transportation, as well as governors, spreading the message about the free academic download. In the last 90 days, he noted that New Mexico alone has had 80 vacancies for engineers. “We go to the places where our key users recruit,” Lofgren said. “Firms are having a hard time finding qualified engineers. It takes many years to build a qualified engineer.”

Other Enticements

In addition to the free individual student licensing of PowerDraft, the program includes:

-Department licensing that offers a full range of software applications for architecture, geospatial, plant design and civil and environmental engineering at a heavily discounted price. The subscription for this software is on a per-seat basis and at less than 1 percent of the commercial list price.

-Campus licensing, a subscription level offering that includes everything included in department-level subscriptions and also extends licensing to an unlimited number of users on a deeply discounted per seat basis.

A poster distributed to schools and states promotes the BE Careers Network free PowerDraft download and also lets students know of an opportunity to win a scholarship to the school of their choice by entering the BE Awards of Excellence Scholarship competition.


Although not entirely altruistic, of course, Bentley's free download effort is a laudable effort to lure young people into the engineering profession. Offering the download in several different languages will greatly increase Bentley's presence globally, in some countries where AEC software has until now been a luxury. The additional advantage for schools is that students and instructors will be able to run a comparison between competitors' software and Bentley products and thereby gain knowledge that will serve them well in the future workplace.


Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Alias®, a privately held developer of 3D graphics technology, for $182 million in cash. This acquisition will grow Autodesk's expertise and offerings for the design of consumer products and automotive, as well as in the media and entertainment markets. Autodesk anticipates that the transaction will close within the next four to six months.

Deltek announced the acquisition of Wind2 Software, Inc., a leading software firm serving project-driven professional services firms. Both firms share a focus on Architecture and Engineering (A/E) companies, as well as government contractors, IT services firms and management consultants. The acquisition will allow Deltek to strengthen its leadership role in the professional services market while adding approximately $10 million in revenues.

CH2M HILL, a global full-service engineering, construction, and operations firm has completed the acquisition of Ohio-based BBS Corporation, a firm specializing in planning, design, and construction administration of water and wastewater treatment, distribution, and collection systems.


IMSI, provider of house plans online and a leading developer and publisher of precision design, and consumer and business software solutions, announced its financial results for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005. For the twelve months ended June 30, 2005, IMSI reported a net loss of $1.8 million, or ($0.06) per share on net revenues of $13.9 million. Pro forma revenue including discontinued operations was $23.3 million versus $12.0 million reported the prior year. Net revenues increased by thirty nine percent (39%) in our core Houseplans and software businesses, as compared to the previous fiscal year, reflecting the continued growth in the Houseplans business and in software
product sales led by our flagship application TurboCAD.

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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.


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