Mastercam Reseller Profile – Q&A with Technical Education Solutions
As the highest performing Mastercam Educational Reseller, Technical Education Solutions, LLC in Derby, Connecticut has earned awards for outstanding sales performance every year since its formation in 1999. Six employees, including one located in the Boston area, serve the education market throughout New England. We spoke with Frank Gregorio, managing member, to learn more about Technical Education Solutions’ efforts as part of the world’s largest network of technical support for CAM software.
We offer call-in support, on-site visits, and training. Our main training program is called the Summer Camp, usually held during the first week of July. The location of the camp rotates throughout New England. In four days, we can’t make the teacher (who is attending as a student) a Mastercam expert. Our goal is to introduce instructors to the software and teach them how to teach their students.
We are selling to middle schools, high schools, community colleges, colleges, universities, and private schools—all educational institutions. CNC Software makes a standalone product called Mastercam QuickPart. It allows students to create a CAM program and actually turn on the CNC machine and cut a part that they have designed, like a name badge or plaque. The program is wizard driven, so it’s not teaching the student Mastercam per se but showing how the software can talk to a machine and make it run. It’s indoctrinating that sixth, seventh, or eighth grader into the process, which improves the student’s ability to perform in high school.
In high schools, Mastercam goes into either a metal or wood shop. The shops do not have the best reputation, because the parents and teachers want the students to get into Ivy League schools. I believe using Mastercam to machine parts helps get kids into universities because the best engineering students need to understand CAD/CAM software.
What is the latest, most exciting customer application you have?
Community colleges are realizing that this type of product is absolutely mandatory in the manufacturing world, especially because when these students graduate, they are most likely going to see Mastercam—rather than one of our competitor’s products—in industry. Future engineers, carpenters, shipbuilders, machinists, artists, and people from all walks of life are using CAD/CAM software. It’s not just for the CNC mill in a factory.
Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut just added on a new manufacturing wing and increased the number of Mastercam seats, because classrooms were overflowing. They went from 50 seats to 115 seats. That’s a big jump. Another school, Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, went from 50 to 85 seats.
What is your favorite feature in Mastercam?
Dynamic Motion™ technology is becoming more and more popular as we explain it. Years ago, CNC programmers would program the tool to step down, using the tip of the tool to do the cutting. The end of the tool would get dull while the rest would stay nice and shiny and sharp. Dynamic Motion uses the whole length of the tool. You produce the product faster with finer chips, so stock stays cooler and tools stays sharper. It’s a different way of cutting.
What are some challenges that are unique to your region?
It is not unique to New England, but our biggest challenge right now is the multitude of CAM systems coming out, particularly the ones that are free. As school budgets decrease, teachers are going to be looking for free products. The free software is very good, but free is not free. If you want technical support, you’ve got to pay for that. If you want certification, you’ve got to pay for that.
We’re providing technical support and there is no additional charge to take certification tests. Competitors charge for these things, so their “free” product ends up being more expensive than Mastercam. We spend more time on support than we do on selling. Our motto is, “We undersell and overdeliver.” When it comes to Mastercam, we believe in it, sell it, and stand behind it.
What are some unique issues that you can solve by being a local support hub for Mastercam?
We can respond and develop relationships with customers quicker. They can call us directly. More than likely, we’ve heard the issue before. And, we are unique among the Educational Resellers because of our close proximity to CNC Software’s headquarters.
Do you sell any other products besides Mastercam?
Our two main products are Mastercam and SOLIDWORKS®. Everything else we sell supports those products. We sell laser engravers, 3D printers, and CNC equipment: routers, mills, lathes, and plasma cutters. We concentrate on the CAD/CAM/CNC market.
For more information about Technical Education Solutions, visit http://www.teched.org/.
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