CAD Society Honors Fu, Payne, and Tara with 2010 Awards

Each year The CAD Society honors members of the engineering design software community in three categories: Leadership, Lifetime Achievement, and Community Service. Awards were recently presented at COFES 2010.

The CAD Society has honored three members of the engineering design software industry community with its 2010 awards. Dr. Ping Fu, CEO of Geomagic, is honored for Leadership; Michael Payne, currently chairman of SpaceClaim, is honored for Lifetime Achievement; Roopinder Tara, founder of, is recipient of the Joe Greco Community Award.CAD Society logo

The CAD Society Awards acknowledge the contributions made by individuals that have affected and developed the CAD, engineering, manufacturing and architecture software industries.

Ping Fu, Leadership Award
The Leadership award is presented for outstanding technical and business leadership in the CAD industry, and focus and dedication to the needs of CAD users.

Ping Fu mug shot
Ping Fu, Ph.D.

Ping Fu, Ph.D., co-founded Geomagic and has led its growth from start-up to worldwide leader in 3D scan processing software. Companies using Geomagic software to accelerate reverse engineering and quality inspection include Ford, Harley Davidson, Richard Childress Racing, Timberland, Fisher Price, Pratt & Whitney, NASA, Alcoa Howmet, Danaher and Invisalign.

Under Fu’s leadership, Geomagic has earned six patents for streamlining the process of transforming 3D scan data into high-quality parametric CAD models. Most recently, Geomagic pioneered design-intent modeling, which speeds product development by structuring scan data and extracting key engineering features that are required for creating parametric models. The company is also the first to provide direct parametric exchange of models for five leading CAD packages (Autodesk Inventor, CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, Siemens NX, and SolidWorks).

Before starting Geomagic, Fu was Director of Visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where she initiated and managed the NCSA Mosaic software project that led to Netscape and Internet Explorer.

Among Fu’s awards are Inc. magazine Entrepreneur of the Year, worldwide “Fast 50” executive by Fast Company magazine, and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas. With her guidance, the privately held Geomagic has won numerous awards for product innovation and has been profitable for almost a decade.

“Ping’s list of achievements in developing innovative and successful software, as well as inspiring a new generation of engineers with her technology, is unmatched in the industry,” said Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates and a VEKTORRUM Contributing Editor. “Her tireless drive for design and manufacturing excellence and her performance as a top business leader make her the perfect choice for this award.”

“I am honored and excited to receive this award and thank the CAD Society for recognizing Geomagic’s contribution to the industry,” says Fu. “I have always believed that design and manufacturing are the backbone of our economy. It has been my passion and dream to change the design and manufacturing paradigm from mass production to mass customization, and CAD plays a major part in that transformation.”

Past winners of the Leadership award include Bill McClure and Dan Staples, Carl Bass, Jay Sunyogh, Dana K. “Deke” Smith, Robert McNeel, Tony Affuso, Tom Butta, Jon Hirschtick, and Bernard Charles.

Michael Payne, Lifetime Achievement
The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes a lifetime of outstanding technical and business contributions to the CAD industry.

Mile Payne mug shot
Michael Payne

Michael Payne is well-known for his vision and business acumen across the decades – and its effect on the industry. First rising to notice as Director of Development for Prime Computer, Mike then co-founded Parametric Technology Corp. (PTC) in 1985 where he was VP of Development. He then moved on to be a co-founder of SolidWorks in 1994 as Executive Vice President of R&D, and in 1999, as Chief Technology Officer for Dassault Systèmes, he moved into the CEO spot at the company’s recently acquired Spatial Corp. Mike moved to SpaceClaim in 2005 as CEO and a co-founder and is currently Chairman of the Company’s Board.

Companies that Payne co-founded each delivered paradigm shifts in the industry, fundamentally redefining the CAD industry and delivering greater power and more affordable technologies to engineers.

Jon Hirschtick, co-founder, SolidWorks Corp. said, “”Mike was a great partner in creating SolidWorks and growing it into an industry leader. SolidWorks would not be the commercial success it is today without his hard work. Mike’s drive, talent and personality have left a profound impression on not only SolidWorks but the whole CAD industry.”

Payne holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southampton, a master’s in physics from London University, and a master’s in business administration from Pace University. He is a chartered engineer (C. Eng.), a lifetime member of IEEE, and a member of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET).

“It is evident from Mike’s resume alone that his influence in bringing both disruptive technologies and the companies that deliver them is considerable,” said Rachael Taggart, president, The CAD Society. “The ability to innovate, develop and deliver technology is a huge challenge but he also had the insight to build wildly successful and sustaining companies that have transformed the industry. Mike deserves this award in recognition of everything that he has done and continues to do.”

Mike joins an illustrious list of recipients of this award including Dick Sowar, Mike Riddle, Dean Kamen, Dr. Russell F. Henke, Dr. Ken Versprille, L. Stephen Wolfe, P.E., Carl Machover, Dr. Joel Orr, and Dr. Patrick Hanratty.

Roopinder Tara, Joe Greco Community Award
The Joe Greco Community award recognizes outstanding work in improving communication and developing community within the CAD industry, and is awarded in memory of Joe Greco, a past CAD Society president.

Roopinder Tara mug flipped
Roopinder Tara

Roopinder Tara is honored for his achievements as a pioneer of online CAD resources and communities and his philanthropic work for the entire CAD industry for the last 11 years.

Tara founded in 1999; it was one of the first independent CAD sites. The site started as a series of useful link lists about CAD. As Roopinder describes it, “If you want to find information on the Web about a subject, ten links picked by an expert are more useful than ten thousand links picked by a search engine. So I started putting together one top ten list after another for the subject I knew best: CAD. There was a top ten AutoCAD list, top ten MicroStation list, TurboCAD list, SolidWorks list…. I couldn’t stop. Eventually, I had created hundreds of these lists and the site was getting popular.”

The operation grew across the years to deliver seven web sites that deliver CAD shareware, free CAD downloads, CAD product sales, CAD employment listings as well as several newsletters. Roopinder had previously worked for IMSI heading the TurboCAD division, as a CAD instructor and as head of a CAD engineering department.

Says Randall S. Newton, Editor-in-Chief, VEKTORRUM Executive Report, “Roopinder has earned respect among both his readers and his professional peers in the CAD media for setting high standards. He is a tireless advocate for the industry, not just with his online services but in his philanthropy, and in helping the engineering software industry to be about more than just selling and using CAD technology.”

An avid cyclist, he once rode his bike across America, raising $23,000 for scholarships awarded by ASME and the Marin Education Fund, which helped five students attend their first year of college, most of whom would not have been able to attend otherwise. He has ridden and helped promote charity events with Autodesk and SolidWorks; together they have raised over $200,000 to fight Multiple Sclerosis and to aid cancer research.

In 2007, Roopinder partnered with SolidWorks to create a high-tech outsourcing operation in Rwanda that takes 2D drawings and creates 3D solid models. The venture is part of the Rwandan government’s initial moves into the modern economy. This effort, known as Innovate3D, is delivering important opportunities for Rwandan engineers as they move into new technologies.

Past winners of this award include: Richard Doyle, Evan Yares, Sean Dotson, Chris Yessios, Lynn Allen, Randall Rath, CJ Shirk, Kristine Fallon, and Ralph Grabowski.

About The CAD Society

The CAD Society ( is a not-for-profit industry association with the goal of fostering community and encouraging open communication among those who make their living within the CAD industry including AEC, mechanical, manufacturing, and GIS. The CAD Society is dedicated to creating an informative community and improving the tools its members employ in order to get their jobs done. This is achieved by providing an open forum of communication, which helps to illuminate the practices of industry vendors. It has been a leader in creating interoperability guidelines that encourage software vendors to develop applications that can openly share data.

The awards were presented at the recent COFES (Congress On the Future of Engineering Software) event  in Scottsdale, Arizona. Fu and Payne accepted their awards in person; Tara had been in attendance at COFES, but had to leave before the award ceremony to fly to Boston, where he ran in the Boston Marathon. §