2017 Chief Architect Academy

Combined User Group Meeting & Training, August 29-31, 2017, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Once every two years, Chief Architect hosts a Chief Academy in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (Chief Architect headquarters). The event includes a 1-day User Group Meeting with in-depth seminars on specific topics followed by a 2-day Training Class from Introductory to Advanced. For 2017, we have a selection of power users that will be presenting a number of topics at the User Group Meeting to help you learn from their best practices.

The 2017 Chief Academy is currently sold out! For more information or to be added to our wait list, please give us a call.


Users at a previous Chief Architect User Group Meeting

Watch the 2015 User Group video

User Group Meeting — August 29

Learn Chief Architect productivity tips and techniques from power users and Chief Architect staff members – see presenter bios below.

Choose from 12 seminars on two different tracks: Building/Remodeling and Interiors / 3D & Rendering. You can attend any of the seminars regardless of the track. There will be a sneak peek and hands on test drive of the next version of Chief Architect, One-on-One sessions with Technical Support Analysts, and we'll end the day with an evening reception and networking event. View the full Chief Academy schedule.

Track A — Building / Remodeling

  1. Productivity Tips, Annotation Sets, Layer Sets & Power Tools
  2. Remodeling – Technology Options for Measuring As-Builts
  3. Want to be Faster at Measuring a Remodel Project?
  4. The Ups and Downs of Terrains

  5. Roofs & Dormers – All the Stuff You Need to Know

  6. Process for creating new Plans using the Save as Method 'SAM'

Track B — Interiors / 3D & Rendering

  1. Sections & Elevations – How to Dimension & Manage the Views for Layout
  2. Best Practices, Tips and Tricks for Kitchen & Bath Design
  3. Virtual Reality & 3D for Your Design Business
  4. Creating a Successful Workflow for Design & Construction Document Production
  5. Rendering: 360° Rendering, Render Styles & Settings, Ray Trace
  6. What's the Key to a Great Rendering? (Hint: Material Properties)

See seminar descriptions below.

Training Courses — August 30 – 31

A 2-Day Training Course follows the User Group Meeting. Build on what you learned at the focused seminars and sign up for a comprehensive training course that best suits your experience level or professional focus. All courses are taught by Chief Architect certified instructors.

Social Events and Networking Opportunities

Lake Coeur d'Alene cruise

There are several social and networking events during the Chief Academy to extend your learning.

Lunch Round Tables: Each day, lunch is provided with round tables available on various topics. Join in and have discussions with other professionals.

Networking Reception – Aug. 29: Join us for an evening reception and networking event following the User Group Meeting. The reception is a great opportunity to get to know other Chief Architect users and staff in a relaxed setting.

Lake Cruise on Coeur d'Alene – Aug. 30: Enjoy a lake cruise on beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene. Take in the Idaho scenery, build on new professional relationships, and see the famous Coeur d'Alene Floating Green and Event Center.

For both evening events, bring a guest – Guest Event tickets can be purchased separately.

Find accommodations and activities around Coeur d'Alene.

2017 Chief Academy Event & Pricing

Attendees are welcome to attend any combination of events.

For best value, choose the Chief Academy.

Join Us in August!

The Chief Academy includes:

Event Option: Price 10% SSA Discount Discounted Price
Chief Academy (inclusive of all events) $1,095 -$109.50 $985.50
1-Day User Group Meeting (Seminar Events & One-on-One Tech Support, Evening Reception Aug. 29) $395
2-Day Training Course (Evening Reception & Lake Cruise Aug. 30) $895
Guest Event Ticket (Evening Reception Aug. 29 plus Evening Reception & Lake Cruise Aug. 30) $149

User Group Meeting Seminar Descriptions

Chief Architect Company & Product Updates — (Opening Session)

In this opening session, you will meet the Chief Architect staff – engineering, product content & development, sales, marketing, and support. Our executive staff will provide a company and product direction strategy. The session is open for general Q & A, comments and feature requests/ideas.

Chief Architect Features / General Q & A Seminar (Following Lunch)

Jason Troye, Software Engineering Manager at Chief Architect, will provide a sneak peek at the next version of Chief Architect. We will demonstrate key new functionality in the program and seek comment and feedback on the next and future versions of Chief Architect. If you have a particular idea or need on how Chief Architect can be improved for your productivity, this is a great opportunity to help improve the software. Following the seminar, you will have an opportunity to test drive Chief Architect X10, try out the new Virtual Reality features in the VR lab, attend one-on-one technical support sessions as well as attend the afternoon User Group seminars.

Track A — Building / Remodeling

1. Productivity Tips, Annotation Sets, Layer Sets & Power Tools

In this seminar, you will learn productivity tips and power tools to improve your plan and construction document efficiency. If you want to be productive with Chief Architect, you need to be using both Annotation and Layer Sets. We will provide a clear explanation of exactly what Annotation Sets are and how they can dramatically improve your productivity in defining to which layers text, dimensions, CAD and other items are assigned, the fonts and appearance. We will create example Annotation Sets to illustrate their power and serve needs not necessarily addressed in Chief’s profile template. Annotation Sets can be used to change Layer Sets which can have pros and cons that will be explained. Effectively using Annotation Sets and Layer Sets can make creating construction documents a streamlined and organized workflow that can improve your production time. — presented by Scott Harris, Chief Architect VP.

2. Remodeling — Technology Options for Measuring As-Builts

Stephen Gross is a young Architectural Engineer that uses various technologies in the field to measure as-builts for remodeling. He will cover when it's best to use a Bluetooth laser with the mobile Room Planner app to import in Chief Architect vs. using Chief Architect in the field via a laptop or Microsoft Surface. The scope of work, project complexity and level of qualification of the customer are all part of choosing the best approach. Stephen will share his process, tips, techniques and the technology in gathering as-built data.

3. Want to be Faster at Measuring a Remodel Project?

Learn the "how-to" process to measure as-builts from Dan Baumann of ChiefExperts. Over the years, Dan has developed proven techniques to accurately measure as-builts in the least amount of time while covering all the key information required for the next phase of the project – measurements, photos, platform heights, hidden conditions. Often remodel projects produce unexpected surprises and with his thorough process, you can minimize the number of unknowns with an as-built. Dan will share the details of his sequence of steps he uses in the field to help you learn from his experience.

4. The Ups and Downs of Terrains

Sandi Adams owns an architectural design firm and has been a designer for over 28 years. In this seminar, she will help you understand how and why you should take the time to accurately model terrain, how to use actual data to build the terrain (from a surveyor file or a topo image), the different techniques to input the terrain data, how to best use the terrain modifiers to shape the terrain and house positioning on sloping lots. The outcome: realistic 3D views, accurate elevations and how everyone benefits when the terrain is accurate.

5. Roofs & Dormers — All the Stuff You Need to Know

Wendy Welton is an architect in the North East that is particularly talented with roof and dormer tools. In her seminar, you will learn how to use Chief's various features to efficiently and predictably model the roof you need. First, she will review Chief's automatic roof generation to create as many of the needed roof planes as possible (also known as "Wendy's Dept. of Sneaky Tricks for Roofs"). Then, for any section of the roof not amenable to automatic roof generation, (or if it's simply faster) how to manually create and/or modify roof planes efficiently. Finally, she will touch on the adjacent walls – how to get the right material in the right place (interior vs. exterior). The seminar will model some key roof styles and emphasize getting the main roof forms and dormers in place for each of the roof planes. Wendy will present the way she builds the roof; but, not every possible way using Chief Architect. Her philosophy: “Doing every gymnastic move does not pay the bills.”.

6. Process for creating new plans using the Save as method 'SAM'

When Scott Hall first began using Chief Architect, the most important aspect to him was how to put a set of plans together quickly and efficiently. He developed a systematic approach using a Save as method 'SAM', Layer Sets and Reference Sets. Whether the plans were for a new 6,000-sqft house or a 1,200-sqft addition – it's the same approach. The lesson he learned – develop a system and stick to it to produce your drawings. In this seminar, the focus will be on the process of developing your own efficient system, rather than a "how-to" for his Save As method.


Track B — Interiors / 3D & Rendering

1. Sections & Elevations – How to Dimension & Manage the Views for Layout

Dan Baumann is a trainer and operator of ChiefExperts as well as a design-build professional. In this seminar, he will present his tips and recommendations for dimensioning and annotating sections and elevations and managing the views for your construction documents through the layout. Exterior, cross section and wall elevations typically require different details, scaling and notes. Learn how to use annotation and layer sets to control automatic and manual dimension behaviors. In addition, use the automatic and manual dimensions in combination to save time. He will cover story pole dimensions, callout markers and other tools to detail views. Understand why if you are doing several similar elevations and sections you can change the default layer set when you use the cross section, backclipped section or wall elevation cameras. Did you know you can use the break line tool on the elevation cameras to create stepped views? Learn more tips like this in his seminar.

2. Best Practices, Tips, and Tricks for Kitchen & Bath Design

Learn best practices, tips and tricks for Kitchen & Bath Design from Adam Gibson a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (there are fewer than 200 in North America). In this seminar, he will cover how to detail Wall Elevations correctly and quickly, use Cabinet Defaults to save time, where and when to attach moldings, door styles – how they affect your design, when to ray trace vs. watercolor/line drawing, best angles for cameras and, how not to confuse the contractor.

3. Virtual Reality & 3D for Your Design Business

Want to learn how to incorporate Virtual Reality in your home design process? VR has become a buzz that many consumers and clients use and enjoy. You can use VR to your advantage and show clients – or subcontractors the design before it's built to communicate clearly, avoid unexpected results and get them excited to move forward with the project. Learn how to incorporate virtual reality through panorama renderings viewable with VR goggles, export designs as an entire 3D model with the same 3D navigation tools you have in Chief Architect plus Sojourn VR navigation. Learn how to e-mail, share or embed on your website both the 360° renderings and 3D Viewer models and get a sneak peak of the new VR capabilities in a future version of Chief Architect. — presented by Scott Harris, Chief Architect VP.

4. Creating a Successful Workflow for Design & Construction Document Production

Jared Baehmer has been designing house plans with Chief Architect for 15 years – from stock to full custom plans. He has worked for contractors building stock plan databases that are then customized for clients. Jared developed a workflow that he will cover in this seminar that is optimized to help create an accurate, efficient and quick plan turnaround. He is passionate about having a structured workflow and believes it's vital to the success of a company including file organization, using the cloud, templates, plan databases, macros, annotation sets and using a checklist. Learn how to apply these concepts to your process in his seminar.

5. Rendering: 360° Rendering, Render Styles & Settings, Ray Trace

Rendering is an important tool you can use to visually communicate a project for a client or to use in marketing your capabilities. Chief Architect offers several options for rendering: standard rendering and artistic rendering (watercolor, line drawing) ray trace rendering and 360° panoramic rendering. This seminar will cover these rendering tools and key settings to help you achieve the best renders for your project, recommended resolution sizes, file types, lighting and the basics of material properties (covered in a separate seminar). Learn how to export 360° renderings to the cloud to then e-mail and share or embed on your website. Preview a sneak peak of the new rendering capabilities in a future version. — presented by Adrean Stephenson, Content Development and Product Marketing Manager at Chief Architect.

6. What's the Key to a Great Rendering? (Hint: Material Properties)

Learn how to get the most out of a rendering with material settings. For each material, there is a material class with options for controlling how it behaves – such as polished, predefined metals and reflectivity. The session will cover which material classes are best suited for various applications and how to understand the settings for each. To add depth to your renderings, you can assign bump maps and normal maps – we'll explain what they are, how they are created and how to use them in your scenes. You can see a sneak peak of the new rendering material capabilities in a future version. — presented by Dustin Cruz, 3D Artist / Content Developer at Chief Architect.


User Group Meeting Speaker Bios

Adam Gibson

Adam Gibson is a design professional specializing in luxury home additions, kitchens, bathrooms, entertainment spaces, and commercial suites based in Indianapolis. Known for an infusion of clean lines, natural light, warmth, and efficient use of space, Adam brings an outside-the-box imagination, an ear attuned to his clients' needs, eco-friendly technologies and the desire to create a healthy indoor environment to each of his designs. He is a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) with the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Adrean Stephenson

Adrean Stephenson is the Content Development & Product Marketing Manager at Chief Architect. With a degree in Drafting Technology, Adrean started at Chief Architect in 1999 in technical support. She found that her interest in design and all elements that contribute to a well-made home, along with her training in drafting and 3D modeling, made her a good fit for content development. "I really love this software, and my favorite part of my job is getting to virtually build houses". In addition to content development, Adrean is Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer (AKBD) certified, creates marketing materials, helps manage feature productization and gathers user suggestions. In her spare time, Adrean enjoys beekeeping, hiking, and remodeling her 1920's bungalow with her husband.

D. Scott Hall

D. Scott Hall owns a home design firm in San Diego. He started drafting in high school using pencil and paper and then worked for his Dad in Houston drawing house plans. Scott attended a couple of years of Architecture at the University of Houston and then began working for an Architect drawing Grocery Stores. He then moved to San Diego and began working for a home design firm drawing custom homes, home remodels, apartments, tenant improvements and mini storage buildings. In 1986, he started his own Home Design firm and switched from pencil and paper to using Chief Architect in 2005.

Dan Baumann

Dan Baumann is the founder of Chief Experts Academy which provides training, support, content for contractors and designers involved in the sales and development of plans for residential and light commercial. He has 20 years of experience as a remodeling contractor and has used and taught Chief Architect for over 24 years. Dan focuses on teaching best practices to complete building plans and how to maximize the amount you get paid for design services.

Dustin Cruz

Dustin Cruz has been a 3D Artist/Content Developer at Chief Architect for the past seven years spending most of his time creating materials and 3D assets. When working in Chief, he enjoys Ray Tracing and generating photorealistic materials. Originally from Yakima, WA Dustin helped build homes for the family business with clutch roles like shovel operator and plywood relocation manager. Dustin also "roadied" his way around the Pacific Northwest mixing audio and working backstage at concerts and festivals, working everything from small clubs to amphitheaters. Dustin has a BA degree in Visual Communications with a 3D Animation Minor. He very much appreciates the Coeur d'Alene area and enjoys camping, swimming in the lake, and getting dirty in the backyard with his kids.

Jared Baehmer

Jared Baehmer is the owner and lead draftsman of Cornerstone Home Designs in Tacoma, WA. He has an Associate's Degree in Video Broadcasting and a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology. Jared has worked with several contractors developing a variety of projects for residential and light commercial. Jared's designs range from complete custom homes for private homeowners to stock plans for production builders across the US and Canada. Jared has been using Chief Architect since version 8 and has mastered a wide variety of tools with Chief Architect and provides training for other potential users.

Jason Troye

Jason Troye is the Engineering Manager at Chief Architect. He joined the company in 2001, initially contributing key features to the Library Browser and Cabinet tools. Currently, Jason oversees the engineering staff while continuing his role as a software developer. Jason earned his Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer (AKBD) certification, and you'll often find him teaching CEU courses at events like the International Builder's Show. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with an MS in Mathematics and Computer Science. Some of the ways Jason stays occupied away from work include family time, running, rock climbing and snowboarding.

Sandi Adams

Sandi Adams is the owner and principal designer at Studio S Architecture, Inc. in Nashville, TN and currently specializes in the booming development of new residences popping up all over Nashville. She has been designing custom homes for over 25 years and her creative and real-living floor plans can be found coast to coast. Sandi has been a Chief Architect user for 10 years and is one of very few designers across the country that has attained the Certified Professional certification stamp from Chief Architect. Sandi also enjoys playing and working on her small farm in Nashville and her two youngest sons will be starting college this Fall, resulting in all three sons being in different colleges at the same time!

Scott Harris

Scott Harris is the Vice President of Chief Architect Software. He guides product marketing for the Chief Architect professional, DIY, and mobile software products. He is also a Chief Architect certified trainer. Scott has an MBA with a background in software development and is a Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKBD). As a hobby, he is an avid designer of custom homes and interior spaces, skis and mountain bikes.

Stephen Gross

Stephen Gross is an Architectural Engineer with Valley Home Improvement, a premier remodeling firm in Northampton, MA. He earned his B.S. in Architectural Engineering from Vermont Technical College and has served in the US Army. Stephen has spent the last 4 years developing, testing creative as-built capture techniques with Chief Architect and Leica laser meters using both mobile and desktop software on the job site. Stephen has been a Chief user since 9.0.

Wendy Welton

Wendy Welton is an architect based in the North East. Her father was a carpenter who taught her to draw home plans on graph paper when she was eight. She went to school at Pratt Institute earning a degree in Architecture and is licensed in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut. Wendy owns her own architectural firm, Art Form Architecture, with a support staff of 11. She started with Chief Architect v9.5 about 13 years ago.