July 19, 2010
ANSYS turns 40!
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Some of these are listed in Footnotes [4] RECOGNITION AND ACCOLADES and [5] ANSYS RECENT PRESS RELEASES.


Despite its relatively long history, ANSYS has had only three CEO's. As mentioned, Jim Cashman has been the president and CEO from the year 2000 up to the present time. Jim was preceded by Peter J. Smith, who was CEO till 2000; Peter still serves as Chairman of the Board. Before that, Founder John Swanson held sway until he became the firm's Chief Technologist, and he retired in that capacity in 1999.

Please see Footnote [6] for more background on both John Swanson and Peter J. Smith. Jim Cashman's profile is provided directly below this paragraph.


James E. Cashman III

James E. Cashman III was born in
Hamilton OH in August 1953, the only child of James Cashman, Jr. and Marjorie Cashman. (Hamilton is in Southwestern Ohio, only 25 miles due north of the writer's initial Cincinnati home, where he was 12 years old and in the 7th grade in 1953).

Because of the nature of his father's job, the Cashman threesome moved frequently during Jim III's youth, although most of the family's time was spent in either Ohio or Minnesota. Attending many different schools, Jim III also held a variety of part time jobs throughout his elementary and secondary education … jobs that competed with his strong interest in music as well as his ardent participation in seasonal sports like soccer, baseball and basketball. Nevertheless, Jim III prospered academically and placed second in his eventual 1971 graduating class at
Colerain High School in Cincinnati.

(Note: While Jim Cashman and the writer had not yet met, the writer's home from 1966 to 1972 was located less than one mile northwest of Colerain High School).

Favoring an engineering curriculum, Jim evaluated lots of colleges, including but not limited to the University of Minnesota, MIT, Purdue and the University if Cincinnati (UC). The latter's 5-year program in mechanical engineering became his ultimate choice, because UC offered both co-op work-study programs and financial assistance for playing Division I soccer. Jim moved to the Cincinnati suburb of Clifton and began college at UC in September 1971.

In a fortuitous happenstance for both parties, Jim joined Cincinnati-based
Structural Dynamics Research Corporation (SDRC) in 1972 for all of his co-op work assignments during his college years. SDRC was only 5 years old at the time; the writer did not know Jim yet, having himself joined SDRC just three years earlier to initiate the company's computer services, executive seminars and software development, to complement the firm's existing dynamic testing consulting practice. (Over the years, many of SDRC's full-time personnel had also been university co-ops; company management strongly believed in college work-study co-op programs).

In typical SDRC fashion, Jim was thrust early on into actual commercial consulting projects like vibration testing and software development, stretching his emerging professional engineering skills, providing a rapid learning curve and building his customer interaction savvy. Since SDRC licensed a variety of commercially-available finite element analysis software codes to help execute its consulting projects, Jim was also exposed to their use in real projects during his co-op periods at SDRC, (including early versions of ANSYS).

On the college front, once again Jim prospered academically, despite the rigorous UC engineering curriculum, playing varsity soccer and other intramural sports, and the very challenging SDRC co-op periods. Along the way, Jim became a member of national engineering honoraries Pi Tau Sigma and Tau Beta Pi. Jim ultimately achieved a 5-year cumulative GPA of 3.98 (out of 4.00), placing him first in his ME engineering graduating class in 1976.

With his co-op experience and his stellar academic record, SDRC was of course anxious to hire Jim full time upon his BSME graduation. But having participated in practice sessions with the team, Jim was leaning toward an offer to play professional soccer with the Cincinnati Comets in the American Soccer League (ASL). However, this issue became moot when the local soccer team folded in 1976, so SDRC became the fortunate beneficiary of Jim's full time talents.

Jim's first post-graduate assignment was in SDRC Systems, the company's sales unit. He was put in charge of SDRC's largest account at the time (Caterpillar), and by leveraging individuals across SDRC, Jim managed to triple SDRC's sales level with CAT in just a couple years. Among the SDRC people Jim tapped to assist was the writer, who was at the time SDRC's president and COO.
This led to an ongoing association and friendship between the two men. Indeed, while several inches shorter at 6' 1” and 12 years older, the writer often provided valuable lessons in humility to Mr. Cashman during frequent 1:1 basketball challenges on the outside public courts in Mariemont OH in the late 70's. (Oddly, Jim's recollection of these matches is different, claiming that the writer never won a single game to 10 baskets, despite being spotted 3 baskets to start each game).

Jim Cashman continued his career at SDRC for the next 18 years (1976 till 1994), whereas the writer left SDRC (1969 - 1982) to join Schlumberger Applicon in Boston as EVP in 1982 and then moved permanently to the west coast in 1984:

Henke 1982

Fortunately, despite cross-country geographic separation of 2400 to 2700 miles since 1984, the paths of Jim Cashman and the writer have crossed many times, since we have both been in similar businesses. Moreover, both of us have long been interested engineering applications with coupled phenomena, or multi-physics.

Back to Jim Cashman. Following his CAT assignment at SDRC, Jim moved into SDRC CAE consulting in the late 70's, branched over into the SDRC CAE International emerging software business, then into North American Marketing, then into lead roles in International Sales (essentially Asia minus Japan). Then to Director of SDRC Core Products and ultimately Jim became the GM of the SDRC Data Management business unit.

Jim's latter SDRC position led to the formation of a joint venture with Control Data Corporation (CDC) to form
Metaphase Technologies in 1992, with Jim becoming the vice president of Development and Marketing of the new venture for the next two years (based in Arden Hills, Minnesota).

Along the way, Jim also found time (1) to earn a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC (MSME 1978) as well as (2) a Master of Business Administration degree from UC (MBA 1981), (3) get married (1988) and begin a family (1993).

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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