I’m Andrea Alvarado and This Is How I Mesh

Andrea Alvarado, Marketing Assistant on the Sales & Marketing Team.

Andrea Alvarado, Marketing Assistant on the Sales & Marketing Team.

“I am not an engineer.” I have found that since I started working at Pointwise six years ago, I say that quite often especially after I mention that I work for Pointwise which develops preprocessing software used for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). See, CFD engineers are passionate about meshing and even if they are not currently working in an engineering environment, as it was with my white water rafting guide (an engineer), when they hear “computational fluid dynamics” they become outright giddy and starry-eyed and begin talking about the meshes and CFD analyses they have done. So, I quite often find myself stopping them and saying, “Oh, I am not an engineer but you can keep telling me about your mesh.” I am, however, the full-time marketing person for Pointwise.

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Current position: Marketing Assistant, Sales & Marketing
  • Current computer: Intel Core i5-2320 CPU @ 3GHz with 6GB of RAM
  • One word that best describes how you work: Prolifically

What software or tools do you use every day?

At any given time through the day, I have at least these five programs open and am actively working with them: Outlook, Constant Contact, Excel (usually two different workbooks open on each screen), Spark, an instant messaging program, and Asana, task management software.

What does your workspace look like?

Andrea's current workspace.

Andrea’s current workspace.

Sticky notes galore. Asana is excellent at keeping all project participants abreast of where one is at any given moment for a task or project but sometimes there are miscellaneous bits of information and/or to-dos passed on to me on a daily basis that are not meant to be tasked in Asana or anywhere else except on a sticky note on my desk. When I anticipate my day to be extra fulfilling, I will also create my “MUST DO” list on a sticky and gleefully check off each item when completed.

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

In order to figure out what my meshing specialty was, I decided earlier this week to import  a file of Herbie the Love Bug into Pointwise and start meshing. With my awesome Pointwise mousepad that is jam packed with accelerators in hand, I began. I chose the route of jumping in and clicking buttons rather than doing a few tutorials which lead very quickly to an IM to support. My support guy, John Dreese, was wonderful. He did not say, “We have tutorials for this,” but instead, he listened to what I wanted to do, showed me the next steps and then explained what was happening behind the scenes. Best support I’ve gotten from anywhere in a while. One might say that I was getting special treatment since I am a co-worker but aside from him coming to my desk to help, I wasn’t. I’ve seen our support team at work and they all must have a bit of teacher in their persona because they all seem to truly enjoy helping our clients solve their problems and teaching them ways to better use Pointwise. So, I clicked buttons, selected various surfaces, adjusted attributes (aka colors on Herbie), clicked “Assemble Models” and waited. While waiting, I was able to do some soul searching and realized that my meshing specialty, though it may never be creating meshes, is looking over an engineer’s shoulder while they rotate a grid for me and saying things like, “That angle works best,” “The colors here probably could be more vibrant,” and, of course, “I need that screenshot in hi-res, thank you!”

My day-to-day specialty is that of a marketing coordinator. For most events, such as webinars, webcasts, our newsletter, The Connector, and fun events like The Meshy Award or the current Wallpaper contest (which, I am very eager to see your entry for the contest), I develop and coordinate project timelines, proof content and design elements, manage the editorial procedures, create and/or manage the creation of the promotional materials and analyze the results. When I am not working on projects like above, I manage our conferences, advertising, promotional goodies and T-shirts, help coordinate events like our user group meetings, and well do anything and everything one might do in relation to marketing.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently juggling the coordination and promotion of our next webcast which will be about our collaboration with OpenVSP, the Wallpaper contest which allows “meshcassos” a chance to show off their grids, our November issue of The Connector, revamping how we collect and track customer demographics, prepping for the rest of the conferences for this year and next.  Plus, I just finished helping prepare Pointwise’s winning poster for the International Meshing Roundtable.

Our submission for the 24th International Meshing Roundtable.

Our winning submission for the 24th International Meshing Roundtable.

Any tips, tricks, or advice for our users?

This, of course, is a selfishly motivated piece of advice: share your images of your grid—with me preferably. When I saw my first few grid images I thought these grids are functional art. The colors, the structure, the three-dimensional depth; a grid created for computational analysis is something one can also place in a frame and exhibit on a wall. In fact, I framed a turbo grid image and am giving it to my dad for a Christmas present because he found it to be so beautiful. This form of beauty should be shared; not just sit in a folder waiting to be solved on. Deadline for the Wallpaper contest is 30 October.

Have you recently read any books or articles we should know about?

I wish I did. I went from being an avid reader who would literally stay up all night to finish a book to being a person who, to no fault of the book, has been trying to complete Odd Apocalypse for at least the past four months. My next book to read will be Red Hope written by my co-worker, John Dreese. I’m quite curious to see if I will like it.

Do you plan on attending any conferences or workshops this year?

I attended AIAA Aviation this year in Dallas. We held a Pointwise reception the Sunday before the conference. It was a fun event and I enjoyed meeting new people at the reception and saying hello to familiar faces that we do not see often.

What do you do when you’re not surrounded by engineers making meshes?

I feel like I am answering a question on a dating site (I enjoy taking long walks, searching for new restaurants, eating good food, dabbling in photography, and playing the piano J). Currently, most of my time is spent trying to nurture an old 1927 home back to health. The professionals have done their magic and it is now up to me to finish the work. Time for the flooring, texturing and painting to begin. Wish me luck on the toilet and sink installations.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received?

There are two pieces of advice that have stuck with me over the years and they work well together. First is to trust yourself. When decisions overwhelm you and you don’t know which choice will take you past go, trust yourself, make the decision that feels right and then go with it.

The second piece of advice was, “Remember why you love… (insert here).” Life can be overwhelming. As a single-parent overwhelming is almost my norm but when my kid is being really annoying, or the house is falling apart or work gets too hectic, I remember why I love those things. It helps makes it easier to get through the tough moments when you remember all the good reasons you are going through them.

If you had to pick a place to have dinner, where would you go?

This decision is very dependent on my cravings that day. It’s a harder question to answer than one might think. See, I love eating. Unfortunately my culinary abilities match my love for food only in my dreams. I rank my actual abilities for cooking as, “I haven’t killed anyone yet” and, “the kitchen hasn’t completely burned down yet.” Therefore, I am on a never ending quest to find places the serve foods that match my dream culinary abilities. I recently found this at Taverna’s in downtown Fort Worth. The Risotto al Parmigiano con Salsa Tartufata was phenomenal. The texture was the perfect combination of firm and creamy and the black truffle sauce….I have no words to describe how it so perfectly complimented the risotto and brought such depth to each bite. On an average day, I love to eat at hole-in-the-wall places or food trucks that serve great food. I’m waiting for Taco Heads to complete the construction on its storefront so I can eat there more often. Their food truck’s hours do not always coordinate with my schedule.  Great, I made myself hungry, time for lunch.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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