The Man from Down Under

Posted on May 28th, 2012. Posted In Interview,SolidWorks Community

While he never mentioned anything about Vegemite sandwiches, there’s no doubting Michale Lord’s roots. He was born in Fairfield, New South Whales, Australia, a suburb of Sydney, so one can only assume that said sandwiches are part of his daily caloric intake. I mean it’s either Vegemite or shrimp on the barbie in Australia, right?

By his recollection, he started building things around the age of 9 or 10. He was always modifying bikes or building billy carts (what we Americans call soapbox cars). He also enjoyed damming up the creek by his house and then blowing it up with fireworks. Like so many of us, Michael also enjoyed taking things apart to see how they worked, such as clocks. Also like many of us, they never went back together. There were also the mandatory experiments with electricity (240V, not our wimpy 110V). By ‘experiment’, I mean he removed switch covers and then got zapped by it. Isn’t that how we all learned?

Michael figures his interest in design came about because of the era he grew up in (late 60’s/early 70’s). Couple the lunar landing with a neighbor who had stacks of Popular Mechanic magazines and another young boy was sucked into the glamorous world of design.

I’m a bit confused by the Australian education system, but what I am able to figure out is that Michael left school at 15 and got an apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery. It was assumed that he’d go on to college, having come in first in mathematics, technical drawing and woodwork, so his decision left many scratching their heads. However, Michael has no regrets. His career path eventually brought him (back) to Trakka Ply Limited, an Australian RV customizer, where he brought them into modern times by introducing them to AutoCAD and then to SolidWorks.

The switch to SolidWorks was, and I quote, “the start of the greatest change in both how we designed but also how we manufactured”. They used to have to wait for a vehicle to show up before they could begin measuring, etc. With SolidWorks, they’re able to get the vehicle files from the manufacturer and design everything prior to the vehicle arriving, saving tons of man hours in the process. They’ve also realized savings of floor space, in marketing costs and in build time.

In 2011, Michael made the trip to SolidWorks World as the winner of the SolidWorks World Correspondent Contest. It was something he absolutely didn’t expect as his entry was meant to entertain himself by ribbing his American friends. Well, Michael, the joke was on you…sort of.

Aside from traveling to SolidWorks World, Michael enjoys being the father of 20-year old triplets, playing around with SolidWorks, some chess and road trips. Sounds like a great life!


Picture stolen from



  • Thanks Jeff
    You managed to make sense of my ramblings!

    Your assumptions are correct a diet of Vegemite is still compulsory for all young (& old) Aussie kids!