Forsyth Tech – Developing 3D BIM PROFESSIONALS

Forsyth Tech Students at Work

Photo of Forsyth Tech Students
Forsyth Tech Students

Mack Todd Shoaf, a licensed architect is using his many years of experience to develop the next generation of 3D BIM professionals. Many thanks to him and his team for the important work they are doing at Forsyth Tech in Winston-Salem, NC and to Robert Blum for the introduction.

My name is Mack Todd Shoaf and I serve as the program coordinator for the programs of architecture and 3D Scanning and Building Information Modeling at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC.  I am a licensed architect in the states of North Carolina and New Jersey with nearly 25 years of experience in the field of architecture.  

Forsyth Technical Community College, or Forsyth Tech, as it is known is a jewel of an educational resource. Established 59 years ago it is home to over 240 programs of study which serve our community and beyond.  Forsyth Tech is one of the state’s largest community college institutions and has hosted two sitting Presidents (President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama) over the years, while being on the national stage at President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union speech.  

Forsyth Tech prides itself on being an educational leader in a multitude of areas including healthcare, design, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity just to name a few.  Retired Forsyth Tech President Dr. Gary Green and current President Dr. Janet Spriggs serve as beacons in our community for excellence in education.

The 21st century has seen technology evolve at an incredible pace. In the design and related fields this has necessitated a shift to increased technology integration into the design and construction process.  One of the technologies that is quickly spreading in the market place is the use of 3D scanning technology to create accurate modeling information of existing conditions and spaces.  That information is then used to generate drawings, models, and visual representations of current and proposed designs.  

There is a need for individuals trained in 3D scanning, documentation, and visualization technology across the country and this need will continue to grow as more industry sectors come to understand the value of these technologies.  Currently this technology is used in architecture, consulting engineering, civil engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, construction, historic perseveration, exhibit design, product design, manufacturing process improvement, archaeology, criminology, homeland security, film and television, and digital art.

What we have started at Forsyth Technical Community College is a certification program that focuses on basic documentation with 3D scanning technology at the core with a goal of expanding to 

an AAS degree that would broaden the scope to include multiple scanning technologies, documentation and rendering software, and basic knowledge of the design fields.  With the AAS degree, the students would be able to choose electives from our established architecture and interior design programs.

Through our studies, we identified a significant need for individuals trained not only in collecting the point cloud scanned data but knowing how to process this data through the generation of building information models using Revit.  “What do I do with this data” was the big question frequently asked by businesses using 3D scanning services.  As a result, processing scanned data was identified as the biggest gap which needed to be filled by trained individuals.  

Community businesses centered around design and construction who are involved in building reuse, restoration, additions, and documentation would be served  as would local historic districts such as Old Salem and Bethania through architects and individuals currently involved in preservation and documentation.  Forsyth Tech provides the 3D Scanning, Revit courses and Revit certifications that architects, design firms and construction businesses are searching for.

Well, after we identified this great need, how did we get this program started?  Through partnerships.  We were most fortunate to have donors who believed in what we were working to achieve and who helped us tremendously with the purchasing of 3D scanning equipment, along with other needs necessary for starting this program of study.  

Forsyth Tech has instructors who not only work in the field, and understand the need but are dedicated to not only providing the students with the 3D Scanning and Revit training but helping bridge the industry gap for trained individuals. Also there have been individuals in the 3D scanning business who were  critical resources in helping define this program.  Individuals such as David Norman of Laser Scanning Services Company Inc. and Robert Blum of ARC – Architectural Resource Consultants were instrumental in helping us identify the variety of needs which helped shape our program of study.  

To conclude, at Forsyth Technical Community College we are both fortunate and proud to be able to serve our design and construction community through the offering of this program of study.  The future is here with new and exciting opportunities both now and on the horizon.  Feel free to click here  for more information about our program.

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