Chatting with InRoads royalty

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An interview with Mark Ditko, InRoads guru

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA — As a part of MicroStation Today’s crusade to help the MicroStation community find ways to increase productivity, this month we spotlight a MicroStation expert who specializes in Bentley’s civil engineering package. Say hello to Mark Ditko, InRoads guru.

Mark Ditko, InRoads guru

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native’s wealth of knowledge and experience make him a bona fide master when it comes to the software. Mark has been a user since the first release of InRoads, 15 years ago, is certified by Bentley as an InRoads instructor and is a published author on the topic. It’s not only the fact that his professional life has revolved around InRoads that make him an expert, but his knowledge of engineering as well. Mark has a background in survey, hydrology and hydraulics, earthwork calculations, utility design, grading, paving, and geometry that play a vital role in enhancing his understanding of the modern InRoads user’s scene.

MicroStation Today caught up with Mark to get to know more about him and share his experiences with the MicroStation community.

MicroStation Today:Mark: The first company that I worked at was Haver, Nunn & Collamer in Phoenix, Arizona. They were a pretty progressive company and had the early versions of MicroStation and had InRoads running on a VAX mini-computer. That was really my first exposure. It wasn’t until InRoads was officially released right at the end of the 80s before I started working with the software full time. At that time, I was at a company called Collar, Williams & White that was purchased by a Southern California based firm, Rick Engineering. Rick was standardizing all of their offices on MicroStation and InRoads, and I eventually became the lead in the Phoenix office.RefManager (one of Toolkit’s component applications) can update a batch of reference file paths with one command.

MST: How long have you been training people on InRoads?
Mark: For about 15 years now. Collar, Williams & White was an ink-on-mylar shop when Rick Engineering purchased it. At that time there were four individuals, including myself, originally trained on the software at Rick. We were responsible for converting the rest of the office away from the boards and onto this new software. Because of a strange chain of events, I ended up being the only one of the four left after a short period and ended up in charge of this effort. That’s when my training of others really started.

MST: We hear you wrote a book on In-Roads. What made you decide to write it?
Mark: I went to work for Intergraph in January of 1995. It was there that I became an InRoads instructor. I can’t recall a single class where someone didn’t ask me, “Is there any other material available that explains InRoads?” The first time I heard that, it planted a seed, and every time I heard it again nurtured that need. Eventually, I knew I was going to do it, and it was only a matter of when.

MST: Who is this book for?
Mark: The book was absolutely designed with the beginner in mind. However, there is everything from the most fundamental InRoads concepts and tools to higher-level applications. There are things in this book that won’t be found anywhere else. With that said, I have met very few users who are advanced in all aspects of the software. This book will fill gaps that a lot of users have with the software. The 20-page table of contents can be downloaded from the book’s Website at ZenInRoadsEssentials.com.

MST: Who is Mark Ditko outside of being an InRoads guru?
Mark: Besides being an InRoads guru? Why would I do anything besides InRoads? Actually I’m an inventor, and you will probably start seeing things broadly available from one of my other companies soon. Beyond that, I’m a philosopher at heart. I have to admit that I really enjoy talking to people about their lives, their interests, their ambitions and goals. I think that relationships are pure gold and one of the most valuable possessions available anywhere.

MST: Great philosophy! Thank you for your time, Mark.
Mark: No problem! Thank you for yours.

Now you know Mark Ditko and what he does. If you are an InRoads user and feel your workflow is suffering due to lack of training, then you now know who to call for help. You can contact Mark through his Website at InRoadsGuru.com.

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