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071: Implementing Changes Around PDM Education

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

071: Implementing Changes Around PDM Education


On today’s episode of the Digital Enterprise Society Podcast Thom and Craig are joined by Aras Technical Account Manager David Ewing and Assistant Professor of Practice at Purdue University Travis Fuerst to discuss the importance of teaching students about PLM in the classroom long before they enter the workplace. David and Travis co-authored the valuable book Essentials of Product Data Management: Enabling the Digital Enterprise — a resource for educators that exposes students to the concepts, capabilities and processes associated with PDM.

Today they share the importance of improving PLM and PDM education, critical reasons that the digital enterprise needs to be digitized, and why there is a greater need than ever before for a transition from PDM to PLM.  

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

How can PDM and PLM improve in education and in the workforce?

  • Students need to be better equipped to work with PDM and PLM straight out of college.

  • A PDM model in the classroom would avoid the need to unteach bad habits in the workplace.

  • Engineering and technology need to be better merged and released from their silos.

  • Senior management needs to be willing to look at new tools to improve processes.

  • System engineering should be engaged from Day 1 until the time a product stops being used.

3 reasons the digital enterprise needs to be digitized

  • PDM is more than just CAD, which means the author needs to be more deliberate in how data is stored.

  • Travis and David’s book takes digitization down to the user’s level and answers the question ‘what’s in it for me?’.

  • Academia needs to be better prepared for the demands of post-school PLM requirements.

The need for a transition from PDM to PLM

  • Product lifecycle management still requires that the process comes first. 

  • Data has to be stored somewhere, which is where the PDM underpinning of PLM comes into play.

  • The product life cycle applies not only to engineering, it is a critical component of every digital industry.

  • The days of planned obsolescence are gone — customers want to buy the product that has the most promising lifecycle.

Career advice from experienced industry pros

  • Follow what you love and be prepared to pivot toward it. 

  • Don’t be afraid to take on the next challenging job.

  • Work yourself out of a job and then hand it off to the next person.

  • Challenge yourself to stay curious about the work you are doing and the work you want to be doing.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at



Essentials of Product Data Management: Enabling the Digital Enterprise by Amy B Mueller, Jorge D. Camba, Travis J. Fuerst, David L. Ewing



David Ewing is an industry veteran in Digital Transformation and is focused on helping his firms deliver their products effectively with PLM. His background includes both developing and marketing PLM software as well as implementing and customizing PLM in industry. He has over 15 years of experience implementing configuration management concepts in PLM in the industrial and aerospace industries. Prior to joining Aras, David held PLM roles at Cummins, B/E Aerospace, and General Electric. Over this time he and his teams have deployed PLM systems, simulation processes, Model-Based Definition, Configuration/Change Management, Materials Libraries, CAD/design automation and other business process improvements.

David holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University at Buffalo and an MBA in Management from Purdue University. He is certified in Configuration Management (CM2), Project Management (PMI) and Six Sigma in DMAIC and DFSS.


Travis J. Fuerst is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice with the Department of Computer Graphics Technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, West Lafayette campus. He received his BS in Computer Graphics Technology in 2000, and his Master of Science in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)  in 2002 from Purdue University. In 2013 he earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI)

Before returning to Purdue in 2017 Professor Fuerst spent over 13 years working for The Boeing Company as an Engineering Workplace Coach, IT Project Manager, and Continuous Improvement Leader. He started his career in marketing as an Applications Engineer for ENOVIA Corp. Additionally, he served 21 years in the U.S. Army Reserves as both an NCO and Officer retiring in 2017 as a Major from the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) where he served as a Cyber Operation Watch Officer.

Professor Fuerst is a skilled leader & project manager with experience in standing up and leading cross-functional teams, accurately analyzing risk, identifying available resources, determining acceptable courses of actions, and applying lean manufacturing principles & practices in all elements of the business to achieve the goals of leadership.

His in-depth experience with PLM, Project Management, Continuous Improvement and Leadership filters into his instruction style where he is educating and mentoring industry professionals, undergraduate and graduate students.

Tags:  Data Management  Education  Higher Education  PDM  PLM 

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