BUG Buzz: Digital Collaboration Goes Mainstream

With many industry professionals still largely working remote, the second quarter 2020 BUG meetings features presentations on tools and techniques to continue to bolster remote collaboration

The second quarter of 2020 for BUG members worldwide was marked by the continued success of virtual meetings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Attendance at virtual BUG meetings remained strong in the quarter, with informative and relevant presentations on everything from batch link to digital signatures to users’ expanded use of Studio Projects and Sessions. Although many architects, engineering and construction industry professionals are still working from home, members of the BUG community are staying connected. 

In this quarter’s BUG wrap–up, we feature Q&A profiles of the two BUG champs that lead the BostonBUG, Derrick Nickerson and Paul Kuehnel

Derrick Nickerson, senior associate, Stantec   

When and how did you first start to use Bluebeam? 

As a former practicing architect, now focusing on efficient business tools—process, planning, communication, risk mitigation—in our Digital Practice group, BostonBUG keeps me informed with the latest updates and innovative workflows from my Boston peers. Even though I’m no longer on active projects, staying current with Bluebeam and bringing back efficient workflows is important for both my personal growth and for the rest of Stantec. 

I first started using Bluebeam when a contractor introduced me to a new punch listing workflow in 2013. We were punch listing a large multifamily residential project in Boston using iPads with the Revu for iPad app. In lieu of typing out each issue, like other applications, we used Studio Sessions to host the floor plans and punch key symbols to note the issues and attach photos if needed. Back in the office, Batch Markup Summary allowed us to easily create a report of each unit and floor. 

When did you first get involved with a BUG and why? 

What is the Bluebeam tool you get the most value out of and why? 

The OCR function in Bluebeam provides me with the most value. Being able to easily and quickly search within a large PDF is extremely valuable. OCR also ties into other core features like page labels, where you can scan a certain page region, usually within the  drawing title block and pull in the sheet number and names for hundreds of sheets in a few seconds is another great time saving feature.   

Do you have a most memorable BUG meeting you’ve attended? 

While I can’t recall a particular moment, I’m always surprised by who I run into at the meetings. Whether it’s someone I worked with on the past on the engineering or construction side or someone who works with a colleague, I’m always amazed by how small the Boston AEC industry is for being in a large metropolitan city.   

What advice would you give to Bluebeam users who haven’t yet attended a BUG meeting? 

Try one! BUG meetings are an easy way to learn Bluebeam features and workflows from your local peers. On top of the educational component, BUG meetings offer a relaxed approach to networking, all around a common interest.   

Paul Kuehnel, senior structural engineer and project manager at Odeh Engineers  

When and how did you first start to use Bluebeam? 

I first was introduced to Bluebeam in 2012 when I began working at Odeh Engineers. I remember being immediately impressed and excited about this “new” PDF program that seemed to be tailored specifically to the AEC community.  

When did you first get involved with a BUG and why? 

I first became involved with the BostonBUG in 2018. By this point, I had become quite enamored with Revu and was searching for other tips and tricks that would make my workflow even more efficient. It was then that I ran across the Bluebeam User Group pages and saw that there was a group in Boston. I decided to attend my first BUG meeting because I enjoy building my professional network of industry peers and was really interested to see the ways in which other firms were using the product. 

What is the Bluebeam tool you get the most value out of and why? 

It is hard to pick just one. I would say the custom toolsets that our company has built have become an invaluable part of my workflow, as are the scaling and the measuring tools. However, the true workhorse of Revu that delivers the most value would have to be Studio.  

Our industry thrives on teamwork and Studio allows our teams to function in a more agile manner. With Studio Sessions, we’re able to have all of our team members working in a single PDF, actively reviewing the document and picking up markups. This as well as the many other uses for Sessions has become an invaluable tool for our company. 

Do you have a most memorable BUG meeting you’ve attended? 

This May we held our first virtual BostonBUG meeting. With the current state of affairs during this pandemic, it was necessary to move our in-person quarterly meeting to a virtual setting. The attendance was fantastic and we were able to reach a lot of our peers that maybe hadn’t been able to attend in the past. While I am looking forward to the day that we can hold another in-person BUG meeting, I think a virtual component of these meetings may become standard. 

What advice would you give to Bluebeam users who haven’t yet attended a BUG meeting? 

Come check it out! You are bound to go back to your office having learned some new tips or tricks. Also, the value of meeting new people and interacting with your industry peers, outside of a traditional work setting should not be understated. I have had the chance to meet many wonderful and intelligent people that I may not have interacted with otherwise. 


Remember to use the hashtag #bugbuzz to capture meeting insights and share with your peers in the industry.  

Posting about a BUG meeting on social media? Don’t forget to use the hashtag #bugbuzz and give your industry peers a glimpse of what it’s like to be a member of the BUG community! 

Notable & Quotable  

Joshua Draper, Senior Project Engineer, Worley, describing a batch link feature he was trying to solve:  

“It took me three months to figure out how to make Bluebeam think I had files when I didn’t. It was actually at a BUG meeting that I was explaining this Andrew Gaer from Bluebeam, and on the way back I was talking with Steve Bucksbaum; we were talking about what I told Andrew and then all of a sudden it was like, “Oh! Oh, OK, I got it!” 

Here are things users need to master in Revu to enhance their Studio Sessions.