Reflecting back on 20 years at ASCENT

October 29, 2021 Kareen Eckersley

This Fall ASCENT-Center for Technical Knowledge will reach a milestone of 20 years as a brand, and having been here from the start, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on a few things that have stood out for me. Back in 2001, I was fairly new to the company (having joined in 2000), when an acquisition led to the formalizing of the ASCENT division. From a marketing perspective, it was a busy time! From deciding on the ASCENT name, to the logo, colour palette, design of the training guide covers, a new website (did those even exist 20 years ago?!), there was a lot to be done.

I remember the first time we exhibited at Autodesk University- we were still quite new as a division, so we joined up with one of our other divisions to have a small kiosk. It was a great experience, though difficult to stand out and make an impression in such a tiny space. Fast forward to a year later and we had our very own 10x10 booth space, complete with 2 shelves built right into the booth. Talk about an upgrade! Of course, that was just the start. Over the years at AU, our booth space got larger, along with our library of Autodesk training guides. For many years we hosted an ASCENT bookstore, complete with multiple bookshelves (a few that came crashing down on me one year during set up!) and a checkout system for selling our books right there, on the show floor. For me, some of my favourite memories are those years spent at AU - bonding with my colleagues, discovering the over-the-top hotels that can only be found in Vegas, marveling at the expense and showmanship that Autodesk extended to its customers and partners, and enjoying a change in scenery from the office.

As technology evolved, it helped us transition from printed orders that needed to be faxed in, to a fully digital online eStore. And like any company, people came and went over the years, though I am pleased to say that half of the ASCENT team today has been here since the beginning! More than the changes, progressions, and improvements we’ve made as a business, I think those relationships that have developed over the past 20 years are what I am most proud of. For many years, the Rand Worldwide tagline was “Technology Changes, Relationships Last a Lifetime” and how true that is! We have seen the business landscape change, technology evolve like we never thought possible, and our global customers grow as we realized that the world is not as big as we once thought.

To those of you that have supported ASCENT over the years- whether you are a self-taught software user or an instructor teaching the masses with our learning materials- I thank you for putting your trust in our people and products. And to my colleagues and former colleagues that I have had the chance to work with, learn from, and grow alongside, a huge thanks to all of you for your support and putting up with my marketing shenanigans! Here’s to many more years of making great memories. 


“Look Ma- our clothes match our training guide covers!”
On a casual Friday a few years ago, I looked around and realized my colleagues were wearing the colours of the ASCENT guides. So of course, we had to snap a photo!

 (From L-R: Barb Nash, Renu Muthoo, Paul Burden, Dena Storm, myself, and Jennifer MacMillan).


Our very first 10x10 Booth at Autodesk University 2005, proudly displaying our learning guides.


Fast forward a few years later and here we have Ronda Wiley and myself encouraging people to “Keep on Walking” to get to the books on the other side.