Feature Friday – Brian Ybarra
I am the subject matter expert for Stuller’s CAD/CAM Services, and a CounterSketch® and Matrix® instructor. I love my job and the opportunity to work with our customers. I get to help them become better at CounterSketch and Matrix and give them a better understanding of our CAD/CAM services and what we can do to help them succeed. Sharing my knowledge and expertise in CounterSketch and Matrix, and relating CAD design to the real world, helps our customers become heroes and enables them to best serve their customers.
In 2009, Stuller announced its strategic partnership with Gemvision Corporation, a jewelry-specific software technology firm based in Davenport, Iowa. Then, in 2015, Gemvision moved its main operations to Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. For five years before the move, I was with Gemvision, where I worked in Matrix and CounterSketch support. It’s been two years since I’ve been at Stuller, and I still never fail to be inspired by those around me. I have yet to meet a better or happier group of people.
The introduction of CAD/CAM has revolutionized the jewelry industry. I’ve been doing CAD work for almost 15 years, and if I had to do it all over, I would’ve gotten into it sooner. I‘ve seen it grow in the marketplace, from something that only the geekiest of jewelers and store owners played with, to the commonplace tool that it is now. The years before I got into it were pivotal in how CAD for jewelers advanced. I would love to have been part of that early development.
My favorite memory of my time in the jewelry industry inspired me to become a jeweler. I was 16 years old, and my family had just moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts. I stopped at a small jewelry store, Carmen’s of Marblehead, looking for something with pearls for my sister. After my purchase, Carmen, the store owner, went back to work at his bench. I stayed and watched him for the rest of the day; I was mesmerized.
After watching him for hours over the next few days, I asked if he ever thought of taking on an apprentice. He said no but made a suggestion. If I was interested, he recommended taking the selective jewelry arts class at my new high school. Then, I should come back to see him. I did, and he took me under his wing. I worked in his store until I joined the military. I served in the Army Reserves for four years before going active duty in the Marine Corps.
Outside of work, I’m a creative person. I have to be doing something with my hands or else I’ll go nuts. My hands, eyes, and well, just me, aren’t what they used to be, so I can’t do as much bench work. I’ve had many hobbies over the years. Some of the most fulfilling are photography, knife making, leather crafting, and wood turning. I also love the outdoors and enjoy spending my free time camping, RVing, and exploring national and state parks.