Spokane Journal of Business

Quest for knowledge: Virtual learning gains popularity at Post Falls software company

Manufacturing software provider introduces daily webinar series for kids

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-Quest Integration Inc.
Brooke Silvius plays with a catapult she made while participating in one of the online STEM lessons offered by Quest Integration Inc.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Quest Integration Inc. rarely offered online training. 

Now, the Post Falls-based company, which sells and provides support of manufacturing-design software and hardware, is providing all training virtually, and the company has expanded its offerings to include daily educational webinars for children. 

Quest’s instructors primarily had trained groups of adults in person and supplied 3-D printing materials and software to Inland Northwest schools, Quest campaign coordinator Jessica Braniff says. 

Quest Integration primarily uses SolidWorks, a computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering software for 3-D printers created by France-based software company Dassault Systèmes SE.

Occasionally, certified instructors would be asked to hold an online meeting to troubleshoot with a customer, but Quest hadn’t yet pulled the trigger on online training for most of the products it offers. 

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and stay-home orders. 

“We had a calendar scheduled full of trainings for the next couple of months. We quickly moved that to an online platform,” Braniff says. “We’re trying to make sure that employees who are working from home can stay up to date on learning the best technology and tips and tricks available to them. It’s all the same certified instructors teaching. It’s just on Zoom or GoToMeeting.” 

In addition to providing training online, Quest also has begun offering webinars on Creaform, the 3-D scanners Quest uses. The webinars are called 3-D Scanning Coffee Breaks.

“These are 10-minute webinars where we’re covering different topics on the 3-D scanners and how they can optimize your processes,” Braniff says. “We’re working on rolling out more of these series to keep people engaged and keep them positive and focused.”

Quest also has become more involved with its educational customers. Braniff says as many as 200 people in education have called Quest for assistance.

She says a lot of teachers have asked how they can teach SolidWorks to students who have to learn from home for the rest of the school year. As part of its support for those teachers, Quest provided instructors with SolidWorks software licenses for students use at home. 

“They can still do classes with their students and say, ‘OK, now all of you should have this software pulled up, you should be able to click here to do x, y, and z.’ So, they still have that learning environment at home,” Braniff says. 

In the first week of April, Quest also began offering daily educational webinars called QuestByte through its educational initiative program on Facebook, called Quest for Success. 

“It’s teaching kids quick little STEM lessons (they can do) from home to keep them engaged and busy,” Braniff says. “We recently taught them how to make catapults, which was very interesting, because a bunch of our employees also have kiddos who have been at home watching these. One of my coworkers, Caryn (Silvius), said, ‘I can’t get Brooke to stop catapulting things from across the room.’”

Braniff adds, “Our QuestByte series is not only providing Quest an opportunity to help teach children around the area more about STEM, but it gives our staff with children the chance to show them more of what mom or dad does all day, and what they work with.”

Quest also has been working more closely with professors at colleges and universities who teach SolidWorks to engineering students. Before the pandemic, if a student had a question or problem with the software the professor would contact Quest, Braniff says. Now, students are encouraged to call Quest directly. 

“We are trying to be the best resource to help out any way we can,” Braniff says.

Quest Integration is located at 104 Moyie in Post Falls, with a showroom at 4460 W. Riverbend Drive. The company, which employs 30 people, was founded in 1998 by mechanical engineer David Minerath and his wife, Diane.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the banking and finance industries. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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