Creating shell meshes for FEA is a very time consuming process. I recently did a presentation detailing how Direct Modeling and Meshing Technology can be used to expedite the creation of shell meshes. Topics covered include: Mid-surface extraction, connecting mid-surfaces, shell meshing, reviewing element quality, and assigning thicknesses and offsets.
I have made a recording of this presentation below. Also, the original recording did not capture the live demo adequately. I have also included a separate video with the demo, but with greater quality. As an additional bonus you will find a 3rd video at the bottom of this post.