Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 9

Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 9

Where to start? Most of my day jobs consisted of working by myself mostly. I had a list of things to do and I did them. It seems every job with the exception of truss designer has been a list of things to do on my own. Even as a designer at times I seemed to be on my own.


Here is a little background for you. For 15 years I worked in a ring-spun cotton factory running 24 carding machines or more when someone was gone to lunch. My machines used an automated material handling system ran by a computer. This was my first real experience using a computer. AGV’s (automated guided vehicles) delivered my product to the next step in the spinning process. I was fascinated with everything I could make these vehicles do with a computer. I learned a lot of it on my own. I made mistakes and even shut the whole system down one time (well maybe more than once). The computer tech had to come out and restart everything. I told him to show me what I did wrong so I would not do it again. He said to just call him when it happened again and he would come fix it. He didn’t want to show me how or share his information. So I would watch and learn it on my own or messed it up really bad and he would have to come and help. Eventually I got pretty good at it, through trial and error and a lot of back-breaking work. Because when the system went down I had to move things manually. The barrels of cotton weighed from 75-120lb.

I have never had any real formal training to design trusses. I started out to be a drafter. Since high school I have wanted to draw house plans. I started learning CAD at a local technical school in 1998. Wow that was a long time ago! Someone saw me working on my homework and wanted me to draw a plan for them. So I did, we talked and this person just happened to know someone who had just started a truss plant and offered to introduce me to them. And that is how I got started in the truss business. Being a new company they could not afford to send me to school. They had a “teacher” come in for a few days and show me how to run the program. After he left I was there by myself to learn it on my own.

Don’t get me wrong being independent is not a bad thing and not every company left me to work it out completely on my own. There was someone there, but like a lot of times things get busy and they don’t have time to help. Any type of the classes had to be taken online and I was turned loose to do them on my own. I guess all of the time spent I on my own may have helped me to be able to work at home on my own.

Do you see a pattern here, “on my own”? After years of thinking I have to do it all on my own GDI is “trying” to teach me I am not alone. I have a whole group of people out there in cyberspace who are more than willing to help me. I just have to remember that I am not on my own and all I have to do is ask. Teamwork, real teamwork! I am not alone, someone out there is or has been through the same thing I am trying to do and they are willing to share. Take it from a mother who raised two children on my own, whether you are working from home or in an office full of people you will always use the support of others.

As I was writing this I noticed how many times I wrote the phrase “on my own”. I started underlining them as I went. I just would like to thank all of those people at GDI that have supported me and answered my questions when I finally got brave enough to ask them and not leaving me all “on my own”.

You can read Part 1 in this series here.

You can read Part 2 in this series here.

You can read Part 3 in this series here.

You can read Part 4 in this series here.

You can read Part 5 in this series here.

You can read Part 6 in this series here.

You can read Part 7 in this series here.

You can read Part 8 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 10.

Katrina Jones – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.