Professional Development – Truss Design: A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 17

Professional Development – Truss Design:  A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 17

Having worked in the construction industry for the last 10 years as an Estimator and Project Manager, I have been exposed to various building and project types with varying levels of challenges. When it came time to put roof trusses into my bid I’ve always relied on the truss supplier that I felt had the best price and best truss package.

That being said, my truss experience started and stopped with reviewing proposals from different vendors and briefly reviewing their truss drawings.  Having been given the opportunity to work with a component design firm like Gould Design, Inc., I took on the daunting task of learning a completely new skill set which you can read about here.

While learning MiTek software, I have begun to understand more about what those truss drawings I’ve been reviewing for the past 10 years and the information contained in them. As an added bonus to my daytime employer, this has been very helpful to me in my day job with 2 key factors:

  • By allowing me to verify compliance with job specifications
  • Troubleshoot potential issues with the truss vendor before authorizing trusses to be fabricated and ending up with problems on the job

I addition to the technical experience acquired I have also learned some valuable business practices that will contribute to my professional growth for years to come. These skills can be applied to any business and, in my opinion, are necessary to function in today’s evolving business environment.

Creating clear and concise objectives


Each week design trainees are assigned 2-4 weekly goals. These goals map your expected progress for the upcoming week and are tailored specifically to the individual being trained.  In addition to weekly goals, GDI promotes synergy with their company vision which you can read here.

All GDI team members are expected to uphold these values in every job that is produced. By having clearly outlined objectives it is easy to maintain focus and promote efficiency. As a business leader you can regularly look back at your mission statement and objectives to determine if the work you are doing is aligned with your goals. If not, changes can be made to get back on track propelling you down the path of success. I highly recommend setting up goals and objectives whether a business or individual so that you can evaluate progress.

Time management


My time spent designing is based on working around my day job hours and family obligations. Needless to say it is limited. I have had to learn to use scheduling tools such as Google Calendar to plan my work days and hours. This tool allows you to set reminders and block out time slots to help keep time spent working productive. If you link it to your phone, it will show up in your calendar there also!

My regular work days can often become a blur of phone calls, office conversations, meetings, and squeezing in some actual work. At the end of the day you are left feeling drained and without a sense of accomplishment.  If you plan your day prioritizing tasks and blocking out time slots it is much easier to stay on track set other things aside until your most important tasks have been completed. I’ve found that I can be much more productive when I know I have a self-imposed deadline. When you have a list of actual accomplishments at the end of each day you are left feeling satisfied are ready to tackle the next day with a smile.

For an overview on Google “Calendar” and how to use it, click here

Online collaboration


Much like the photo above, our team consists of many individuals or cogs that are interconnected with a common goal of making the business machine work.  This photo represents the GDI team well. The diversity of the team provides endless resources. But when you are not sitting in the same office as those resources how do you use them to their potential?

Through the power of the internet and programs like Skype, we are able to have video calls, or log on remotely to another team members computer to screen share and help trouble shoot problems. Many of these apps and programs integrate with a mobile device so you can be within reach anywhere you are.

We have 5 minute rule, if you are struggling with a problem for more than 5 minutes reach out to someone on the team. Knowing you have a connected support team no matter the time or day gives you the confidence to take on challenges that you individual experience may not have yet prepared you for. Management has even seen to it to create various types of team windows in Skype to allow someone to reach out for a specific issue relating to a specific account. It seems no matter what time of day I am on, someone is always there to help me out on minute 6!

While many of these concepts may not be new, my exposure and utilization of them has been elevated due to my work within the GDI team. I’m looking forward to what I can learn tomorrow and the next day because I know what I have learned up to now is only the foundation.

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.

You can read Part 9 in this series here.

You can read Part 10 in this series here.

You can read Part 11 in this series here.

You can read Part 12 in this series here.

You can read Part 13 in this series here.

You can read Part 14 in this series here.

You can read Part 15 in this series here.

You can read Part 16 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 18.

Jon Wagner – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.