Wood: A truly remarkable natural resource


As professionals in the building industry, we work with wood structural products every day but may take for granted what wood represents a resource that we use in our lives. You can find wood in structures and products all over our planet.  Wood has been a building block of our civilizations for ages.  The applications for which it can be used seem to be always expanding and I am continually amazed at what can be done with wood.  What makes wood such a remarkable resource?  Let’s take a look.

We can grow it:

Wood is a naturally occurring material.  You can plant some seeds, add some water, and after some time you have a tree that can be used for the production of a myriad of products. That may be a little simplified, but the fact that we can create a raw material simply thru a natural process and not one that requires any mechanical or industrial process is remarkable.  If managed correctly, wood can be a sustainable resource for generations to come.

1-trees

2-truss-employment

Wood can take many different forms:

Wood is all around you during your day in many different forms.  For those of us in the building industry, it’s used in every facet of the building process from studs, rafters, trusses, I-joists, beams, plywood, trim, cabinets, and furniture to name a few.  Wood is used to create instruments, works of art, toys, and sports equipment.

“Wood is made of tiny fibers called cellulose and the natural glue that holds them together is called lignin.  When wood is turned into pulp for paper, heat and chemicals dissolve the lignin and release the cellulose fibers.  By-products of this process are used in asphalt, paint, chewing gum and turpentine.   Other refined cellulose products include rayon, nitrocellulose which is used in the production of nail polish, solid rocket fuel, and industrial explosives. “1

These are only a few of the products that can be created from wood – the list can go on and on, but it is clear just how versatile wood can be.

3-building

4-wood-scruplture

Wood can be formed

Compared to materials such as steel and hardened concrete, wood is relatively soft and can be manipulated into many unique shapes and forms.

5-wood-architecture6-wood-models

Wood is structurally very strong

As a building material wood has many advantages.  One of those being its strength to weight ratio. “ A comparison with steel and concrete shows that structural timber has a strength to weight ratio 20 percent higher than structural steel and four to five times higher than non-reinforced concrete in compression.”2

7-truss-bridge 

Wood is environmentally friendly

Wood is the only naturally renewable mainstream building material.  Trees give off oxygen and consume carbon dioxide.  There is not the impact on the environment to produce trees that you have when producing other materials such and steel and concrete.

Wood is aesthetic

Quite simply wood looks good.  It can make spaces feel warm and inviting.  With all the different varieties of wood and finishes available, you can create almost any look you want.

8-wood-variety9-wood-timbers

These characteristics are just a handful of reasons why wood is such a remarkable resource.  Hopefully, this post will get you thinking of others and help to increase your appreciation of this resource.

I would also invite you to read some previous posts related to this topic.

https://goulddesigninc.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/uniquely-captivating-structures-built-with-wood/

https://goulddesigninc.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/wooden-skyscrapers-to-be-or-not-to-be/

1 www.idahoforests.org

2 http://makeitwood.org

 

Bill Hoover

Operations Manager

Gould Design, Inc.

Component Designers and the “Wheel of Responsibility” (Part 4)


In Part 1 one of this article, we laid the groundwork and the 4 quadrants. In Part 2, we began to identify the quadrants and their focus. In Part 3, we completed the quadrants and explained the meaning of each.

As we eluded in Part 2 and 3, there is much, much more that goes into the design process than is acknowledged or respected. Are you aware of this fact? If not, ignorance is NOT bliss. If you are aware, then are you a part of the solution or a part of the problem?

Briefly, in each of these 4 quadrants, there are three specific targets that are highlighted as the key “lubrication” for a component manufacturer’s business model. Simply put, the designer has the most responsibility directly related to the component manufacturers:

  • Reputation = Designer has to think about
  • Profitability = Designer has to comprehend
  • Customer satisfaction level = Designer has to meet the needs of
  • Repeat business factor = Designer has to understand how to please

Simply put, the component designer is responsible for WAY more than anyone gives him/her credit for. So why is it, that the component designer:

  • Always gets resistance when there is a request for additional training?
  • Why is it that this particular individual and the position the individual holds are so undervalued?

These are questions that only you can answer within each specific company.

Any company that is not willing to invest at least 10% of an individual component designers weekly time on additional professional development is spending at least 20% to 30% more on each and every project that leaves their facility. This is not a guess. This is a fact. The two biggest areas are wasted material and inefficiency.

I know from years of my own personal experience as a business owner of Gould Design, Inc. that this information is either not known or is completely ignored. Some say that ignorance is bliss. I tend to disagree with that. If the component manufacturer would simply take the time to invest in their most valuable asset, they could exponentially increase their profits.

No, I’m not talking about the biggest, fanciest saw that money can buy. Sure, that may be the most expensive asset, but it is not the most valuable. I’m talking about the individual responsible for making sure that everything that gets on that saw is efficient, optimized and fits correctly within the scope of the project it’s assigned to.

You see, all 4 of these quadrants are interrelated. They are all connected as the following model represents:

truss-cycle

Have you ever taken the time to actually calculate the cost of hiring a new component designer? Depending on the quality of their professional development before they got to your company, depends upon the amount of investment you will need provide them to be successful and fit within your company’s protocols and boundaries.

GDI has written many articles in the past relating to the value of training and its importance. I will not take up space to relate to them here. I will encourage you to scroll down to the bottom left and click on the section called “Professional Development” and see for yourself.

Do you realize that there are nearly 500 articles on this blog? The intention of this blog and its articles is simply to share our experience with you, our valued reader. The wise component manufacturing administrator could use this blog as a resource to help their own design team grow. Using this tool comes at absolutely no cost to them other than to invest that 10% in their greatest and most valuable asset by creating time on the schedule for growth.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars that this company called GDI has spent on its team’s development over the years been done to provide a quality service to our customer. It has also done to make the world a better place, to try and help educate those that may not be getting the opportunity for in their career. It has been truly shocking to hear so many applicants say they were never given an opportunity to grow at their previous place of employment.

I’m a firm believer that any leader worth a hill of beans should always be training his replacement. That is exactly what my husband Christopher did with this company. When it came time for him to retire from its management, he did so, happily knowing that he shared as much knowledge and invested into those that were going to carry it on into the future.

The satisfaction I gained from watching him go through that experience simply cannot be put into words. Knowing that you’re doing the right thing by your fellow human is reward enough. Together, we helped build a quality service, filling a need for so many over the years.

In closing, I encourage you to please consider the following:

truss-profit

If you don’t have time to properly train your staff, then call GDI. You will be quite surprised at the result to your bottom line. Remember, if you are not investing that 10% in your most valuable asset, it is really costing you 20%-30% more than you realize. You have nothing to lose and profits to gain!

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.

ngould@goulddesigninc.com

772-708-8064

Component Designers and the “Wheel of Responsibility” (Part 3)


In Part 1 one of this article, we laid the groundwork and the 4 quadrants. In Part 2, we began to identify the quadrants and their focus. Please click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 to review.

As we eluded to in Part 2, there is much, much more that goes into the design process than is acknowledged or respected. Are you aware of this? If not, ignorance is NOT bliss. If you are aware, then are you a part of the solution or a part of the problem?

Briefly, in each of these 4 quadrants, there are three specific targets that are highlighted as the key “lubrication” for a component manufacturer’s business model. Simply put, the designer has the most responsibility directly related to the component manufacturers:

  • Reputation = Designer has to think about
  • Profitability = Designer has to comprehend
  • Customer satisfaction level = Designer has to meet the needs of
  • Repeat business factor = Designer has to understand how to please

Customer satisfaction level = Designer has to meet the needs of

What exactly does a designer have to think about in consideration of meeting needs?

truss-engineer

Each and every product delivered to the jobsite has to uphold to the contractor’s expectations, precisely adhere to the engineer’s specifications and satisfy management’s sale price in order to make a profit, right? Each of the 3 items in this quadrant has a direct effect on the customer satisfaction level. If the designer is not thinking about these things in the design process, jobsite efficiency moves at a turtle’s pace. Plain and simple!

Time to ask yourself a few tough questions (now is the time to be open-minded):

  1. When was the last time you invested in your design team and had a collective discussion about ways to be cost-efficient, based on new shop equipment and/or newly stocked inventories?
  2. Are your designers aware that these amazing new saws will cut web/chord lumber for multiple trusses out of the same board?
  3. When you have “TDM’s”, how many of those were design errors or are directly related to engineer preference?
  4. When was the last time you asked your veteran designers on the team to take the time and help out those with less experience and discussed common types of TDM’s that can be avoided?
  5. When was the last time you scheduled a meeting with the General Contractor on the jobsite to help foster a direct, open, positive relationship built through strong communication?

Repeat business factor = Designer has to understand how to please

truss-administration

Each and every product delivered to the jobsite has to uphold to the shop production staff’s expectations, precisely adhere to the company administrative requirements and satisfy what the component salesman promised the customer, right? Each of the 3 items in this quadrant has a direct effect on the repeat business. If the designer is not thinking about these things in the design process, repeat business is a struggle. Plain and simple!

Time to ask yourself a few tough questions (now is the time to be open-minded):

  1. When was the last time you invested in your design team and shop production staff had a collective discussion about ways they become frustrated or continually lose time in the fabrication plant?
  2. When was the last time you asked a designer to put on the tool belt and work in the fabrication plant on recently acquired shop equipment to truly understand how the design affects shop efficiency?
  3. Are your designers exposed to continual training from your Design Administration team that helps them continue to grow?
  4. When you do have “training meetings”, how many of your designers are allowed to share their experiences, or is one person doing and the sharing?
  5. When was the last time you assigned your “junior” designers on the team to take the time and study a topic to teach others in the design staff?
  6. When was the last time you scheduled a meeting with the General Contractor on the jobsite to help foster a direct, open, positive relationship built on strong communication?

In Part 4 of this article, we will conclude and fill in the rest of the blanks. Stay tuned!

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.

Component Designers and the “Wheel of Responsibility” (Part 2)


In Part 1 one of this article, we laid the groundwork and the 4 quadrants. Please click here to review.

You see, there is much, much more that goes into the design process than is acknowledged or respected. Are you aware of this fact? If not, ignorance is NOT bliss. If you are aware, then are you a part of the solution or a part of the problem?

The responsibility for the designer is further illustrated and begins with the model shown below:

truss-design-responsibility

In each of these quadrants, there are three specific targets that are highlighted as the key “lubrication” for a component manufacturer’s business model. Simply put, the designer has the most responsibility directly related to the component manufacturers:

  • Reputation = Designer has to think about
  • Profitability = Designer has to comprehend
  • Customer satisfaction level = Designer has to meet the needs of
  • Repeat business factor = Designer has to understand how to please

When all is said and done, each of these 12 items are interconnected. They all touch each other. They are all so tightly interwoven that if just one of these quadrants are ignored or overlooked, it could be dangerous to the other 3 quadrants. It could also be costly.

Let’s examine this further:

Reputation = Designer has to think about

What exactly does a designer have to think about in consideration of the company’s reputation?

truss-building-codes

Each and every product delivered to the jobsite has to uphold to the manufacturer’s company values, adhere to the building codes and satisfy the building inspector, right? Each of the 3 items in this quadrant have a direct effect on the component manufacturer’s reputation. If the designer is not thinking about these things in the design process, reputation suffers. Plain and simple!

Time to ask yourself a few tough questions (now is the time to be open-minded):

  1. When was the last time you invested in your design team and held a meeting about company mission, values and/or direction?
  2. When was the last time you asked your design team to take the time and review the building code changes and updates proactively?
  3. When was the last time you scheduled a meeting with the local building inspector to help foster a direct, open, positive relationship of strong communication?

Profitability = Designer has to comprehend

What exactly does a designer have to think about in consideration of comprehension?

truss-software

Each and every product delivered to the jobsite has to uphold to the software provider’s capabilities, precisely adhere to the project’s plans and satisfy the expectations of the framing crew “setting” the trusses, right? Each of the 3 items in this quadrant have a direct effect on the component manufacturer’s profit margin. If the designer is not thinking about these things in the design process, profits suffer. Plain and simple!

Time to ask yourself a few tough questions (now is the time to be open-minded):

  1. When was the last time you invested in your design team and asked them to take the new courses on MiTek University?
  2. Are you aware that MiTek has a weekly newsletter called “Productivity” that highlights changes and upgrades to the software?
  3. If you are aware of the newsletter, are all of your designers getting this extremely valuable email each Thursday?
  4. When you do have “truss repairs”, how many of those design errors are directly related to plan reading?
  5. When was the last time you asked your veteran designers on the team to take the time and help out those with less experience reading plans?
  6. When was the last time you scheduled a meeting with the local framing contractor on the jobsite to help foster a direct, open, positive relationship with strong communication?

In just these 2 quadrants, we have outlined some very important considerations for reputation and profit. The remaining 2 quadrants relate to customer satisfaction and repeat business.

In Part 3 of this article, we will conclude and fill in the rest of the blanks. Stay tuned!

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.

Component Designers and the “Wheel of Responsibility” (Part 1)


We are all familiar with the wheel, right? We all understand that the wheel rotates on an axis using ball bearings. When the wheel is properly lubricated, it keeps the heat away and the parts from rubbing together. Without that lubrication, the force and resistance would cause the parts to weld together as they heated up from friction. This is pretty well understood as a basic rule of science. It takes many parts working together in unison to achieve the desired result.

wheel-axis.jpg

In the component design world and the building industry, we have a similar phenomenon to this basic premise of science. The biggest difference is that the moving parts are the manufacturer’s personnel and product. For argument’s sake, let’s call this “force” is the customer’s satisfaction level and the “resistance” the product the customer receives.

To keep the parts from “welding together” can be avoided with a simple, yet effective lubricating tool: an open mind. This just isn’t so as it relates to lubricating the ball bearing, as the open mind has no relevance. But it is absolute fact in the component manufacturing industry as it relates to employee growth, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

We’ve all been a part of a project or two where things have “heated up” due to improper lubrication, right? Things such as:

  • Something didn’t fit out on the job site
  • An area had a job site problem due to omission
  • There was a communication problem between design and build
  • Mechanicals were not considered for a commercial project

Perhaps even there was some finger pointing and blame taking going on. Sound familiar?

We have all been there at one point or another in our component manufacturing careers. So how do we overcome it? After all, we are in business to make money and we can’t do that if someone is sending us a back charge!

Many years ago, when Gould Design, Inc. (GDI) began doing on-site consultations for component manufacturers, we developed a model that we like to call “Component Designers and the Wheel of Responsibility”. What you are about to read is a company trademark that we worked long and hard to develop. The information that I’m going to be sharing with you in this article series is something that could dynamically impact and change your business model. That is if you possess that essential lubricant I referred to earlier in the form of an open mind.

GDI is a company that believes in “Paying It Forward“. Therefore, GDI is going to offer you something in this article at no cost to you that may shine some light on the dark places of closed-mindedness. If you truly understand the industry, you may know a few of these things already. If you have an open mind, this will also educate you as to what you may be unaware of and why you need to appreciate the “ball bearing” and it’s “lubrication” as it applies to your specific business and its business model.

Are you ready?

So many people in the design manufacturing industry of building components truly do not understand, nor appreciate that the component designer is the heartbeat of the company.

heartbeat.JPG

The designer is responsible for so much throughout the company. In fact, there is no other position in a component manufacturing company that is more directly responsible for that particular company’s profit margin.

This includes Sales, Administration and everything in between. There is no other position in a component manufacturing company that has more impact on customer satisfaction. To illustrate, we need to dig a little deeper and break it down.

The responsibility each designer has is broken down into four quadrants:

truss-quadrants

In each of these quadrants, there are three specific targets that are highlighted as the key “lubrication” for a component manufacturer’s business model. Simply put, the designer has the most responsibility directly related to the component manufacturers:

  • Reputation
  • Profitability
  • Customer satisfaction level
  • Repeat business factor

How can this be true you say? Please check your level of open-mindedness before you read on! To help you there, please consider the following quotes regarding closed-mindedness:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

― Isaac Asimov

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”

― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

― Benjamin Franklin

“A closed mind stumbles over the blessings of life without recognizing them.”

― Napoleon Hill

“The danger of a closed mind is that it can also leave good things like love, compassion, and reason on its outside.”

― Lennox Lewis

Simply put, the component designer’s relationship to the manufacturer’s reputation, profitability, customer satisfaction and repeat business is undisputable fact. Ask your salesman. Or your bookkeeper. Or your General Manager. Or your ex-customer. Ask them where the “force” and “resistance” came from! Chances are it was as much management’s fault as it was the designer’s!

In Part 2 of this article, we will explore why this is and describe how to “lubricate” your perception. Stay tuned!

Naida Gould – Owner

Gould Design, Inc.

Analog Design of Trusses with M-Blocks


With the MiTek software being so powerful these days, one thing truss designers often overlook is the proper application of analog on an “M-Block” end condition. This condition is also referred to as the “Leg-Up” as well. For those that might not know, analog is what determines the critical factors in the truss design and determines load direction through the members (chords/webs/plates).

How does this affect our designs? Why does this matter? These two questions are the purpose of this article.

Here at Gould Design, Inc., we strive to provide the right product for every customer, every time. In order to do that, we provide necessary training to our component design professionals. This ensures that our customers receive a product that is correct and ready to be fabricated.

The design shown below is an example of properly designed analog over an M-Block condition at the bearing.

m-block

One item often overlooked and the application of the top chord bearing truss design is that the end of vertical of an M-Block condition is actually a chord. When this member is added as a web (rather than a block), it distorts the analog and therefore the plate size required to handle the proper load resistance.

As you will see below, by not using the proper analog and the design, it significantly changes the direction of the forces and also the plate “tooth grip factor” required to sustain them.

Top-Chord-Analog

In order to properly apply the correct application in this design, MiTek has what’s called the “Top Chord Bearing” tool. Now, you can do this manually in VersaTruss if you want to, but it will take multiple clicks costing you precious time. By using this tool in the engineering software, it reduces this to a mere minimum of mouse clicks.

Top-Chord-Bearing-Truss-Design

What you will notice is that when the member is entered as a web rather than a chord, it does not properly distribute the load to the bearing, but rather it transfers down through the truss. In essence, what you were doing is giving the software the wrong information.

As shown above, this causes the following complications:

  1. Affects the size of the plate
  2. Can affect the reaction (especially on girders)
  3. Affects the “leg” analysis
  4. Affects lumber grades
  5. Could potentially cause an issue on the job site

block-up-vertical

So, take a minute, right now, and learn how to apply this condition properly in the MiTek software. It may save your company a headache down the road. Additionally, take a minute to educate your peers sitting next to you in the office.

By not providing this type of for the proper application you may find yourself getting some TDM’s back from your MiTek engineer. And no one likes those, especially your manager!

If you’re like most designers in the industry, you probably design without having your analog shown. However, you can turn this feature on under your settings as to what you view if you so choose.

mitek-analog

This is one of those things that often gets overlooked and usually never comes up until it’s a problem and usually a back-charge. By then we have lost revenue somewhere and we have an unhappy manager, salesman and customer. Take a proactive stance and prevent that problem from ever happening by educating your “Apprentice” or “Junior” designers.

Your MiTek engineer will thank you for it!

NOTE: This same mindset also applies to Tail-Bearing trusses (more on that in a future article)

Coming Off the Peak


Recently, I took my family hiking in the Grayson Highlands State Park, located in southwest Virginia. As I reflect on our time on the trails, up boulders, and down to waterfalls I can’t help comparing hiking to the building season.

learning-from-past

Every hike begins with planning and preparation; what route do we take? What gear? Food? How much water? Our preparation dictates how successful our hiking trip is. If we fail in our preparation, we will not be having a good time on our hike. It is also important to debrief at the end of the hike. Did we have enough food? Did we have too much? Was the route too strenuous for some? Too easy for all, etc. This data will help to inform us in our planning for the next trip. For instance, we determined we had enough water during the hike, but we ran out on our 1-hour drive home afterward.

The building season is the same. The preparation we do before we enter into the busy time will largely influence how successful we are. Furthermore, analyzing the past several months, reviewing successes and failures, and any emergencies that occurred should influence our planning prior to the next cycle.

GDI, INC receives many calls during the summer to get set up with new clients, however, as my simple illustration should indicate this is not the ideal time for that conversation. It is like failing to pack water and then not realizing it until you are 10 miles from your origination point.

In terms of setup the ideal time is not during the peak of the season. The potential client is at their busiest, we are at our busiest, and so if we proceed with the setup, what occurs often takes much longer to initiate and implement. GDI, INC designers will then need to be trained on the account but at a time when they are at their busiest with other clients, which could threaten their performance.

Which raises the question, why should we potentially hamper our performance with clients who planned ahead, by trying to serve potential clients who didn’t? More than likely what will occur is unhappy existing and new clients.

As component manufacturers come off your peak time this year, make an evaluation; would an off-site design service have been an asset to you over the last several months? If you think so, don’t wait until next year to start the conversation. No remote design firm has unlimited capacity. If you wait, you may find that other component manufacturers got their gear together before you did.

Peter Drucker has said regarding emergencies, that an emergency that is repeated is not an emergency, but it is the result of a leaderships inability to reflect on and learn from the past.

Tim Hoke – Design and Sales Manager

12 Ways to Keep Your Vehicle Neat and Your Kids Entertained on a Road Trip


During a long drive to Alabama to avoid Hurricane Irma, my mom asked me if anyone had interest in writing a blog article for her company. Looking around the van my family traveled in, I came up with this idea:

Do you know the feeling when you come back from a road trip and your car is so messy?

road-trip

Well, today I’m going to share with you some tricks for keeping your car clean and neat. I’m also going to share a few ways to keep your kids from driving you crazy during that long road trip. I made up these “hacks” that my family and I used on a road trip to make it as fun as possible. I hope that you will try these out and let us know how they work for you.

  1. If you have a van, some vans have a handlebar that goes up and down. I like to keep a stack of plastic Publix bags and I put one on the handlebar. This will avoid your kids asking you every minute “Mom! Can you throw this away!”.
  2. You always have to keep napkins in the car. These will become really handy. you never know when they will be needed.
  3. Always, you have to have pencils, pens, crayons, etc. in your car. If you have younger children, you might want to keep coloring books. If you have older children (they might also want coloring books too), then you should pack lined paper, colored paper, etc.
  4. DON’T KEEP PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES IN YOUR CAR! THEY CAN CAUSE CANCER! So the next time you go to a thrift store, buy a metal water bottle for 50 cents, fill it with water, and keep it in your car.
  5. Always keep hand sanitizer or baby wipes in your car. These will come very handy when you have snacks if you to eat in the car. Even if you don’t eat in the car, these will still become very handy.
  6. Always keep a pair of flip-flops in your car. This hack will become handy even when you’re not on the road trip. If I got a quarter every time my mom said that we would not need flip-flops, but then we needed flip-flops, I would be rich. All you need to do is go to Dollar Tree or Walmart and buy a pair of flip-flops to keep in the car for your kids.
  7. Always keep toothbrushes and toothpaste on your car. Or you can just keep breath mints in your car. Everyone appreciates fresh breath!
  8. Print out some activities to keep your kids occupied. At the family meeting before our last long road trip, we took the time to write up family “theme songs” that we all sing together when there is some sort of unhappiness. It’s a way to make fun out of mayhem.
  9. Some families (like mine) have a mini DVD player that you can hook up to a car and you can watch a movie. That comes in very handy to occupy your children.
  10. When you’re on a road trip, always bring electronics. Such as iPad, iPhone, laptop, phone, tablet, etc. to occupy your children.
  11. Keep blankets and pillows on your car so your children can sleep in the car ride. You might want to consider using melatonin so your kids will go to sleep faster. Hot Tip: Right now, Walgreens has a sale on melatonin.
  12. If you go to Barnes & Noble, you can find all sorts of neat things, like a lap desk. That’s where I got my lap desk. I bought it a long time ago so it might not be there anymore, but if it is, then you’re in luck. This is such a wonderful invention. It has foam balls where’re you would put it on your knee, and wood where you would write and stuff. Plus, it has a zipper where you can store stuff. Also, they come with cute designs. I have one that has cute owls with flowers.

Well, those were the 12 ways to keep your car efficient and neat in a road trip that I made up for you guys. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Forever peace, love, and hope!

Lucy Gould – 6th Grade

LaVilla School of the Arts

Authorial Bias: How It Shifts Your Perspective


When researching historical events, our view of the event is completely shaped by authorial bias. The author of the entry being researched will always try to portray his side in the better light, even if they lost the war at the cost of thousands of lives. Therefore, history is completely based off of authorial bias and how they choose to describe the event. Authorial bias effectively alters our perception of the event and who was the good vs. who was the bad.

One such archetype of authorial bias is the naming of the battle fought on October 10, 732 between Charles Martel’s Frankish army and Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi’s Umayyad Caliphate. The battle is commonly known as the Battle of Tours, named so by Charles Martel because he won the battle near the town of Tours, France.

battle-of-tours

A painting depicting the vicious Battle of Tours.

The battle is ultimately remembered for stopping Muslim expansion into Europe and setting the foundation for the prosperous Carolingian Empire, a huge win for Christians. However, the Muslims call the battle the Battle of the Palace of the Martyrs, because even though they lost 12,000 men and Al Ghafiqi himself, they still view the battle as a victory due to their religion. By classifying it as a battle of faith, the Muslims made the loss seem like it was a religious victory, for they elevated the dead to the status of martyrs. In Islamic belief, martyrs receive a special place in heaven, showing that their knowledge through faith made them view the battle as a spiritual success.

Another example of authorial bias determining our perception of historical events is the naming of the American Civil War. Soldiers and historians from the Union called the war the War of the Southern Rebellion, while members of the Confederacy called the war the War of Northern Aggression. A neutral reader could be quickly be swayed to either side by reading a partisan excerpt from a Union or Confederacy writer.

civil-war

This Confederate statue has been subject to controversy.

The two sides were extremely polarized by ethical issues such as slavery and state’s rights. The fact that slavery (an ethical issue debated in America for centuries) was one of the triggers for the Civil War caused such a deep split between the North and the South that issues from the Civil War are still debated today. The debate over taking down Confederate-era statues over 150 years after the conclusion of the Civil War illustrates how authorial bias on both sides of the Civil War divided the country to the point where politicians still must debate the topic half a century after the last Civil War veteran died

An additional example of the choice of language affecting people’s view of events is the ongoing Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane broke numerous records, including the strongest to hit the US since 2004, the strongest in Texas since 1961, the wettest ever in the US, and is considered by many to be the worst disaster in Texas history. Many climate scientists claimed that the high amount of rain was due to the increasing global temperature, which is often considered a by-product of global warming. Scientists also predicted that up to thirty percent of Harvey’s rainfall could be due to human impact on the environment. Harvey was also aided by the six-inch seal level rise along the Texas Coast.

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A NASA image of Harvey when it hit the US.

While the mainstream media has published dozens of articles over the past few days stating numerous reasons as to why Harvey is proof of climate change, there are still many climate change deniers who stubbornly insist that human interactions have little to no impact on Hurricane Harvey and global warming as a whole. When climate scientists say that increased temperatures led to Harvey’s intensity, global warming deniers refute those claims by saying that temperatures in Medieval times were higher. Climate change deniers also use the “science of attribution”, i.e. distinguishing climate change patterns from normal weather patterns. The language that media uses to describe climate change can be politicized in wake of natural disasters to influence the public’s opinion on global warming.

Ultimately, authorial bias has been the hidden factor that has influenced historical writings for all of civilization. Historians for all of time have used language and specific vocabulary that make their nation appear to be “the good guys”, changing our view of history today. Students must be sure when researching areas of history to use sources from both perspectives of conflicts in order to get a truly accurate depiction of the historical event, such as the impact of global warming on Hurricane Harvey’s severity. Choice of language when debating ethical issues can also be crucial in arguments such as the 19th-century slavery argument, which culminated in the bloodiest war in history that still divides Americans today over its memory.

Take a moment next time you read an article or hear a news clip to examine the perspective. It will certainly change your attitude, if not your life!

Jake Gould – Junior

Stanton High School (Jacksonville, FL)

Changing the World, One Project at a Time


In the country of Haiti, as many are aware, there are immense life challenges. Some have a tremendous amount of resources, while others have barely enough to survive. Sometimes all it takes is just a little perseverance to help make a difference.

After the wake left in the destruction from the earthquake, many were left homeless. The lack of building codes and structural integrity of the living spaces left little to no resistance to withstand the forces of Mother Nature. Daniel Meadows of Maxima, S.A. saw a need and went to work to help the community.

Gould Design, Inc. had the honor of working with One Mission Society and Maxima, S.A. and being a part of the first project that has ever used manufactured trusses in the country of Haiti.bon-repos-haiti-4
Daniel met with the GDI founder and they devised a plan to help make a difference.
truss-electricalThis resulted in manufactured trusses being built in Haiti that adhered to some of the strictest codes in the United States, the Miami-Dade section of the FBC.
masonry-blockThis project was called “Bon Repos” and was a giant relief to many families. You can learn more about the cause here.
rake-ladderThe project is many small structures centered around a main church/community center facility.
bon-repos-haiti-1Since trusses were a whole new ballgame to this country, a tremendous amount of collaboration and education had to take place.
construction-crewEducation was done via email and conference calls with the Project Manager and the field crew.
bottom-chord-bracingEducation took place about the difference between common and vaulted trusses.
truss-materialsFramers needed to understand what purlins were and how to install them.splice-plateHow to properly attach fascia to trusses.
fascia-applicationaligning-fasciaRake gables of concrete had to be expanded upon.
rake-gable-wallAs did the ladder framing attachment.
gable-laddersgable-ladder-framingSo did the “finish work” after the structural attachments to concrete structures.
stuccoTo handle the structural elements needing special attention, GDI partnered with Kent Bice of BBD Engineering & Design Firm, LLC
wood-beamKent advised on structural beams.
tie-beam-insetMr. Bice also handled the sealed engineering and purlin requirements spacing requirements to transfer lateral loads.
purlin-bracingAnd uplift requirements.hurricane-tiesmitek-platesThe difference between temporary and permanent bracing was explained.
peak-framingThe families were elated as they watched things progress.
grateful-familyThe construction crew worked tirelessly to be on schedule.
construction-progressbon-repos-haiti-5installing-plywoodThe children patiently and eagerly looked on.
community-parkWhen the project was finished, there was a tremendous ceremony expressing much gratitude.
bon-repos-haiti-3bon-repos-haiti-9bon-repos-haiti-8To participate in a project like this was truly an honor and GDI is grateful to have had the chance to make a contribution, however seemingly insignificant. Take a moment to be grateful for what you have. There are others not as fortunate.
Remember, it only takes one candle to cancel out darkness.

Big And Small, We Do It All


Here at Gould Design, Inc., one of the most valuable things our customers appreciate is our ability to handle any size, any difficulty job and do it correctly. From the simple garages and pole barns to the custom 10,000+ square foot house, all the way to the 100,000+ square foot assisted living facilities, we have a highly skilled design team in place to handle any type of design.

How can this be? How can a company that operates remotely, detached from its customers succeed in meeting their expectations? Professional Development and Protocols, that’s how. I will not take up space to relate on those topics. To answer these questions, refer to some earlier articles on Truss Designer Training, some of the tools used and on quality and quality assurance.

What I want to do today is highlight some of the projects that have been assigned to us and give you a better idea of some of the versatility we can perform and the level of confidence our customers have sending these types of projects to us in the first place.

On some of these, GDI provided trusses only. Others, trusses, and EWP. Still others, wall panels were included in addition to trusses and/or EWP.

Active Lifestyle Community – First Trusses Ever Built in Haiti

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trusses-haiti

Assisted Living – Louisville, Kentucky

Assisted-Living-Louisville-Kentucky

Grove-Point-Assisted-Living

Apartment Building – Toronto, Ontario

Arista-Ontario

Apartment Building – Halifax, Nova Scotia

harbor-vista-halifax

halifax-nova-scotia

Active Lifestyle Community – Louisville, Kentucky

Meadow-Louisvill-Kentucky

Masonic-Homes-Kentucky

Many thanks go out to our customers for providing these pictures. It is an honor to serve you!

If you are a manufacturer struggling to “do it all”, give us a call!

Testimonials on GDI

Sales: 276-492-8020

Administration: 502-741-9126