Professional Development – Truss Design: A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 2

During the day, I work for a good-sized lumber company full-time, the largest in my state. It’s a great company, but their ideas on how to train people and give them the proper tools are not something a person would desire. Let me give you a relevant example:

When I was first hired on as a truss designer back in 2006, I was recruited from another truss plant as a sawyer. I was given less than 1 week of office training, which I might add wasn’t much. Then I was put in my office and told to go for it. What kind of training is that?


Sure I had experience with 1 stage of trusses, in cutting the pieces to make the trusses. But a week to learn complex software and all the ins and outs of how jobs should be handled wasn’t ideal at all. I wasn’t taught anything about the critical areas I needed to know, such as:

  • Building codes
  • Framing Preferences/Tendencies
  • Design Uniformity
  • Quality Assurance

Since coming on board with Gould Design, Inc., I have learned more than I thought possible working remotely. GDI has a very detailed Professional Development program to make sure the designer knows exactly what they’re doing. Everything is thoroughly aligned and organized. I was asked to go through the process to make sure my comprehension level and assess my strengths.

Since I am currently employed in the United States, GDI’s company policy required that my workload be limited to work in another country. At first I thought this was crazy, but now I understand why. GDI has integrity. So I was assigned work in Canada, in the Toronto region. And let me tell you, it is nothing like we do here in the United States. I was shocked to see how far ahead of us Canada’s design practices are.

The training was key to making sure that there are fewer mistakes and that the designer actually knows what they are supposed to know. I can tell you from my personal experience, between these two methods there is no comparison. I learned more than tenfold with GDI in just a couple of weeks than what I learned in my first 1-2yrs at my current job. I am NOT kidding.

Another thing that GDI has provided is tools to make your job, the designer, a whole lot easier. For example, the matching heel spread sit is a big time saver.


You can calculate any heel on the fly within seconds. This can be a big time saver for those multi-pitched that all need to have fascia matching or trying to match fascia lines. This has been probably the most helpful tool for me in my entire career besides my Construction Master calculator. The funny thing is I use it less now!

These are just two things that have made my job a lot easier and better. I am sure it has made numerous other GDI designers jobs that much easier as well. In fact I know it has. The training GDI gave me has actually made me a better and more productive employee at my day job!

I can tell you that if my day time employer actually spent the time to train and go through things as GDI has, I probably wouldn’t have made the costly mistakes in the beginning that I did. I mean, they spent the money anyway right? Only they spent it reactively, after I had made a mistake, causing the customer grief. I simply cannot understand why they did not spend the money proactively and forgo that hassle. Can you?

You can read Part 1 in this series here.

Stay tuned for Part 3.

Design Team Member

Gould Design, Inc.