GDI’s Formal Testimonial on MiTek University

It is my honor to convey my company’s satisfaction with MiTek University to anyone reading this. I wish to thank MiTek for asking me to share my feelings on this amazing resource they have developed. It has helped my team in so many different ways. To list them all would simply be too much to read! I cannot convey properly the extent of my gratitude to MiTek for this feature. Those of you that have used it understand what I mean. For those of you that haven’t, let me touch on some of the highlights and then I will add in some testimonials from my team members.

But first a little insight on my company’s mindset:

Team members of Gould Design, Inc. are required to undertake these modules, to enhance their software skills. Each designer is asked to complete what is most relevant to their unique skill set. This ranges from basic knowledge for a beginner, all the way to higher-end modules for the veteran. As an individual who firmly believes in Professional Development, MiTek University has proven time and again that its modules are money well spent for growth of the design team. I believe that every designer needs to have time built into their schedule for growth and skill enhancement. And I also believe that learning should never stop, no matter how much experience someone has.

Now as for how I feel about MiTek University:

First of all, let me say that MiTek University is the most valuable resource for software knowledge and efficiency of the software’s utilization that many may not even be aware of. For those of you that are aware of it and do not use it, shame on you! I cannot fathom any MiTek user not taking on the commitment to go through these extremely valuable modules! The benefits from using it are tremendous. The tools that MiTek has generated are simply awesome in a multitude of ways. They are so easy to use, that even a beginner to trusses can learn to use the software independently. It is especially helpful to someone who has used another truss design software and is new to MiTek. Or even for someone who is still using eFrame or some other outdated version of MiTek, to get up to speed at a rapid pace in Sapphire Structure.

Secondly, by using the knowledge gained from the modules, everyone wins. On a weekly basis, MiTek sends out a “Productivity” email, alerting MiTek users how to use different features on the software. The designer is able to perform at a higher level than ever before, simply because they are made aware of things that were previously unknown. Or they were reminded of this that they once used and forgot about. Faster ways of getting to the end result are discovered. Tools and icons that were never used before become available, and once they are utilized, this equals less clicks and more output. All this leads to more productivity and consistent performance.

Lastly, all of this comes to the MiTek user at no cost! What more could you ask for? MiTek has taken the initiative to create all of these valuable learning experiences and all the MiTek client has to do is use it. It’s really just that simple.

MiTek University is probably the best kept secret that everyone knows about! It is a dynamic tool to foster skill and development. It can help a designer get to the next level, or help another on their team access the resources needed to propel their learning. Not only is it simple to use, it is made for anyone to use. You can stop and start and pick up right where you left off. But don’t take my word for it.

Christopher Gould – President

Gould Design, Inc.

Now let’s hear it from some of my company’s team members:


MiTek University is probably the best kept secret to efficiency this decade. Now, it isn’t really a “secret”, but I am referring to it that way because it seems so many manufacturers “keep it quiet” and don’t use it enough. MiTek has created these wonderful web modules where a designer can go and tutor on this amazingly powerful software. Be it to learn from new, or refresh their memories on things they have learned in the past. “MiTek U” is a portal with tons of tutorials and most of those modules you draw in Sapphire as you go along.

Now don’t get me wrong there are quite a few sessions that may seem very trivial and redundant. Focus on the ones that will benefit you. I will tell you this, I have been in the design world for almost 8 years and I get a few tips and tricks out of them that I had forgotten all about. It’s kind of like working out at the gym. When you don’t exercise certain muscles for a while, they become “flabby” and lose strength. Design skills are no different.

I feel in the world of design, whether it be trusses, EWP, panels, or floor joists; speed and accuracy reign supreme. The old adage, “slow and steady wins the race” is kind of misleading in our industry. Tell that to the guys who race cars for a living. Nothing beats a well-oiled, perfectly timed, performance boosted machine. In this instance, you, the designer are the machine. Anything that can make you faster and more efficient shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Just like the rest of you, when I first started doing some of the modules on MiTek U I thought to myself, “this has got to be the most boring thing ever, I already know all of this stuff.” During my last performance review, the company president insisted on paying me to take these courses, to help me become a better designer. He requires everyone on the team to train constantly. I felt it was a silly request, kind of like asking a college student to learn the ABC’s.

After I spent a few hours on the website, let me tell you, I was quite humbled. I am that guy who originally said that there is no way I could get anything out of this. Guess what? I was wrong. In reality, I may have known 99% of the content, but I couldn’t remember 30% of it. In that 30% I have picked up on things that will not only make me a better designer, but make me faster as well.

There were hot keys that I had forgotten about, and others I was not even aware of. Things like:

  • How to cap walls lighting fast to the side you want every time
  • The use of “child” planes
  • Dropping chords in profile
  • Master Variants
  • Multi Family tool
  • And numerous other courses and videos on just about anything you can think of

Additionally, there are quite a lot of different module types that you will find on MiTek U:

  • Wall Panels
  • Floor trusses
  • Roof Trusses
  • Sapphire Layout
  • Engineering

What’s even better is, they offer all these modules in every version of Sapphire. So whether you use 7.35, 7.42 or even the latest and greatest 7.5 Sapphire, they have it. There are even modules for the releases that keep you up to date and knowledgeable about what has changed in the newer versions.

While it didn’t seem like a colossal amount of new information that I got from doing the modules, it was enough for me to feel that it will make me a better designer. Plus it’s just a great way to refresh what you already know. Over time one tends to forget things, especially things that aren’t used every so often. I don’t claim to know everything, but I tend to think I know quite a little bit about the power that Sapphire has and if I can come away with helpful tips and tricks, I believe anyone can.

I am the type of guy that when I design, I don’t want to be bothered by anything but that design. I don’t think I ever understood the concept of Professional Development until now. Thank you MiTek for proactively preparing the tools I need to perform better in your software.

Zach Failing – Design Professional

8 Years Experience (All MiTek)

Gould Design, Inc.

I have been designing trusses for over 12 years. I always believed that ITW’s Alpine was the “top” truss design software, out there. After I was introduced to MiTek and the Sapphire Structure program, I had to rethink my position. Having no MiTek experience, my initial reaction was that the capabilities of this program are overwhelming. Almost everything can be customized to suit your individual preference.

MiTek University allows the student to work in their comfort level at their pace insuring they get the most from the experience. Then when you first start the program, it doesn’t seem as daunting. I was reminded of the feeling I got the first time I realized the full potential of my PC. The excitement of what I could do with it was intoxicating. From the online training provided though MiTek University, to practical application of the software MiTek continues to remain impressive. If you want true control of the product you produce, MiTek is your answer. From training to production everything you need is there.

Charles Burke – Design Professional

12 Years Experience (All Alpine, until coming to GDI)

Gould Design, Inc.

As a long time user of Alpine software (30+ years), I found the courses in MiTek University to be extremely helpful in learning the new system. Then I accepted a position with a company that used MiTek. I informed them that I was not familiar with MiTek. I had to learn the program basically on my own. I was instructed to go to MiTek University and utilize the courses there.

This was how I learned the Sapphire Structure program. Such things as:

  • How to remove or add the menu icons
  • How to create building templates that were unique to the company’s criteria
  • How to add planes and to input walls with cladding
  • The integration of the engineering and layout programs and how a change in one can be used to change the other, seamlessly.

I recently was asked to create a special labeling scheme for our company. Using the labeling courses available in MiTek University, I was able to do so. I have created “collections” for layout sheet templates and standardized notes, all things foreign to me, simply by using MiTek University. The courses available there, cover all aspects of the program and should be a tool in everyone’s belt.

Richard Gould – Design Professional

36 Years Experience

Gould Design, Inc.

As a member of the GDI team, I was given the opportunity to go through the MiTek University program. MiTek U provided thorough explanations of the software products and provided relevant tutorials to help demonstrate the features and procedures in the truss design process. I came to MiTek U with limited MiTek experience, but was able to apply the information I learned quickly, which allowed me to become productive with MiTek in a relatively short period of time. I would recommend MiTek U for truss design professionals of all experience levels and believe that it is a valuable tool to help you in your truss design career.

Bill Hoover – Design Professional

17 Years Experience (All but 1 year was Alpine, until coming to GDI)

Gould Design, Inc.

I found MiTek University On-Line Classes very handy. The videos and instructions were very helpful and easy to follow. I could watch and re-play the parts that were more complex while trying similar examples and exercises on my installed version of MiTek. Step by step, I learnt how to be proficient in truss design, using MiTek’s state-of-the-art software.

Martin Horak – Design Professional

16 Years Experience (All Alpine, until coming to GDI)

Gould Design, Inc.

My first contact with truss designing and MiTek´s software was from 2004. From that time I remember a handbook with introductory information about E-frame and Engineering, including practical exercises. Besides that, there were two or three visits from a training representative through the year. Was that a lame training system? Not at all! This was the system accordingly the features of the product in that time.

I got out of the truss design industry due to the downturn in 2008 and I worked in other areas but always eager to return. In 2014 I had the opportunity to return, thanks to Gould Design Inc. (GDI). In the interview stage one of the concerns of the company president Christopher Gould was my time without using the software. He told me that so much had changed since I used it last. “Piece of cake” I told him “just need an update, besides a triangle is a triangle since the days of the Egyptians. I´m sure the software have improved and must be even easier to use.” So I was the truss designing “Rocky Balboa.”

Yes, but the Rocky from Rocky III (the one beat up by Mr. T). When I was introduced to Sapphire I realized the software was not only improved, it was a completely new one! 6 years in the digital times are like 6 decades. The amount of new features (and with each version customized for every GDI client) was overwhelming. That handbook with the set of exercises was not enough, and the training become more demanding and sometimes frustrating because you need someone over your shoulder at the beginning for the questions popping up on every step.

I took me a while to realize I was starting from ground zero (thinking I was on a third or even half the way because my previous experience, that could be upsetting). Then Christopher Gould introduced me the MiTek University. He told me “It´s the only way to get into Sapphire”, due to the amount of new information available. It cannot be handled by the old method of printed books. When I explored the modules, I saw it had content for beginners and experienced designers. That is when things started to fall into place. With the vast amount of training in MiTek University, you can build your own training program, based on the stage of knowledge present. This makes the process easier and cost-effective for everybody in your company due to the fact that there is no need of someone looking over your shoulder all time.

After getting on track with Sapphire Structure and Engineering through GDI’s Professional Development program, I was ready to perform “live” jobs for GDI. Then my focus shifted from familiarity to proficiency. Even now, months later, I am asked by Mr. Gould to continue to use the courses in MiTek University looking for modules that help me to become more efficient. By gaining mastery and becoming faster and accurate in my work, I am adding value to myself and the company. Right now, I am currently working in the module Engineering Design Software 7.51. Here I found things I had previously done, but also a lot of hints that I overlooked at that time. By going back over them again, they are helping me to increase my efficiency and therefore will benefit my company and myself because I can balance my professional and personal life.

Also I want to leave a testimony of the excellent tech support department MiTek has.  They have guided me through installing and helped to solve technical issues. The tech support team has always been timely and have always kept track of my concerns, following through until they were solved.  The service has been outstanding.

MiTek University is riding the new wave of making business in the 2.0 environment. This not only supports the product (by sharing content and knowledge), it does not leave the users on their own. It empowers them to be responsible for their own training and growth. This is a trend will see more and more often in the future in several areas of education, from technical to arts and everything in between. For component design, MiTek University has given you the tools, you just have to be proactive to use it and teachable to learn it.

Javier Dominguez – Design Professional

4 Years Experience (6 years away from industry, until coming to GDI)

Gould Design, Inc.

Final Thoughts: How can a MiTek customer NOT see the benefit in using this amazing resource? How is your company using this amazing resource to enhance productivity?