Professional Development – Truss Design A Trick My Day Job Never Taught Me That GDI Did – Part 11

When I started my infancy in truss design, several talented designers were at my disposal for help to teach me the “tricks” of the trade; however, the one person that taught me the most, my mentor, I sat right next to.


Fast-forward a couple of years later and having parted ways with my mentor when he started his own company. I learned a lot from him and was a great designer. I knew how work effectively and crank out big jobs efficiently. After a decade since starting in the truss industry, I reunited with my mentor. I was determined to prove I learned a thing or two; especially after imagining I have seen some of the most complicated designs out there.


I received my very first job of Professional Development (PD). My initial thoughts of the plans were, “Man, this layout is EASY! I am going to crank this job out in about 20 minutes…” – Boy, did I have something else in store. This job beat me around my OWN desk and after several hours, although I may have done ‘okay’ on the job, I found out the jobs name, “The Humbler.” Well this job did exactly that, it humbled me, left a couple of bruises, and opened my eyes.


I put my scholar hat on and went to work in Professional Development because I wanted to get the most I could out of it. At the end of Professional Development, I learned more than I imagined I could or would learn. Overall, I believe I graduated to a rounded designer and not a niche designer. I learned that I still have a lot to learn!


What did I learn in Professional Development?

  • Client Design Standards
    • GDI spends the time (typically several days) to create a document listing as much detail as possible regarding how to handle different situations, what font sizes to use, how to splice, web trusses, etc. to the CLIENTS needs and wants. Not to the needs and wants of GDI or the individual designer, but to the CLIENT, so that our finished product can reflect what their own staff would have generated. Most truss companies do not even have a set of written standards or even verbal, GDI creates this for them, learns it, and applies it.
  • Settings
    • GDI aims at creating efficiency and one way to reach any type of efficiency comes from using the program as intended. Yeah, that means using the settings to reduce the amount of clicking… something not many places take the time to bother with because it may take too long to set up initially.
  • Software Efficiency
  • Different Regions
    • Until PD – I only really designed for one area. I only knew how to do things and understand the plans for one region. The industry does things differently in different regions. In addition, some places, unbelievably load for snow… yeah the fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky in some places.
    • I am stubborn, I hate asking questions, I love to spend the time to solve stuff on my own, but Professional Development does not work that way. Professional Development teaches you the importance of questions. Professional Development is the real deal, something I was never offered before in any of my previous positions as a designer. What else could I have possibly obtained from going through the ringers? Well, Professional Development showed me on other aspect of the company, one that most companies neglect:

A mentor who can use those three aspects creates motivation for the trainee and creates an enjoyable learning environment. This provides the opportunity for me to reach my potential.

So thank you to my mentor, Christopher Gould, for continuing to help me grow once again.

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.

Stay tuned for Part 12.

Neil Laporte – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.