Posted by: Julie Grunden on Wednesday, October 26, 2016
To find and keep an office support staff, SBCA’s Truss Knowledge Online is simply too valuable an opportunity to pass up. Allow me to explain…
I was exposed to the structural building components industry from a very young age as a result of my father, Jay Halteman and my grandfather, Bob Halteman and their business, Wood Truss Systems. Had a truss been dropped out of the blue and placed in front of me at any given time, I would have been able to identify it by name. I was aware that it was comprised of wood and those metal plates with the sharp teeth that I had seen and held in my Dad’s office as a kid. Because our business sells new and used component equipment, I was vaguely familiar with saws and finish rollers and the like. When asked what my father did for a living, I’d say he owned a business called Wood Truss Systems, Inc. This was usually met with some confusion and uncertainty. Inevitably, I would need to explain that it was “Truss” not “Trust”. The extent of my understanding of the family business could be summed up as follows: We sell new and used equipment that is used to build structural components, which are utilized in building residential and commercial structures.
Until last August, I had little reason or desire to expand my knowledge of the component business. That all changed when I accepted a position with the company. Working alongside and shadowing my brother Joe, I’d exercise my organizational skills and experience in assisting with basic business-related tasks ranging from bookkeeping to marketing. My first month on the job, I attended BCMC and while I learned a lot in the following 8 months, I quickly became overwhelmed by everything I didn’t know and had yet to learn. This led me to an online search for education. I quickly found SBCA’s Truss Knowledge Online site (TKO), and it was immediately clear that I had stumbled upon a treasure trove of information and resources.
The two classes that immediately caught my attention were Truss Manufacturing Orientation (TMO) and Truss Basics. TMO is described by SBCA’s website as “an introductory training course for people with little or no truss industry experience, giving participants an excellent grounding in the industry with ten units of material that can be reviewed at any pace”. Truss Basics is defined as “a simplified version of Truss Technician Training (TTT) Level 1 with less time-intensive truss math and load development sections”. The description also indicates that “Truss Basics is better suited to those who want to understand design procedures but will not be performing truss design”. Furthermore, SBCA has designated specific training paths for employees. There are four basic paths:
Path 1 for new truss technicians
Path 2 for new production crews
Path 3 for sales and office staff
Path 4 for design, plant, and general managers
Since TMO and Truss Basics are both recommended in the third path, this was clearly a natural fit for a person in my position and I was thrilled to have found exactly what I was looking for.
I have successfully completed both courses, and I cannot speak highly enough of the content. From a lay person’s perspective, the material was quite interesting and easy to follow. Each course includes downloads, and the user is guided through every section with slide presentations. It is true that you can work at your own pace, since the slideshow can be paused and there is always the option to go backwards and forwards through the material to review. At the end of each unit, there are quizzes to test how well you have retained the information. Participants also have the option of purchasing a binder for the Truss Basics course with all of the printed downloads and slides. This binder can be used to follow along with the slide presentation in chronological order with additional space that has been designated for note-taking.
I would describe my status after taking both courses as “transformed”. It is clear that this training is immensely valuable to me as an employee and will benefit my employer by extension. I believe I could have spent years gathering bits and pieces of information through on-the-job experience, and I wouldn’t have come close to what I know today thanks to SBCA’s online education, which, in contrast, took me only a few weeks to complete. Now I can speak with confidence about a variety of industry-related topics. Among many other things, I can explain the difference between lumber and wood, and I know that a truss is comprised of the former. I can also describe the history of metal connector plates, and express why component manufacturing is superior to stick framing. I can move forward with the assurance that I have exactly what I need to build a future in this industry.
I strongly encourage you to make SBCA’s TKO part of the training process for your office staff. The program helps foster an understanding of why a component related company operates the way that it does. Regardless of how far-removed an employee is from actually designing or building trusses, it will be easier for them to comprehend goals and objectives in terms of the big picture. It is my opinion that having everyone on the same page promotes teamwork and empowers employees. The bottom line is that SBCA’s Truss Knowledge Online is too valuable an opportunity to pass up in building a stronger foundation for your company’s future.