Mike the Pole Barn Guru: Unemployment Line Part Two

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

In yesterday’s blog, we found our hero (aka me), “The Pole Barn Guru” worked out of a job.

But wait….turns out there was work to be done.

Deep in the recesses of Hansen Buildings, works a mysterious character known only as ….. “Shoes”.

Shoes isn’t actually her Secret Agent name. She just turns out to be one of the most brilliant computer programmers of all time.

Back in 1985, when I met Dr. Frank Woeste, I was introduced to the world of computer programs for building design. Frank was generous enough to give me a hard copy of the BASIC programs used to design pole building members such as wall girts and building columns.

Over the next two decades, first me, then a series of programmers continued to do work to advance the program.

Then along came Shoes. Using her otherworldly programming skills, what started off as a few pages of BASIC programming, is now thousands upon thousands of lines of code which will do a code conforming structural check on every component and connection in a pole building. But it doesn’t stop there – the same program builds a complete materials list for the building and prices it in “real time”. And it will optimize the design, to give the most cost effective combination of materials. All in the blink of an eye.

So how did this keep me employed? Someone had to be the “beta tester”. Every time a client of ours invests in a new building, all of the pole barn design calculations get run, which is close to 200 pages for an average building!  I review all of them manually to make sure the output is correct.

Keep in mind, Shoes is brilliant on a bad day…scary on the others. However, she has never built a pole barn. Luckily, she was very patient with me during the first few months when I kicked job after job back to her with tweaks to make a good pole building computer design program, even better.

Today, most jobs are so close to perfect, very little of my time gets spent in the review process.

Which means….. The Pole Barn Guru worked himself out of a job…..again….

Or did I?  Stay tuned for part three!

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