As a full-service consulting firm, MSA Professional Services is all about creating communities that work. They partner with clients to help them solve complex and multi-faceted challenges and improve the quality of their neighborhoods. Their focus is to provide exceptional service to build strong communities.
MSA’s roots reach back to the 1930s. Once a rural land survey company, the firm now consists of more than 300 engineers, architects, planners, funding experts, surveyors, GIS experts, and environmental scientists. MSA excels at helping clients identify grant and funding sources and then delivering elegant, cost-effective solutions. Based in 14 locations across four states, their technical teams collaborate to assist communities throughout the Upper Midwest.
Mark Nyland, CAD Manager for MSA Professional Services, is dedicated to ensuring employees receive a high level of CAD support and enhance the effectiveness of CAD Technicians throughout the company. His focus is on the development, implementation and management of CAD across the organization.
Mark has been with MSA for more than 19 years and received his Civil Engineering degree from Madison Area Technical College. His skills and experience include airports, commercial site and industrial planning, DOT standards and municipal engineering.
MSA is committed to investing in the latest technology available and providing their employees with the training they need to use those technologies successfully.
MSA CAD Manager Mark Nyland remembers the moment he knew his company had to change the way they thought about technology training.
In 2010, MSA Professional Services was looking to move from MicroStation to Civil 3D for their civil engineering design. When the time came to begin training on the software, they looked to the same traditional methods they always had. Thirteen engineers from the company’s 14 offices across the Midwest traveled to MSA’s Baraboo, WI headquarters for a five-day classroom session.
“The cost of putting something like that together is enormous,” Nyland said. “You have to hire the trainer, pay for travel and accommodations for everyone, not to mention the lost production time. It was over $30,000.”
With that kind of monetary investment, Nyland expected results, but one year later, not only were his engineers struggling to master their Autodesk products, only three designers had even opened up the software.
“It was a defining moment,” Nyland explained. “When you spend all the time, money, and resources to bring people in for training and they haven’t even used the program, it’s frustrating. Those training sessions are very, very costly.
When you look at what you are getting for that cost, what your people are really learning—that’s what led me to look at an alternative.”
Building on their past relationship, MSA began working with Eagle Point Software to help find a solution that would help MSA achieve their goals. MSA wanted to reduce training costs and resources, improve training results and retention, and ultimately drive better efficiency, productivity and profitability.
Eagle Point proposed the Pinnacle Series.
“We decided on the Pinnacle Series because we have always had a great relationship with Eagle Point, and through exploring the Pinnacle Series with them, it really seemed to cover every learning method our users might need,” Nyland said.
Unlike traditional training methods that overload people with more information than they could possibly retain in a short period of time, Nyland said Pinnacle Series gives his employees only the information they need, just when they need it.
“There is this mentality that people need to be sent somewhere to learn. I don’t think that’s true,” Nyland explained. “You don’t need to know everything about these applications. You need to know the 30-50 commands to get your job done during each project. Pinnacle Series gives our users access to that information right at their desktops when they need it.”
Nyland added that Pinnacle Series is also an invaluable resource when his users are forced to expand their normal boundaries and take on infrequent tasks or projects.
“They immediately have a process to get started,” Nyland said. “There isn’t that wasted time that would otherwise be spent getting users up to speed. Pinnacle shows you what buttons to hit and gets users productive.”
By utilizing the Pinnacle Series, MSA was able to quickly transition to Autodesk for their design work.
“It’s just a better way of learning,” Nyland explained. “Instead of holding classes where you quickly lose the audience when the material doesn’t relate to them, Pinnacle Series gives you a training solution that your users can access when they need it. Pinnacle Series is something that you can reinforce over-and-over. You aren’t just telling someone how to do something, and then they forget it. They find the information in Pinnacle Series, use it and retain it.”
Nyland continues to get requests for traditional training classes from time to time, but he has been resistant to the idea.
“All the training they need is on their desktop with Pinnacle Series,” Nyland said. “I reinforce that everything they need is right there.”
For MSA, Pinnacle Series continues to go well beyond providing training. He believes it has made the company more efficient, productive, and profitable.
As a CAD Manager, Nyland also fields support calls when users get stuck during their project work. Thanks to Pinnacle Series, Nyland said the time he and his support team spend answering these questions has decreased by at least 50 percent. MSA taught their support team to turn their users to Pinnacle Series rather than fixing the problems for them.
“Users are always looking for the easiest way through a problem, and I understand that,” Nyland said. “You need to be persistent in not doing the work for them and resolving their issue. It’s an opportunity to say ‘Here’s the tool, now use it. In the end, they learn more that way.’”
When it comes to support, Nyland said what really sets Pinnacle Series apart is the expert chat.
“My advice is always for them to start a live chat with Eagle Point,” Nyland said. “They can start a remote session and almost always solve the problem.”
This change in support methods has saved the company time and money, allowing employees to focus on more meaningful tasks.
“It takes a big load off our support needs,” Nyland said.
At the end of the day, Nyland said Pinnacle Series provides everything they need for implementation, training, and support.
“Let’s face it, Pinnacle Series does what it’s supposed to do,” he said.