Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
In March 2013, Sain Associates not only moved to a new office location, but we also moved into a new realm of computer technology. We now work in an all virtual computer networking environment, including desktops and servers.
Making this move was a huge decision for us. I’ve worked at Sain for 25 years, starting as a drafter and engineering designer. In January of 1989, I helped introduce Computer Aided Design (CAD) to Sain using two 386, 16MHz DOS PC computers, each with 1MB of RAM and one pen plotter.
That was the beginning of our IT department, and since that time, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about Sain’s software applications. Combined with my engineering design background, familiarity with our engineering workflow and experience with our previous computer network, there were many reasons why we should be able to make a smooth transition.
The shift to a virtual system was an important move to make because our computer network was outdated and needed major upgrades. A geographically-dispersed location for Sain’s company data was also a major concern, especially after the 2011 tornado disaster in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
To solve these issues, we were faced with two choices. First, we could upgrade all workstation and server hardware and OS software and stay in what was an inefficient “break and repair” model that caused many problems for us.
Or we could “break out of the box” and move to a new computer technology. The new technology would not only replace our antiquated hardware/software, but also provide a quicker repair turn-around-time, a less constrictive, better utilized system with more built-in fail-proof redundancy and better Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities.
I was a strong advocate for Sain to adopt this newer and better computer technology that could help alleviate our current problems and limitations. Thankfully, others agreed our physical office move provided the perfect opportunity to take the leap, and the firm’s owners, Jim and Joe Meads, committed the funds to make it happen.
But there would be many challenges along the way, which we’ll discuss in next week’s post.
Joe Moon recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with Sain Associates. He was instrumental in helping make our virtual computer network transition a success. Thank you for your many years of hard work, Joe!
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.