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RNM Engineering

San Francisco, CA

August 2012

RNM Engineering and Design Master Software – A Ten-Year Partnership

Rick Miller, PESince 2002, RNM Engineering, Inc. has provided professional electrical engineering services to the architectural, construction and lighting design industries. Based in San Francisco, RNM Engineering delivers high-quality, sustainable solutions “from the utility pole to the outlet” on residential, commercial and government projects of all sizes, as well as energy studies and construction review and oversight.

Richard N. Miller, PE, the firm’s President and founder, has been using Design Master Electrical for over ten years – longer than all but a handful of our current customers. But according to Mr. Miller, his relationship with Design Master Software goes back even a bit further than that.

“Before I started my own business I was chief electrical engineer at a large architectural engineering firm in San Francisco,” Mr. Miller remembers. “One day Mark Robison, the creator of Design Master Software, paid a cold call on us. I met him in the lobby and Mark told me what his software could do.”

“He knew its inner workings, and as a practicing engineer he also knew the electrical code background and the engineering theory behind it. We arranged a demonstration for the electrical department, and based on that I convinced the company to purchase a copy.”

Mr. Miller continues: “When I started my company a few months later, the first two software purchases I made were AutoCAD and Design Master Electrical. I’ve been using it ever since, on every project where I’m doing engineering design.”

Love (and ROI) at First Sight

“My first project using Design Master Electrical was a very large private residence. The software paid for itself immediately. Never mind the project as a whole – it paid for itself on just one drawing that had multiple, complex panel board schedules. Panel board schedules take a lot of time to maintain. With Design Master you just click a button and out comes the drawing. It really is that easy! 

“I’ve used Design Master Electrical on hotels, sewage lift stations, commercial laundries, college campus projects… it has so many capabilities. I’ve been to several Design Master user conferences because even after ten years I’m still learning more about what this software can do. And I’m still expanding my use of it.

“When I worked at that big firm I had an introduction to some of the software products coming from Autodesk and there’s no comparison,” Mr. Miller adds. “Design Master Electrical is written by engineers, for engineers, and that’s very obvious. Autodesk software is written by software engineers who don’t know the electrical engineering discipline, and the software reflects that.”

“Design Master Electrical speeds up and simplifies the whole design process.”
Richard N. Miller, PE

It Never Hurts to Ask

“Design Master’s help desk has always been very timely and responsive,” states Mr. Miller. “For example, once I was working on a large project; almost a million square feet. My assignment was just the lighting controls, and I had some special requirements. I told the people at Design Master my needs, and within a day or two they extended the product to give me the features I needed.”

“I also like how, if I have a question, their help desk has the capability to take over my computer and move the mouse on my screen and give me the help I need directly. That’s a real time-saver,” adds Mr. Miller.

Leaps and Bounds

“When I started my business in 2002, Mark Robison told me that his software would take me leaps and bounds over the competition, and give me capabilities I wouldn’t have otherwise. Even then I knew what he was saying was true,” Mr. Miller remarks.

“Design Master Electrical speeds up and simplifies the whole design process. Being a one-man engineering office, I do all my own work. In previous jobs, I used to farm things out to moonlighters, and then spend time correcting their errors. Now I can just do it all myself.

“Thanks to Design Master I’m not only more efficient, but also I have more control over each job. Also it saves me the trouble and expense of having to hire third parties,” Mr. Miller explains.

For the Record

“Another thing I really like about Design Master is all the record-keeping it does for you,” Mr. Miller says. “When I started in this industry I kept a lot of paper on the side of my desk, to keep track of little numbers. I’d always be taking out a calculator, jotting numbers in a tabular form and then having to copy and paste the form onto a drawing. Then if there were any changes I had to do it all over again.

“With Design Master that’s all automatic. It’s always accurate, and it’s instantaneous. When I change one item the change automatically propagates across all the drawings where the item occurs – amazing!”

“Sometimes I’ll be reviewing other people’s work and I’ll say something like, ‘You ought to rename that panel board.’ And they’ll say, ‘WHAT!! I can’t do that! It appears twenty times on this one sheet, and then it appears on these other sheets…’ “I just suppose they’re not using Design Master.” Mr. Miller chuckles.

What Goes Around…

“Coincidentally, I’m just about to start work on an electrical design project I’ve been working on for 10 years,” Mr. Miller says. “It’s an immense private residence that just keeps evolving. I’m still working on it, and I’m still using Design Master on it.”

“I recommend Design Master Electrical to fellow professionals and small firms, and talk about it when I teach and present,” offers Mr. Miller. “I think it’s a great product and I haven’t seen anything else on the market that works as well.”