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Trimble Quadri and Novapoint: bridging the worlds of school and work

Read this story in Swedish

woman at computer desk

Malacon is a small Swedish infrastructure design company and a long-time user of both Trimble’s Novapoint and Quadri BIM software solutions. As part of a trainee program, the company hired Therese Tengwall, who during her studies had the opportunity to get trained by Trimble in both Novapoint and Quadri. Therese and her managers at Malacon, Sara Gunstad-Selin and Anna Söderberg, explain how Trimble’s training efforts stand the test of professional life. 

“Anna and I started Malacon in 2018 after many years of working as employees in different consultancy companies and for a number of municipalities,” Sara Gunstad-Selin explains. “Over time the company has grown to a team of around 12. We are part of a local cluster of smaller companies working together on projects. This means we have access to expertise in disciplines like geology, architecture, environmental and water processing, just like in a larger company. We’ve got the best of both worlds: a larger company’s wide variety of expertise and the familiarity and flexibility of a smaller company.”

Anna Söderberg continues: “At Malacon, our main competence is road and street design, but we are also at home in landscape design and water and sewer engineering. Both Sara and I have been using Novapoint as our main design tool since the start of our careers. So when we started our own business in 2018, it was an easy choice to keep on using the solutions from Trimble, because we both knew that they fulfill all our needs.”

Career switch

To Therese herself, her career path was a bit unexpected. “My background is in the hotel business, but during the pandemic, I realized that I wanted to go on and work in an industry with more stability. I found an educational program called Design Engineer in BIM and Civil Engineering - and I am really glad about that choice today. It was actually the team from Trimble that opened up my eyes to the idea of working on road design during guest lectures at my school.”

Jenny Johansson and Jonas Wenner from the Trimble office in Gothenburg have been educating students at different schools and universities, both in road design and the use of Novapoint and Quadri, for many years now. “At first glance, the course in civil design didn't seem to be so much fun and I was more into working with buildings,” Therese admits. “But Jenny and Jonas from Trimble really got me interested in civil design so I started to look for internships at companies within that field. Now, I am so happy that I got in touch with Malacon, because it is a fantastic workplace!  We are such a nice group of people with a fantastic atmosphere. I started my 10-week internship at Malacon in April 2022, and immediately following that I was hired and started working part-time, one or two days a week while I finish my exam.”

Students walking on road

Jumped right in

It is the combination of school and work that accelerated Therese’s knowledge level and her ability to work independently from the beginning. “When I started at Malacon we all concluded that my knowledge of the software was good enough to start working independently,” says Therese. “But there are a lot of other things that you don't learn in school when it comes to the actual design craft, and that's what I learn at Malacon.” Anna reflects: “Therese jumped right into one of our larger projects and the fact is that she has more knowledge of the software, especially the latest functionality - so we can learn from her as well!”

Over a relatively short period, Therese has become quite proficient in the use of the many functions of the software. “I have come to appreciate a lot of the useful functions in the alignment design tool. For example, the possibility to switch between tangential and angular points during the design process. Another quite simple but valuable function in alignment design is the parallel lines function that lets you see the full width of the road when you are drawing the alignment. And one of my real favorites is one of the lesser known ones: the NCO functionality to update slopes, breaklines, cross sections and longitudinal profiles.”

Work in new ways

“When it comes to the use of Quadri, it is Therese and the other “youngsters” at the company who push us to learn more and partly work in new ways,” Anna Söderberg adds, which automatically leads to the question of whether Malacon is interested in growing and developing its trainee program. “We have been talking about this for quite a long time,” says Anna. “The internship serves as a type of probationary employment, which is a benefit for the company. But we also want to support the industry and welcome new people to our business. It is a well-known problem that we are lacking people in the civil design industry.”

Sara adds: “We see an increasing amount of requests from students about internships and we absolutely do have plans to get more trainees. At a smaller company like ours, it is maybe easier to transfer knowledge and make the trainee a real part of the organization than it is for a large organization. The fact that Therese knew Novapoint and Quadri from school was one of the reasons that we chose her, and that's also become a requirement for interns in the future. We quickly realized that she knew the software part of the work so we could move on to teach her the craft of design.”

Collaborative environment

The typical project that Malacon works on that involve the use of Quadri and Novapoint, are design assignments for municipalities. The company has agreements with several local municipalities with its main assignments being around civil design in new housing or industrial areas.

“Thus far we haven't invited our external partners to work in the shared Quadri model, but that's something we want to do as well. The Quadri connectors make it possible to cooperate in a common model, even if you use different software. As a next step, it would be interesting to get our customers more involved in the projects by actually using a shared model through Quadri. In that way we as well as the customers can cooperate in a better way and we also use our software systems more efficiently.”

Malacon’s municipal customers until now have had no requirements for digital deliveries, so the company delivers print drawings. Anna: “Things are moving though. A customer recently wanted us to do 3D design, and then it felt good to tell them that we always work in 3D and that it is only the end result we present in 2D. So maybe that was a wake-up call for that customer.”


Therese Tengwall
Civil designer

Sara Gunstad-Selin 
Project manager, Civil designer

Anna Söderberg
Project manager, Civil designer

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