Ackerman Engineering gets future-ready with Revit, reducing drawing production time from weeks to days

by the Digital Customer Success team and Heather Howe, Marketing Editor on November 13, 2019


Established in 2000 by Don Ackerman, Ackerman Engineering is an electrical engineering firm in Denver, Colorado. The small firm that started with just one electrical engineer, one lighting designer, and one business support specialist has grown steadily over the past 19 years, expanding its client-base and hiring more employees—including Ackerman’s son. To ensure continued growth for the family business, the firm is getting future-ready by strategically expanding its software skills from Autodesk® AutoCAD® to Autodesk® Revit®.

Shifts in the industry created a need for firms like Ackerman to deliver more information within not only drawings, but also in 3D models. As a smaller company, careful evaluation and selection of the proper modeling tool was essential. In addition, the firm had to carefully manage the time it spent up-skilling everyone onto the newly selected solution, without sacrificing time spent on current projects. Ackerman saw Revit as the natural and most practical choice for adding 3D capabilities to its skillset. With the help of Autodesk learning content, the team quickly became comfortable on Revit, expanding its offerings to its ever-growing client base.



The firm’s primary focus and use for AutoCAD over the years has been designing electrical distribution systems and lighting layouts. As the engineering industry changes, AutoCAD remains a great tool for smaller projects. But as Ackerman expands its business, the firm needed a robust tool for larger projects and expanded offerings. Since the company’s focus is on electrical, it quickly became logical to move to Revit. The tool would allow for easy coordination between mechanical and architectural firms that also utilize the software.

When gaining familiarity with the new tool, the main challenge the Ackerman team faced was time. The small but busy team needed to balance its work on current projects while learning a new program and gaining an understanding of how the Building Information Modeling (BIM) world aligned with Ackerman disciplines. Learning any new tool involves some troubleshooting, which often took one or two hours to resolve using internet searches. The software transition was becoming time consuming, and most solutions were band-aids that limited the information Ackerman was able to provide in the Revit model. The company needed to find a new approach to on-boarding the team to Revit, that wouldn’t disrupt daily operations.

“The helpful hints and 'tips-themed' emails were very helpful. There were a couple that outlined the new capabilities of Revit 2020 for electrical engineering. That kind of turned into a ‘wormhole’ leading me to a lot of helpful videos and walkthroughs regarding electrical engineering and Revit through the Autodesk website.”

- Tanner Ackerman, Engineer in Training, Ackerman Engineering, Inc.


Learning any new software comes with bumps in the road, which can often lead to an excess of time spent on trouble-shooting. Instead, the Ackerman team chose to take advantage of both the Autodesk Help Portal and the emails received through subscription benefits, detailing new capabilities in Revit 2020 specific to electrical engineering.

Eventually the team decided to take a four-day course through the A360 platform, hosted by Autodesk Platinum Partner, Applied Software. Hosted by Gabe Hernandez, the fully online course walked through everything from project set-up to getting drawings out the door. The flexibility to take the course online combined with the thorough information offered in a short amount of time meant the Ackerman Engineering team made huge strides in Revit knowledge without any major interruptions to current work.


As the Ackerman team improved its Revit skills, drawing projects that previously took weeks without the use of Revit now took only days. Troubleshooting issues during the learning process that could have taken an hour or two out of the day were now resolved in five minutes or less, now that the team knew where to look.  

Above all, Ackerman Engineering now feels confident that the adoption of 3D is valuable for business. The many small time savers Revit offers add up to much more efficient project deliveries, and the opportunity to expand the company’s client base even further. With almost 20 years of success behind it, Ackerman Engineering is ready for what the future will bring—20 more years of success, and beyond.

“For our clients, it means we are able to provide more information in our drawings during a given project schedule—resulting in a better end product. It also means quicker turn-around times and better coordination with other disciplines as needed. All of this together creates a better working relationship and a better end product for everyone involved.”

- Tanner Ackerman, Engineer in Training, Ackerman Engineering, Inc.

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