Sacramento IT Services Success Story: Morton & Pitalo
Founded in 1977 by partners Richard Morton and John Pitalo, Morton & Pitalo Inc. is the oldest locally owned civil engineering firm in the Sacramento area. They specialize in transportation engineering, land planning, land surveying and landscape architectural services for the public and private sectors. These services span the entire life of a project, from concept to construction.
Today, Morton & Pitalo operates out of three locations: their headquarters in Folsom and newer offices in Natomas and Fresno. Throughout thousands of engineering projects, Morton & Pitalo helped transform the entire Sacramento region. Some of the company’s most notable endeavors include the Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento, the Palladio shopping center in Folsom and the Mondavi Center in Davis, to name a few.
As the Office Manager at the Morton & Pitalo location in Folsom, Chris Buckley is responsible for human resources and accounting. He also oversees IT issues for over 40 end-users. “I pretty much do anything that’s not engineering-related,” he says.
During his 15 years at Morton & Pitalo, Buckley learned a few things about the engineering industry. “Our industry seems to be feast or famine,” he says. “We’re tied to construction and home-building, so when that’s going well, we’re going well. When it’s not, we’re not.”
In 2007, with the housing bubble bursting, things were decidedly not going well. “We had to lay off our full-time IT person, but we still needed to manage backups and everything else,” Buckley says.
Morton & Pitalo moved to a managed IT service plan, gaining reliable service while also lowering costs. When Buckley hired Capital Network Solutions to become the company’s managed service provider, he gained a locally based IT department for less than the salary of one in-house worker.
When Buckley has an issue or a question, he can speak directly to a CNS senior technician. “I trust their experience and knowledge,” Buckley says of the CNS support team. “I know they know our business well enough to go in and figure out what’s going on. It’s nice to know that if something goes awry, it’s not on me to figure it out.”
Meanwhile, the unique technology needs of Morton & Pitalo presented a challenge. The company primarily works with CAD files, which are large, memory-eating images that often contain 3-D elements. These “computer-aided design” (CAD) frequently get used by engineers, as well as architects, graphic designers, city planners and project managers.
However, the size of the CAD files severely tested the strength and speed of the company’s outdated IT network, especially when transferring the data between multiple locations. “Multiple locations can be a challenge,” Buckley says. “We’ve got stand-alone servers at each location to speed up the process.”
To solve the problem, CNS essentially built out the entire Morton & Pitalo infrastructure. CNS sped up Morton & Pitalo by upgrading the company’s aging servers, software and hardware. At the same time, we also did extensive planning to ensure that we minimized business disruption and downtime.
The CNS process started with comprehensive information gathering and pre-project planning. Then, CNS outlined the scope of the project. “We discussed timing and expectations, and then downtime and scheduling,” Buckley says. “From there, it was simply a matter of putting the plan in place and implementing it.”
First, CNS installed a new server at the Morton & Pitalo main office, and then we built and configured virtual servers, while also setting up the entire network for remote management. The massive data migration of the CAD files occurred after business hours over several sessions. This way, the CAD file data was always available to Morton & Pitalo employees.
After the new servers were set up, the data got migrated, and the old servers got decommissioned and powered off, CNS began the post-project support phase. Much like Morton & Pitalo, Capital Network Solutions offers a range of services that span the entire life of your project. We continue to secure the success of the project by assisting with onboarding and training in the ensuing days and weeks.
Over a decade after signing on with CNS, Buckley remains a satisfied customer with CNS. It’s not just that he receives proactive IT support and assistance with Morton & Pitalo expansion projects. He also appreciates having the option to speak directly with the technicians that know his system best.
“If I have a question that is software or hardware-related, sometimes I’ll reach out to CNS and get their opinion on what we should be doing,” Buckley says.
Once the economy recovered and construction started booming in Sacramento, CNS helped Morton & Pitalo set up several remote offices.
Lately, CNS has been working with Buckley on the future of Morton & Pitalo, testing out Office 365 licensing and talking about utilizing the cloud more.
“We’ve stuck with the business primarily because of the service that CNS provides,” Buckley says. “I know if I need to get an answer, I can get it.”