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Tracy Young    

Co-Founder of Plangrid

Every year, the construction industry spends $4 billion on blueprints, which are expensive to print and must be reprinted each time an error is found or update is made. One day in 2010, at work on a construction site, project engineer Tracy Young was the only person in a large meeting with a current set of blueprints. She was annoyed by everyone taking it and marking it up, so she decided to order a set for everyone. She was the hero of the meeting—and got stuck with a $27,000 printing bill.

That night, Young met her friend and fellow project engineer Ryan Sutton-Gee for dinner. "I’m telling him the story and he slams his hand on the table, knocks over a beer, and says, "That should be in the cloud, and it should be on this iPad I just purchased." They quit their jobs, recruited two more co-founders, and PlanGrid was born.

The team wanted their app to be simple and intuitive—atypical in enterprise software. The finished product allows a large team to share a master set of blueprints, plus attached photos and reports, and each team member can add their own markings and see their changes reflected in real time. "There are no set workflows," Young says. "It’s just a tool to help [construction teams] do their job better." Cost varies by usage, from free to $100 per month.

By the end of 2014, PlanGrid— which has seen year-over-year growth of 200%—had been used on more than 200,000 projects, making it the construction industry’s number-one app. Construction companies are saving money, reducing their paper waste, and updating their plans in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes efficiency. Says Young, "It’s incredibly rewarding to hear a superintendent say, after 28-plus years in the field, that PlanGrid was the best tool he’d ever been given."

Young holds a BS in Construction Engineering Management from California State University-Sacramento.

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