StratusVue looks internally for where the Construction Industry is going.
Featuring: Parker Hann
StratusVue is a company dedicated to providing solutions for construction management. Founded in 2007 by the creative and driven John Goecke, the company has used their central product, StratusVue Plans and Specs, to revolutionize construction project management. Many more have come to work for the company over time, including Brian Anson in 2016. Through his focus on Cost Management solutions and accounting integration, Plans and Specs began to have a broader appeal among construction professionals, and this only furthered StratusVue’s growth.
Beginning in 2007, John Goecke began developing the idea of StratusVue Plans and Specs as a solution to streamline construction projects. In an industry where companies often had to use multiple tools to manage their projects, it was difficult for them to see a clear picture of what they were working towards.
John wanted to create a product that would bring all of these elements together in one place. He worked with his team to develop a product that would help companies streamline their processes and get more done. Starting with email communications through RFIs and Submittals, he moved on to add in other aspects of construction like blueprints, and then finally adding in the actual cost of the project. This was just the beginning, however, as John knew that there was so much more potential for the product.
He also realized that many of the people who would be using his product did not know how to read plans. While John had always been able to read plans, he knew that not everyone had the same level of experience. That’s when he came up with the idea of creating a digital version of a blueprint that could be used by anyone.
The next step was to create a product that could help users manage costs. To do this, John needed to develop a module that allowed users to see exactly where their money was going and how it was spread between many aspects of a project. He knew just the man for the job: Brian Anson. With a background in innovation and consulting for start-ups and small businesses, Brian stepped in to lead StratusVue’s strategic planning for product development and operations. Prior to joining StratusVue, Brian worked as a Director of Operations for a major construction company. He led the team in creating a new cloud-based system that helped clients manage their costs and track project progress.
Brian immediately saw the potential for StratusVue Plans and Specs to help the construction industry and began developing a solution that would help contractors and construction managers see where their money was going. He introduced a new feature to the product called Cost Management, which allowed users to input expenses into the system. Using this feature, contractors could see exactly how much they were spending on each aspect of the project and compare that to the estimated budget.
As the product grew in popularity, many users began asking for more features. That’s when John decided to begin looking for ways to integrate the product with other tools that were already being used. By adding integrations with other programs like QuickBooks, users could keep all of their data in one place: StratusVue Plans and Specs. This made it easier for them to access the information they needed to make decisions and improve their projects.
With their product in great shape, both John and Brian knew it was time to market their idea to more customers. They hired a sales professional, Laura Ducharme, and began working on getting the word out about the product. It wasn’t long before they got their first big break. The company won a contract to manage a large construction project in San Francisco. This had the potential to put the company on the map, big time.
However, there was a catch. The city had strict regulations on how contractors could use subcontractors. The project required that the company use local companies whenever possible. With only a few days to go before the start of the project, StratusVue needed to find a way to get around the law.
They called in their friend, Joe Lally, to help them. A former city attorney, he knew how to work within the law and quickly figured out a way to make sure that the company could meet the requirements. After some initial discussion, the company decided to take the risk and hire subcontractors from outside of the city.
This was a huge win for the company and a huge victory for Joe. However, the next step was even bigger. Plans and Specs languished under the increased workload, and the developers worked overtime for weeks to maintain the servers. In the end, StratusVue was able to complete the project on time and on budget. They had proved to their client that they were capable of handling big projects, and the company only grew from there.
In 2016, John and Brian began talking about the future of the company. With plans to expand into new markets, they realized that the company would need a new leader. As much as John loved the product he had created, he knew it was time to pass the baton to someone else. He chose to promote Brian to Chief Executive Officer.
As CEO, Brian looked at the company’s mission statement and knew that there was still so much potential for the product. He set out to focus on Cost Management and Accounting integration. His goal was to make the product even more useful and beneficial for construction professionals.
Over the years, many customers had asked for a way to integrate the product with their accounting software. They wanted to be able to track all of their costs and expenses in one place, which is exactly what Brian was working on when he got the call.
“Hi, this is Joe Lally.”
“Joe!” I exclaimed. “What are you doing calling me at work? You know that’s against company policy.”
“I’m sorry, Brian,” he said. “I have to ask you something really important. Can we meet up later today?”
“Sure, where should we meet?”
“I can’t tell you over the phone. Where is your favorite spot in the woods?”
“Well, I like to go to the clearing near the lake.”
“Great. Meet me there at noon tomorrow, and I’ll explain everything then.”
“Okay,” I said. “See you then.”
As Brian was walking near the lake the following day, he heard a voice from behind him.
“You must be Brian Anson.”
He turned around to see a man dressed in a suit holding a briefcase.
“Yes, that’s me. What do you want?”
“I’m here to talk about the job you’re doing for StratusVue.”
“The one where you’re using our product to manage costs and expenses.”
“Oh, right. I guess you could say that I’m managing the costs and expenses of the company.”
“That’s great! I was hoping you’d say that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’ve been tasked with finding ways to help construction companies improve their project management processes. When I looked into your company, I found out that you were using our product to manage costs and expenses.”
“That’s good to hear,” Brian said. “Do you have any recommendations for how we can improve the product?”
“Actually, I do. Would you be willing to take a quick survey about your experience with StratusVue Plans and Specs?”
“Of course. I’d be happy to.”
“Great. The survey should only take five minutes or so.”
Brian began taking the survey.
“Are you planning on using the product again in the future?”
“Definitely. We’ve gotten some great results.”
This went on for some time. After finishing the survey, Brian thought at length about the new ideas the stranger had given him. He couldn’t wait to tell John about them.