Why I Switched to a Career in Construction Tech: Stéphane

Stéphane Denerolle imageStéphane Denerolle  •  

#17674 Stephane switch

While I loved playing with Lego as a kid, I wouldn’t say that working construction was my childhood dream. By the time college came around, however, I had developed a keen interest in the industry.

In fact, my favorite subjects were mechanics and economics, and this led me to specialize in Construction Management at grad school (UC Berkeley) at the intersection of both fields.

Following my studies, I joined DPR Construction to get more industry experience. During my time as a Sr. Project Engineer, I led BIM coordination meetings and managed work packages on large corporate campuses, such as the new Apple Park in Cupertino, CA.

apple campus

While I loved the pace and very tangible aspect of building a project from the ground up, I found myself frustrated by the adversarial nature of the industry. Traditional project delivery methods were doing very little to promote collaboration across companies, resulting in a lot of inefficiencies, disputes, and unnecessary paperwork.

From fieldwork to Fieldwire

Living in San Francisco, I became curious about the tech industry and how it could be leveraged to foster collaboration in the construction space. And it was this fascination that inspired me to join Fieldwire.

While tech and construction are very different industries, my transition seemed pretty seamless. I was immediately drawn to the fast-paced environment of working for a startup, which reminded me of the close-out phase of construction projects.

As the Director of Product, my role is to translate and prioritize requests from customers into features that my engineering team can build. An example of that would be the recent addition of private markups. Many of our customers have been requesting to let field users add private notes on plans to mimic the way superintendents used to mark up their printed set of blueprints. After conducting customer interviews and brainstorming internally, we decided to introduce a new private markup color (purple) to visually tie markup colors to privacy. The feature was then implemented across the Fieldwire platform within a month and released in August.

private markup

I find my role at Fieldwire to be very similar to a project manager role at a general contractor, transcribing requirements from the owner and architect into directions for the field teams. In both instances, these user groups speak very different languages so it’s the PM’s job to translate and funnel the requests.

My biggest advice for anyone considering making the switch from construction to tech is to pick a company that is solving a problem you’ve experienced first hand. This will help you bring value to your new team and make you feel empowered to solve problems for others.

Fieldwire is actively seeking professionals with industry backgrounds to work alongside me on the Design and Engineering team (we also have open roles across all other teams). Apply and make the leap today!

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