Tracy Young: Meet the Woman Who Transformed the Construction Industry

October 17 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Building Something Out of Nothing

One thing that makes On The Dot so special is that we tell you about industries that are likely to be far removed from your own. For me, that’s today’s topic: architecture and construction. When I look at a building, I think about two things: one, do I like it (In other words, is it aesthetically pleasing?) and two, where is the bathroom?

Today, visit your favorite manmade (or woman-made) area of town and take a few minutes to appreciate the people who helped build a metropolis from the ground up.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 41 percent of architecture degrees awarded from 2012 to 2013 were earned by women. And in 2013, a quarter of the 193,000 working architects in the United States were women.

But, sadly, as we often see, women aren’t getting recognized for their literally groundbreaking work in the field. The American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medals, which recognize architects who have created something of “lasting influence,” have been awarded 69 times since 1907, but only one gold medal has been given to a woman, Julia Morgan, who received the honor posthumously in 2014.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Tracy Young, Co-founder and CEO of PlanGrid

Architecture and construction are about a lot more than just the person who builds those little models. Building a structure from scratch requires a team of dedicated individuals—from interns to project managers—who can make things happen. Tracy Young is one of those people who has impacted the field with quite the lofty idea.

Tracy started her career in the industry as a construction intern, and worked her way up to an esteemed position as a construction field engineer. But she noticed a major problem across the industry: that blueprints were just too darn antiquated for the modern world. The construction industry spends about $4 billion on blueprints every year, and since paper blueprints are constantly being revised and reprinted, the result is one heck of a bill and a real headache to manage. In fact, after personally ordering 15 extra sets of up-to-date paper blueprints for one project, Tracy was stunned when she received the staggering $27,000 bill for the plans.

So, she did what many successful women do: She put her mind to work and came up with a new idea. In 2010, Tracy and her team created an innovative concept: an app called PlanGrid to be used on iPads, which were just starting to hit the marketplace. It was slow going at first; in those early days, Tracy and her co-founders maxed out their credit cards to purchase iPads to loan to potential clients. But by giving architects and construction companies the ability to save money while working with the most updated blueprints possible, PlanGrid made it possible to reduce costs and stress, and build more productively. The app was a hit!

Less than a year later, PlanGrid was accepted into a prestigious startup incubator and raised an excess of $1 million in seed funding. Today, PlanGrid employs more than 200 people, and the app has been used for 40 million blueprints in about 200 countries. Not too shabby, huh?

Despite her rapid success, Tracy admits she’s an introvert. She may nail it when it comes to public speaking and giving effective presentations, but when she’s away from the office, she requires some much-needed quiet me time. But who can blame her? After all, she’s leading a successful company that created the construction industry’s number one app!

Whether a building is an open-concept skyscraper or a cozy bungalow, it’s got to start somewhere. Take Tracy’s lead and start building.


I’ll leave you today with this great quote from author Alfred A. Montapert, who said:

“Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny."

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us!

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

Get On The Dot in your inbox each day.
Copyright 2018 © On The Dot Woman - All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy