At Procore, the giving mood is strong. The company, which offers construction management software, recently launched its philanthropic arm, Procore.org. The dedicated team gives universities, nonprofits and trade associations free access to its construction management software.
At the heart of Procore.org is the social impact team, a squad of six - most of whom all held previous jobs at Procore before joining the org - which feels like a startup under the wing of a mature company. They came from disciplines like sales, implementation and documentation.
One of its recent projects included a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, which now has free Procore access to build affordable homes more efficiently, and relationships with more than 170 colleges. The team expects to grow still more next year.
We caught up with the team to find out why giving away free software is fulfilling.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2002.
EMPLOYEES: 1,000 nationally, 672 locally.
WHAT PROCORE DOES: Develop cloud-based construction management software.
WHO FOR: Users involved at all phases of construction, from the foreman to journeyman—for companies including Turner, HITT and Consigli.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Carpinteria, CA, plus 10 offices in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
PERKS: Unlimited PTO, plus a robust health and wellness program.
PRECURSOR: Procore.org sprouted partly from Procore Cares, a volunteer and philanthropy program started in 2015 to give back to Procore’s local communities.
IDEAL CANDIDATES: Caring self-starters with a knack for technology, philanthropy and education.
Darryl Kysar, Director, Procore.org
While he humbly defers credit to his staff of six, Kysar leads strategy and vision for Procore.org. He pitched the idea of sharing Procore software with nonprofits and educators over two years ago. With the support of Procore’s top brass, Kysar built the team while doing his Procore sales job.
BEYOND WORK: Camping and four-wheeling in the desert.
Why did you launch a startup within a bigger technology company?
Kysar: I exaggerate when I say construction is the last frontier for technology, but it's definitely lagging behind other industries. It’s playing a more prevalent role on job sites, where foremen use digital plans instead of paper blueprints, for example. And there were thousands of students and professionals we weren’t heavily engaging.
This team gives so much. They’re so hardworking, and everyone here wears many hats. We care for each other, and we care about what we do.”
Describe the culture of the social impact team.
Kysar: This team gives so much. They’re so hardworking, and everyone here wears many hats. We care for each other, and we care about what we do.
What do you look for in candidates for Procore.org?
Kysar: People who are really giving of themselves. They need a passion for our mission and what we’re doing: educating every step of the construction industry. This is a new and growing team, and there are undefined areas for roles.
What are the biggest challenges facing your team?
Kysar: Our ability to scale and grow. The big challenge is making sure we provide the best content and training experience we can. We have 170 colleges that use Procore in their curriculum, plus nonprofit training programs that use us on some level. Right now, there are only six of us to go around.
Jessie Davidson, Technical Writer, Social Impact
Davidson talks with construction educators and trainers to learn what topics they care about. After ingesting those conversations, she leads the creation of relevant course material. For example, Procore.org recently published a course on cold ventilation and insulation based on what she learned from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Alaska. Then a professor could teach cold-weather building practices in the classroom.
BEYOND WORK: She recently produced a documentary about California’s Gaviota Coast.
How did you join the social impact team?
Davidson: Two years ago, I was hired as a technical writer, creating articles on how to use Procore’s different tools. Soon after, I started helping Darryl on continuing education articles. And that turned into my full-time job.
Where do you get ideas for what courses to create?
Davidson: From talking to people in the industry. I take the same stance that Procore does in developing the actual software, which is to start by talking to the people actually using it. We find out what they’re looking for, and what would make their lives easier. We ask surveys at the end of courses for feedback, and iterate on them.
What’s been a big win for you?
Davidson: We developed a game called Brick by Brick, which started as a side project for me. It’s a game that teaches the basics of construction financial management. Three people play the role of superintendent, project manager and tradesperson. And through the Procore app, they have to build a Lego structure on deadline and on budget. Now, it’s being played across the country. The experience showed me that Procore truly supports employees’ ability to pursue passions.
That’s what we’re looking for: someone who sees the value in what we’re doing and wants to grow with us.”
What would you tell someone looking to join Procore.org’s social impact team?
Davidson: It’s definitely true at Procore that the title you start with is probably not the title you’ll leave with. In many ways, you can express interest in one area and make a role out of it. I started as a technical writer and now I’m developing full educational content. That really was just an interest of mine. So when we’re hiring, that’s what we’re looking for: someone who sees the value in what we’re doing and wants to grow with us.
Miles Anderson, Social Impact Strategic Advisor
Anderson is the traveling man. He visits Procore.org’s partners on site to make sure they’re getting the educational materials they need, and he brings new partners on board. It’s not unlike the business development side of Procore, where he started, except without the pressure to close a sale. “I’m just trying to spread the good word.”
BEYOND WORK: Writes screenplays. “It’s nice to consolidate my thoughts on paper.”
Describe your day-to-day duties.
Anderson: I train the trainers and educate the educators on how to use Procore as a teaching tool. I'm usually on the road once or twice a month depending on the time of year. My travel includes trips to college campuses, training centers, nonprofit builders, trade shows, and other industry events.
I appreciate when people have something they enjoy outside of work. That’s important because the Procore culture is very “work hard, play hard.”
What drew you to the social impact team?
Anderson: Right out of college, I started on the sales side of Procore. I think the world of the sales team, but it wasn’t right for me. I didn’t want to leave Procore, but rather, I wanted to change lanes to marketing or customer success. I knew Darryl from business development, and jumped on the opportunity. Now, I really feel a bigger sense of purpose.
What are you looking for when hiring a candidate?
Anderson: If someone is interviewing with us, they’re a skills match already. But I want to know what their outside interests are. I appreciate when people have something they enjoy outside of work. That’s important because the Procore culture is very “work hard, play hard.”
Jasmine Brandt, Social Impact Specialist
As one of two people that run implementation, Brandt has all the answers. She makes sure professors, trainers and builders understand how to use Procore, so they can properly teach the technology. And when Procore ships a software update, Brandt is on top of broadcasting what changed and why it matters.
BEYOND WORK: Always planning her next trip abroad. Recent trips: Costa Rica, southeast Asia.
What’s a project that you’re proud of?
Brandt: Coming from the larger Customer Success Team here at Procore I had the opportunity to help increase alignment in process and product awareness. We have to be involved, because our users rely on us to understand changes. Sometimes we release multiple new features in a day.
One of the first things my team did when I joined was set up a gift card drive for wildfire victims in Sonoma County, where I’m from. When I pitched the idea to Darryl, he said, “If you can make it happen, do it.” He understands it's not going to take away from our jobs if we work on a passion project. That's a vision of this team: wanting to give back in some way. Procore has the resources to help us do that.
That’s a vision of this team: wanting to give back in some way. Procore has the resources to help us do that.”
Does the social impact team have any office traditions?
Brandt: We’re such a new team that we haven’t formed any yet. Right before I joined, we did a wine tasting event in Solvang. And for our team holiday party, we rented a trolley that goes around Santa Barbara to see the homes that really decorate with lights.
Describe the type of person who’s a culture fit?
Brandt: We need people who are comfortable wearing lots of hats. We need someone who is outgoing, a go-getter and willing ask for help when they need it. That’s something I’ve had to do. You’ll need to know how to build relationships with people who can help you, and with people you can help.