14Fathoms is a software company specializing in providing the construction industry with simple Microsoft-based technology solutions. 14Fathoms’ products help companies maximize efficiency and minimize errors, all within the comfort of common Microsoft Office programs (Excel, Word, Outlook, and Access). 14Fathoms’ software uses macro code to perform in microseconds common tasks that would take a human minutes or even hours. The products 14Fathoms provides collect, organize, and filter data so the end user can quickly process the information and make a decision.
14Fathoms strives for the following when creating its products:
- Minimize double entry of data. Duplicate entries waste times and increase the opportunity for errors.
- Be simple and user-friendly. We strive to make the products easy to use. Our software operates within Microsoft products so that anyone, from the in-field superintendent to the 3D modeling manager, is comfortable using them.
- Be robust. The products are versatile and can be modified to fit your needs, without breaking.
14Fathoms’ software is smart, in the sense that it operates within your existing Microsoft products. The software connects to online databases to perform high-function tasks, but you do not need to have special software or complex installations. You just open the Excel file and work! The products connect to a mySQL database “behind the scenes” to store and retrieve data. The information is transferred using the internet and is frequently synced manually or whenever the Microsoft file on your computer is open or closed.
Michael Flynn, founder and chief developer, has over a decade of consulting and construction project management experience that he uses to make your business more efficient.
After graduating from college, Michael worked for Accenture, the largest Information Technology consulting firm in the world. Working in the financial services sector, he saw that his clients wasted time and energy by manipulating data the same way every day. While it wasn’t part of his job, Michael learned Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and wrote macros that made hours of work literally take seconds. This was the moment when Michael realized how powerful Excel and VBA can be for business.
After working at Accenture for four years, Michael took a job as a project manager for Turner Construction, a large commercial general contracting firm. Michael was new to commercial construction and, when he learned about the bidding process, he again saw duplicate efforts being made by his coworkers. Duplicate data entry equals wasted time and longer work hours.
At that time, Turner used several different online management tools for the bidding and procurement processes, which were cumbersome, expensive, and did not work well for the required speed of the construction bidding process. Even though Turner was paying for these online programs, Michael saw that the Turner employees always chose to export the data into Excel or Word where it could be manipulated much more efficiently. The problem with using Excel and Word is once the data is in those files, it’s difficult to manipulate and share the data with your coworkers. Over the next six years, Michael worked to develop tools that would save him and his colleagues substantial time when bidding and scoping construction jobs. The goal was to get the benefits of using data stored online where it can be quickly changed and shared with others while using frequently used Microsoft programs. The time-savings were crucial in the fast-paced construction industry. At first, only Michael and his team used these tools in the interior renovations department, but they were soon discovered by Turner’s large construction division. Michael’s software products made their way to other business units and are currently used in numerous Turner offices nationwide.
In 2014, Michael founded 14Fathoms in order to offer his software to other companies, and he hopes to improve the construction industry as a whole by sharing these simpler solutions.
Michael lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Camilla, daughter, and their two dogs.
What’s in a name? Why 14Fathoms?
To fathom is to understand a problem after much thought (the very method used to develop 14Fathoms’ software solutions).
The 14 in 14Fathoms represents the year the company was founded. It also represents the number of lines of code written to develop the Bid List and Scope Sheet products (14,225).
Lastly, a fathom is a unit of measurement for water, which is appropriate because scuba diving is one of Michael’s favorite activities.