Eveart Foster knew almost nothing about construction when he took a job at Chicago-based contractor Pepper Construction in 2015. Three years later, the engineer is working to revolutionize an industry that's notoriously slow in adopting new technology.

Pepper Construction is deploying Foster's software skills to make its job sites—recently a 29-story, 452-unit apartment complex in the South Loop and the Wrigley Field renovation—more efficient through tech. "The most important part about all of this is timing," says Foster, whose first job out of Indiana State University was using modeling software to design and build semi-trailers. "Everything in construction is valuable based on how fast you can get it."

Foster is on a team that is writing and testing software that creates 3-D maps of buildings on the fly, instead of the several days it normally takes to convert data into usable information. He helped Pepper implement a 3-D laser scanning tool that saves days of delays—and thousands of dollars in potential fixes—by enabling contractors to catch problems with concrete pours in near-real time. That's on top of the mobile app he built to allow contractors to "see" behind walls or below floors via augmented reality.

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