Winners of Turner Construction Co.'s first innovation-awards program took home $75,000 in prize money last year, including $10,000 each for the three best entries.

One top winner, Matthew Emma, 26, developed a program to help the $1-billion Madison Square Garden renovation in New York go paperless.

Called Turner eManager, Emma's software uses WordPress, an open-source blogging platform, to make change orders digital. All tickets are submitted through blog posts.

The revise-and-resubmit procedure is done through the comment section on individual posts. All subcontractors are using it, says Emma. "We 'leaned' the process," he says.

Another of the top-three winners, Terriann Nohilly, 25, developed TurnerLinked, which is a document management system that combines the document markup functionality of Bluebeam and the document storage and organization functionality of Microsoft SharePoint, all wrapped into a user-friendly interface.

"Out of the box, SharePoint is not that user friendly," says Nohilly, who developed TurnerLinked when she was a project engineer on the San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 project, completed last month.


Nohilly's program handles requests for information and submittal markups as well as drawing and specification retrieval. "I didn't know how to code in HTML," she says. Her workaround was to design in Microsoft PowerPoint and convert to HTML using a $69 program.

Not all the top winners are so-called millennials.


Paul Huntley is a 25-year veteran who was safety director on the Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, when he developed his nothing-hits-the-ground safety protocol, which was inspired by a worker who got hurt stepping off a ladder onto a piece of conduit.

Now, all materials and supplies are set on rolling carts, and all trash is swept directly into bins to preventmaterial-handling injuries. The idea of not allowing anything—tools, pipes, or trash—to touch the work floor was new to Turner.

The top winners were among 18 who received a cash reward for their ideas. In all, 100 employees vied for the prizes.