Age 34 | President, Submittal Exchange LLC

Starting his own business was scary, but creating jobs, hiring employees and serving clients has made the experience worth it for Matt Ostanik.

Ostanik started Submittal Exchange LLC, an online construction communications software company, in 2003. He went full time with the company a few years later, quitting his job as an architect at Frevert-Ramsey-Kobes Architects-Engineers P.C.

“Definitely the day I quit was one of the most scary and exciting days I’ve ever had,” he said. “It’s kind of like jumping off a cliff. You don’t know what you are getting into.”

Turns out, Ostanik landed on his feet. Submittal Exchange grew to about 35 employees and 40,000 users when it was acquired by Textura Corp. in 2011. No employee changes were made following the acquisition, with the exception of more than doubling the staff, he said.

Ostanik got the idea for Submittal Exchange when he found himself frustrated with the amount of paper that goes back and forth during a construction process.

It was a challenge to get the construction industry to get on board with the solutions he was offering, but Ostanik learned to develop a thick skin when trying to sell his product. But he has found it particularly rewarding to build relationships with customers and solve their problems, he said.

Helping people grow professionally has been the other most rewarding aspect of the job for Ostanik. He hired the company’s second employee in 2008 before experiencing more rapid growth after that, which “has been very cool,” he said.

Ostanik’s passion for architecture prompted his involvement in the American Institute of Architects’ Iowa chapter and the Iowa Architectural Foundation.

“The built environment – design decisions, how we shape things around us – just has a huge impact on the quality of life,” he said.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• He founded and grew his own company to more than 40,000 users and about 35 employees.

• He was responsible for an annual year-over-year revenue growth rate of 350 percent over five years with the company.

• Upon Textura Corp.’s acquisition of Submittal Exchange, Ostanik reports as a senior executive for Textura.

• Serves on the board of directors for the American Institute of Architects’ Iowa chapter.

• “Matt is an extremely caring leader. In fact, one of his company goals is ‘Caring for People’ and Matt demonstrates this on a regular basis,” said Paige Horton, client experience manager at Submittal Exchange.

Mentor: Mike Upah, assistant director of the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship at Iowa State University, and Steve Carter, director of the ISU Research Park

Fun fact: Ostanik knew ever since he was a “little kid” that he wanted to be an architect. Architecture was “just something that’s always been in my blood,” he said.

Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services