How Four Classes of Trinity College are Changing Manufacturing with Paperless Parts
Founded in 2017, Paperless Parts is a Boston-based software startup on a mission. The team has built a platform which streamlines and simplifies operations for thousands of small and mid-sized manufacturers in the United States, helping make custom-part manufacturing more accessible. Its industry transforming approach gives small and mid-sized custom part manufacturers the tools necessary to compete with digital platforms created by larger, more advanced manufacturers in the custom parts industry. Paperless Parts is a cloud-based operating system with an impressive suite of features: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), geometrically driven estimating, real-time enterprise reporting, online ordering, and invoicing. Its business model echoes similar efforts by companies like Toast in the restaurant industry and Service Titan in home service. Paperless Parts is targeting the deep niche industry vertical of custom part manufacturing to provide tailored solutions.
Jason Ray is the CEO and co-founder of Paperless Parts. After graduating from Trinity in 2008, he spent several years serving his country in the US Navy. When Jason left active duty, he recognized a gap in a critical American industry and was determined to create a platform to fill it. As a Trinity graduate, Jason has a strong belief in the type of people the college produces and knows what he will get from them as employees or interns.
“During the summer between my junior and senior year, I had the opportunity to do an internship at Finsbury, with Andy Merrill ’85 and Tripp Kyle ’08. Both Trinity alums, they took me in and spent a lot of time teaching me about business. It was transformative to say the least and I want to do the same for other Trinity students.” With giving back in mind, Paperless Parts has created a program where top students from Trinity can come and excel. The company now has representation from the classes of 2008, 2018, 2019 and summer interns from the class of 2020.
The beginning of success for Trinity graduates started with Dana Wensberg ‘18, who made the transition from summer intern to full-time employee at Paperless Parts. This model was followed by Ben Barton ‘19 and Luke Duros ‘19, who interned at Paperless and are now full-time team members. The class of 2020 is represented by Sam Rotner and Donovan Palmer who are interning this summer before they start their senior years in September.
A positive trend can be seen between Paperless Parts hiring Trinity students and the growth of the company. Dana Wensberg believes Trinity students are a perfect fit for the company’s culture. “Trinity either cultivates or has an extraordinary ability to find students with a certain mix of personality and determination that is very effective in a startup environment. All of our employees from Trinity, starting with our CEO Jason, have incredible grit, competitive-spirit, work ethic, and communication skills. People with these types of personality traits excel within small, unified, dedicated teams.”
This type of rhetoric about why Trinity students excel at Paperless Parts is echoed by Donovan Palmer. “Trinity’s presence within Paperless is overwhelmingly evident from CEO down to intern. We’re gritty, driven by success and solving hard problems, but most importantly want the best for those around us. When I’m back on campus in the fall for my senior year, I’ll be on the lookout to find Trinity’s next gem.”
The success of Trinity students at Paperless has led to former interns actively recruiting the best of the best from the college when the academic year is in full swing. Ben Barton emphasizes how influential this type of recruiting has been. “I heard about Paperless Parts through Dana Wensberg. We were really close at Trinity and when he came back from a summer internship with the company raving about his experience, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Lou Shipley developed a similar model at cybersecurity company BlackDuck, which demonstrated the success that can come from actively hiring Trinity students. Lou eventually sold BlackDuck to Synopsys and became an XIR at General Catalyst in Boston. Similar to how Lou Shipley recruited from Trinity College, Jason intends to continue to tap into the talented students Trinity College produces as Paperless Parts continues to grow.
As for me–Sam Rotner, Class of 2020 and the author of this post–having looked at other companies like Tulip and BlackDuck, I was very interested in getting the chance to follow in the footsteps of other Trinity Alums and learn from their experiences. The day-to-day interactions between all the different Trinity guys here has been unbelievable and has allowed me to grow professionally at an exponential rate. I am now 4 weeks in at Paperless and I could not be more excited to be interning here this summer.
The only real question is who’s next?
– Sam Rotner