Spotlight on Francisco Rodriguez, ExakTime’s Longest Tenured Employee 

ExakTime was born in 1999 out of a desire to provide a technological solution to everyday on-the-job construction problems, like accurately tracking worker time. The company’s innovations have evolved alongside technological advancements throughout the years, starting from a portable time clock to a hand-held device and now an app – and Customer & Partner Support Senior Specialist Francisco Rodriguez has seen nearly all of it. 


Rodriguez was hired at ExakTime’s Los Angeles, Calif. location on April 5, 2004, as a support specialist, a role he continues to excel at.   

“I’ve always been product support,” he reiterates. “When I got hired, I was in my last semester at college, and I was working as a tech for Sprint. I saw the job opening for ExakTime, I applied, and I got an interview.” 

Rodriguez started at ExakTime when the company was just five years old, having been started by Stephen Simmonds, a construction business owner who wanted to find a better way to track employee time. Simmonds worked with Scott Prewett and developer Tony Pappas to create the company’s pioneering job clock. When Rodriguez was hired, it was the only piece of software he had to provide support for, a vast cry from today’s multifunction app. 

Supporting the Job Clock 

A job clock is a portable clock used on job sites that workers use to track their hours. ExakTime’s first job clock was durable, portable and allowed employees to all clock in from the job site. While cutting edge for the time, by today’s standards, it presented a few challenges.  

“It was small and to replace the battery, you had to move the clasp apart,” says Rodriguez. “To put it back together, there was a plate in the middle that had to align with the outside, otherwise it wouldn’t lock. That gave people some difficulties. But in spite of some of the challenges, it was really fun working at ExakTime back then and helping customers use the solution.” 

While it was a real innovation for the time, users today might not find those first-time clocks as easy to use as the app is today.  

Some of the innovations of the original job clocks are still in use today, because they work for remote job sites. Even back then, employees used colored key tabs to clock in and out, green for clocking in and red for clocking out. 

“This is how the job clocks started,” Rodriguez remembers. “Back then, we started with just two keys to clock in and out. We used the traffic light as a pattern, green for go and red for stop. But then as more people used it, we started asking, how about if the employees or clock travels? So, we came up with a yellow key. And then we asked ourselves, how about if users want to switch cost codes? We got to a point where a single employee would carry 12 to 14 different colors of keys.” 

The different colored key tabs were used for each job code. For example, a blue tab could indicate foundation work while an orange tab might be carpentry and purple for painting.  

Yet this approach evolved as well. For contractors that used multiple job codes, ExakTime’s FastTracker time clock product allowed contractors to load hundreds of different worker activities on one device.  

Job clocks were used on each site, so a contractor might have two, three or more, and the information was transferred to a laptop or computer via a USB cord. Later, the software allowed the information to be transferred wirelessly, via Bluetooth or infrared, like with the Dakota JobClock.  

All this time, Rodriguez supported customers using the different types of job clocks. He then saw the tech evolve from only including portable job clocks to handheld devices that relied on a dial up internet connection, at a speed today’s users would find hard to work with but that was typical at the time. “We moved on to transferring the data via an internet dial up connection. It used to take about 18 minutes just to connect,” he laughed. 

As internet speeds got faster, ExakTime’s software also became more portable. 

The Move to Handheld Devices 

Early on, ExakTime recognized the value of putting its time tracking software on a handheld device like the Palm Pilot and Blackberry. To complement the job clocks, ExakTime launched the Palms Pocket Clock around 2009. The company recognized that even with key tabs, there was still a concern over buddy punching. 

The Palm not only provided an extra layer of security as each employee was given a unique four-digit pin, but for the first time there was the ability to provide GPS via Microsoft Pharos. Pharos connected with Palm, giving contractors proof their employees were on the job site. Rodriguez remembers how the Palm used wireless connections, instead of relying on a USB cord to upload data. 

“We used to beam the data out of the Palm. It used to beam from device to device, similar to Bluetooth but with less reliability than today’s technology.” 

Rodriguez says as soon as mobile devices that used apps, like smartphones, became popular, ExakTime’s leaders recognized this route was the way to go and developed the native app. 

Adopting a Mobile App 

Once developed, ExakTime’s proprietary digital time tracking app was available both on Android and Apple. While construction- and field service- specific features have been added over the years, the idea for the mobile app remains the same – a digital solution that contractors can use to accurately and easily track worker time and manage their people in the field. 

With the app, workers simply enter their unique, 4-digit PIN number and tap the green ‘Go’ button to clock in or the red ‘Stop’ button to clock out, a feature ExakTime pioneered and that gives a nod to the original fobs of the first job clocks. Clock-in and out data, including where your workers are located, is synced so team management can occur from anywhere. ExakTime’s mobile app also includes features to help with workforce and jobsite management like: GPS tracking, geofencing, FaceFront photo ID verification, scheduling, field notes, compliance features and most recently, an advanced analytics dashboard. 

The Power of Integrations 

As ExakTime evolved, the importance of enabling the software to integrate with the solutions companies use every day has been a focus. Rodriguez specifically remembers when AccountLinx was launched. AcountLinx connects ExakTime’s data to multiple payroll systems. 

“It was a big enhancement,” Rodriguez acknowledges. “Originally, we just were compatible with QuickBooks.”  

Today, ExakTime integrates with nearly 100 payroll systems and other construction technology solutions including: Sage 100 Contractor & Master Builder, Sage BusinessVision,, Viewpoint, Foundation, ADP and Acumatica.  

Over his two decades with the company, Rodriguez has always tracked the many changes, updates and enhancements and has offered customers the right expertise as the software evolves. Every day from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT Rodriguez is busy supporting the thousands of customers using ExakTime’s various solutions.  

ExakTime has been around for 25 years for a reason. We’ve built a great product and offer award-winning customer support from dedicated technical experts like Rodriguez. 

Want to learn more about how ExakTime can help you better manage your field-based workforce today…and into the future? Contact us today.  

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