Building Community & Developing a Diverse Workforce

Community stewardship is at the core of our organization.

As a commercial real estate developer, designer and design-builder, connecting with our communities and supporting workforce development in these verticals just makes sense.

Building community for a better tomorrow extends from our job sites to all of the people in our communities.

Along with the Opus Foundation, it's our vision to cultivate a pipeline of qualified, diverse workers across our industries. We're doing this through resourcing underrepresented and underinvested communities, volunteering with nonprofits on the ground doing the work, taking the opportunity to speak with students in the classroom and on the jobsite and so much more.

A graphic that shows illustrated people in different colors; some have hard hats.

Thoughts from Team Opus

What better way to learn more about working in our field than to hear from our associates?

From LEGO to IRL (in real life) buildings:

My advice to a student interested in a STEM career: If you enjoy math and physics, then this could be the right career for you! I liked Legos as a kid; it fostered my understanding of how to make what I imagined. This led me into doing something with the same goal as a career.

Doug Woolf
Director of Engineering
Masters of Civil Engineering (University of Minnesota)

It runs in the family:

I have family members who work in construction. One of my grandpas was a laborer, and the other was an architect. Plus two of my uncles are laborers, and my parents flipped several houses throughout my childhood. So I grew up around construction and always found it fascinating how much a house can be improved upon. I also enjoyed my math and science classes above the others in high school, which lead me to take the Advanced Competitive Science class which combined my two favored subjects into one. I was encouraged by my teachers and my parents that engineering would be a good route for me.

Kelsie Lanz
Project Manager
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (Marquette University)

Construction is (in) everything:

I did not choose construction; it chose me at an early age watching my Dad and Grandpa take a pile of wood and build something with it. As for advice I may say to high school students take a long slow look around. Just about everything you see involves construction in one form or another from the very first idea to the final piece of trim. It truly is a great career with many rewards, including the people you meet along the way.

Scott Irey
Field Support Supervisor

Combining multiple passions:

When I was younger, I was interested in math, science and architecture and was lucky enough to discover a field that allowed me to pursue all three. Take advantage of the many opportunities for exposure to the field that are available to students today. Join a Lego league or a robotics team. Take a hands-on shop or trades class. If these aren't available in your school district, check community education or a science museum.

Beth Duyvejonck
Regional Vice President of Construction
Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering (Iowa State University)

From architecture to construction project management:

Growing up, I enjoyed sketching out floor plans for houses and building structures with Legos and Lincoln Logs. That initial interest in architecture led me to the construction management field. For youth interested in these careers, I would recommend getting involved in extracurricular clubs or activities that will give you exposure to real-world experiences and professionals in the STEM field you are interested in. In college, professional organizations such as Construction Club, ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity proved to be very valuable in helping me confirm my career choice and make contacts in the industry.

George Parrino
Senior Project Manager
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering & Construction Management Certificate
(University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Have a question about a career in one of our fields? Contact us, and we'll answer what we can!

Get Active: Youth Resources to Download

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Our Work in Action

Take a peek at some of our community volunteer efforts!

  • In 2019, Beth Duyvejonck, Regional Vice President of Construction, delivered the Greenlee Leadership Lecture to Iowa State University's Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering. Beth is an alum of Iowa State University. From her commitment to sharing her knowledge to her leadership and work ethic, we're fortunate to have Beth as part of Team Opus!

  • Job site tours are a great way to learn about the inner workings of construction. Students who participated in Denver Kids programs toured The Glenn at the Jones District to see the luxury multifamily project come together

  • Since 2017, our engineering and construction associates have introduced high schoolers participating in the Minnesota Trades Academy to steel framing construction, which is common in commercial buildings. The concept and plans were created by our team members.

  • Since 2017, our engineering and construction associates have introduced high schoolers participating in the Minnesota Trades Academy to steel framing construction, which is common in commercial buildings. The concept and plans were created by our team members.

  • Beth Duyvejonck, Regional Vice President of Construction, volunteered at the University of St. Thomas' Science, Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) program. STEPS introduces STEM opportunities at no charge to 6th to 8th grade girls. Beth gave a short talk about her own experience in engineering and construction and participated in a challenge. The girls tapped Beth's knowledge base as they planned, designed and built boats to test buoyancy. STEPS also received an Opus Foundation grant.

Opus Foundation Grants

The Opus Foundation has supported many nonprofits in our communities in support of Opus industries.

ACE Mentor Program

ACE Mentor Program of Central Iowa

ACE Mentor Program of Colorado

ACE Mentor Program of Illinois, Inc.

ACE Mentor Program of Indiana

ACE Mentor Program of St. Louis

AGC of Missouri Education Foundation

Better Futures Minnesota

Building Futures

Colorado District Council of the Urban Land Institute

Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Inc. (CLUES)

Construction Careers Foundation

Construction Education Foundation

Denver Kids

East Side Neighborhood Service

Emily Griffith Foundation

Freedom for Youth Ministries

Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation, Inc.

Mile High Youth Corps

Minnesota Architectural Foundation

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association

NAIOP Colorado Chapter

NAIOP Indiana Chapter

NAIOP Minnesota Chapter

Operation Breakthrough

Summit Academy OIC

University of St. Thomas

Urban Boatbuilders

YWCA - Greater Cincinnati