Advocating for Women: Beth Duyvejonck Forges Ahead

March is filled with recognitions of women from Women's History Month to Women in Construction Week and International Women's Day. Unlike these singular recognitions, Beth Duyvejonck, Regional Vice President of Construction, does this work 365 days a year, tirelessly elevating the voices of women in construction.

Beth earned a degree in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University in 1997. She knew she was entering a male-dominated field, but she was undeterred. In 1997 she started at Opus. Over the course of more than two decades, she became the most tenured female project manager in firm history and in 2020 was promoted to Regional Vice President of Construction leading a team of nearly 30 people in Minneapolis and Des Moines. All the while, Beth has been a consistent force for expanding opportunities for women at Opus and beyond, promoting the valuable perspective they bring to construction teams.

“Women can thrive in collaborative environments, and construction projects and project teams are extremely collaborative," Beth said in a 2019 interview. “Increasing the diversity of our project teams will increase our potential for creativity and ultimately provide for better value to our clients."

Beth mentors women in both construction and development roles at Opus and co-founded the Opus Women's Network, which brings together women for professional encouragement and camaraderie. She is also the focus area leader for supplier diversity at Opus, in addition to being a Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Champion.

Overcoming Barriers and Influencing Organizational Change

Support from leaders like Beth is critical to success for women in construction. They can feel pressure to conform to men's working and management styles rather than being their authentic selves. Some can work themselves into exhaustion trying to gain greater respect in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

As part of her master's degree in organizational leadership in 2021, Beth delved deeply into gender biases in her thesis, “One of the Guys; Tokenism in Male-Dominated Environments." The research project considered the effects of organizational diversity initiatives on corporate culture. It identified the best path forward for disrupting the cycle of tokenism: implementing practices of gendered organizations and inclusive leadership. She offered an iterative model for DEI learning and cultural change with four categories: Educate, Critique, Communicate and Champion.

Beth has presented a summary of her thesis internally at Opus six times and twice to external audiences. In her presentations, Beth addresses how men working in construction today have opportunities to disrupt and change the cycle of tokenism and become advocates for advancing women as leaders.

This is precisely the approach Beth is bringing about from within Opus.

“Beth is willing and able to have courageous conversations inside the organization – whether prepared or at a moment's notice – to advocate for both women and underrepresented individuals," said Matt Rauenhorst, Executive Vice President & General Manager. “Her work is paying great dividends for Opus in bringing new and different approaches in how we are hiring, training and engaging with partners to create a more diverse and equitable workforce."

Influencing Industry-wide Changes

Beth's efforts to drive gender equity also extend beyond the walls of Opus. Knowing industry and societal change require a multigenerational, multi-faceted approach, Beth is a visible advocate for women in STEM careers, from middle school through college and beyond. She volunteers for the University of St. Thomas Science, Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) program, a free, experiential introduction to STEM careers for middle school-age girls, as well as Girl Scouts Power Girls camp, a program that provides an immersive trades experience to girls. In 2022, Beth joined Girl Scouts River Valleys board of directors and the Opus Foundation recently supported the organization with a $50,000 grant.

“I consider myself fortunate to have found a rewarding career with Opus, a mission-driven organization," Beth said. “And I believe that carries an obligation to give back to the community. I especially enjoy introducing youth, and especially young girls, to the opportunities in STEM and construction."

She has served on the Engineering Advisory Board at the University of St. Thomas since 2020 and previously served 11 years on Iowa State University's Construction Engineering Industry Advisory Council, advising on curriculum and industry trends.

In addition to influencing women directly through her leadership and mentorship, and indirectly through education and industry committees, Beth often presents on the topic of gender equity in construction. She was among a distinguished panel of industry thought leaders discussing DEI-related issues in engineering and construction at the Construction Institute Summit in St. Louis.

Tom Becker, President & CEO of Construction, said, “Beth's passion about DEI, her credibility inside the organization at the highest levels, and her ability to identify improvements that will make an impact is a huge asset for Opus and our industry."

Beth understands that manifesting a more inclusive culture is an ongoing and long-term process rather than a destination with a specific milestone. Just like when she embarked on her career in construction, she is undeterred.


Our associates are talented, dedicated and knowledgeable. They streamline complex projects and always deliver value to clients. Read more profiles of our team.