A massive generation of baby boomers is entering their golden years of retirement, and in just 11 years they will represent 20% of the U.S. population. With these changes, we're expanding in to growing sectors, including senior living and active adult residential. With 17 years of experience in real estate development and management, Joe Downs is playing a key role in the enterprise-wide progression in these sectors.
Work in these expanding sectors, however, represents just a third of Joe's responsibilities. He focuses the other two‑thirds of his time on managing all operations for Opus in St. Louis and Kansas City. He's well-suited for wearing multiple hats, given his wide breadth of knowledge and experience.
During his time at Marquette University, where he received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Joe was exposed to Opus as part of the co-op program. That experience made him want to work for the company. Joe began work as a project manager in California for about a year and then in Minneapolis for eight years. In 2009, he was promoted and moved to St. Louis. He spent a two-year stint at The Love Companies, a diverse group of finance and real estate development businesses, and returned to our team.
Strong Corporate Culture Drives Impact
It's the culture that drew Joe back. “It's a collaborative, entrepreneurial and very supportive environment," said Joe. “All of our associates think like owners—with the end in mind. We make an impact because we place great emphasis on understanding clients' business plans and supporting them with great real estate and buildings."
A collaborative approach based on strong client relationships drives this positive impact, according to Joe. “We treat our clients like partners," he said. “Clients appreciate working with people they like and trust. They know we can deliver exactly what they are looking for, tailored specifically to their needs."
Ultimately, Joe finds the most satisfaction in creating successful outcomes for clients. “It's very rewarding to watch a major, complex five-year project come together and know that we are doing it the right way—building quality buildings that will have a place and a legacy for many years."
Joe also appreciates Opus' commitment to philanthropy and the company's long-term view. “We make a significant impact on the communities where we work, beyond the real estate we build," said Joe. “The Opus culture promotes being good people and treating people well. You can go to bed at night knowing you are not only serving clients well, but also the communities where they live and work."
Outside of his work at Opus, Joe serves on the executive board of St. Louis' Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, which provides a continuum of care for seniors, serving 10,000 people a year at 21 properties. The organization is supported by grants through the Opus Foundation, where Joe also serves on the board. Additionally, Joe is a board member of the Clayton Century Foundation, a nonprofit that catalyzes the community's investment in arts, history, parks and sustainability.
“Being involved with nonprofits makes us think beyond the confines of our day-to-day roles in the workplace," said Joe. “We learn about and gain greater appreciation for all the aspects of managing a business, while contributing to our communities."
Joe also sits on the St. Louis University Civil Engineering Advisory Board and is a Society of Industrial and Office Realtors local developer associate.