Greg Swanson: Master Expeditor & Champion of Collaboration

1/21/2020
​From project initiation through activation, all the critical players are working from the same playbook and towards the same goal – yours. That's because we employ all relevant team members throughout the entire life of a project – developers, project managers, designers, architects, engineers and field construction professionals

Collaboration is a word we use often because the success of our clients' projects hinges on our ability to do it well. That's why we need people like Greg Swanson.  

A Field Coordinator with more than 40 years of experience at Opus, many would characterize Greg as a champion of collaboration. With a wealth of technical and business knowledge, his job is to encourage and manage communication between teams of associates at Opus. He manages a myriad of construction activities – coordination of subcontracted work, self-performed work, material and equipment procurement, jobsite safety programs, quality assurance, scheduling and site management. In addition, he is responsible for government-related inspections and compliance, site storm-water management and disruption avoidance plans when needed. 

With an impressive track record that encompasses decades of experience in office, industrial, institutional and residential construction, Greg's leadership style is forthright, yet humble.  

“I don't need to be the smartest person on the team; I just need to find them," Greg said. “When I show up on a job site, I know how to find resources quickly so we can move forward. This keeps buildings on track for successful completion. It's really about getting the right people to the right place, at the right time, with the right information. That's my job." 

The Value of Hard Work

Growing up, Greg spent summers working on his grandfather's farm in North Dakota. During the school year, he helped his father build their family home in Bloomington, Minn. That's where he was first exposed to the basics of skilled labor, including carpentry, and where he learned the value of hard work. It's part of his DNA, so to speak. 


“The expectation was always that you worked before you played, and I like to play," Greg said. “I remember many days after school, carrying concrete blocks up the hill to where we built the house. I needed to get them up there before dad got home from work, so we could make progress every night. Those early life experiences laid the groundwork that eventually led me to construction. It was so rewarding. Each day we saw the fruits of our labor as the house came together." 

Greg also played team sports while growing up. He didn't need to be a stand-out player because being part of a team working toward a common goal was what he enjoyed the most. 

“Construction is similar," he said. “No one person can do everything – it takes a team. Opus' founder Gerry Rauenhorst created a culture of teamwork, entrepreneurship and forward-thinking that continues here today. He hired like-minded people who had a sense of passion and cared about doing a good job, then empowered teams with equal amounts of authority and responsibility. All the while, he cultivated a team approach to stewardship, instilling a sense of responsibility for giving back to the communities where we work." 

“Stewardship is a huge value in my personal life as well," he said. “God gave me two hands and taught me how to work with them, so personally, I feel I owe some of that back to my community. Working for a company like Opus that shares and supports that value is very satisfying to me." 

From Laborer to Superintendent

Shortly after high school, Greg applied for two jobs – one was at a roofing contractor and one was at Opus. 


“Opus called me exactly one hour before the roofing contractor," he said. “That was 1979, and here I am – 40 years later."  

Greg's first job at Opus was as a Laborer on the line tending masons, pouring concrete and working with his hands on carpentry projects. 

“I was most interested in carpentry, because it included footings to door knobs, connected to other trades and seemed more interesting and varied," he said. “So, I enlisted in Opus' carpenter apprentice program for three-and-a-half years of schooling and on-the-job training." 

Once Greg completed the program, he was a Journeyman Carpenter for two years. Recognizing his inherent leadership skills, Opus promoted him to Carpenter Foreman, where he managed crews of Carpenters and Laborers for 10 years. It was the first of many promotions for Greg, including to General Carpenter Foreman in 1999, Superintendent in 2002 and Senior Superintendent – Pre-Construction in 2014. He stepped into his current role as Field Coordinator in 2015, working on projects in Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and Arizona. 

“The best part of this work is the sense of accomplishment at the end of each day," he said. “Or better yet, driving past buildings we constructed and knowing our teams worked together to make it happen." 

Some of Greg's most rewarding projects have been for clients who had a strategic need we addressed with a building customized to their needs, or a problem we were able to solve.  

“Two years ago, a client needed help with a building they wanted to sell," he said. “We didn't construct the 30-year old, six-story building, which had significant water issues and damage. Another contractor wanted more than $1 million to correct the problems, but with some standard fixes and maintenance work, we did it for $100,000. We solved their issues and created a super satisfied client. We bring creative solutions at a great value with an integrated and collaborative team. This is why we have so many repeat customers at Opus."  

“Greg is a skilled, well-spoken professional," said Greg Woelfel, General Superintendent. “He has great leadership skills and always finds time to listen, teach and challenge his coworkers to be their best. Greg's hard work, dedication to his craft and excellent decision-making skills are evident in the countless projects he has contributed to over the years."

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Greg is a member of the Design-Build Institute of America, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, the United States Green Building Council and Minnesota Concrete Council. In 2019 he was recognized as a Shining Star volunteer by Rebuilding Together Twin Cities. He is also an active member of our Future Builders initiative, which focuses on introducing and preparing youth for careers in the construction industry. 

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