Jake Bresnahan: Dedicated Project Manager & Air Force Reservist

“Military service was something I always wanted to do because I thought it would be the best option to explore the world and get some real-life experience," said Jake Bresnahan, Associate Project Manager at Opus and Loadmaster with the 96th Airlift Squadron of the 934th Airlift Wing. “It was probably the best thing I ever did."

Employer Recognition

In August, Scott Shifflett​, Director of Project Management, had the opportunity to attend the 2022 Minneapolis St. Paul Air Reserve Station Employers' Day. The event showed appreciation to the employers of reservists who are currently serving.

“At the event, they walked through the life of a reservist," said Scott. “They must be excellent planners and organizers because they have to juggle home, work and the reserves. Those organizational skills contribute directly to Jake's job managing projects. I have been impressed with his follow through, proactive communication and professionalism."

Service Leads to a Career in Construction Management

Jake followed in the footsteps of his father, a career Air Force Cargo Pilot. His father encouraged him to join the military and get a college degree.

Since joining the Air Force Reserves in 2014, Jake has traveled to about 30 countries and learned many valuable skills he uses in his everyday work, including communication, teamwork, self-direction and motivation.

As a Loadmaster, Jake handles the cargo in military airplanes. He calculates the center of gravity for the load to ensure a safe and efficient flight. A load can be anything from Humvees and larger to smaller equipment, personnel and aeromedical evacuation. He also oversees precisely executed air drops and paratrooper missions, landing cargo within a 100-yard circle.

Jake served four years of active duty before attending the University of Minnesota. During loadmaster training, he became friends with a fellow reservist who was a construction project manager in North Carolina. He told Jake all about his job.

“He sparked my interest in construction and becoming a project manager," Jake said.

After graduating, Jake completed an internship. He joined Opus in October 2021. He has devoted most of his time to the Corsa Apartments​ in St. Louis Park.

Applying Valuable Skills Gained in the Military

Early in the Corsa Apartments project there were some unexpected earthwork and utility challenges. Solving the challenges required close collaboration between our project managers, engineers, designers and developers. They needed to devise a new plan for the stormwater retention system – and fast to keep the project on schedule. Jake was the liaison between the groups and ensured the project moved forward by tapping into the teamwork and communication skills he developed in the military.

“As a new project manager, Jake quickly took ownership of his responsibilities and ran with them," said Kelly Hovde​, Senior Project Manager and Jake's direct manager. “He is very good at collaborating with people at all levels of the organization to get answers and keep projects moving."​

While some of his military training, like survival and POW training, may not apply directly to his work at Opus, mission planning and project planning have many similarities. Both involve setting a plan, creating a timeline for every task and assigning tasks.

Of his military and civilian work, Jake said, “On the Air Force side, teamwork ensures a successful mission and the airplane doesn't crash. There are five air crew members and everyone has tasks to execute at a certain time. At Opus, we also work together as a team to get projects done. It's my job to communicate and keep everyone on the same page."

Supporting Reservists

This past summer, Jake participated in an Air Force operation in Alaska. The mission was one week, which was his first trip longer than a few days since starting at Opus.

“My team is supportive and understanding," Jake said. “They give me time off without blinking an eye. They know I'll do what needs to be done to keep everything moving at Opus."

Reservists with a flying squadron maintain their proficiencies by flying once a week or every other week. There are times when the Air Force Reserve calls Jake for a same-day mission. He will leave work in the early afternoon and may not get home until 1 a.m.

“Every time, without fail, he's back in the office early the next day," Scott said. “Jake may not be required to go on every mission, but we try to be supportive and encourage him to go – we make it work."

During his eight years in the military, Jake deployed twice for two-month missions. The possibility of a deployment is always there. If that happens, there will be a job waiting for him at Opus when he returns.

“The Air Force Reserve provides cost effective, strategic-depth for the nation, while also using the highly skilled work experience of our Reserve Citizen Airmen," said Major William-Joseph K. Mojica, Chief of Public Affairs, 934th Airlift Wing. “Employer support for reservists, like that of Opus, is strongly encouraged and even critical, as the demands of military service and readiness are of utmost importance for our reservists to ensure we remain prepared for a future fight."

Jake is grateful for Opus' supportive culture, which allows him to continue his military service while advancing in his career. He finds it rewarding to be part of the team and the process from start to finish at Opus. 

“Having our architecture and development group all in one building is extremely advantageous when you're a project manager," Jake said. “Being able to easily talk to the design team and the engineers expedites answers to our questions and keep things moving. Seeing it all come to fruition in a completed building is the best part."


On Veterans Day, we honor all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We are proud of our associates who have served in the military, or are still serving, and we thank them for their dedication to our country.


Pictured Above: Jake and Scott at the Employers' Day.