Jaymes Kralicek: Wired to Deliver the Best Overall Value for Clients

“I’ve enjoyed and benefited so much from Opus’ culture of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and expertise,” said Jaymes Kralicek, Senior Project Manager. “There are examples of this every day, like a helpful call from an Opus associate in another market sharing lessons learned on a similar project, an architect or engineer taking time to explain some obscure code requirement or someone from the development team involving me in early proforma modeling, so I can better understand how construction hard costs are just one part of the total equation.”

Jaymes’ words express thoughts that cross the minds of Opus associates every day. Our fully-integrated team of in-house experts collaborate together on project after project, from market to market, continually sharing knowledge to ensure delivery of the best possible buildings and spaces.

That’s what makes us different. It’s also what makes working here extraordinarily rewarding.

A Born Project Junkie

Based in our Denver office, Jaymes has been at Opus for almost five years. He manages construction projects from conception to completion. This includes developing the project scope, estimating costs, determining schedules and executing project processes. Throughout the life of a project, he manages communication and cooperation of everyone involved – designers, subcontractors and clients.    

Like many who work in construction and design, childhood experiences and interests foreshadowed Jaymes' career and prepared him for this work.

“From an early age, I loved to draw, often designing and sketching my future dream home,” he said. “I loved to build, graduating from Lincoln Logs, to erector sets, to model cars and trains. I always had a curiosity about how things worked, often taking household appliances apart to inspect the various parts and pieces. Luckily, I could usually put them back together in working order again!” 

“I think my department leader Jim Erwin summed it up best by saying, ‘some of us were just born project junkies.’ In addition to being sort of wired for this line of work, I had people in my life who influenced me from a young age.”

At 17 years old, Jaymes’ grandfather joined the U.S. Navy during WWII and worked in the control center of ships repairing electronics and machinery. After the War, he spent over 40 years at an appliance and small engine repair shop before going on to teach electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska. Similarly, Jaymes’ father was a union electrician for more than 40 years.

“Both my father and grandfather collected – or hoarded – all kinds of tools, hardware and electrical fittings. You name it, they had it. So, growing up, I had full access to a shop filled with more building supplies than you could dream of finding at Home Depot.”

All of these life experiences eventually led Jaymes to pursue and achieve a Bachelor of Science in construction management from the University of Nebraska.

A Winding Path to Opus

According to Jaymes, he took “a bit of a winding path” to get to Opus, dabbling in several different construction types along the way.  

“While I was in college, my driving goal was to work for Kiewit Construction, a large firm headquartered in Omaha,” he said. “It was just a few miles from where I grew up and was flush with legends of people retiring wealthy at a young age after successful careers. When they offered me an internship, I said ‘yes’ before I even knew what the job entailed.”

After the internship, Jaymes accepted a job in infrastructure and heavy construction at Kiewit, where he worked for three years on highways, bridges and dams.

“It was a lot like construction boot camp,” he said. “All year long, work started before the sun came up and ended after it went down. Everything was intense and you could be shipped anywhere in the country on a moment’s notice.”

Jaymes liked the challenge and learned a lot but decided he couldn’t sustain the lifestyle his entire career. So, he moved back home and tried his hand at commercial building construction. He worked for a small startup general contractor in Lincoln, Neb. on a wide range of projects, such as an elementary school, an aquatic center and the University of Nebraska basketball complex.

“As much as I was enjoying life in Lincoln, I soon met my future wife, and our relationship swept us out to Denver where I became a project manager for JE Dunn Construction,” he said.

“I worked almost exclusively on healthcare projects for three years, including a large, new hospital construction project and multiple addition and renovation projects. I enjoyed the complexity and challenge of the healthcare sector but realized I missed the diversity and learning that comes with new project types.”

That’s when Jaymes crossed paths with Jim Erwin, Regional Vice Presidentof Construction.

“He offered me exactly the job I was looking for – construction project manager with the opportunity to work alongside our multidisciplinary team to learn about development and design.”

Givers vs. Takers

It wasn’t long after starting work at Opus when Jaymes noticed something else unique about Opus – the people.

“When I applied for the job, Jim Erwin asked me to complete a lengthy pre-employment questionnaire,” he said. “A few months later, he told me an important section of the questionnaire was a personality assessment to identify whether I fit more into the category of a ‘giver’ or a ‘taker.’”

Wharton School Professor Adam Grant wrote a book called Give and Take about social interaction in the workplace, categorizing people as givers or takers. Takers attempt to maximize profits in transactions, work exclusively for self-gain and are motivated to care for themselves above all. Givers put the interests of others ahead of their own – they are supportive people who enjoy sharing their expertise and helping others.

“Whether by design, chance or both, I firmly believe that Opus is made up of a wealth of really smart and talented people who also happen to be givers,” Jaymes said.

Shared Experiences and Expertise to Deliver Value

For Jaymes, the most rewarding part of his job is the feeling of satisfaction when a project is successfully completed and turned over to the client and its end users for occupancy. “It is tremendously hard to create something from nothing and it requires hundreds of thousands of hours, extremely diverse skill sets and individual and collective outputs,” he said. “It’s just a great feeling to be able to look back on what the project team was able to accomplish.” 

“In this line of work, every day brings new challenges and opportunities. The Opus culture of sharing experiences and expertise contributes not only to my and other Opus associates’ growth, but it’s why we are able to deliver great value to our clients and partners.”


Jaymes is a member of the Associated General Contractors of Colorado and U.S. Green Building Council.


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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.