Susan Gelinske: Raising the Bar & Mitigating Risk for Opus & our Clients


​Two factors contribute significantly to our continued track record of exceeding client expectations at Opus: our highly-engaged associates and our integrated, one-team approach to project delivery

Consistently delivering in this manner, project after project, wouldn't be possible without many dedicated associates working behind the scenes supporting our projects – associates like Susan Gelinske

As the Director of Risk Management and Associate General Counsel, Susan is responsible for overseeing the placement and management of insurance on behalf of Opus. Susan also manages trademarks, contracts and all litigation, and provides legal counsel for other business functions, like Human Resources, Marketing and Information Technology.   

Susan also engages in special projects as they arise, like providing legal counsel as part of our COVID-19 Response Team.  This team was formed to guide the company's response to the rapidly evolving human and business impact of the Coronavirus. A primary focus of the team is fostering health and safety at work and helping our projects continue moving forward during the pandemic. 

New Exciting Dimension in her Career

Before Opus, Susan was a shareholder attorney at Briggs and Morgan for 12 years, preceded by three years at General Mills as counsel, where she provided legal counsel to the cereal and snack businesses and managed litigation. Briggs and Morgan is also where she started her legal career, working as an associate attorney for four years before going to General Mills. 

“A great characteristic of the legal profession is that it provides opportunities to work with a variety of teams across multiple industries," she said. “I've always enjoyed that part of practicing law, but working at Opus has really brought a new, exciting dimension to my career. It's rewarding to be part of a team that builds beautiful structures that go from an idea on paper, to a hole in the ground, to a towering 30-story building that serves the noble purpose of providing space where people live, work and enjoy themselves."

Susan has been intrigued by architecture since she was a young girl.

“One of my favorite classes was industrial arts, especially drafting," she said. "I spent a lot of time drafting houses, both floor plans and elevations. The interest was inspired by my dad, who enjoyed building and creating things. He designed our house, and I helped him model it using paper and wooden sticks.  Although I chose the legal profession as my career path, I remained interested in architecture and building. So, I was excited when the opportunity to join Opus arose." 

Augmenting our Front-line Expertise

The risk management support Susan and her team provide is tailored specifically for our unique design-build business model. They are involved during the planning phase and stay engaged in projects through construction, development, lease-up and sale.

“We work in the background, augmenting our colleagues' front-line expertise and bringing value to projects by mitigating risk from beginning to end," she said.

“It is truly rewarding to work at Opus. Everyone is really bright and motivated, yet respectful and humble. It's a true collaboration.  It is apparent that Opus associates enjoy working together and understand that a project will be more successful when everyone has the opportunity to contribute their best.  This attitude is exemplified by our department leader, who demonstrates integrity, thoughtfulness, and calmness at every turn, all with a great sense of humor." 

She's talking about Tom Hoben, Vice President and General Counsel.  

“Susan is an extremely gifted attorney and an outstanding asset to our legal and risk teams and the greater Team Opus, providing sound, practical legal advice and solutions. Her extensive legal experience, with expertise in litigation and insurance, leverages our small department in ways not possible before, expanding the role of risk manager to include complete litigation management and legal support for our Opus Holding departments. Susan's collaborative nature, positive attitude and abundant energy and enthusiasm make her a true joy to work with."

Susan's many years of experience were founded on a post-secondary education with honorary distinctions. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of St. Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and English and received her J.D. law degree with honors from the University of Chicago Law School. 


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