Tom Becker: Building a Lifelong Passion for Construction & Its People

“Our culture at Opus is all about putting the client first and treating them fairly," said Tom Becker, President & CEO of Construction​. “It's a common claim and when selling against other firms, we may not sound any different. But after clients and partners work with us, they see it. And very often, they come back."

With a tenure of more than 27 years at Opus, Tom knows a thing or two about how we work with clients and execute projects.

“Any senior leader knows that one of the most important elements you have are people," he said. “From top to bottom, we have a really deep and talented construction team at Opus. With every project there are problems to be solved. It just feels really good to know that you have some of the best people in the industry working by your side."

Tom directs all aspects of construction throughout the organization and country, including safety, strategic planning, business development and associate growth and development. He's also responsible for ongoing client relationship management and ensuring resources and solutions are in place to meet clients' cost, quality and schedule requirements.

“I've always found developing people one of the most rewarding aspects of my work, especially people from groups traditionally underrepresented in construction. I like to give people every opportunity to be successful."

Construction Through and Through

Tom's father was a residential and small commercial contractor in Iowa. In junior high, Tom started working for him as a laborer/carpenter.

“I worked for him every summer through high school," he said. “So, I was exposed to construction from an early age – and I liked it. I was good in school so decided to go to Iowa State University, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering."

During summers while in college, Tom worked for a few larger commercial contractors in Iowa. Those experiences reinforced for him that commercial construction was the direction he wanted to go.

“When I was a sophomore in college, I saw a flyer from this company called Opus about an internship in Minneapolis," he said. “I'd never heard of Opus but Minneapolis was one of the places that sounded exciting to me, along with Kansas City and Chicago. So, I moved to Minneapolis, and here we are!"

Following his internship, Tom accepted an Associate Project Manager position at Opus.

“I had opportunities to work on all kinds of different project types, from industrial to retail and office," he said. “I thought getting broad experience would be good, no matter what steps my career took. And I decided to try to do my job really, really well."

“I just sort of worked my way up the project management ranks. Being at a company like Opus with a development wing allowed me to see how real estate developers and investors look at projects. I learned what's important to them, and I think it made me a better design-build project manager. You learn to think like an owner or a client. You can point out opportunities that might bring them value now or down the road when they sell the building."

“I was recently at a work dinner and everyone was going around the table sharing stories about their favorite summer jobs when they were kids. I was at the end of the table and listening to all their stories about really fun jobs like flipping burgers or working on the docks at Lord Fletchers on Lake Minnetonka in the summer. When it finally got to me, I said 'well, I don't really have anything exciting to report. I've always worked in construction – my whole life.'"

While humility is one of Tom's most endearing traits, his accomplishments speak for themselves. During his tenure, he has driven overall business growth and delivered many notable projects, including Orchards of Minnetonka senior living and Variant Luxury Mixed-Use Development.

Commandeering New Product Types

“For me the biggest career game-changer happened when Opus emerged from the Great Recession," he said. “Opus was interested in getting into multifamily and student living. The most economical way to build them was multiple stories of wood over a concrete podium of some type. You see them built everywhere now, but it was new for us at the time."

“Dave Bangasser, the leader of our group at the time, was looking for someone to jump in and figure it out. We were more of a commercial builder and the structural element wasn't familiar, so not everybody wanted to do it. I really wasn't afraid of failure, so I raised my hand."

The project, Stadium Village Flats, was very successful. A luxury mid-rise apartment development near the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus, it paved the way for us to enter the multifamily and student living sector.

“On the heels of that project, we started doing more and more projects like it," he said. “Eventually I got promoted to more of a director role with some oversight on those product types everywhere we were doing them."

The Opus Advantage

“Having development, design and construction all in-house definitely gives us a competitive advantage," Tom said. “The level of collaboration that happens both in front of the client and behind the scenes is huge. Because we manage so many aspects of the project, we can make decisions quickly, control the overall client experience and just execute for them."

A good example was a build-to-suit warehouse our team built for AmerisourceBergen in 2016. 

“It was actually one of the last projects I worked on in a project management capacity," he said. “The client is a pharmaceutical distributor and had very specialized building requirements. They were in an expansion mode and needed the building completed in very short order."

“The client was learning and adjusting requirements along the way, so we were operating in real time with them. We had to be nimble – it was a super collaborative process that only worked because our project team members trust each other."

“Many times we had to proceed in very short order to meet the client's schedule. They trusted us and were assured fair pricing. Our architects and engineers brought a great deal of value because they were right there at the table, keeping the project moving in what seemed like 'just-in-time' mode."

Our team delivered the building on time and per the client's requirements.

“That wouldn't have been possible without our one-team integrated model and the trust we quickly formed with the client," Tom said. 


In addition to his Bachelor's degree from Iowa State University, Tom holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. He is a member of Design-Build Institute of America, the U.S. Green Building Council and NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. He is also a board member for Camp Fire Minnesota, a nonprofit that provides access to nature and outdoor experiences for all young people, especially those from diverse and economically underserved backgrounds.


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