Truly Caring for Clients: Noticing the Details That Matter

11/10/2020
Similar to how an orchestra's conductor guides each individual musician to achieve a unified result on stage, our project managers synthesize the work of designers, engineers and subcontractors to ensure projects are finished as promised. Managing this requires strong communication and leadership skills – and outstanding interpersonal skills.

“Not only is it critical to deliver the building we agreed to, it's also important to develop and nurture relationships with them," said Scott Shifflett, Director of Project Management. “We are always looking to build a lasting connection with our clients." 

For example, our team completed a building addition at Cretin-Derham Hall (CDH), a private high school in St. Paul, Minn. in fall 2019. With Scott at the helm, we worked as the construction manager with Wold Architects and Engineers. The result was the Tom and Debbie Lentsch Forum. This beautiful main entry addition features open, inviting spaces for studying, relaxing and gathering. (The Forum itself was a great space for the grand opening and ribbon cutting last winter.)

“Toward the end of the project, we were walking through the administrative building before a meeting," said Scott. “I noticed several paintings of various campus buildings. I immediately thought 'We should commission a painting of the Forum as a gift to the school.'"  

Scott shared the idea with the team, and they loved it. So, Scott and Project Manager Tayler Matzke made it happen. They commissioned the same artist (Becky Olson) so the new painting would complement the existing watercolor paintings.

“Becky was happy to do the painting," said Scott. “The painting was perfect. It features her individual style and complemented the existing paintings."

Continually Going Beyond

Beyond the painting, we did more to connect with faculty, staff and students. Our project managers and the physics teachers hosted on-campus learning demonstrations. We demonstrated gravitational acceleration, terminal velocity and conservation of energy with a boom lift, ladders and props like pumpkins, softballs and foam balls. We also showed the students construction basics like structural engineering, electrical engineering and landscape design.


“The students had a blast," Scott said. “We helped the students make tangible connections between physics principles and the construction going on around them."

Then, toward the end of the project, our team delivered apple-shaped cookies with a note that read "pardon our construction" to the teachers at Cretin-Derham Hall.

“At Opus, we rise above what's normally expected," Scott said. “Going out of our way to do both large and small delighters is one way we truly care about our clients and what they do."

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Our associates take care of clients by ensuring the buildings we design and construct meet all of their requirements. Caring for clients, on the other hand, involves a willingness to go beyond what's expected to truly engage and show sincere concern for the client, their experience and their success. Read more stories of our associates Truly Caring for Clients.