Director of business development for the Opus Group
After working for years at her family’s restaurant and then as a general manager of a restaurant chain, Christy Lewis changed directions to focus on business management, commercial sales and marketing.
Now Lewis, 43, has joined the Minnetonka-based Opus Group in the new position of director of business development. Lewis, a native of Mankato, will be responsible for business development strategy for Opus Design Build, the division focusing on third-party construction and design/build services. (Third-party construction is contracts for construction only, while design-build involves Opus’ designers, engineers, developers and construction team.)
Lewis most recently was director of business development at Doran Cos., a Bloomington-based development/construction company. She also had stops at Hallmark Building Supplies and Facility Systems Inc. (now Intereum), an office furniture supplier.
Q: You grew up in the restaurant business when your family owned Happy Chef — with the towering Happy Chef statue along Hwy. 169 in Mankato.
A: I started washing dishes in the family restaurant at age 10. So at a very young age, I started meeting people and this allowed me the opportunity to understand what business was like … and how to build meaningful relationships.
Q: You later pulled away from the family business and moved to the Twin Cities.
A: Yes. I thought I was going to be following the whole restaurant path, but I went in a new direction. … I started my commercial real estate career when I worked for Facility Systems almost 20 years ago as a new-business development person. It’s the same contact base of brokers, architects, engineers, designers and developers.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Opus?
A: Building relationships with the clients and industry contacts, all in an effort to support our business objectives and our design-build and third-party construction business. They had somebody who primarily focused on development and touched on the design-build and construction work. But in my new position, I’m solely focused on the third-party and design-build construction work. The construction work has been increasing year-over-year, so they see a need for somebody to support that.
Q: What recent projects has Opus Design Build constructed?
A: The Nic on Fifth is the 253-unit, 26-story high-rise apartment project in downtown Minneapolis. And we’re building Xcel Energy’s new headquarters on Nicollet Mall.
Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.