Member Profile: Phil Cattanach, The Opus Group

February 4, 2016 at 9:20 am


By Mike Brown, GREATER MSP

Phil has taken up the mantle as Vice Chair of the Public Policy Committee for NAIOP Minnesota.  He has been active with NAIOP for a few years and wanted an opportunity to gain deeper engagement.  I caught up with him recently to learn more about him and his career.

Why did you want to get more involved with NAIOP?
NAIOP has been a great organization for me to be involved with.  It provides great insight into industry best practices and provided me the opportunity to learn more about the industry.  I’m excited to have the opportunity to think about the advocacy agenda for our industry with such an engaged and intelligent group of people.

What are some of the challenges you see for companies doing business in our region?
Our region is fortunate to have one of the most talented workforces in the country.  It gives us a competitive edge as we compete for and ultimately successfully develop projects.  Maintaining this workforce is critical for our value proposition in Minnesota.  The region is very competitive, with many great developers and project teams.  The competition makes us all better, but it is challenging.

Additionally, the cost of doing business is another challenge for our region.  Looking for ways to impact how to reduce those is something I look forward to.

What is your role at Opus?
I’ve been with Opus for 10 years and currently I am the Director of Real Estate Development.  My projects tend to be skewed toward industrial applications, but I’m also involved in retail and office development.  I have a passion for the development side of the business.  It has an entrepreneurial sense to it.  Each day is different.  It is often not a linear process which challenges my problem solving skills.  But I also appreciate the deadline-driven nature of the business.  It keeps things moving.

Cattanach FamilyYour time with Opus was interrupted by a tour of duty in Iraq.  How did that work?
That’s right.  I went to college at West Point and graduated with a degree in civil engineering. I completed a tour in Iraq and was ready to start my civilian career. The tangibility of the construction and development industry was appealing to me, and I was fortunate to get a job at Opus.  After I’d been here a couple years, Uncle Sam called and I was redeployed to Iraq.  My role was in combat operations, which has many similarities to my work here, albeit much different stakes.  After two years, I was back and was warmly welcomed back to Opus.

It is interesting that you say your role in the Army has similarities to your current position.  Many veterans have trouble finding a position when they return.  Why do you think that is?
In the military you are taught to always think about the group and do what is best for all.  I think that means that members of the military aren’t used to promoting themselves and taking credit for their contributions.  As a result they don’t see the parallels between skills learned in the military and those used in the civilian workplace.  And yet, veterans will make great employees.  They are generally highly motivated, accountable and not afraid to make decisions.  They have a strong work ethic.  Qualities that any employer could use.

So what is on your bucket list?
Have Army beat Navy in football.  Seriously, I am a huge outdoorsman, and I also love to spend time with my family (I have six kids).  I would love to take my family on a trip to Alaska sometime.  I would love to share my passion for the outdoors with them and that would be a great place to do it.

Entry filed under: Member Profiles.

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