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As Justin Johnson celebrates his 15th anniversary with RJM, he shares his appreciation for and dedication to his team & position

December 1, 2022

25th Anniversary Spotlight Series


How long have you been with RJM and how did you start your career here?

I have been with RJM for 15 years, starting in August 2007. I started as an estimator and have worked within the preconstruction team for the entirety of my time at RJM.

What has your career path looked like at RJM?

I started at RJM as an estimator, knowing little about estimating and the career path that would follow. I quickly learned the immense value of estimating and the importance a quality estimate has on the operations of a project. I worked as an estimator for five years before being promoted to Senior Estimator and eventually transitioning into Chief Estimator. I am now the Director of Preconstruction, overseeing estimating, MEP, and virtual design departments.

What are your three largest or most high-profile projects during your tenure, and what was the most memorable aspect of working on these jobs?

Be the MatchThis was my first prominent out-of-the-ground construction project. Be The Match built a 7-story office building in the North Loop neighborhood. It was an incredible project to be part of to understand the balance of working with a developer, client, and design team.

Douglas Dayton YMCA at Gaviidae: This project took an incredible effort from the entire team to create a one-of-a-kind YMCA facility. The YMCA was built within a 5-story office/retail building in downtown Minneapolis. The project included a pool and gymnasium requiring extensive structural and building enclosure work to accommodate these items within the framework of an existing building.

Fox Rothschild (formerly Oppenheimer) Buildout: This is a 4-level tenant buildout project within the 222 S 9th building in downtown Minneapolis. We removed the previous buildout and built a new office layout, including the construction of a new internal stair connecting the four levels of office space. I had a great time working on this project and connecting with the client, design, and RJM team while going through the preconstruction process to set up a successful project.

How has working at RJM contributed to your professional development goals?

Working in the preconstruction department at RJM has allowed me to experience a vast range of project types. The nature of preconstruction allows me to quickly move from one estimate to another and learn about all project types of various sizes and complexities.

In what way has your role contributed to the success of RJM?

The preconstruction team is critical to the success of projects at RJM. A large part of my role involves Request for Proposal (RFP) responses and project interviews. I take great pride while attending project interviews and doing my part to sell our great team and experience at RJM. Our team is on the front end of the projects creating lasting relationships within the industry and working diligently to set up projects before they transition to our operations team. Another part of my role that I enjoy is the opportunity to lead the team, hire the next generation of estimators, and be a part of their growth.

What is the most significant change you have witnessed about RJM over the years? Or, what is the thing that has always remained the same?

The most significant change I’ve experienced at RJM is the project scale. When I started, most of our projects were remodels (healthcare and tenant improvement projects), with a few smaller ground-up construction projects. In addition to the remodel projects, we now construct large-scale corporate, healthcare, community, and multifamily projects. The Duffey, Twin Cities Orthopedics Plymouth, Prairie Lakes Ice Arena, and Plymouth Community Center, to name a few.

What does it mean to surpass client expectations?

To surpass client expectations is to treat each project as if I am the client on the project. We are hired for our expertise to promote open dialogue, be responsive, provide detail, and provide solutions to the project team during the process.

What is one moment you are most proud of during your career?

In 2018, I received the construction professional of the year award through the Minnesota Subcontractor Association (MSA). Our industry trade partners voted on this award, which was a tremendous honor for me. I’ve always prided myself on positive engagement with our trade partners, so I was very humbled to be recognized by them for this award.


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