25th Anniversary Spotlight Series
DIRECTOR OF QUALITY MIKE JOHNSON
Tell us how long you have been with RJM and how you started your career here?
This July, I will have been with RJM for 22 years. Before becoming a full-time employee, I had heard good things about RJM from a former superintendent, and I approached the company to learn more. Even though RJM at that time was relatively new and small, I decided to take a leap of faith and accepted a carpenter position. When I started, there was only about 50 office staff with approximately 60 people in the field. There was an initial trial period where I could prove my skill set as a carpenter. Before long, RJM was impressed and expedited my advancement to a superintendent role.
I started running projects in downtown Minneapolis for about a year and a half, finishing shortly after September 11, 2001. I began my long tenure as superintendent for Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. This was a position I enjoyed for 15 years. Eventually, as RJM grew, we began to recognize the importance of creating a position dedicated to quality control. After transitioning from Methodist Hospital back to the RJM office, I took on the QA/QC director role in the fall of 2018.
What are your three largest or most high-profile projects during your tenure, and what was the most memorable aspect of working on those jobs?
The Methodist Hospital and the expansion project that begin in 2015 was an important project for RJM and our team. In total, I spent15 years at Methodist Hospital on a number of projects we completed for Park Nicollet. I loved knowing that we were making the community a better place while building client relationships and mentorship opportunities. Another important project for me is when RJM worked on a floor replacement project at Northfield Hospital in 2008. I was proud of how RJM built intentional relationships with the City of Northfield during this time and how we served the community by improving their main hospital. Another notable project is the Hennepin County Library in Hopkins. Competing against 29 other general contractors, RJM won the job!
How has working at RJM contributed to your professional development goals?
RJM has always supported my career goals, including continuing education and professional development. One long-held dream was to complete my four-year degree in construction, and I received support from RJM on this journey, including from upper management (especially co-founder and ex-COO Joe Maddy) which was an encouraging experience. The desire to complete my degree was rooted in showing to my family – especially my daughters – that education is essential, regardless of age. I received my degree in 2021 and was invited to give the commencement speech upon graduation.
In what way do you think your role has contributed to the success of RJM?
I hope that by maintaining good relationships in the industry along with having the integrity to do the right thing – no matter what – I have helped to strengthen RJM’s brand and contribute to our success. As a superintendent I helped build, maintain, and enhance client relationships. In my current role, I contribute to overall project success by working with design partners to ensure that things are built efficiently and with the highest quality. I am always willing to discuss project solutions with other project partners – whether in the field or office – and look to mentor and support where I can.
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?
I’ve witnessed how we have grown as a company. I believe RJM has expanded at a steady pace ensuring we continue to serve both our existing and new clients. RJM strives to attract and retain good people, and as an organization we place importance on listening to the voices of all team members. There is always an open door and a safe environment to share your thoughts. RJM has always had a strong family- and community-like feel, and it’s always been good company to work for.
What does it mean to surpass client expectations?
Going above and beyond and doing more than what is expected! One example is Methodist Hospital’s window installation on the main tower. For a considerable time, we went back and forth with the client on the best solution. Eventually, RJM’s recommended method played out and resulted in cost savings. Our constant priority is to look out for our clients, and that means being their primary advocate as well as general project partner.
Any testimonials or kudos from clients or project partners?
One of our main partners at Methodist Hospital, Bob Riesselman, told me that our work there is “Continuing to better the community by being an important wellness resource and providing the spaces for new advanced medicine and technology.” One fond memory is when I received a Christmas card from Bob with a kind message and a generous gift card for my wife. I am proud to have developed this kind of relationship with an RJM client, and I am glad to have been a vital member of the RJM project team at Methodist Hospital.
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