Shenehon Center for Real Estate

Shenehon Center for Real Estate

2010 Inductee: Gerry Rauenhorst

Published November 10, 2010

Mr. Gerald Rauenhorst’s high standards of business ethics are exemplified by his guidance of Opus, the company that he founded in 1953. Opus revolutionized the building industry by being one of the first firms to unite the disparate worlds of architecture and construction into a team. Mr. Rauenhorst has had a significant impact on the construction and real estate development industry in the United States -  Opus has constructed more than 2,000 buildings around the country.

Mr. Rauenhorst has joked that in 1953, he started the ecumenical movement in Minnesota as a 25-year-old Catholic by winning a job to build a Lutheran church in his hometown of Olivia, Minnesota. While some members of the building committee were reluctant to hire him because there was a Lutheran bidder, too, the committee decided that it would be fairer to honor Mr. Rauenhorst’s lower bid. From there, Rauenhorst Construction (which later became Opus) built its new headquarters, a building designed by Mr. Rauenhorst himself.

The influence of Mr. Rauenhorst in the Minnesota real estate community is visible in the design and development of notable projects completed by Opus Corporation, including St. Ambrose Church in St. Paul, office and manufacturing facilities for The Toro Company, Normandale Center Industrial Park, Northwest Financial Center, Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota, the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas and numerous buildings on the St. Paul campus, 100 and 150 South Fifth Street buildings in downtown Minneapolis, Opus Corporate Center, the Medtronic , Inc., corporate campus and the Best Buy headquarters.

Mr. Rauenhorst’s contributions to the local and national business community can be seen in the numerous honors that he has received, including the Design Build Institute of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, NCEA St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Award, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota Lifetime Achievement Award, Ernst & Young Lifetime Achievement Award, Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Marquette University, Corporate Report Minnesota Executive of the Year, Minnesota Business Hall of Fame, Distinguished Engineering Award for Marquette University, University of St. Thomas Alumnus of the Year, Marquette University Alumnus of the Year and Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of St. Thomas.

Throughout the company’s history, Mr. Rauenhorst has been quietly committed to philanthropy. Since it opened its doors, the company has donated up to 10 percent of its pretax earnings to charity. His  focus on giving back to the community is reflected in the 1/40 program. He challenged his top executives to donate one hour to a charitable cause for every 40 hours they worked. Mr. Rauenhorst has truly made an impact on the real estate industry and has made a significant impact on the community as a role model, leader and philanthropist.

“I have had the privilege to work for Gerry on numerous valuation assignments. I find his business standards to be unmatched only by a few. No finer real estate professional exists in the United States than this man.”
– Robert Strachota, Shenehon Company

“Gerry is one of Minnesota’s commercial real estate pioneers with many accomplishments and contributions to our industry and community.”
– Charles Caturia, CB Richard Ellis