Michegan DOT 1 hero


Opus leveraged its global expertise on one of its first asset management projects in the United States.


Detroit, Michigan has historically been the US capital of car manufacturing. So it’s no surprise that Michigan has almost 9700 miles – or 15,600 kilometres – of state trunkline highway. Maintaining and managing the network is a costly business.

Already considered a leader amongst US departments of transportation, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) was looking for ways to improve its asset management.

Opus’ Shawn Landers describes his Work with the MDOT as innovative, saying a lot of other DOTs are watching what the team is doing.

Performance Based Operating System

Landers is part of a team incorporating Opus staff in both Canada and the US that is drawing on expertise from around the world to create and implement a performance-based operating system (PBOS) for Michigan’s highway infrastructure and transportation services.

Opus is working alongside KPMG and Alfred Benesch & Co. The companies have a long history of working together, but Landers says it is the first time they’ve done so in the US.

For phase one, the team has been researching performance measures in order to advise the MDOT on the advantages and disadvantages of its existing performance standards, including anticipated cost savings or operational efficiencies. Phase two, involves implementing the PBOS statewide and monitoring the performance of these new processes.

International insights

“Part of our role was showing MDOT what other countries have done,” Shawn explains. “They are very open to change and to hearing what others are doing. They are keen to take on board the benefits that changes can bring.”

“The customized solution we came up with will reduce the overall cost of maintaining their highway network. It’s also a more consistent way of focusing their resources better, encourages innovation and advances their goals. They are very happy with the outcome to date.”

Opus is collaborating both externally and internally for this project. Shawn is based in Opus’ Fredericton office in New Brunswick, Canada, while his colleague Jeff Bagdade is on the ground in Detroit. Both are working with the Opus Global Asset Management (GAM) Team in New Zealand to deliver this project.

“Opus has a great deal of global experience in asset management, and we have brought it to our clients at a local level,” Jeff explains. “They are extremely happy with our management of the project and we have shown we can successfully and seamlessly manage projects across more than one office.”

“The PBOS is a new concept here, and a lot of other US states have their eyes on Michigan. It’s exciting to work with a client on developing something new and then help them implement it. It’s going to be ground-breaking in many ways.”