Preconstruction + Design Phase Management

Empowering You to Make Informed Decisions

At Knutson

Preconstruction + Design Phase Management

Every project, no matter its size, starts with a dream. And bringing your vision to life can seem like hard work. We know construction is complex. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by things like budgeting, scheduling, material selection, and risk assessment. However, these steps of the design phase are crucial to the overall end goal of a project.

That’s where we come in.

Knutson’s early involvement in your project takes the guesswork out of tough decisions even before shovels hit the ground. We pride ourselves in being a dedicated partner to you throughout the entire life of the project, not just the beginning. Your dream becomes ours the moment we first connect.

Why Knutson
Understanding You + Your Project

Expertise + Expectations

To ensure your success, we are proactive in our approach to build something incredible, together. Laying a solid foundation for your project begins with simple conversation in the beginning, because we desire to get to know you and your passions. We want to know the what, why, and when of your dream, because that context allows us to expertly contribute the how. Understanding your concept of success isn’t just our goal; it’s pivotal to ensuring your vision comes to life accurately.

After exploring these ideas, our team will develop a detailed roadmap that lays out how to best make your dream a reality. As we discuss the most efficient and effective ways to reach your end goal, we will also lay out realistic expectations to help ground you in your decision making in all stages of your project, because we are true partners from conception to completion. Your success is our shared success.

Our Services

Master Planning

Knutson Construction takes a methodical approach to project development, merging your current and future facility needs into a comprehensive plan. Our team offers guidance to help you understand all of your options—and make the right choices for your construction journey.

Using conceptual modeling, real-time estimating and other solutions, our experienced team of collaborators walk you through all of your building options and what they mean. From disruption avoidance to scheduling and phasing, Knutson delivers the best game plan for your building project.

At Knutson

A Blueprint for Success

The needs of your organization are completely unique. That’s why we start each project by listening to your goals—and exploring both long- and short-term options to meet them. Our team offers in-depth planning for programming, phasing, budget and timeline, as well as minimizing disruption.

At Knutson, we have decades of experience analyzing feasibility and budgeting to ensure financial confidence for clients. Our team also provides construction modeling to help you visualize and understand each step of your project’s journey—bringing assurance and transparency to the plans we create together.

We Can Help

Contact Us

Want to learn more about how Knutson Construction can empower you to make informed decisions on your upcoming project or dream to make it more than just a dream? Contact our staff at any one of our locations and we can provide you with more details.

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Your True Project Partners

Meet Our Preconstruction Team

We believe that a collaborative approach to construction is best, and we're committed to minimizing both the unknowns and costly surprises along every step of your journey. Meet the problem-solvers that make up our preconstruction team - they're the ones who will be helping you make your dream a reality.

Director of Preconstruction

Micah Vainikka

Competitive by nature, Micah enjoys the thrill of exploring and winning new projects, strategizing, and collaborating with other people, as well as leading a high-performing and incredibly supportive team. He is a true relationship-builder and highly dedicated to the success of his team and project partners. Since joining Knutson in 2013, Micah has touched all market sectors in his role, but boasts substantial experience with healthcare and life science projects. He is also a LEED Green Associate, with a vested interest in sustainability and green building principles.

Micah Vainikka's

Case Study of Choice

I was brand new to the preconstruction department in 2016 and was tasked with managing the preconstruction process for a new hospital and cancer center in Wisconsin. It was a fast-tracked project with design starting in October and groundbreaking in January – only three months later. We facilitated 7 bid packages and the aggressive schedule by assembling a “super team” of hand-picked trade partners and Knutson project team members.

Senior Preconstruction Manager

Kyle Holmes

Kyle entered the construction industry when he joined Knutson, dedicating himself to problem solving for clients since his first day in 2015. In fact, that investigative, analytical part of his job is his favorite part; he enjoys that each project has its own unique set of problems and he plays a large role in being part of their solution. Kyle focuses primarily on negotiated projects in all market sectors, having worked in healthcare, higher education, long term care, life sciences and hospitality. Kyle is a valued member of Knutson’s preconstruction team and an energetic, positive presence well beloved by the project teams he works with.

Kyle Holmes'

Biggest Success Story

I helped launch Knutson’s model based estimating system, real-time estimating system and our bid assurance program.

Kyle was honored as a Rising Young Professional by Finance & Commerce in 2018 due in large part to his work creating a unique system that generates accurate construction cost estimates early in the design process.

Preconstruction Manager

Nate Day

Since joining the team in 2022, Nate has enjoyed how exciting it is to work with clients when everyone is eager to make their dreams come to fruition. He has 20 years of industry experience, ten years of which have been heavily focused on design/build project management; with this experience, he approaches every project with design and construction being a unified front. Nate enjoys working on projects related to sustainability, building envelope, and mechanical and electrical systems, but also appreciates how each project is different in terms of intensity and variety. Since 2012, Nate has been an advocate for careers in construction, heavily involving himself with the ACE Mentor Program of the Twin Cities.

Nate Day's Definition of

The Knutson Experience

My first week at Knutson, it was the middle of summer and [incredibly] hot, and the air conditioning went out at a fellow employee’s house. I watched my (new to me) coworkers spring into action to locate one of the last portable AC units in the metro area, and 45 minutes later, I found myself in a 90-degree living room, dripping in sweat in front of a coworker who I had only met 5 minutes prior. It made me feel very confident in my choice of [working for] a company with a culture of jumping into action.

Senior Estimator

Tim Kuechle

With double digit industry experience and significant expertise in self-perform work, Tim is an incredible asset to Knutson’s preconstruction team. Due to his calm demeanor, team-oriented nature, and steadfast dedication to solving problems, Tim excels at complex projects and is able to provide solutions that benefits all parties. Tim has extensive experience with healthcare and hard bid projects, making him an invaluable associate for project teams looking to work with an industry professional who can bring unique perspectives to their project from the get-go. Tim joined Knutson’s team in 2019 and most enjoys being part of a collaborative team that can overcome any obstacle or problem with its supportive culture.

Tim Kuechle's

Most Impactful Work

Working on the Xcel Energy Chestnut project pursuit was one of [my] more recent impactful stories. I was involved with coordination of subcontractors, self-perform estimates, leading the team on bid day, and assembling the bid. Overall, there were a lot of moving pieces to the project request and we overcame challenges by performing at a high standard and mitigating any risk prior to submission.

Senior Estimator

Curt Kluznik

A seasoned industry veteran with 25 years of construction expertise, Curt joined Knutson’s preconstruction team in 2022. Focusing primarily on the healthcare, K-12 education, hospitality, entertainment, defense, and retail market segments in his work, Curt believes that building strong relationships equates to completing successful projects, and takes special care in getting to know his clients as a result. His favorite part of working as a Senior Estimator is solving challenges for clients through the preconstruction and construction phases of a project or building program, serving as a true project partner to them every step of the way.

Curt Kluznik's

Most Memorable Success

My most impactful success story was leading a very complex, multi-year, multi-phased building program that included new structures and the renovation of existing facilities with a challenging budget. The team handled everything from the real estate transactions, the design processes, the preconstruction and the construct activities. The highlight of the all the hard work [we put in] was being called up on stage to a packed auditorium for a standing ovation and “thank you”. The client main point of contact still texts me every morning to check in even though the project was complete over five years ago.

Estimator II

Austin Gapinski

With nearly ten years of previous industry experience, Austin joined Knutson in 2023. Preferring to get down to the details on structural and enclosure systems, he also has substantial experience with self-perform carpentry, making him a well-rounded asset for the Minneapolis preconstruction team. Austin’s favorite part of his job is collaborating with a variety of people who all bring different levels of experience and areas of expertise to the table to solve problems, and enjoys utilizing statistical and mathematic tools like spreadsheets to do that.

Austin Gapinski's

Most Memorable Impact Story

We were working through a very large and aggressive GMP, which included what seemed to be an impossible Value Engineering exercise. After weeks of staring at the same bids as a team and hundreds of phone calls later, we hit our target budget.


Houston Walsh

Houston joined Knutson in 2022, a soft-spoken and forward-thinking addition to the Minneapolis preconstruction team with over seven years of previous industry experience. Primarily focused on estimating and the technological side of preconstruction, Houston works to leverage these aspects to benefit both Knutson and our project partners’ needs. He most enjoys the innovative part of his job and believes that utilizing new and emerging technology builds a strong foundation and future for the projects he assists with.

Houston Walsh's

Favorite Way to Make an Impact

I enjoy utilizing programs like Revit and Power BI to help create a top tier deliverable for our clients.

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SE MN + Iowa
Director of Preconstruction

Torrey Kistler

Since initially joining the Knutson team in 2015, Torrey has proven himself as a highly technical leader of the Rochester preconstruction team. Passionate about using the latest technology and collaborative tools to quickly create and update cost estimates, he is also dedicated to transparency in the project process. As the Director of Preconstruction for Knutson’s Rochester, Mankato, and Iowa offices, Torrey focuses on development of team members and maximizing value to all customers as well as leading preconstruction efforts throughout the design phase, ensuring budgets stay on time and within budget. He is also a LEED Green Associate.

Preconstruction Manager

Jordan Cepress

A relationship-builder by nature, Jordan has been part of Knutson’s team since 2016. He most enjoys getting to know owners and their reason for taking on projects, utilizing that context to assist them in making their dreams a reality. He is steadfast in his dedication to being a true partner from the initial concept of a project through design and construction, ensuring the process is as smooth as possible throughout. Jordan has vast experience in healthcare, K-12 education, government, industrial / manufacturing, sports and recreation, and commercial / retail, and is a valued part of the Rochester team. Jordan also assists with Iowa projects that fall within his many areas of expertise.

Jordan Cepress'

Biggest Success Story

One project I spearheaded was assisting the owner of The Landing, which is a homeless shelter in Rochester, MN. I helped the owner assess and choose a building to purchase that could be renovated to meet their programming needs. From that point, I assisted with design-assist budgeting to ensure the owner was getting the most out of their space and the preconstruction experience they were having was exceeding expectations. At the end of the day, the owner was ecstatic with their newly renovated space and were ready to assist people of need in Rochester!

Preconstruction Manager

Michael Ganrude

A member of Team Blue since 2023, Mike brought over 18 years of industry experience to Rochester’s preconstruction team when he initially joined on as an Estimator. His favorite part of the job is relationship-building with clients, contractors, and coworkers, something he knows makes all the difference in the lasting success of a project. Mike has extensive experience in the healthcare industry, working closely with large profile clients to accurately construct budgets for a myriad of facilities including hospitals, medical centers, outpatient clinics, and more. He is dedicated to ensuring the best possible price for clients, while also maintaining transparency and cohesion through the project’s process.

Senior Estimator

Delbert Feenstra

Delbert boasts over 26 years of construction estimating experience, a member of the Knutson preconstruction team since 2007. This experience brings with it a wide breadth of knowledge, invaluable subcontractor relationships, and enhanced situational awareness that would be welcomed guiding expertise for any project team looking to build something bigger, together. Delbert is a firm believer that a collaborative team-based environment creates an enjoyable construction experience for all parties and works diligently with project teams to develop and maintain project budgets throughout the lifespan of the project at hand. His primary focuses are within healthcare and K-12 education markets, but he also has enhanced knowledge of structural concrete projects and is certified to implement Best Value Bidding. His ability to continually bring projects within their established budgets (or, in most cases, below) speaks for itself and is just one of the reasons he is a highly valued part of Knutson’s team.

Estimator II

Anthony Johnson

Anthony is a firm believer that through a collaborative team-based environment we can create an enjoyable construction process while building long-term relationships. His experience working on several similar projects will ensure your project goals are met. His dedication and attention to detail make him an exceptional problem solver and a key team member; he will be able to quickly turn around updated pricing throughout the design development phase, notifying key team members of any budgetary issues that may arise. Throughout preconstruction, Anthony will assist in the development and maintenance of the project budget. He will provide input on value engineering options as the design evolves and will work to ensure this project achieves your goals, while utilizing proven constructability standards and new innovative ideas.


Evan Wendt

After a nearly double-digit career in the construction industry, Evan joined Knutson’s preconstruction team as an Estimator in 2022. Mainly focused on projects falling within the healthcare sector’s scope, he works frequently with a long-term client to bid consistently, transparently, and proficiently, giving them the best possible price and quality for the projects they seek to bring to fruition. Evan’s favorite part of his job is contributing his expertise to best aid in securing work for Knutson, but he also enjoys the educational aspect of gaining new knowledge with each bid process, knowing it will only positively impact the projects he works on in the future.

Evan Wendt's

Most Impactful Case Study

I recently bid and was awarded the Mary Brigh 3 Pediatric CV-ICU Fit Up located at the St. Mary’s hospital. With much input from the project team currently working on the adjacent NICU and some investigation into the space, we were able to accurately price the work. I believe Knutson does an excellent job of keeping open lines of communication between the field and office to help the preconstruction team do their job efficiently.

Preconstruction Manager

Bo Black

Bo joined Knutson as a project estimator in November 2022, before being promoted to Preconstruction Manager in 2024. In his role, he is responsible for providing and overseeing timely and accurate project estimates and preconstruction services. Bo holds a B.S. in Construction Management from the University of Northern Iowa and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from Iowa State University. He has also been involved with Eastern Iowa’s ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Sector Board.

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"A HUGE THANKS to your team for being so proactive in the Preconstruction phase! Other contractors, who don’t keep a constant pulse on budgets like your team does, frustrate me a lot. Thanks for raising the bar."

Bruce Larson, A.I.A., Principal


Featured Projects & Achievements

Knutson provides preconstruction services for a wide range of markets, including healthcare, education, hospitality, and housing. These solutions enable more proactive planning across every step of the building process, eliminating risks and optimizing costs along the way. Explore our industries to learn more about the many clients we support—and how we took their dreams from concept to reality with fewer surprises.