Sally speaking at the Alumni Honors Banquet

2023 Young Alumni: Sally Miskavige

Vice president of Grand Forks-based construction company mixes love of accounting, art, and asphalt to jumpstart community-wide philanthropy. 

Sally (Opp) Miskavige, ’07, ’08, was already at a professional crossroads right out of college. With a dual degree in accounting and art, Sally could work at an accounting firm in Minneapolis where she interned or become the next human resource manager at Opp Construction, the Grand Forks-based company her father started in 1978. 

Practically growing up at Opp, Sally had worn many hats at the company, from receptionist to certified construction flagger. She knew the commitment needed to make the business successful. So, she took the latter offer and is glad she did for many reasons. One of them is Opp’s employees – all 200 of them. 

“I truly love all of our employees,” she said. “A lot of them I grew up with and have known my whole life. They're like family,” Sally said. 

Sally Miskavige

As a manager right out of college, Sally helped implement many culture changes like reorganizing the safety committee, replacing upper-level managers with field employees to provide more engagement when changing safety policy. 

“These were small changes, but it really gives employees a voice,” Sally said. She’s seen the payout as they’ve reached goals like zero powerline hits last year and brought home multiple national awards for safety excellence.

Now as vice president of the company, empowering employees remains a passion of Sally’s. Equally so is community involvement. Sally started a program for employees to get paid for volunteering a week in the winter. The extra income during the company’s off-season is appreciated, and so are the opportunities to give back to the places where they live. 

Sally is known as a “starter” not only at Opp but throughout the greater Grand Forks area. “I accidentally start stuff,” Sally laughed. Her eagerness to make a good idea a reality for someone else’s benefit has turned into community-wide endeavors. 

Enter TAG, “The Art of Giving,” an annual art exhibition and sale Sally co-founded that has raised $375,000 for local charities and has had local and regional art sales of nearly $1.5 million. The first fundraiser was over a decade ago, when a gathering over wine and cheese with friends turned into a small fundraiser for breast cancer research. 

“Everybody dressed up in pink, and Meghan Compton (’06, ’10, 2022 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient) walked around with a box asking for donations,” Sally recalled. The funds were matched, and they decided to make it an annual tradition that eventually included art. 

Eleven years later, the Grand Forks Curling Club was decked out with artwork from local and regional artists and had the most successful event yet. A week later, the space was turned over to STEAM-themed exhibits featuring displays from UND’s rocketry and robotics clubs, among others, promoting the Grand Forks Children’s Museum project, another endeavor Sally is spearheading to offer adaptive, interactive learning experiences for children across the region. 

Sally and her husband, Jeremy, value teaching the arts to their two children. Music fills their home in the evenings from the four instruments their children have learned to play.

“We need to invest in our community and our children, they are our future,”  Sally said. “It doesn’t take long for 18 years to go by, and those little kids are now members of our workforce.”  

We need to invest in our community and our children; they are our future.Sally Miskavige, ’07, ’08

Her advice to UND students is two-fold: consider a career in construction and have good character. 

“Your character is something people remember,” she said. “It's amazing how small our world is. You might not think that it's going to impact you twenty years from now, but it might. Connections that you make at school are forever connections.”