Age 36 | Director, Des Moines park and recreation

Benjamin Page knew pretty early on that he wanted to work in local government.

After a brief stint working for his father as a house painter, Page took a job as a groundskeeper at a local park. He soon fell in love with the work and eventually studied leisure services at the University of Northern Iowa.

In November 2012, Page was appointed Des Moines’ park and recreation director after working for the city for almost six years. His list of responsibilities is pretty lengthy.

In addition to overseeing his department’s $15.8 million budget, he is in charge of taking care of 76 parks, 42 miles of paved trails, three golf courses, five aquatic centers, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the Principal Riverwalk, Principal Park, Blank Park Zoo, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, city municipal buildings and recreational programming, seven cemeteries, sports complexes and Brenton Skating Plaza.

And Page does it with 86 full-time employees, down significantly from the 147 people who were on the department’s full-time payroll when he first began working for the city.

He’s not complaining. Page said Des Moines’ parks and trails are what make the city great. “Every recent award we’ve gotten, you see pictures of people on the trails or Gray’s Lake,” he said.

As part of his position with the city, Page sits on a number of boards, including Blank Park Zoo Foundation, First Tee of Greater Des Moines, and the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau Sports Commission.

“He has great skill as a manager, as a partner, as a bureaucrat (in every good sense of that word) and as a shepherd of the people’s money,” wrote Michael Gartner, owner of the Iowa Cubs.

So what does Page do when he’s not working? He and his family take part in the city’s recreational programming, of course. He said his children, Sophia, 8, and Bryce, 5, swim and play basketball, while he and his wife, Kim, play softball and golf..

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Named director after serving as interim director for five months.

• Oversees the city’s 76 parks, 42 miles of trails, three public golf courses, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Principal Park, Blank Park Zoo and the Principal Riverwalk.

• Received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service to Iowa’s Children in the Area of Environmental Awareness.

• Serves as a liaison to the foundations of Blank Park Zoo, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Principal Park

• Member of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau Sports Commission board of directors.

Mentor: Steve Page, his father

Fun fact: After college, Page worked as the recreational director for the maximum security inmates at Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.

Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services