Age 32 | Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.

John Mickelson is equally comfortable crunching numbers as he is with meeting people, and he enjoys combining those two skills in his role as a commercial banker.

“In the role I have here it’s a great mix of analytical rigor and people interaction,” said Mickelson, associate managing director of The PrivateBank & Trust Co. “I like that combination, rather than just doing quantitative things all day or just doing all sales.”

Mickelson specializes in structuring senior secured commercial debt and depository services for midsized companies in Iowa and Nebraska. He has a law degree from the University of Iowa, where he also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance.

Mickelson understands what makes entrepreneurs tick. He started his first business, a lawn and landscape maintenance company, while he was in middle school. He sold it to his partner before he went off to college.

While a student at the University of Iowa, Mickelson launched a mortgage business after winning startup capital from the Pappajohn Business Plan Competition. Later, in Omaha, he started a commercial kitchen equipment business that he sold to a competitor.

“In each situation, there was a need or opportunity that existed, and I just took advantage of it,” Mickelson said.

In February he was elected to represent Ward 2 on the West Des Moines City Council, winning the special election to fill the unexpired term of former councilman Charles Schneider.

“Really, my wife and I believe in getting involved in the community and making where we live and work a better place,” Mickelson said, noting that the house in which he grew up, his current home, office, church and his son’s preschool are all located within the ward he now represents. “When you think about wanting to give back to the community, it just seemed like a natural fit.”


Five reasons he’s a 40:


• Recently won election to the West Des Moines City Council.

• Teaches banking and investment courses as an adjunct professor at AIB College of Business.

• Involved in numerous civic organizations, among them the State Historical Society of Iowa board, the West Des Moines Public Art Commission and Rotary of Des Moines.

• Serves on the Dallas County GOP Central Committee and the Young Variety board.

• Chairs the banking finance subcommittee of the Iowa State Bar Association.

Mentor: The Rev. Robert Hoefler

Fun fact: Competed in his first half Ironman triathon last year and plans to do another half Ironman this year.