Age 29 | Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.

Downtown Des Moines is on the cusp of another renaissance, and Keith Olson has a front-row seat.

As a commercial broker, one of the youngest in the West Des Moines office of NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co., Olson has been involved in the sale and management of structures that are finding new life in being converted from office buildings to residential and retail properties, including the Partnership Building, Keck City Center and the Equitable Building.

“I’d say there is a new life downtown and it’s only going to get better with the transformation of Walnut Street,” he said.

Kurt Mumm, president of NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial, said, “It would be difficult to find another person in Keith’s age group who has had a more profound impact on the Des Moines metro area in general and the face of the downtown Des Moines business sector in particular.”

Shawn Foutch, director of Foutch Brothers LLC, the new owner of the Equitable Building, said, “As a result of his work on this sale, we have continued to consult with Keith on other downtown properties and have come to rely on him as a valuable source of information on Des Moines’ commercial market.”

Olson said that after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2006, shortly before problems in the financial markets led to a steep decline in commercial real estate values, he got into the brokerage business because, “I joke, that I couldn’t find a real job. I was used to not making any money, so that was OK.”

Away from work, Olson is active with Pathway Church in Johnston, March of Dimes, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa and Young Variety -- The Children’s Charity of Central Iowa, to name a few examples of his involvement in community organizations.

Olson also established a sports ministry that reaches several congregations.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Twice named the Downtown Community Alliance’s downtown broker of the year for closing the most projects for office space.

• Olson was named a Dave Ramsey Commercial Real Estate endorsed local provider.

• Involved with the Ankeny Works program.

• Sunday school teacher and active in a variety of programs at Pathway Church.

• Member of Young Professionals Connection.
Mentor: Kurt Mumm, president, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.

Fun fact: Olson does not consider himself a runner by any stretch, but he did participate in Dam to Dam the last two years.

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