Age 28 | Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera

Nick Renkoski may be one of the only Forty Under 40 class members to have a page on Internet Movie Database, the online database with information about movies, TV shows and actors.

And though Renkoski may not spend as much of his time acting as he used to, he’s still very involved in the arts.

During his three years as the director of marketing and communications for Des Moines Metro Opera, Renkoski developed the “We Live Opera” video series, which challenges preconceived notions of opera’s accessibility and helps draw in new audiences.

The videos have received national attention from other opera companies, and Michael Egel, artistic director of Des Moines Metro Opera, wrote, “As I attend auditions around the United States, I’ve heard, ‘Tell Nick to keep those videos coming.’”

Before marrying his high school sweetheart, Liz Lidgett, the two attended the University of Missouri, where they both studied journalism. Renkoski then worked at the Columbia, Mo., National Public Radio affiliate before spending several years living and working in Los Angeles while Lidgett attended graduate school at the University of Southern California.

Renkoski’s love for the arts and acting followed him back to Des Moines, where he has performed in several of the Des Moines Social Club’s productions and volunteered for the Des Moines Art Center’s Gala and Big Hair Ball.

“He has an extraordinary interest in this community and in how this remarkable organization fits into the landscape of the region,” Egel wrote. “He is committed to Des Moines and its development.”

The Des Moines native said he’s amazed at how vibrant the downtown area has become in the past 10 years. “We live downtown, which you couldn’t really do 15 years ago,” he said.

Renkoski is proud that the arts have played such a vital role in the city’s revitalization efforts. He said that in the span of one week, he was able to see the hit show “The Book of Mormon” at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines and attend a lecture at the Des Moines Art Center.

“When I left at 18, I didn’t think there was anything for a 25-year-old to do,” he said. “Now if you say that, you aren’t looking hard enough.”


Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Can write and direct short films and commercials.

• Des Moines Social Club production cast member since 2010.

• Committee member of Des Moines Art Center’s Gala and Fashion Week.

• Helped Des Moines Metro Opera receive national attention by creating the video series “We Live Opera” on YouTube.

• Co-founder of Zero 4 Conduct Film Series.

Mentor: Michael Egel, artistic director, Des Moines Metro Opera

Fun fact: Nick’s wife, Liz, was a member of the 2012 Forty Under 40 class. “I couldn’t let her show me up,” he joked.