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.