Richard Hurd is the 2017 Great Western Bank Commercial Real Estate Professional of the Year.

The award is designed to highlight an outstanding CRE professional from Central Iowa for professional accomplishments and community engagement. Hurd, who founded Hurd Real Estate in 1981, is the third person to receive the award, which will be presented during the Business Record's Commercial Real Estate Forum 7 to 9 a.m. April 12 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Urbandale.

It is not unusual these days to hear someone in the Greater Des Moines commercial real estate industry refer to a project that "Richard" is doing. It is understood that the reference is to Hurd, a man who entered the business by rehabbing residential properties while he was a college student.

Over the years, he has turned Hurd Real Estate into a family-oriented operation with 110 properties in Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and Texas.

The company owns 20 Hy-Vee Inc. food stores in Iowa and five other states. Hurd was a pioneer in sale-leaseback deals. Much of the build-out around Jordan Creek Town Center has occurred on Hurd-owned properties that have drawn first-to-the-market retailers, including the Container Store, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and Nordstrom Rack.

Hurd has led the redevelopment of down-and-out retail centers and triggered new construction. He has been a key player in the revitalization of the Ingersoll Avenue corridor. His sights have been spread across Greater Des Moines, including south-side Des Moines neighborhoods where he grew up and emerging areas of West Des Moines.

He is considered a mentor to many young commercial real estate professionals, including the two sons and daughter who work with him at Hurd Real Estate.

Hurd is active in community and church organizations.

"Richard Hurd has quietly gone about making a big difference in the commercial real estate landscape of Central Iowa. He is meticulous and believes in augmenting neighborhoods," Bankers Trust Co. CEO Suku Radia and President Don Coffin said in a nominating letter. "He has succeeded in paying his civic rent without any fanfare."

Kevin Crowley, who heads the Iowa Realty Commercial operation, said, "He has guided clients and now his own portfolio to new heights, the likes that have not been seen since Bill Knapp built his real estate portfolio. He has mastered the art of the deal."

Previous winners of the award are Gerry Neugent, president and CEO of Knapp Properties Inc., and Rick Tollakson, president and CEO of Hubbell Realty Co.