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.


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