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Costa named president and COO of Knapp Properties


Knapp Properties Inc. entered the new year with changes to its leadership structure.

Chris Costa, who has been with the prominent real estate and development firm for more than 20 years, is the new president and chief operating officer and Jake Lundgren was named executive vice president, according to a release. The appointments were effective Jan. 1.

Gerard Neugent stepped down as president and will remain CEO. Neugent, who joined the company in 1993, a year after it was founded by real estate icon William Knapp, had served as president and CEO since 2014. Neugent and Bill Knapp II will serve as co-chairs of the Knapp Properties board, and Bill Knapp II’s uncle, William Knapp, continues as chairman emeritus.

Costa began his career with the company in 1997 and most recently served as its executive vice president and COO. His responsibilities included oversight of several departments at the company. Costa is a certified public accountant who worked for six years for Deloitte and Touche after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. He later joined Knapp Construction as its chief financial officer.

He currently serves on the boards of the Animal Rescue League, Des Moines Area Community College Foundation, Greater Des Moines Partnership economic development, West Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission, West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, Dallas County Local Housing Trust and the Waukee YMCA. He also serves as co-chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s development council.

Lundgren has been at Knapp Properties for 16 years and serves as vice president of property management, responsible for more than 3 million square feet of office, retail, warehouse and multifamily space. He will retain that position and take on additional management duties. Lundgren graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a finance and real estate degree. 

Before joining Knapp Properties, Lundgren served as a construction manager for R&R Realty Group, where he oversaw hundreds of tenant improvement projects. He serves on the Economic Development Board for Polk City. He is also a member of the Building Owners and Managers Association and Institute of Real Estate Management. He has attained the designation of certified property manager.

Knapp Properties also announced the retirement of Dennis Galeazzi, who was with the company for more than 24 years. Brett Hyland was recently hired as CFO. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, a Master of Business Administration degree from Iowa State University and a Master of Accounting from Drake University. Hyland most recently worked for 13 years for Hubbell Realty Co.

Completing the executive management team are Aimee Staudt, vice president and director of development, Stuart Ruddy, secretary and general counsel, and Brian Erickson, senior vice president of brokerage.

Other changes at Knapp Properties include the promotions of Christine Struecker to vice president and director of family office and Ben Garrett to vice president of brokerage services. Emily Whitmer recently was hired as brokerage marketing coordinator.

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