Our Team

JAKE CHRISTENSEN // PRESIDENT

Jake founded Christensen Development in 2003 with a passion for urban development. With more than 20 years of experience, Jake has made it his company’s mission to transform not just individual sites but entire areas of the city into thriving community centerpieces. While the Christensen Development team may be small, it has accomplished big things, completing $450 million in projects in Omaha and across the state of Iowa.

Alongside his development work, Jake is passionate about volunteering and community involvement. Currently, he serves as a member of the Des Moines Airport Authority, Greater Des Moines Partnership Executive Committee, Downtown Vision Plan Co-Chair, Co-chair of the Downtown Community Alliance and the Greater Des Moines Water Trails Advisory Committee. He was named Commercial Real Estate Professional of the Year, is a graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, 2005 Forty under 40 honoree, and was named the Des Moines Community Champion by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Des Moines Business Record in 2015.

SUSAN FITZSIMMONS // VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL

Susan joined Christensen Development in 2019 bringing 25 years of legal and business experience to the company. She serves on the board of directors for The Greater Des Moines Public Arts Foundation, MercyOne Foundation, and ChildServe. She is also an active volunteer for the United Way of Central Iowa.

CHAD RASMUSSEN // VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT

Chad joined Christensen Development in 2021. Chad has worked in commercial real estate since 1994 in various capacities such as development, asset management, brokerage and property management. Prior to joining the company, Chad worked as the Director of Asset Management with Kum & Go, overseeing the design and construction of the Krause Gateway Center, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. His other duties focused on managing a portfolio of commercial, residential, office properties, and development land of approximately 450 properties valued at $400 million. In this role, Chad managed the team responsible for preserving and adding value to each asset through lease administration, managing operating costs, marketing and leasing activities, and divesting surplus properties.

Chad holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and a Master of Public Administration from Drake University. He has also earned a CCIM designation.

In addition to his development work, Chad is closely tied to his community through involvement as the president of the Board of Directors for WesleyLife, Vice President of the Board for Animal Rescue League of Iowa, and board member for Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation. He was part of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Class of 2002-2003 and a former Forty Under 40 Honoree.

KELLI PUNELLI // SENIOR PROJECT COORDINATOR

As Senior Project Coordinator, Kelli manages the day-to-day activities of Christensen Development. She assists in project coordination and manages the firm’s project tracking system. Kelli is also responsible for billing, schedule management, and monthly communications with Christensen Development’s investors and partners.

Kelli holds a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa.

Melinda Larsen headshot

MELINDA LARSEN // PROPERTY MANAGER

As Property Manager, Melinda’s duties focus on our commercial and residential properties throughout greater Des Moines. She is responsible for everything related to managing and operating these assets, including lease administration, tenant relations, and overall upkeep. Melinda also manages the paperwork needed to keep accurate property records for each of Christensen’s holdings. She brings more than 20 years of accounting and legal experience to the role and holds an Associate of Arts and Science degree from DMACC.