Lori Larson, CSM Corp.

Title: Senior managing director of capital markets

Age: 51


Commercial real estate veteran Lori Larson will execute strategic acquisitions and dispositions among other responsibilities as the new senior managing director of capital markets for Minneapolis-based CSM Corp.

Larson, who has more than 25 years of industry experience, also will help the company gain new access to capital markets and lead other investment activities. The combination of a recovering real estate market and CSM’s resources and positioning, with several properties unencumbered by debt and a low level of leverage overall, made the opportunity to join the organization particularly appealing.

“It’s a place to come to with a great starting point, with a pretty clean slate and the opportunity to build on the success it has already had with this market recovery and the growth we’re about to see,” Larson said.

The job she has taken represents a new role at CSM and is one of a number of leadership hires supporting the company’s growth strategy as it aims to take advantage of the improving real estate market.

Larson, who has been involved in more than $3 billion in capital market transactions, previously was president of Keystone Advisors LLC, offering consulting services to commercial real estate developers and owners.

She was elected the first female president of the Minnesota chapter of NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, in 2001. CSM, founded in 1967, develops, owns and manages commercial, retail, office, industrial, multifamily residential and hotel properties throughout the United States.


Q: How would you describe your experience as a woman in an industry that men have dominated?

A: When I went to my first NAIOP meeting in the early ’80s, I was one of a handful of women and otherwise it was a sea of blue suits. The success of being a female in a male-dominated business is to not even think about it. I have taken on every challenge as a person, not a male or a female. … It probably doesn’t hurt that I grew up with three older brothers and no sisters.

Q: What does this new position mean for you and CSM?

A: Part of it is hitting the market coming out of the recession and seeing the potential for growth. Just as important, I think, is that it says that [CEO] Gary Holmes has created a very successful company, but to grow it further he needs more help.

Q: What has motivated you to pursue a career in real estate?

A: I’ve been blessed to have been involved in all the various disciplines of real estate — property management, asset management, leasing, finance, acquisitions, dispositions. When you get that appreciation for the big picture, it becomes putting the puzzle together. When you get the pieces to all fit, it’s a fun business.

Todd Nelson