One of AQUILA’s youngest brokers to be named principal, Ben Tolson is hard-working and the head of the AQUILA asset services team. When he’s not at work, he’s either on the golf course or spending time with his wife, Katie, traveling, trying out new restaurants or walking their beagle, Birdie.

An Austinite since 2006, Ben knows the market like the back of his hand. A consistent Austin Business Journal Heavy Hitter since 2010, he is persistent, strategic, and always thinking ahead. He works toward strategies that are best for his clients and their properties tomorrow, next year, and ten years down the road.

Watch the videos and read my Q&A with Ben below to learn more about him.

Let’s Start With the Basics:

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Arlington, Virginia, immediately outside Washington D.C.

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: University of Pennsylvania – go Quakers!

Q: How long have you been in Austin?

A: I moved here in 2006. There was an opportunity here, it was a change of pace and climate. And, more importantly, it was really clear what a dynamic city Austin was – and now still is. I wanted to be a part of its future in some small way.

Q: What is it about Austin that has made you stay?

A: Austin feels like home now. It doesn’t have any deficiencies, and you don’t have to sacrifice quality of life. It’s an easy place to live, and it’s just a great place to make your home and run your business. There’s a strong workforce, many opportunities, fun distractions, and, again, a good quality of life. The weather is great and you can be outside year-round. There’s also a revolving door of festivals and events, and with so much popping up, you could eat at a new restaurant seemingly every day.  

Ben Tolson Golfing in Austin, Texas

Ben enjoys being outside and playing golf.

Q: What is your favorite part about working for AQUILA?

A: Like Austin, it’s like a second home, an extended family. There’s a ton of potential and opportunity; we are young still and it’s fresh and interesting. Demand is always changing so the solution is always changing – it’s enjoyable.

Ben Tolson, Kristi Svec Simmons, Jason Faludi, Bethany Perez, Chris Perry, Bart Matheney, Jay Lamy, David Putman, Jon Wheless on AQUILA Principals Trip

Ben Tolson with AQUILA coworkers during a trip to Vail.

Q: What makes AQUILA different?

A: It’s fun to come to work. We have lots of personalities here, and everyone respects everyone. With AQUILA, you get more. You have the whole firm at your disposal, and we do great market research; you get the resources of our whole company. We put an emphasis on collaboration, which is something I think we do better than anyone else out there.

Q: What would you say is your key differentiator? Why would I want to work with you?

A: I work to be insightful, persistent, and strategic. And I always work to bring all the resources of our firm to bear on every assignment.

Q: How do you add value for your clients?

A: I really try to take their perspective.


Now For a Little Fun:

Q: What is something on your bucket list?

A: Other than winning the lottery?  

Q: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

A: In Dreams by Roy Orbison.

Q: If you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with it?

A: Clearly buy more lottery tickets.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world and money didn’t matter, where would you live?

A: I think Austin would still be home base…but I’d be on the move. Lot’s of the world still to see.

Ben Tolson in Martha’s Vineyard fishing with his wife Katie Tolson and friends.

Ben loves to travel; pictured here in Martha’s Vineyard fishing with his wife Katie and friends.

Q: What’s something most people may not know about you?

A: Only those secrets which I hold closest.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Austin?

A: There are some obvious ones, like Uchiko. I’m a big fan of octopus and they do some great stuff with it at Alcomar on South First.  

Q: What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?

A: Right now I’m on season 4 of the Australian drama/comedy Rake. Try it out. It’s on Netflix.


Fast Facts:

  • Torchy’s or Tacodeli? Tacodeli
  • South Congress or Domain? South Congress
  • Early bird or night owl? Early bird
  • Willie Nelson or Bob Schneider? Willie. All the way.
  • Passenger or driver? Definitely an Uber.
  • 6th Street or Rainey? Rainey, certainly.
  • Franklin Barbecue or Lambert’s? Sushi
  • Dine in or take out? Take out
  • Maudie’s or Matt’s El Rancho? Maudie’s. It’s around the corner.
  • Call or text? Call
  • Tacos or BBQ? Tacos
  • Dogs or cats? Beagles
Ben Tolson with his Beagle, Birdie at CBA golf tournament in Austin, Texas

Ben with his Beagle, Birdie

  • Tito’s or Deep Eddy? Tito’s
  • Beach or mountain? Mountain
Ben Tolson, après ski in Aspen with his wife Katie.

Après ski in Aspen with his wife Katie.

  • Grilled or fried? Grilled
  • Would you walk, run or bike the Hike and Bike Trail? I enjoy driving by it.
  • Frozen or on the rocks? I’d go with reposado tequila, Topo Chico, and a lime. On the rocks.
  • Queso or Guacamole? Guac
  • Mopac or 35? Neither. I’d say Exposition to Lake Austin.

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