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Why You Should Move to DSM

Experiencing DSM

January 13, 2021

One of my favorite things is meeting a person in an airport and telling them I’m from Iowa. “The potato state?” they ask me. I laugh, but I love getting to share my experience with someone new. I’m a firm believer that anyone should consider a move to Greater Des Moines (DSM). I might be biased because I was born and raised here but hear me out.

Iowa Beginnings

When I was a kid I grew up in Urbandale. I had short attention span and an endless pool of energy. ADHD they called it. That, coupled with dyslexia, meant school was not my strong suit. I was good at tests and I loved learning. Thankfully, I had great and passionate teachers and other good influences around me that always pushed me to reach my potential. Needing an outlet, I got involved in school activates. I competed nationally in both swimming and show choir. And thanks to the teachers, coaches and social network that I had, I was accepted into the University of Iowa.

During my first year at Iowa, I had a shotgun approach to education. I studied biology, chemistry, business, math, writing, cinematography and philosophy. I joined the intramural water polo team and had a thriving social life. I don’t regret my time in Iowa City and the friends I made, but I wasn’t a successful college student. There were plentiful resources, and the professors were helpful and accessible, but after four-and-a-half years and half a dozen majors, I felt adrift. I decided to move back to DSM to ground myself.

Experiencing All DSM Has to Offer

Coming back to DSM, I was still navigating the choppy waters without a lighthouse to guide me. I took a job in the trades. I was a carpenter and worked in commercial construction where I got to be a part of numerous projects including newly constructed data centers. Each data center the size of six football fields. Nine-foot fiberglass doors leading to a sea of blinking lights and servers. There were five of these buildings on the campus, and new campuses popping up all around DSM. I was a field carpenter for two years before moving into office work. Soon I was doing architectural submittals, AutoCAD work and estimating, seeing everything on the horizon that developers and business owners were trying to build. I felt like I could see the city breathing. I was a part of something greater than myself and realized that this is what was missing when I moved back home. I started getting involved in clubs around the city. Shout out to the Des Moines Table Tennis Club. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would head to the Four Mile Community and Recreation Center on the east side of Des Moines where 20 to 30 people crammed into the gymnasium to play two hours of truly competitive table tennis. Some of these same people had been coming to the same club since the 90s. I lost a lot, but focused on incremental improvement. Table Tennis is a lot like life. It’s a game of reactions, and it’s fast paced and hard to think in the moment. You need to trust your instincts. But more importantly, you need to reflect, to look back on how you reacted, what the outcome was and what you could have done better. To not get mad or angry, and although incredibly frustrating at times, focusing on doing the little things well.Running in DSM

I’m a hobby hopper at heart. I think it comes from my desire to learn and my tendency to get bored easily. I wanted to run a half marathon, so I joined a running club at Feet Fleet in Downtown DSM. Twice a week we would run hills around the downtown streets or distance runs around Gray’s Lake. I can confidently say that running a half marathon is not something I could have done without the support of the people who came out to run with us every week. I played in a chess club, both at Drake and Smokey Row Coffee. I wanted to get into photography, so I went on a photo walk downtown with a ton of great people who more than anything wanted to share their knowledge and expertise with me. When I wanted to continue my education, the staff at DMACC was so helpful in getting me pointed in the right direction. I have been able to continue to grow myself, my education and my career, all in DSM. On top of that, I feel connected to my community and know that I am making a real impact to those around me.

Two years ago, I made a career move to join a small staffing branch in DSM. Part of my job is to present local job opportunities to people who would be relocating to the area. Thankfully, I don’t have to sell them on the city. I just get to share my experience. I get to talk about the amazing people hiding out in DSM and the great things our businesses and our city are building towards.

Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!

Named the #5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and a Top 10 Best Place for Business and Careers, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Anthony Kottke

Anthony Kottke is a born-and-raised Iowan who started his career in the construction industry as a carpenter, then moved into project management. Anthony is now a sales executive at Associate Staffing where he is managing and growing the Midwest branch located in Greater Des Moines (DSM).