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Connecting People with the Opportunity to Serve DSM - Community Connect Program 2021

Community Connect Program

April 27, 2021

Greater Des Moines (DSM) has a rich history of service and giving back. The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Community Connect program helps prepare the next generation of stewards by providing participants the chance to learn from community leaders and visionaries, while fostering the skill necessary to grow both personally and professionally.

ISG Executive Vice President Derek Johnson, PE says he is most excited that The Partnership developed the Community Connect program to attract and connect young professionals who want to be engaged in the DSM community. “I am equally excited that ISG had two young professionals graduating from the program this year who were eager to participate, expand their network and grow as individuals to serve the community that we work in.”

ISG Growth in DSM

As a local architecture, engineering, environmental and planning design firm, ISG is committed to making a community impact through projects such as the Metro Waste Authority Material Recovery Facility and Central Iowa Water Trails. In addition, ISG recently completed design for the renovation of a Historic East Village building that will now serve as a multi-tenant office building. With ISG as the anchor tenant, this location builds on the momentum to reinvest in the East Village and Market District.

One of this year’s program discussion topics focused on civility, which aligns well with the thriving business atmosphere in DSM. ISG Planner Danielle Propst, AICP, is a 2020 graduate of Community Connect and defines civility as, “an openness to be engaged and learn from others in our communities.” She explained her main takeaway from the program was that, “the ideas, size and scale of a community can change — it can be your workplace, an organization you are involved with, or the larger community where you live — and it’s important to be engaged in those intersecting communities.”

ISG Project Manager Peter von Qualen explains further, “My viewpoint of civility has changed a lot. I never realized how many organizations there are locally that are committed to helping people in need. Through the Community Connect program, I have made a lot of connections with different organizations and am looking forward to giving time to make a difference in my community.” Peter has already put his words into action by connecting with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program to serve as a mentor.

Another ISG participant, Graduate Engineer Andrea McEachran, defines civility as, “treating others with respect or kindness.” She shared that through this program she discovered how to truly exhibit civility, “it’s one thing to treat others with respect, and it’s another to spend your time and resources uplifting vulnerable members in the community.”

Johnson says his team at ISG is grateful for the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute for providing a resource that allows for individuals who are new to the community or new to the professional world to connect with and learn from each other as they find opportunities to serve here in DSM.

Watch a short video about the Community Connect program below:


Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

Laura Drager

Laura Drager is marketing manager for ISG in Greater Des Moines (DSM).