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Chair's Column: Be Ready for the Road to Recovery

Economic Recovery COVID-19

May 28, 2020

As a community, we have shown our resilience through the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic and response. I cannot say enough about our frontline and essential workers, including the medical workers who are working hard to keep us healthy, our grocery and convenience store workers who provide essential services, our utilities workers and our elected officials who are striving to keep our state and communities safe. Thank you.

Finding a New Normal

There is no set timetable on when things will get back to normal, whatever the new normal may look like in the future. The decisions on when to move into the next phase and what that looks like will be unique to each DSM organization. Whenever the time is right, we must be ready to take the next steps toward recovery. Check out this inspiring video produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership showing that our community will continue to move forward.

DSM Forward Playbooks

To help guide organizations in this process, The Partnership has worked with regional and state partners to develop a compilation of playbooks.

The DSM Forward playbooks are devoted to helping businesses and industries prepare for next steps related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in a smart, safe and collaborative way when the time is right. DSM Forward playbooks include recommendations — leveraging international, national, state and local sources and following federal, state and local public health official recommendations — to help guide businesses and organizations as they determine pathways toward the future in an everchanging landscape. The playbooks are meant to provide guidelines and recommendations. They are not prescriptive, nor do they include specific timelines, as each organization is unique.

Collaboration + Aligning Plans for the Future

One of the most important things about the development of these playbooks is the amount of collaboration that went into them. The playbooks have been guided by input from the DSM Forward Task Force made up of The Partnership’s board members, Capital Crossroads leadership and other industry leaders. The Partnership worked with Bâton Global to guide this process, which included extensive feedback from business, industry and community leaders and the community at-large. The playbooks were produced in alignment with developing plans by Polk County Board of Supervisors, Polk County Emergency Management, Polk County Health, the State of Iowa and other key partners.

View the DSM Forward playbooks at DSMpartnership.com/DSMforward.

This level of collaboration is not unique for our region, but it is as important now as ever. There are great examples of regional collaboration and public/private partnerships that have already taken place during this pandemic:

  • The Partnership has partnered with Drake University to launch a DSM Tutor Connection program to help connect students with education-related majors with parents who need tutors. This will be opened up to more colleges as the demand increases. Find more information here.
  • A number of regional partners worked to launch the Small Business Recovery Grant program to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which hundreds of businesses applied for. You can learn more about the program and partners involved here.
  • Des Moines Public Schools partnered with Mediacom to ensure students in the school district had internet access. You can learn more about these efforts here.

This same spirit of collaboration, the ability to work together as public and private partners and the willingness to work across jurisdictional boundaries will continue to be crucial as we move forward together. As we have learned, we cannot control everything, but what we can control is to accept reality, behave productively and be kind. Together, we will recover and remain #DSMstrong.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Tom Mahoney

Tom Mahoney served as the Greater Des Moines Partnership's 2020 board chair and is chairman of the board at ITA Group Holdings.