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Chair's Column: Learn More About 2021 Priorities + How to Get Involved

2021 Strategic Priorities

January 28, 2021

We have so many reasons to be optimistic in 2021. Thanks to the work of our Investors, Members, Affiliates and regional stakeholders, we have already laid the groundwork for a strong year — a year of hope and recovery. I am honored to serve as the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s board chair in 2021 and extend my deepest gratitude to Tom Mahoney, 2020 board chair. His leadership helped move our organization and region forward, despite the challenges we collectively faced.

18-Month Strategies and 2021 Priority Alignment

In a typical year, we focus on a set of Strategic Priorities aligned with our overarching five-year vision. Given all that transpired last year, we decided to pivot and refocus our plan for the next 18 months, beginning in July 2020 and concluding at the end of this year, 2021. The following six Strategic Priorities are what we began working on last year and invite you to get further involved with. Within each of these areas of focus is the dedication to economic inclusivity, sustainability, regionalism and storytelling, all integral to what we hope to accomplish in Greater Des Moines (DSM).


We know that there is so much work to be done to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our community. DSM has proven that it is eager to listen, learn and take action, and this will require a community effort. It will take dedication from all of us to commit to listening, understanding and lifting one another up. I encourage you to make DEI a priority in your own organizations and work with us to advance DEI collectively in our community.

Broadband Expansion

Having strong access to broadband is critically important as it provides opportunities for distance learning, telecommuting and telehealth. That is why our next goal is to increase connectivity to broadband in our 10-county region. Already the counties that make up our region have invested in this initiative with financial commitment, and this year we will work to complete a study and provide recommendations to increase broadband access for all.

Talent Pipeline

The need for talent is the number one issue we hear from employers on a consistent basis, and that will still be true in economic recovery. We must continue to prepare our talent pipeline, attracting, retaining and training a talented and diverse workforce. This year, we will finalize the Future World of Work Strategic Plan to ensure the talent pipeline is strong and prepared, which will be key in our region’s economic development success.

Talent and Economic Development Marketing

In alignment with our talent strategy, we will continue ahead with our digital marketing campaigns for economic and talent development. We live in a world vastly different than that pre-pandemic, and our methods and messages must reflect that. We must show prospective residents that “this must be the place” and find new ways to reach and showcase our region to companies looking to relocate or expand. If we do not tell our story, no one else will.

Business Recovery, Retention + Expansion

We know so many of our small businesses — the lifeblood of our community — are struggling right now, and we will continue to work with our Affiliate Chamber partners to create inclusive recovery and rebuild our Main Streets. Additionally, so many of our Investors are major employers who do business regionally, nationally and internationally. We as a Partnership are here to serve you. We will continue to take your feedback to heart to ensure we are providing what you need to cultivate a robust business environment. Our community is only as strong as the businesses within it, and we are dedicated to a heightened focus on business recovery, retention and expansion.


Communities that invest in themselves in tough times are communities that thrive during prosperous times. We will continue to move forward on major projects including the Central Iowa Water Trails, Lauridsen Skatepark, USL Pro Iowa Soccer Stadium and Global Plaza, the Des Moines International Airport Terminal project and more. In a day and age where people can live anywhere, we want them to choose DSM.

Our vision is to unite the DSM community to drive economic growth with one voice, one mission, as one region. Join in on our strategies for the next year and learn more about how to get involved at DSMpartnership.com/calltoaction.

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.

Fred Buie

Fred Buie is president of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company and serves as the Greater Des Moines Partnership's 2021 board chair.