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Chair's Column: Optimism is High for a Momentous Future in DSM

DSM Optimism

June 24, 2021

In May, Greater Des Moines (DSM) was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal as one of the “Breakout Cities on the Forefront of America’s Economic Recovery.” The article detailed how lighter population densities, an abundance of young college graduates and the strength of our financial services sector have helped DSM weather the pandemic and prepare for a strong future.

As The Wall Street Journal has noticed, there is plenty of reason for optimism as we work toward economic recovery. Many of the same factors that led to our growth before the pandemic are still at play, including our willingness to collaborate across jurisdictional and political lines, our ability to implement strategic vision plans and our capacity to continue to invest in the community even during an economic downturn.

DSM Rankings Amid Continued Growth

Continued investment in the community during the financial crisis of the late 2000s led to success that is reflected in some of our region’s key metrics. From 2010 – 2020, our metropolitan statistical area population has grown nearly 17%, outpacing other major Midwest metros. According to a recent report by Heartland Forward, DSM’s foreign-born population has grown by nearly 50% over the last decade, which is the second-highest rate in the nation. Furthermore, our real gross domestic product has grown 29% from 2010 – 2019 (the latest numbers available) and our region’s employment has grown 13% from 2010 – 2020, both outpacing other major Midwest metros.

We have every reason to believe this growth will continue. In addition to The Wall Street Journal, a number of national publications have taken notice of DSM since the start of 2021.

Today recognized DSM as one of the top cities for residents to move to after the pandemic. The Ascent wrote about “5 Reasons Des Moines Might Be One of America’s Best Kept Secrets.” U.S. News & World Report named DSM the #2 Safest Place to Live. CompTIA ranked DSM as the #4 Rising Start Market for Tech Talent, and CommercialCafe ranked our region as the #7 Top Midwest City for Women in STEM.

Recognizing a number of the major projects in the works, CityRevive named DSM a mecca for sports complexes. Highlighted projects include the Dico site revitalization and planned Pro Iowa Soccer Stadium and Global Plaza, the Lauridsen Skatepark and the Central Iowa Water Trails project, the Merle Hay Mall revitalization and planned Des Moines Buccaneers arena, and the Drake University and Des Moines Public Schools stadium project.

Positive accolades do not necessarily guarantee success. We must keep working, and we must do it together as one region. As our region, state and country continue to return closer to the world we remember from before the pandemic, it is our job to ensure the new normal is a more inclusive, more sustainable, more innovative, more resilient and more civil normal. Thank you to each of The Partnership’s Investors and Members for continuing to drive our region’s success.

Sign up to be a DSM USA Ambassador to help share positive news about DSM at DSMpartnership.com/DSMUSAambassadors.

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.