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Des Moines West Side Chamber Tour Highlights $200 Million In Economic Development

Des Moines West Side Chamber

October 25, 2018

Chamber Name: Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce

Elected leader for 2018: Matt Connolly, Board President

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber: Darrell Sarmento, Executive Director

Number of Members: 230

What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?

Growing up in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Greater Des Moines (DSM), I have a passion for the Des Moines West Side. I am a fourth generation Connolly and love living and doing business on the West Side. We have so much history, art and culture with many historic neighborhoods.

What’s a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

Along with all of the regular networking and educational events that most Chambers offer, our highlights include:

  • Our economic development bus tour — This year we did two bus tours of the West Side highlighting more than $200 million in economic development.
  • Wake Up West Side! is a monthly networking time that moves to various businesses and locations throughout the West Side. It’s always a great way to start the day.
  • We are passionate about the West Side. If you are doing business on the Des Moines West Side, we are the place to start! We provide the connections to local leaders, decision makers and resources to help your business be known and succeed.

What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?  

Our new Executive Director Darrell Sarmento has done an outstanding job taking over for Dave and Carolyn Nagel. After the transition our membership retention rate was 88 percent and we continue to add new Members. We are also seeing an increase in non-dues revenue and sponsorships which means business leaders are excited and becoming increasingly invested in the DSM West Side. 

Any Initiative or Project That You Are Looking Forward to in 2018?  

We will be launching a new website, updating our logo, as well as investing in our marketing and branding to be “the” go-to business resource for the Des Moines West Side. 

What upcoming events should people watch for?    

We will be helping Moberg Gallery celebrate their 15th anniversary on Nov. 15 and hosting a Holiday Party for our Members at Wesley Acres in December. Small Business Saturday will also be a large focus on Nov 24.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, browse the Membership Directory and read additional Affiliate Chamber spotlights.

Matt Connolly

Matt T. Connolly is a real estate broker for NAI Iowa Realty Commercial. Matt sits on the formerly NAMI GDSM board (MindSpring). Matt advocates many ways defeating stigma on mental illness and raises recovery awareness. Matt earned the Business Record's 40 under 40 award in 2013. Matt was the DMwestside chamber 2018 citizen of the year.