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DSM Transplant Explains Ways the City Attracts + Retains Talent

Attracting and Retaining Talent in DSM

October 29, 2020

As an insurance executive, I’ve spent a fair amount of time living and working in major metropolitans in different regions of the United States. Since relocating with my family from Chicago to Greater Des Moines (DSM) in the fall of 2019, I’ve come to appreciate what the area has to offer both in my professional and personal life, and it’s clear that top talent can find their home here.

In my role as senior vice president of specialty at GuideOne National in West Des Moines, I’ve had the pleasure of recruiting and working alongside brilliant industry professionals locally and internationally. This experience has further displayed the potential the insurance industry, working professionals and families have here in the heart of Iowa. While I’m proof that DSM can attract and retain talent, I believe these four characteristics of the region will continue to make DSM a desirable place for professionals to live and work.

Four Ways Des Moines Attracts + Retains Talent

1. Located at an Intersection of Business + Ideas

In the middle of Iowa, DSM sits at the crossroads of a few influential cities: Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Omaha. This location provides easy access and opportunity to work with major companies and top executives, which is something several industries can use to their advantage.

From the insurance industry perspective, DSM has become known as a regional epicenter, even being recognized as such globally, and several business transactions occur here. The state’s regulatory climate also enhances economic growth for the industry, which is something other fields — including manufacturing, renewable energy and agriculture — benefit from as well.

2. Surrounded by the Talent of the Future

Several universities and colleges are located in Iowa, which gives businesses in DSM access to up-and-coming scholars and professionals. The opportunity for employers to work with the next generation and recruit talent will be key as a whole generation of experts rapidly approach retirement.

In the next few years, the insurance industry expects to see a mass retirement of professionals in the field. With them, decades of knowledge and experience will leave companies, so new young talent will be vital to their continued success.

Personally, my team looks forward to establishing an internship program, which will give valuable hands-on experience to students and recent graduates while also bringing fresh talent into our company. With Drake’s strong actuarial program and Iowa State’s risk management school, DSM is an attractive marketplace for developing insurance professionals.

3. Harmonized Lifestyle Suits Business, Family and Leisure

I’ve found DSM to be a great place to live, work and play. With a favorable cost of living, phenomenal public and private schools and abundant recreational activities, my family has come to think of DSM as a bit of a safe haven — a breath of fresh air.

One can comfortably and confidently set down roots in DSM. While professionals can work from nearly anywhere — especially now that remote work is predominant — this city and its surrounding area offers a unique, attractive lifestyle. Full of vibrant art, great restaurants and easy commutes, the region exhibits the perks of city living at the relaxed pace of life in the Midwest.

4. Founded by a Resilient Culture

DSM has fared very well given the unprecedented circumstances 2020 has presented. Much of the Midwest has been set back by the global pandemic, civil unrest and severe storms, but DSM returned to a more normal state sooner than many other places in the country, showing the resilience of our people and infrastructure.

Even in less challenging times, this region has a proven track record of getting innovative ideas off the ground and being a pioneer in key industries, including renewable energy, manufacturing and agriculture.

With executives in the area who share a willingness to roll up their sleeves and participate, we are able to develop a great work culture full of robust teams with talent across a broad spectrum of industries and products.

When looking to hire new talent, employers shouldn’t be limited by geography. People will relocate here, see the value of the city and be proud to say they live in DSM. 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.

Mark Groenheide

As senior vice president, specialty, at GuideOne National, Mark Groenheide leads the company's Specialty Excess & Surplus Lines, focusing on infrastructure, construction and energy. He previously served as vice president engineering lines North American underwriting at HDI Global Insurance Company and graduated from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.