About Jay
Since taking over as CEO in 2012, Jay Byers has been telling anyone and everyone who will listen about the ingredients he believes makes our secret sauce. We asked him to spoil the secret.

 


Greater Des Moines continues to experience a wave of momentum, and you can play a major role in building our community and continuing to drive it forward.

The momentum is evident in many of the metrics we use to measure healthy economic growth. For well over a decade, the Greater Des Moines region has outperformed the Chicago, Kansas City, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Louis markets in the percentage of population, gross domestic product and job growth.

We like to joke that if you look around Des Moines, you may notice the official bird of Greater Des Moines: the crane. 

As of summer 2016, there were more than 40 projects in progress in downtown Des Moines alone, and construction cranes are now a mainstay of our region.

Our region’s momentum continues to gain national attention. In the past few years, Central Iowa has garnered a number of prestigious national rankings. Greater Des Moines has twice been named the No. 1 Best City for Young Professionals by Forbes. Greater Des Moines has been named the No. 2 Best City for Jobs, also by Forbes. The region has been named the No. 1 City With an Up-And-Coming Downtown by Fortune. And a personal favorite of mine: The region has been named the No. 1 Metro With the Most Community Pride by Gallup.

This momentum is tangible, intentional and largely the result of what I like to refer to as our “secret sauce,” consisting of the following “ingredients:”

Leadership: Our business, civic and other community leaders are instrumental in propelling innovative momentum in Greater Des Moines. We have highly engaged elected officials and cutting-edge nonprofits, and our CEOs and other business leaders give their time and money to make big projects happen. And one does not have to be a CEO or elected official to give back. There are plenty of opportunities for people to lead in their communities through volunteering, serving on a nonprofit board or leading a project that they are passionate about. If someone has a good idea and works hard, they can gather support and make it become a reality here.

Public/private partnerships: Our business leaders and elected officials have long worked together to push projects forward. A great example of this is the Iowa Events Center Convention Hotel project that broke ground in 2016. The hotel was made possible through the active engagement of business leaders, the Polk County Board of Supervisors, the city of Des Moines, the state of Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, among many other organizations. It was a collaborative, game-changing project for our region and is one of the latest examples of the public and private sectors collaborating to implement a big idea.

Community visioning: Our region has a rich history of developing and implementing bold community vision plans. The latest iteration of this is the Capital Crossroads Regional Vision Plan. Capital Crossroads empowered our residents and business, civic and community leaders to identify future opportunities and get the right people at the table to act on those opportunities. Capital Crossroads set the stage for hundreds of successes in Central Iowa in the past five years, and an updated plan, Capital Crossroads 2.0, will charter our collective future for the next five years. In fact, it has been so successful that Greater Des Moines has been recognized as a national leader for regional visioning.

Regionalism: You may live or work in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Ankeny, Altoona or any other city in Central Iowa, but you are part of a regional network. We think and act as a region. With Central Iowa communities working closely together with a common voice and mission, Greater Des Moines is able to act bigger than it is to effectively fight above its weight on the national and international stage. A great example of this is the Partnership’s Affiliate Chamber network, which encompasses 22 Central Iowa chambers representing 5,800 business members. Our unique dual membership model enables us to represent the region with one voice. For example, we lead a delegation of 200 business, civic and community leaders to Washington, D.C., each year to advocate with a regional agenda — representing one of the nation’s largest annual chamber of commerce fly-ins and delivering a powerful statement to our elected leaders.

I encourage you to become involved in our community in a big way. We need your ideas, your time and your talents. We need you to help us build the future of Central Iowa. We look forward to meeting you.