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Best of Des Moines 2020

As we do each year, we asked our readers to cast votes for what Des Moines has to offer in a variety of business-related categories. We all know 2020 has been a bit different than past years. This year’s winners stuck out to our readers not just for the type of business or person they were in good times, but also in really tough times.
Here’s how it worked: You voted. We checked the data, removed any suspicious or erroneous votes, and then tallied the results for all 70-plus categories. All Greater Des Moines businesses, people and organizations are eligible to win categories. In other words, there was no cost to be listed as an option due to the survey being open-ended. You can’t pay to win a category.
This year, we followed up with the winners and asked them to submit how their company or organization faced challenges in the last year or what they felt were some of their biggest accomplishments. Many answers, as you might imagine, focus on companies pivoting due to the pandemic. We’ve included responses from those who were able to take the time to do so.


Best CEO 

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

Runner-up: David Stark (UnityPoint Health)

Runner-up: Tray Wade (EveryStep) 

Best Metro Business Leader 

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

Runner-up: Jay Byers (Greater Des Moines Partnership)

Runner-up: Kyle Krause (Kum & Go) 

Best Business Supporting Local Charity 

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: NCMIC 

Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co.

Best Life Insurance Company 

Winner: Principal Life Insurance Co.

Runner-up: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Runner-up: State Farm 

Best Company for Women to Work For 

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health


Best Company for Diversity in the Workplace 

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co.

Best Large Company With a Bright Future 

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: Baker Group  

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best Politician on Business Issues 

Winner: Kim Reynolds 

Runner-up: Cindy Axne 

Runner-up: Chuck Grassley 


Best Up & Coming Business Leader 

co-Winner: Tony Dickinson (NCMIC)

co-Winner: Tanner Krause (Kum & Go)

Runner-up: Chaz Allen (Iowa Utilities Association)

Runner-up: Adam Kaduce (R&R Realty)

Best Diverse Business Leader 

Winner: Izaah Knox (Urban Dreams) 

Runner-up: Deidre DeJear (Caleo Enterprises) 

Runner-up: Austin Mac Nab (VizyPay) 


Best City Government Conducive to Doing Business 

Winner: West Des Moines

Runner-up: Des Moines

Runner-up: Urbandale 


Best Nonprofit 

Winner: Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Runner-up: EveryStep 

Runner-up: Easterseals Iowa 


Best Commercial Real Estate Company 

Winner: Iowa Realty Commercial

Runner-up: CBRE|Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: R&R Realty

Best Residential Real Estate Company 

Winner: Iowa Realty

Runner-up: Re/Max

Runner-up: Keller Williams

Best Residential Real Estate Agent (Individual) 

Winner: Sonny Greene (Iowa Realty) 

Runner-up: Shawntel Cooney (Iowa Realty) 

Runner-up: Stephanie Anania (Re/Max Concepts) 


Best Commercial Real Estate Agent (Individual) 

Winner: Adam Kaduce (R&R Realty) 

Runner-up: Kevin Crowley (Iowa Realty Commercial)

Runner-up: Tyler Dingel (CBRE|Hubbell Commercial) 

Best Real Estate Property Management Company 

Winner: Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: R&R Realty

Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Best Development Company 

Winner: Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Runner-up: R&R Realty

Best Homebuilder 

Winner: Hubbell Homes

Runner-up: Jerry’s Homes

Runner-up: Happe Homes


Best Architectural Firm 

Winner: RDG Planning Design

Runner-up: ISG 

Runner-up: Shive-Hattery


Best Engineering Firm 

Winner: Shive Hattery

Runner-up: ISG 

Runner-up: Baker Group 


Best General Contractor 

Winner: The Weitz Co.

Runner-up: Ryan Cos. 

Runner-up: Dean Snyder Construction 

Best Electrical Contractor 

Winner: Baker Electric

Runner-up: Baker Group 

Runner-up: Waldinger


Best Mechanical Contractor 

Winner: Baker Group

Runner-up: Waldinger

Runner-up: Bell Brothers 

Best Commercial Lender 

Winner: Bankers Trust Co.

Runner-up: West Bank

Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union 

Best Bank 

Winner: Bankers Trust Co.

Runner-up: West Bank

Runner-up: U.S. Bank 


Best Executive Search Firm 

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: Raine Recruiting 

Runner-up: RC Search Group 


Best Temporary Employment Service 

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: Raine Recruiting 

Runner-up: Robert Half 

Best Training and Development Company 

Winner: Dale Carnegie

Runner-up: Tero International

Runner-up: ATW Training Solutions

Best Health Insurance Company 

Winner: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Runner-up: UnitedHealthcare

Runner-up: Health Partners UnityPoint Health


Best Property/Casualty Insurance Company 

Winner: EMC Insurance Cos. 

Runner-up: State Farm

Runner-up: Nationwide

Best Place to Buy Office Furniture 

Winner: Triplett Cos.

Runner-up: Pigott 

Runner-up: Storey Kenworthy


Best Security Company 

Winner: Per Mar Security 

Runner-up: Baker Group 

Runner-up: Strauss Security Solutions


Best Manufacturing Company 

Winner: John Deere Des Moines Works

Runner-up: Vermeer

Runner-up: Cemen Tech 

Best Credit Union 

Winner: Veridian Credit Union

Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union

Runner-up: Green State Credit Union


Best Commercial Printer 

Winner: Beeline and Blue 

Runner-up: Christian Printers

Runner-up: Universal Printing Services 


Best Computer Consulting Company 

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Aureon

Runner-up: Little Dog Tech 

Runner-up: BerganKDV 


Best Local Internet Service Provider 

Winner: Mediacom 

Runner-up: CenturyLink

Runner-up: Aureon

Runner-up: Mi-Fiber 

Best Web Developer 

Winner: Webspec Design 

Runner-up: Blue Compass

Runner-up: Trilix 

Best Social Media Company 

Winner: Webspec Design

Runner-up: Happy Medium

Runner-up: Trilix 

Best Company to Work For  

Winner: NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions 

Runner-up: RSM US LLP 

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best Small Company With a Bright Future 

Winner: NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions

Runner-up: VizyPay 

Runner-up: Trilix 


Best Company for Young Professionals 

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health 

Best Wealth Management Company 

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Foster Group

Runner-up: Bankers Trust/BTC Capital Management

Best Accounting Firm 

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: McGowen Hurst Clark Smith

Runner-up: LWBJ


Best Tech Startup With a Bright Future 

Winner: VizyPay 

Runner-up: MakuSafe 

Runner-up: LenderClose


Best Auto Dealership 

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Bob Brown Chevrolet

Runner-up: Karl Chevrolet

Best Place for Auto Repairs 

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Drake Garage  

Runner-up: Car X 

Runner-up: Shade Tree Auto


Best Law Firm 

Winner: Davis Brown Law Firm

Runner-up: BrownWinick  

Runner-up: Nyemaster Goode PC 


Best Advertising Agency 

Winner: Flynn Wright

Runner-up: LS2 Group 

Runner-up: Choice Creative 


Best Public Relations Firm 

Winner: LS2 Group 

Runner-up: Wixted & Co. 

Runner-up: Flynn Wright


Best Video Production Company 

Winner: Trilix

Runner-up: Lessing Flynn 

Runner-up: Studio Iowa


Best MBA Program 

Winner: Iowa State University 

Runner-up: University of Iowa Tippie College of Business  

Runner-up: Drake University


Best Place to Hold a Business Conference 

Winner: FFA Enrichment Center 

Runner-up: Hy-Vee Hall, Iowa Events Center

Runner-up: Hilton Downtown


Best Bar to Entertain Clients 

Winner: The Republic on Grand

Runner-up: Hello, Marjorie

Runner-up: Iowa Taproom 


Best Caterer 

Winner: Catering by Cyd 

Runner-up: Taste! to Go Catering & Events

Runner-up: Great Caterers of Iowa 


Best Restaurant for Conducting Business 

Winner: Centro

Runner-up: 801 Chophouse

Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts


Best Coffee Shop for Conducting Business 

Winner: Smokey Row

Runner-up: Scenic Route Bakery 

Runner-up: Caribou Coffee 


Best Place to Buy Wine and Spirits 

Winner: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Ingersoll Wine and Spirits

Runner-up: WineStyles 


Best Sporting Event for Entertaining Clients 

Winner: Iowa Cubs

Runner-up: Iowa Wild  

Runner-up: Principal Charity Classic


Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Town Guests 

Winner: Centro

Runner-up: Tursi’s Latin King 

Runner-up: Table 128 


Best New Restaurant 

Winner: Clyde’s Fine Diner 

Runner-up: St. Kilda’s Surf and Turf

Runner-up: Blue Sushi Sake Grill 


Best Happy Hour 

Winner: Eatery A

Runner-up: Bar Louie

Runner-up: Blue Sushi Sake Grill 

Runner-up: Django 


Best Hospital/Health Care System 

Winner: Iowa Methodist Medical Center (UnityPoint Health)

Runner-up: MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center (MercyOne Central Iowa)

Runner-up: Iowa Lutheran Hospital (UnityPoint Health) 


Best Florist 

Winner: Boesen the Florist

Runner-up: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Plaza Florist and Gifts


Best Recycling/Waste Company 

Winner: Metro Waste Authority

Runner-up: Ankeny Sanitation Inc.

Runner-up: Waste Management Inc.


Best Jewelry Store 

Winner: Josephs

Runner-up: Anglo

Runner-up: Christopher’s Fine Jewelry


Best Men’s Clothier 

Winner: Mr. B’s

Runner-up: Von Maur

Runner-up: Badowers


Best Women’s Clothier 

Winner: Von Maur

Runner-up: Talbots  

Runner-up: The Funky Zebras 


Best Golf Course 

Winner: Des Moines Golf and Country Club

Runner-up: Waveland Golf Course

Runner-up: Wakonda Club


Best Exercise Facility 

Winner: YMCA of Greater Des Moines

Runner-up: Lifetime Fitness 

Runner-up: Power Life Yoga 


Best Thing to Happen to Central Iowa in the Past Year 

Winner: Water trails moving forward

Runner-up: USL Pro Iowa announcement 


Best Thing That Will Happen to Central Iowa in the Upcoming Year 

Winner: COVID-19 ends/vaccine/back to normal/reopening 


Best Cultural Attraction 

Winner: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Runner-up: Des Moines Arts Festival

Runner-up: Iowa State Fair

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