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Best of Des Moines 2021


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. These businesses make up an ecosystem in our region that supports a strong and vibrant community. 

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’ resilience in the last year. We’ve included responses from those who were able to take the time to do so.

Thank you for your continued participation in Best of Des Moines.

– Emily Barske, editor 



View the 2021 Best of Des Moines

Best CEO

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

Runner-up: B.J. Baker (Baker Group)

Runner-up: David Stark (UnityPoint Health)

Best Metro Business Leader

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

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

Runner-up: Don Coffin (Bankers Trust Co.) 

Best Business Supporting Local Charity

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: NCMIC

Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co. 

Best Company for Promoting Diversity in the Workplace

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best Life Insurance Company

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Runner-up: EMC Insurance Cos.

Best Up & Coming Business Leader

Winner: Tanner Krause (Kum & Go)

Runner-up: Tony Dickinson (NCMIC)

Runner-up: Melissa Knutson (NCMIC)

Best City Government Conducive to Doing Business

Winner: West Des Moines

Runner-up: Des Moines

Runner-up: Ankeny

Best Nonprofit

Winner: Animal Rescue League

Runner-up: EveryStep

Runner-up: United Way of Central Iowa 

Best Commercial Real Estate Company

Winner: CBRE|Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: NAI Iowa Realty Commercial

Runner-up: R&R Realty

Best Homebuilder

Winner: Hubbell Homes

Runner-up: Jerry’s Homes

Runner-up: Happe Homes

Best Real Estate Property Management Company

Winner: Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: Ryan Cos. 

Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Best Development Company

Winner: Hubbell Realty

Runner-up: Ryan Cos. 

Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Best Commercial Real Estate Agent (Individual)

Winner: Adam Kaduce (R&R Realty Group) 

Runner-up: Kevin Crowley (NAI Iowa Realty Commercial)

Runner-up: Bill Wright (CBRE/Hubbell Commercial) 

Best Residential Real Estate Company

Winner: Iowa Realty

Runner-up: Re/Max

Runner-up: Hubbell Realty 


Best Residential Real Estate Agent (Individual)

Winner: Rick Wanamaker (Iowa Realty) 

Runner-up: Kelsey Russell (Re/Max Precision) 

Runner-up: Sara Hopkins (Sara Hopkins Real Estate Team)

Best Architectural Firm

Winner: Shive-Hattery

Runner-up: RDG Planning & Design

Runner-up: OPN Architects

Best Engineering Firm

Winner: Shive-Hattery

Runner-up: Baker Group

Runner-up: IMEG Corp.

Best General Contractor

Winner: The Weitz Co.

Runner-up: Ryan Cos.

Runner-up: Neumann Brothers Inc.

Best Electrical Contractor

Winner: Tri-City Electric Co.

Runner-up: Baker Group

Runner-up: Baker Electric Inc.

Best Mechanical Contractor

Winner: Baker Group

Runner-up: The Waldinger Corp.

Runner-up: A.J. Allen 

Best Security Company

Winner: Baker Group

Runner-up: Per Mar Security

Runner-up: ADT 

Best Manufacturing Company

Winner: John Deere Des Moines Works

Runner-up: Vermeer

Runner-up: Quality Manufacturing 

Best Bank

Winner: Bankers Trust

Runner-up: West Bank

Runner-up: Wells Fargo 

Best Commercial Lender

Winner: Bankers Trust

Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union

Runner-up: West Bank

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 Edwards

Runner-up: Integrity Printing

Best Computer Consulting Company

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Aureon

Runner-up: Pro Network Solutions 

Best Company to Work For

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: NCMIC

Runner-up: Baker Group 

Best Wealth Management Company

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Foster Group

Runner-up: Bankers Trust

Runner-up: BTC Capital Management

Best Accounting Firm

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: McGowen Hurst Clark Smith

Runner-up: Eide Bailly

Best Local Internet Service Provider

Winner: Mediacom 

Runner-up: CenturyLink

Runner-up: Aureon

Best Web Developer

Winner: Webspec Design 

Runner-up: Blue Compass

Runner-up: Spinutech

Best Social Media Company

Winner: Webspec Design

Runner-up: LS2group 

Runner-up: Happy Medium 

Best Auto Dealership

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Karl Chevrolet

Runner-up: Bob Brown Chevrolet

Best Place for Auto Repairs

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Drake Garage  

Runner-up: Beckley’s Automotive Services

Runner-up: Shade Tree Auto

Best Law Firm

Winner: Dentons Davis Brown

Runner-up: BrownWinick  

Runner-up: Nyemaster Goode PC

Best Advertising Agency

Winner: Flynn Wright

Runner-up: Trilix 

Runner-up: Choice Creative 

Best Public Relations Firm

Winner: LS2group 

Runner-up: Wixted & Co.

Runner-up: Flynn Wright

Best Video Production Company

Winner: Trilix

Runner-up: Invictus Media 

Runner-up: Studio Iowa

Runner-up: Flynn Wright 

Best MBA Program

Winner: Iowa State University Ivy College of Business

Runner-up: University of Iowa Tippie College of Business 

Runner-up: Drake University

Best Place to Hold a Business Conference

Winner: Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center 

Runner-up: Hy-Vee Hall

Runner-up: Hilton Downtown

Runner-up: Prairie Meadows 

Best Bar to Entertain Clients

Winner: The Republic on Grand

Runner-up: Hello, Marjorie

Runner-up: Iowa Taproom 

Best Caterer

Winner: Cyd’s Catering

Runner-up: Hy-Vee 

Runner-up: Great Caterers of Iowa

Best Restaurant for Conducting Business

Winner: Centro

Runner-up: 801 Chophouse

Runner-up: Biaggi’s 

Best Coffee Shop for Conducting Business

Winner: Smokey Row

Runner-up: Scenic Route Bakery 

Runner-up: Starbucks 

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: Iowa State football

Best New Restaurant

Winner: Fresko 

Runner-up: Mulberry Street Tavern 

Runner-up: Lachele’s Fine Foods 

Best Happy Hour

Winner: Eatery A

Runner-up: Bar Louie

Runner-up: Fong’s Pizza

Best Hospital/Health Care System

Winner: Iowa Methodist Medical Center (UnityPoint Health)

Runner-up: MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

Runner-up: Methodist West (UnityPoint Health) 

Best Florist

Winner: Boesen the Florist

Runner-up: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Wildflower 

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: Men’s Wearhouse 

Best Women’s Clothier

Winner: Von Maur

Runner-up: Talbots  

Best Golf Course

Winner: Wakonda Club

Runner-up: Waveland Golf Course

Runner-up: Des Moines Golf and Country Club

Best Exercise Facility

Winner: Life Time

Runner-up: YMCA of Greater Des Moines (various locations)

Runner-up: Planet Fitness


Best Training and Development Company 

Winner: Tero International

Runner-up: Sarah Noll Wilson Inc.

Runner-up: Dale Carnegie

Best Executive Search Firm

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: TalentBridge 

Runner-up: Robert Half 

Best Temporary Employment Service

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: TalentBridge 

Runner-up: Raine Recruiting 

Runner-up: Robert Half 

Best Health Insurance Company

Winner: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Runner-up: UnitedHealthcare

Runner-up: HealthPartners UnityPoint Health

Best Property/Casualty Insurance Company

Winner: EMC Insurance Cos. 

Runner-up: Midwest Heritage 

Runner-up: State Farm 

Best Place to Buy Office Furniture

Winner: Triplett Office Essentials

Runner-up: Saxton 

Runner-up: Homemakers

Best Thing to Happen to Central Iowa in the Past Year

Winner: Dew Tour

Winner: Lauridsen Skatepark

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

Winner: The end of COVID-19

Best Cultural Attraction

Winner: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Runner-up: Des Moines Arts Festival

Runner-up: Iowa State Fair

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