Leaders Survey 2020: Issues illuminated by pandemic, but resilience nonetheless evident

When pulling collectively the outcomes of our 2020 Leaders Survey, I used to be not shocked to see that solutions have been in some methods fairly completely different from final 12 months. This 12 months has merely been an outlier. 

Our annual survey asks enterprise leaders to share what they really feel are among the prime points affecting enterprise in Central Iowa, and specifically the Higher Des Moines area. As you learn, you’ll see the responses and likewise choose remarks from differing viewpoints from those that opted to go away feedback as they took the survey. 

This 12 months’s visitor editor has additionally supplied evaluation of the outcomes and the uncertainty many have about quite a lot of points. Claudia Schabel is the president of Schabel Options, a consulting agency that provides strategic options on how you can construct inclusive workplaces to draw and retain expertise. She leads many efforts to assist companies and group organizations embrace fairness. We’d prefer to thank her for taking outing of her busy schedule to offer glorious perception. 

We hope you discover these solutions thought-provoking. Take pleasure in!

— Emily Barske, affiliate editor 


Meet our visitor editor

Claudia Schabel is the founder, president and CEO of Schabel Options, a range, fairness and inclusion (DEI) strategic accomplice with over 25 years of DEI, AA/EEO and human sources practitioner expertise. Earlier than founding the corporate in 2016, Schabel was organizational vibrancy champion at Dupont Pioneer (now Corteva) and variety analyst at Principal Monetary Group. 

After rising up in Brazil and dwelling and dealing in Japan, Schabel moved to the USA and earned a BA in worldwide relations at Drake College. 

At all times volunteering, Schabel is now a commissioner on the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Fee and serves on the Iowa Society for Human Useful resource Administration State Council because the director of range. A 15-year volunteer for and previous chair of the Higher Des Moines Partnership Range Council, she was the recipient of a 2008 Forty Beneath 40 Enterprise Report Award, the 2010 Robert D. Ray Iowa Latino Ambassador Award and the 2014 Iowa Worldwide Heart Passport to Prosperity Award.

Schabel and her partner of 16 years, Brad Schabel, the corporate’s COO, have resided within the downtown Des Moines space for 20 years. Their at all times playful English golden retriever, Stormy, runs the family.


A be aware from Schabel

Respondents have been primarily from massive to medium-sized companies, together with a sprinkling of nonprofit leaders. That is essential to notice as you overview the statistics. 

As a small enterprise proprietor, I used to be very glad to see that many respondents have been considering of us of their solutions. On behalf of many small companies, thanks for protecting us in your hearts, minds and plans.


Charge the general well being of the Central Iowa enterprise group. (Scale of 1-10, 1 being weakest)

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: The 2020 common ranking of 6.82 was a degree decrease than the earlier 4-5 12 months common. Given the 12 months we’ve had in 2020, this ranking exhibits that we’ve, by and huge, proven a substantial quantity of resiliency within the face of some very sturdy headwinds. Sure, there was and can proceed to be some ache felt by quite a few industries, however by and huge, the metro space’s various mixture of industries — among the bigger ones being considerably recession-proof — and assist methods have served the vast majority of its companies properly in very difficult instances.  

Along with the PPP, state and native efforts to prop up brick and mortar small companies appear to have helped many organizations keep afloat within the preliminary phases of the pandemic. Persons are going again to work – however not essentially in particular person. Total metro unemployment reached 4.7% as of September after reaching a excessive 11.8% in April. I’m very curious to see up to date metro-area unemployment charges and small enterprise survival charges damaged down by demographic group in addition to business at 12 months’s finish. I assume it’s not a great story.

10 “Most companies we all know have reopened, resulting in energy within the labor market; retail gross sales have been sturdy, albeit with a unique mixture of winners and losers.”

Stephen Caspar, chief operations officer, HR Hotline Associates

8 “Whereas there are definitely companies in the neighborhood which have been impacted, there are others that have not. As enterprise leaders we have to do no matter we are able to to assist our fellow members. Attain out and assist the native companies every time you’ll be able to. They are not asking for a handout, however they’re asking for your small business.”

Todd McDonald, president, ATW Coaching Options

8 “Main companies seem like succeeding even presently. The service business is taking a severe hit, however that may be a results of present points; it isn’t an indication of permanency.”

David Kilpatrick, government director, Des Moines Neighborhood Theatre

7 “The core companies of insurance coverage and banking have tailored properly to the present pandemic.”

A.J. Johnson, metropolis supervisor, metropolis of Urbandale

7 “It appears the most important firms had the sources and planning in place to maneuver to a distant workforce. Our personal group has been in a position to adapt properly. Nonetheless, I’m listening to from small enterprise house owners that they’re struggling, particularly those who function in occasions or retail house.”

Jaimie Miller, government director, Iowa Credit score Union Basis

7 “Tough to really know. A number of stimulus cash within the financial system that could possibly be masking bigger issues. Some industries are thriving, whereas others are barely surviving.”

Tony Dickinson, president, finance company, NCMIC

6 “Whereas sure industries have clearly been impacted by COVID, most of our shoppers stay financially sturdy.”

Kim Butler Hegedus, government vice chairman, Neighborhood State Financial institution

6 “2020 has been a 12 months that none of us may have predicted. Heading into the COVID-19 pandemic, the DSM area was ready of energy as a Midwest chief in inhabitants, job and GDP development, and an extended checklist of prime nationwide rankings. Total, our area has executed a outstanding job pivoting underneath very difficult circumstances and studying how you can navigate COVID-19 in a secure, good and collaborative approach. Sure industries resembling hospitality, leisure and others have been considerably impacted by COVID-19. On the similar time, many different industries proceed to thrive. Iowa’s unemployment price rose to 11% in April, however dropped again right down to 4.7% in September. Numerous financial growth, transportation and infrastructure, housing, and high quality of life initiatives have continued to advance. Resort occupancy charges have improved and Des Moines Worldwide Airport, which had seen document enplanements earlier than the pandemic, has seen passenger site visitors begin to rebound. Whereas our short-term future remains to be considerably unsure, our group has confronted challenges earlier than and has come out the opposite aspect stronger, and we’re properly positioned to do this once more.”

Jay Byers, CEO, Higher Des Moines Partnership 

5 “Central Iowa companies are adapting and pivoting to fulfill the calls for of the pandemic-era financial system. It is an opportunity for firms and leaders to pause, mirror and adapt. Adapting enterprise with digital approaches – particularly digital advertising and marketing – is changing into extra essential, and companies who embrace the digital financial system and share their story properly will pivot quicker than those that do not.”

Mackenzie Walters, proprietor and chief storytelling officer, M Ryan Media

5 “Total well being of the Central Iowa enterprise group is blended. Some companies are thriving. Many are struggling for survival. Others in varied phases of transition.”

Rowena Crosbie, president, Tero Worldwide

5 “It’s an fascinating mixture of foundational energy whereas figuring out we have to work to develop into progressive, various and rework by way of the abilities of an entire new technology of leaders.”

Kevin Schlueter, proprietor, WPA

5 “There’s a false sense of safety proper now. Folks can’t work from home endlessly and stay engaged and productive. We want extra individuals again in our workplace areas, collaborating face-to-face, having fun with some off-work-hours time collectively, and remembering how essential actual relationships and in-person contact are to enterprise well being. Companies who aren’t but feeling the destructive impacts of being always other than one another are on a timeline. It will not final.” 

Jessica Dunker, president and CEO, Iowa Restaurant Affiliation 

4 “The pandemic has been devastating and there are too many unknowns to even start to articulate what the brand new regular will appear to be, not to mention place for it.”

Loren Bawn, operations supervisor, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Providers

4 “Because of COVID-19, many companies have closed or lowered hours and providers. Employers in some industries (bars and eating places) are having bother discovering high quality staff.”

Boyd Bauer, senior relationship supervisor, Heartland



The most important subject dealing with Iowa companies proper now’s _______.


Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: Respondents supplied some constant themes. Efficiently managing a enterprise with the continuing proliferation of uncertainties associated to the pandemic, financial system general and political landscapes have been continuously famous as the most important points dealing with Iowa companies proper now. Secondary themes have been relative excessive state taxation, considerations about all-day/every-workday distant work and difficulties discovering the fitting expertise to fill open positions. 

“Recovering from COVID and the deployment of the workforce.”

Kevin Crowley, business gross sales supervisor, NAI Iowa Realty Business


“Adapting to the brand new office and the way it will have an effect on the assist providers constructed to serve their earlier surroundings.”

A.J. Johnson, metropolis supervisor, metropolis of Urbandale


“A major slice of the Central Iowa labor pool is struggling financially. They’re overshadowed by the slice that’s doing as properly or higher than they have been mid-March. Until we rapidly discover a answer, we stand to lose our service workforce to out-migration or to everlasting emotional despair.”

Eric Burmeister, government director, Polk County Housing Belief Fund


“Uncertainty of when the fitting time to carry again staff, or if to carry again staff, to bodily house and all that goes together with it — managing protocols whereas additionally doing greatest to take care of tradition and worker morale.”

Shannon Cofield, president, MercyOne Des Moines Basis


“How they’re addressing racial fairness.”

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, CEO, Proteus Inc. 


“Filling open employment positions, which is holding development again.”

Matt Converse, president, Converse Conditioned Air Inc. 


“The most important subject dealing with Iowa companies proper now’s planning for the unknown whereas enjoying the playing cards we’re dealt. Most of us are conditioned to assume and lead by way of strategic plans with the good thing about price range and income traits, targets, key efficiency indicators and predictable timelines. Nonetheless, the present state of affairs requires creating one thing extra akin to a dwelling doc, utilizing scenario-planning to attempt to anticipate the sudden and making choices in quickly altering conditions as greatest we are able to. Situation-planning is principally figuring out a particular set of uncertainties — for instance, a pandemic — and contemplating the potential enterprise impression and choices. It helps to consider eventualities as completely different fingers of playing cards we is perhaps dealt, and consider methods as the way in which we’d play these playing cards.”

Diana Deibler, president, Deibler & Co. 


“Guaranteeing youthful staff have job and networking alternatives in a distant workforce.”

Wendy Present, vice chairman, coaching and growth officer, Ames Nationwide Corp.


“Lack of workers.”

Susan Martin, chief working officer of Optimae Providers, Optimae LifeServices


“Regionalization. To sort out any of the issues in entrance of us — water high quality, financial restoration, resiliency — we should achieve this as a area and at a degree we haven’t seen earlier than. This may take unprecedented collaboration and require our group to assume larger.”

Hannah Inman, CEO, Nice Outside Basis


“A scarcity of staff.”

David L. Bert, actual property dealer, David L. Bert Actual Property


“Uncertainty within the political panorama (which might be going to be resolved with a brand new order of management in two-thirds of the federal authorities) and the pandemic – society does not strategy something near regular till people are assured that the pandemic might be managed by way of therapies and/or successfully eradicated through vaccines.”

Eric Lohmeier, president, NCP Inc.


“Dependable high-speed web in a aggressive surroundings.”

Natalie Bachman, director, strategic gross sales operations, Wellmark Inc. 


“Persevering with to develop and retain high quality staff.”

Jason Van Engen, gross sales skilled, Brilar


“Incapability to remain open and plan forward. Too many stops and begins.”

Chris Riedel King, senior mission/advertising and marketing marketing consultant, Principal Monetary Group


“There is no such thing as a single largest subject, for my part, as a result of there are such a lot of monumental points which can be intertwined – a world pandemic, a vicious political cycle the place civility and decorum are absent, a difficult financial system, local weather change/pure disasters and unprecedented (at the very least in recent times) racial tensions all come to thoughts.”

Chris Sackett, managing accomplice, BrownWinick Legislation Agency


“Division similar to the entire nation.”

Tracy Schmidt, vice chairman and basic supervisor of card providers, NCMIC Finance Corp.


“The dearth of management on the trail ahead is hurting the power of enterprise house owners to have some certainty in a time of uncertainty.”

Jake Christensen, president, Christensen Improvement


“The most important subject dealing with Iowa companies proper now’s making an attempt to anticipate which pandemic-related modifications will stay and how you can plan and make investments accordingly. For instance, since March Bankers Belief has seen vital will increase in using know-how by our clients — web and cellular banking, invoice pay, and on-line account openings. But with any huge swing in client habits as a result of an outdoor affect, on this case COVID-19, it’s difficult to know whether or not we’re coping with an anomaly, a development or an entire new approach of doing enterprise that deserves vital investments. Fortunately, market and business information have knowledgeable our investments in know-how whereas persevering with to make sure clients have entry to in-person and drive-up assist, when wanted.”

Emily Abbas, senior vice chairman, chief client banking and advertising and marketing officer, Bankers Belief


On common, what number of hours per week are you working?

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: The typical was 50, which is one much less hour than in 2019, which could or won’t be attributed to 1 much less hour spent within the automotive every day. Given the 12 months we’ve had and the resiliency exhibited, that is spectacular. I’m pleasantly shocked. 


How pressured are you feeling at work? (Scale of 1-10, 1 being not very pressured)
(Observe: Whereas a number of outliers contributed to the weighted common for 2020, the most typical reply was a 7, with 27.45% deciding on it.)

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: Whereas the typical degree of stress matched that of 2019 (just under 6), the most typical reply was 7. This doesn’t shock me given the uncertainties of the pandemic, financial system, political state of affairs, impacts of closed colleges on mother and father and different happenings usually past your management. Plenty of respondents talked about that they’re superb at managing stress – it’s required to perform properly on this surroundings and, to an extent, is anticipated given the obligations tied to management roles. One respondent wrote about being “radically intentional about partaking in de-stressing actions.” 


1 “MGP and me personally have all types of challenges, however I’m radically intentional about partaking in de-stressing actions. I’ve a terrific assist system at dwelling. I do a morning devotional. I attempt to sleep seven hours per evening. I’ve a regimented day by day train routine. I learn and pray and journal at evening. I unplug to be ‘current’ for household time. We take household walks.”

John Mickelson, managing accomplice, Midwest Development Companions


2 “Our agency has supported a distant work infrastructure for years, so the transition to complete distant work in the course of the early phases of the pandemic was a comparatively easy course of. The convenience of transition and ongoing infrastructure assist has saved our work stress minimized. Our focus has now shifted to securely returning to in-person shopper/worker interactions. Public accounting is constructed on an apprenticeship mannequin that requires day by day coaching, mentoring and growth, and that have is enhanced with in-person, real-time interactions.”

Rod Foster, accomplice, RSM US LLP


3 “My employer has been extremely supportive in the course of the pandemic.”

Jennifer Pavlovec, director of finance, ChildServe

6 “Stress degree stays the identical, stressors change. As enterprise leaders we’ve to self-care for our personal private administration.”
Matt Converse, president, Converse Conditioned Air Inc.

6 “To the extent that I am feeling stress, it is primarily associated to the uncertainties within the financial system and markets.”

Jim Plagge, CEO, Financial institution Iowa 


7 “I run a nonprofit group, and am involved about constricting philanthropic assist.”

Emily Westergaard, CEO, By Levels Basis


7 “I work within the subject of well being care, so extra pressured than many different fields, and within the midst of a serious fundraising marketing campaign that paused for 4 months.”

Shannon Cofield, president, MercyOne Des Moines Basis


8 “Our enterprise stays sturdy, however softness in sure market segments and a hardening insurance coverage market may create tough waters within the coming 12-24 months.”

Jed Gammell, vice chairman of insurance coverage and monetary providers, Lincoln Financial savings Financial institution


8 “Realizing that issues may change in a short time from constructive to destructive within the financial system is a stress.”

Mona Bond, president, Capitol Communications Inc.


8 “A part of my stress is in regular work-related points, and half is the unknown of the pandemic. We’re a lean, flat group creating cross coaching of our staff to resist an outbreak in our workplace.”

Bryan Myers, senior vice chairman, Neumann Brothers


9 “As a enterprise proprietor I really feel liable for our clients and staff. When our clients are struggling, we really feel for them and wish to do the whole lot we are able to to assist them, not as a result of they do enterprise with us, however as a result of we care. And with staff we’ve a duty to offer a secure and steady work surroundings.”

Todd McDonald, president, ATW Coaching Options

Agree or disagree:

Higher Des Moines’ financial system is healthier off than areas of comparable measurement across the nation.


Agree. “Pre-COVID-19, the area was ready of energy, and we’re properly positioned for development and restoration. For the previous decade, we’ve outgrown most different main Midwest metros by way of share of inhabitants development, GDP development and job development. In current months, our area’s unemployment price continues to enhance, and Iowa now has the fifth-lowest unemployment price within the nation. The most recent third-party rankings present we’re properly positioned for a robust restoration. Moody’s Analytics named us among the many U.S. cities greatest positioned to bounce again from the pandemic, Enterprise Insider named us a prime 10 greatest metropolis to stay in after the pandemic, and Chief Government journal researchers and writers mentioned DSM is positioned to have ‘dynamic development.’ ”

Jay Byers, CEO, Higher Des Moines Partnership

Agree. “The mix of nationwide tech, finance and insurance coverage workflow plus a big portion of important producer staff in comparison with areas counting on tourism and leisure industries.”

Todd Kielkopf, president, Kielkopf Advisory Providers

Agree. “Amongst different causes, information signifies in Higher DSM price of dwelling is decrease, private earnings is increased, cultural points of interest are extra quite a few.

Mike Ralston, president, Iowa Affiliation of Enterprise and Trade

Agree. “Diversification of industries; we have a tendency to not go as excessive in growth instances and do not fall as a lot in recessions.”

Jeff Russell, CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa 

Agree. “Higher Des Moines is healthier off than areas of comparable measurement throughout the nation due to our mixture of industries, inhabitants development momentum, and the collaborative administration of our group’s sources. Central Iowa is dwelling to a various vary of companies — monetary providers, know-how, well being care, agriculture, and the checklist goes on. We’re lucky our financial system will not be closely concentrated in only one space. By share, previous to the pandemic DSM was rising quicker on the inhabitants aspect than our Midwest friends, and that momentum may make a giant distinction. We even have the benefit of being a collaborative group thanks partly to the Higher Des Moines Partnership, United Approach of Central Iowa, the Neighborhood Basis of Higher Des Moines, and the various nonprofits and public-private partnerships that work collectively to deal with probably the most urgent wants of all Central Iowans.”

Emily Abbas, senior vice chairman, chief client banking and advertising and marketing officer, Bankers Belief

Disagree. “Spending remains to be up however down. Unemployment is excessive. Based mostly on the enterprise surroundings, employment and development we’re about 25 out of 50 states. Center of the pack.”

Kimberly Baeth, president, Golden Openings Inc.


Agree or disagree: 
Builders needs to be required to have an reasonably priced housing element to obtain public tax incentives.

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: The speed of settlement with this assertion declined in comparison with 2019 responses. Inexpensive, and high quality, housing for a lot of stays an issue and it’s been prevalent for generations. The painful discriminatory historical past of redlining has had a long-term destructive impression on housing choices and wealth in lots of in our communities. Addressing such structural boundaries to equitable housing would require structural cures. The satan shall be within the particulars and it’s one thing value taking a look at as a part of a broad-based effort to scale back the racial wealth hole, for instance, whereas protecting in thoughts unintended penalties of any mandates.

Agree. “Builders can present reasonably priced housing if town of Des Moines modifications its restrictions.”

Ted Grob, president, Savannah Houses Inc. 

Agree. “Necessities round public tax incentives sign to others, on this case builders, what a group wants and values. On this case, it’s a step in the fitting path to have an reasonably priced housing element to obtain public tax incentives – however let’s not cease there. For instance, let’s reward those that present housing alongside DART’s transit routes and encourage communities to be extra intentional of their planning and offering the combo of housing that aligns with the roles and incomes their group supplies.”

Lauren Johnson, director of communications and group outreach, Polk County Housing Belief Fund

Agree. “On the lowest finish of affordability – not simply low to average earnings ranges. With almost 40% of our group’s renters price burdened (paying greater than 30% of their earnings on housing), creating pathways and entry to extra reasonably priced items shall be key to assembly the housing wants of these people on the decrease finish of the earnings scale.”

Teree Caldwell-Johnson, CEO, Oakridge Neighborhood

Agree. “I am undecided in regards to the mechanism – maybe reasonably priced initiatives may offset purely market price initiatives – however there are going to doubtlessly be some huge transitions in actual property, as firms adapt to work-from-home pressures. This might result in fascinating alternatives to create built-in dwelling.”

Matthew McIver, inventive director, Iowa Stage Theatre Firm

Agree. “The most important impression that we are able to have with native management is to “common” reasonably priced items inside initiatives to unfold the subsidy wanted to create reasonably priced items.”

Jake Christensen, president, Christensen Improvement

I’m undecided. “Every particular person group ought to make choices based mostly on the financial system/jobs and alternatives of their metropolis/city. They need to decide what sort of housing is required and have enter into the general public tax incentives. Many areas are in deficit and a few have greater than wanted. There’s a stability that ought to have native enter.”

Mona Bond, president, Capitol Communications Inc.

I’m undecided. “Inexpensive housing is a good thought. Nonetheless, I believe requiring it negates the monetary incentives of the tax incentives themselves. Additionally, in the event you have a look at nationwide averages, housing in Central Iowa is extraordinarily reasonably priced. Lastly, builders carry jobs, housing, retail, eating places, sources, and leisure to our area. We must always permit them to take action.”

John Cutler, accomplice, Cutler Legislation Agency PC

Disagree. “I imagine the market ought to dictate. The main subject I see is how you can deal with that group of renters which have felony data and those who wouldn’t have an acceptable credit score historical past. Our low-income portfolio will not be 100% occupied, and people two points have the most important impression.”

Rick Tollakson, CEO, Hubbell Realty Co.

Disagree. “Numerous public tax incentives promote growth, redevelopment and assist market development. Incentives exist already (reasonably priced housing credit) for reasonably priced housing.”

Jed Gammell, vice chairman of insurance coverage and monetary providers, Lincoln Financial savings Financial institution

Agree or Disagree:

Downtown small companies and business actual property will endure if most companies proceed providing distant working to their staff post-pandemic.

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: The bulk agrees. Actually, business actual property would endure. It’s seemingly that distant work will develop into a long-term actuality for a lot of extra staff than prior to now as soon as the pandemic ends. For small companies typically, it relies upon upon the kind of providers they provide. Eating places, bars and different leisure venues, for instance, have generated plenty of income from the downtown employee inhabitants. The expansion in downtown’s dwelling inhabitants could offset among the losses stemming from distant work – and plenty of of these working remotely additionally stay downtown. However it’s nonetheless seemingly that some pretty steady eating places will fold – the margins are low and the pandemic, now spiking, has uncovered how fragile these companies are. Alternatively, skilled providers companies situated downtown could do tremendous within the new surroundings – a number of this work might be executed just about, as I’ve realized myself.

Agree. “This is not a concept – these industries within the central enterprise district are in for a really lengthy street to restoration.”

Eric Lohmeier, president, NCP Inc.


Agree. “If the downtown daytime inhabitants is lower by half or 2/Three as some leaders have predicted, that can have a major impression on the assist retail that serves the daytime inhabitants. It may additionally end in fewer individuals transferring downtown, as there’s a flight to bigger residential areas and fewer reliance on decreasing commute instances. I am involved a few downtown that appears like Des Moines circa 1995.”

Adam Kaduce, senior vice chairman, R&R Realty Group


Agree. “The downtown workplace and retail surroundings had good momentum coming into 2020 with new housing and different facilities following that momentum. In case you take away a portion of these staff, the providers that depend on their enterprise will battle. Additionally, you will see much less need for individuals to stay downtown if they aren’t working there.”

Tyler Dingel, senior vice chairman, CBRE|Hubbell


Agree. “The enterprise group relied on noontime commerce, in addition to the work tradition that promoted leisure.”

Carol Olson, state director, United States Senate – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley


Agree. “I agree that downtown companies and actual property could endure from a chronic or everlasting distant work coverage. It will likely be momentary struggling, although. These downtown companies will discover a strategy to reinvent the downtown expertise to the benefit of the enterprise, town and the resident.”

Daniel McCraine, president, McCraine Associates Inc.


Agree. “Already occurring.”

Shannon Cofield, president, MercyOne Des Moines Basis


I’m undecided. “The results of distant work shall be wide-ranging, and their impression on small enterprise and business actual property gradual and painful.”

Teree Caldwell-Johnson, CEO, Oakridge Neighborhood


I’m undecided. “Our leisure scene is not simply dependent upon the lunch crowd and exhibits development for weekend actions resembling races, farmers market, tremendous eating, theaters and breweries.”

Tej Dhawan, “responding as self” 


I’m undecided. “We should adapt to alter. Possibly housing downtown continues to be sturdy, and small enterprise finds a toehold for the elevated inhabitants and enterprise thrives in a brand new approach.”

Bryan Myers, senior vice chairman, Neumann Brothers


Disagree. “Many instances the supply of house will trigger a brand new startup enterprise.”

Keith Welling, president and CEO, Trubank

Agree or disagree: 
The rising variety of Amazon amenities in Central Iowa will assist native companies.

Agree. “Extra jobs, the higher the financial system.”
Randal Walters, proprietor, TenBears LC

Agree. “Shoppers and companies are going to make use of Amazon whatever the location of their amenities. We’d as properly have the amenities domestically.”
Jim Plagge, CEO, Financial institution Iowa 

I’m undecided. “The impression of on-line buying on the standard retail sector has already led to many closures. I like Amazon however marvel in regards to the longer-term impacts on the retail sector general.”
Teree Caldwell-Johnson, CEO, Oakridge Neighborhood

I’m undecided. “In all probability each assist and harm – some will adapt and a few will not.”
Jeff Russell, CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa 

Disagree. “I are not looking for Amazon taking up the world. I’m a ‘assist small and native enterprise fan.’ ”
Kimberly Baeth, president, Golden Openings Inc.

Disagree. “Amazon is simply too huge and competes too strongly with small companies.”
Carol Olson, state director, United States Senate – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley

Agree or disagree:

Higher Des Moines is doing sufficient as a area to deal with local weather change.

Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: On stability, respondents who know what the metro is doing don’t assume we’re doing sufficient to deal with local weather change/world warming. This aligns with an April 2020 Pew research stating that two-thirds of U.S. adults assume the federal authorities will not be doing sufficient to scale back the results of worldwide local weather change. Whereas Des Moines has been proactive lately on this existential matter, the metro ought to do extra to teach residents in regards to the ramifications of worldwide warming and the methods, resembling Des Moines’ sustainability program, by which the metro is doing its half to mitigate the issue. Total, we are able to at all times be doing extra for the generations to return. And we must always.


Agree. “Local weather change agendas as typically offered will enhance poverty and severely scale back nationwide earnings, severely impacting minority communities by decreasing financial alternative.”

Stephen Caspar, chief working officer, HR Hotline Associates

Agree. “Local weather change on an area degree is microclimate change. We have now fantastic parks, we’ve a number of inexperienced house and bike trails; every of those creates a microclimate.”

Bryan Myers, senior vice chairman, Neumann Brothers

Disagree. “We will definitely do extra to advertise sustainability in our area and state. We should proceed to embrace and broaden wind power, photo voltaic and biofuels. We should proceed to enhance public transportation, make our communities much more walkable and bikeable, and assist sustainable growth and redevelopment methods. We should enhance soil well being and water high quality statewide by enacting Put money into Iowa/IWILL.”

Jay Byers, CEO, Higher Des Moines Partnership

Disagree. “Our water high quality is horrible. We have to do extra to deal with our water. Additionally, it will be nice if we had extra methods/alternatives to recycle and even compost!”

Jaimie Miller, government director, Iowa Credit score Union Basis

Disagree. “What unified efforts are there proper now?”

Alan Feirer, proprietor, marketing consultant and coach, Group Dynamic

Disagree. “We aren’t even speaking about it.”

Hannah Inman, CEO, Nice Outside Basis

Disagree. “We’re too reliant on automobiles. Whereas a lot improved, it’s nonetheless not secure to bike round city.”

Brendan Comito, chief working officer, Capital Metropolis Fruit Co.

Agree or disagree: 

Distant working (for industries the place it is attainable) will increase worker productiveness.



Visitor Editor Claudia Schabel: The jury remains to be out on this matter. One respondent wrote that “Particular person, short-term, task-oriented work is seeing a rise in productiveness in lots of instances. Collaborative, artistic, long-term strategic work is negatively impacted by distant work.” One other responded that “It is determined by the employee, dwelling setting and sort of labor and largely on the standard of the assist supplied by the employer.” My sense is that completely different organizations and completely different individuals with completely different roles want completely different workplaces and technique of finishing work to be efficient. Some persons are extra productive at dwelling and a few aren’t. For individuals with distractions and restricted web entry at dwelling, it’s been tough. 

Working from dwelling has supplied many individuals with extra freedom to be utterly themselves whereas working (other than when on Zoom calls) for the primary time of their lives. They don’t really feel the necessity to placed on a masks at work to “slot in.” I ponder how that newfound feeling has impacted their engagement and productiveness ranges.

Agree. “If there’s youngster care obtainable for these with youngsters at dwelling, I do assume it makes staff extra productive. If staff are remoted and alone, that might not be the case. I do extra now in in the future than I did six months in the past.”

Suzanne Behnke, government director, Iowa Heart for Public Affairs Journalism – IowaWatch.org

Agree. “Distant work removes some distractions that professionals would expertise within the workplace from others at dwelling. Proper now with in-home digital education, I imagine the distractions are negatively affecting productiveness in properties with youngsters. This appears to be adjusting, nonetheless, and extra are going again to high school full time quickly. Lengthy-term, the place managed appropriately, work-life stability and productiveness needs to be improved by way of distant work.”

Nick Roach, director of gross sales, Paragon IT Professionals

Agree. “I am loving working from dwelling. I get extra executed professionally and personally.”

Emily Westergaard, CEO, By Levels Basis

Agree. “Agree, with some caveats: A) It’s balanced. I believe having one or two days within the workplace and three or 4 distant could possibly be superb. B) House surroundings is sweet for the particular person doing the work. In case you are in a home the place there isn’t any separate workplace house and youthful youngsters are at dwelling, which will or might not be the best.”

David J Gion, vice chairman, Built-in Telehealth Companions

Agree. “The choice to work the place it makes probably the most sense for the employer/worker will increase worker productiveness, whether or not that’s at dwelling or within the workplace.”

Sophia S. Ahmad, senior director, MercyOne Des Moines Basis

I’m undecided. “It’s individualized. Persons are one in every of a sort. Generalizations are usually not actually correct.”

David Kilpatrick, government director, Des Moines Neighborhood Theatre

I’m undecided. “I believe in some instances distant working can enhance productiveness. I think about it’s based mostly on the character of labor and the tradition of the corporate.”

Jaimie Miller, government director, Iowa Credit score Union Basis

I’m undecided. “Distant working works properly for some associates and a few work actions however not properly for others. The distant working surroundings might be difficult, in addition to the issue to collaborate.”

Rick Tollakson, CEO, Hubbell Realty Co.

I’m undecided. “Particular person, short-term, task-oriented work is seeing a rise in productiveness in lots of instances. Collaborative, artistic, long-term strategic work is negatively impacted by distant work. Power ranges of grief and stress as a result of pandemic are taking a heavy toll on staff and their households.”

Rowena Crosbie, president, Tero Worldwide

I’m undecided. “It is determined by the particular person and the place. Productiveness is a really particular person issue.”

Chris Riedel King, senior mission/advertising and marketing marketing consultant, Principal Monetary Group

I’m undecided. “Our workforce has been successfully working principally distant. A part of it’s because they’re a terrific workforce. Half is as a result of we had made efforts to construct the workforce pre-COVID and proceed efforts to take care of contact. Nonetheless, it doesn’t substitute in-person interplay in the long term. Whereas essential for flexibility and to accommodate worker wants, I sit up for the day after we can meet in particular person once more.”

Lori Chesser, senior shareholder and chair, immigration division, Davis Brown Legislation Agency

Disagree. “Negatively impacts collaboration.”

Matt Converse, president, Converse Conditioned Air Inc.

Disagree. “It vastly reduces collaboration, and I believe dwelling presents many extra distractions.”

Brendan Comito, chief working officer, Capital Metropolis Fruit Co.

Disagree. “I believe it decreases to a level. In all probability 10% or extra. Some individuals will discover a strategy to not be accounted for in any respect ranges.”

Rick Vernon, vice chairman, Vernon Co. 

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