Sharing the stories of progress, benefits, and opportunities of Greater Des Moines with the rest of the country and the world comes naturally for Courtney Shaw. The Texas native and graduate of Oklahoma State University moved to the Des Moines area for her husband’s job opportunity, and they quickly found Iowa to be the place they envisioned for their family and careers.
Shaw is the Senior Vice President of Communications at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Her role is to work with the Partnership’s Investors, Affiliates, and Members to tell the DSM USA story “loud, bold and broad” through a variety of events, communications programs, and resources to local businesses.
Shaw and her husband, Bret, live in Clive with sons Beck, Barrett, and Blaine.
1. What brought you to the Des Moines area?
About 10 years ago, my husband Bret had a job opportunity in the agtech industry which brought our family to Des Moines. Initially, we only planned to stay for a few years, but after just a short time we knew this would be our true home and the place we wanted to raise our family.
For Bret, he saw the opportunity and growth in his industry. Iowa is the best place to be for agtech. For me, I found that getting involved in the community was easy to do in Greater Des Moines. Making a difference in the lives of others is important to me and you have the ability to do that here which isn’t necessarily the case in a lot of other cities. We both came to truly appreciate the short commute times, excellent education, and quality of life our family experiences here.
2. How does the Des Moines Partnership represent the city and central Iowa region?
Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members, and more than 365 Investors, our organization drives economic growth with one voice, one mission, and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning, and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs, and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career, and a future.
We have a rockstar Communications and Marketing Team that works collaboratively to showcase the benefits of Greater Des Moines to economic development and workforce prospects. We also support local businesses efforts across the region and Downtown DSM events and activities such as the Downtown Farmers’ Market and World Food & Music Festival.
3. What are some exciting developments that have happened in the area over the past few years?
We have fantastic happenings and developments in DSM! The latest is the Lauridsen Skatepark which is the largest skatepark in the country. It was an inspiring professional and personal experience to be at the grand opening of the Lauridsen Skatepark and see all the extremely talented athletes doing impressive tricks.
There is also a lot of excitement behind the Iowa Confluence (ICON) Water Trails. Once complete, there will be 150 miles of waterways throughout Central Iowa and 86 overall access points. Our family will be enjoying the water trails along with all the other upcoming projects such as the Pro Iowa Soccer Stadium and Global Plaza, Merle Hay Mall and Buccaneers Stadium, as well as the numerous other developments taking shape in DSM.
4. What advice would you give someone considering a move to Iowa?
Iowa is one of the very best places to live and raise a family. Greater Des Moines specifically is a growing city with a small-town feel that provides enjoyable amenities without the stresses of big city living. There are so many things to do and experience in DSM and across the state. I highly suggest coming for a visit if you haven’t been here already. Once you’re here, you’ll see how special Iowa really is.
5. Please give us three recommendations of things to do or places to go in Iowa?
With young kiddos, you can often find our family visiting the Blank Park Zoo. It’s one of my very favorite zoos and always has fun activities for kids of all ages. (My boys and I especially like the seals).
We also love going to the Winterset Covered Bridges Festival that takes place every fall. The bridges are absolutely gorgeous, and the town puts on engaging activities throughout the weekend including booths, food, and fun in the town square. Highly recommend!
Our family enjoys live music and one of our favorite festivals in Iowa is Hinterland Music Festival. We go every year to listen to tunes and camp in St. Charles. Speaking of camping … there are some great places to camp in Iowa. Each summer, our family goes camping in different places across the state. So many places to explore!
Published August 2021.