In an effort to keep the Des Moines metro economy moving forward, many prominent local businesses and organizations have come together in a collaborative effort known as BEST of Iowa (Business Expansion and Strategic Trends). Composed of local organizations such as MidAmerican Energy Company, Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, Iowa Area Development Group and the Iowa Economic Development Authority, BEST of Iowa serves as a statewide business retention and expansion program. Through in-depth interviews with local employers the use of online surveys to collect data, BEST of Iowa aims to learn as much as possible about how businesses are positioning themselves for the future and in their local communities.

Johnston Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO) has a history of working closely with representatives from BEST of Iowa to gather information and facilitate face-to-face meetings with Johnston-based employers such as Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow DuPont/Pioneer), John Deere Financial, DLL Finance and others. However, these activities are now more complex due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguably at a time when this data is needed most.

“There has never been a better time than right now to think differently and to elevate existing business call programs. The information received from calls will guide economic recovery and growth efforts to help position communities for long-term sustainable growth” said Kathryn Kunert, Vice President, Economic Connections and Integration, MidAmerican Energy

COVID-19 has made it increasingly important to focus on business retention efforts in Johnston and the Greater Des Moines region, and the leaders of the BEST of Iowa program have been working with the University of Northern Iowa and Blane Canada to revamp the data collection process in order to adequately address several topics related to COVID-19 and to understand current and future impacts on local businesses and industry leaders. New topic areas include operations, supply chain, infrastructure, workforce, recovery, and sustainability. In addition to these new topics being covered, the BEST of Iowa program will work to help communities overcome obstacles and provide possible find alternatives for in-person meetings, such as a web or video conferences.

JEDCO is pleased to be a part of this process, and we look forward to continuing our role to promote development in Johnston, especially during these challenging times. For more information please follow us on Twitter @growjohnston and sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter.