Recent News

Registration Now Open for New LEAP Series

Leap logo



Des Moines, Iowa – The Des Moines Downtown Chamber is launching a new 10-month program series called Leadership, Education, and Advancement Pipeline (LEAP), a women’s leadership development program. Each event features an organization, speaker, or initiative with a focus, or resources, for advancing women, and that will act as a pathway for attendees to access mentors, positions on boards, leadership development skills, inspiration and more.

The first event in the series takes place from 11:30am-1:00pm on Friday, March 13, 2015 and will address mentoring with representatives from Million Women Mentors – Iowa and Community Connect speaking. All programs will be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 1050 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA. Successive event topics will address business ownership, political equality and community involvement, work and life balance, and presenting with confidence, among others. Program times and formats vary, and a complete outline of topics, event dates, times and registration details can be found here:  LEAP Program Flier.

“We’re excited to offer LEAP and create the opportunity for those who’ve been thinking about starting a business, and encouraging our existing business owners to grow,” said Kris Maggard, Des Moines Downtown Chamber Board President. “While the content of each program is geared toward women business owners and organizational leaders, the programs are open to all to attend, and we encourage a diverse group of attendees.”

The LEAP program’s Premier Sponsors are Davis Brown Law Firm and Rita Perea Leadership Consulting. LEAP Circle sponsors are The Principal Financial Group and Clarity Accounting Services, and additional support is provided by LEAP Partners: Veridian Credit Union, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), EMC National Life Company, Portico Staffing, and the University of Iowa – MBA for Professionals and Managers.


Register for the Downtown Chamber Annual Celebration

Downtown Chamber Annual Celebration

Theme: “The Art of Doing Business Downtown”

Register Here

Tuesday, March 3rd

at the Kum & Go Theater at Des Moines Social Club


$35 – Downtown Chamber Members ; $45 – General Public

Annual Event


Legislative Coffee to Address Iowa Road Use Tax Fund

The Des Moines Downtown Chamber, the Des Moines East & South Chamber, and the Des Moines West Side Chamber, are hosting a panel discussion on Thursday, February 12, 4:00pm-5:30pm at Java Joe’s Coffeehouse, 214 4th Street, Des Moines, IA. The event is designed for chamber members to ask questions and participate in a discussion on the topic of the Iowa Road Use Tax Fund. To attend, Register Here.

Panelists include Paul Trombino III, Director, Iowa Department of Transportation; Michael G. Kulik, Attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm; and Scott D. Newhard, Executive Vice-President, Associated General Contractors of Iowa. The event will be moderated by Phil Wise, Government Relations Chair, Des Moines West Side Chamber.

This legislative coffee is part of an ongoing series, hosted jointly by the three chambers, and aimed at offering chamber members access to the leadership, experts, and government representatives of various topics affecting the Des Moines business community. Legislative coffees are free to attend, and attendees are encouraged to ask questions and actively participate in the discussion during the event.

Hotel Fort Des Moines sold for $4 million

Reported in the Commercial Real Estate Weekly 1.28.15

Janssen Lodging Inc., a corporation formed Jan. 22 by hotel developer and startup investor Ravi Patel, paid $4 million on Jan. 23 for the Hotel Fort Des Moines at 10th and Walnut streets. The 96-year-old landmark had an assessed value of $3 million, according to Polk County property records. Ravi Patel is listed as president and director of Janssen Lodging, according to Secretary of State records. His family owns and operates two hotels in downtown Des Moines and has said it has plans for additional hotel development. Hotel Fort Des Moines had been owned since 1999 by Jeff Hunter’s Principiant Hotel Co. LC and had been owned by his family since the late 1970s.

Broadband legislation introduced in Iowa Senate

Reported in the Business Record – 1/27/2015

Sen. Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, has introduced legislation that calls for extending high-speed fiber-optic services to rural Iowa and other underserved or unserved areas of the state

The legislation, Senate File 60, is the first bill introduced this legislative session to address broadband Internet service, which proponents say is crucial for future economic development, especially in rural areas that in some cases have no high-speed Internet providers.

Gov. Terry Branstad made broadband service a legislative priority, and leaders of the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate have said they want to find legislation that can pass their chambers.

Broadband legislation died last year in the Iowa House.

Rep. Peter Cownie, a Republican from West Des Moines and chairman of the House Commerce Committee, is spearheading efforts to draft legislation in his chamber. Cownie said a bill could be introduced this week.

Sodders said his bill does not include tax incentives and the siting of cell towers, two issues that led to the defeat of last year’s legislation.

Read more about the broadband efforts at