Greater Des Moines Partnership Names New Leadership Team!
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012
Larry Zimpleman, Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership Board of Directors, today announced the promotion of Jay Byers to CEO of the Partnership and Gene Meyer to president. Byers, current Senior VP of Public Policy and Government Relations, will become the Chief Executive Officer effective January 23, 2012. The current Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Gene Meyer, will become the Partnership President on the same day. The new leadership team has been selected as part of the planned succession of Martha Willits, who announced her retirement in July of last year.
“First, we are so grateful to Martha Willits for her leadership of what we believe and have confirmed throughout our search, to be a world-class economic development organization,” said Zimpleman. “After a national search, we are so pleased to announce that we have a powerful team of leaders right here at home. Jay Byers brings the experience of developing best-in-class economic development programs for today and tomorrow; combined with Gene’s proven relationships to assist at this critical juncture in Central Iowa’s development. As a leadership team, we’ve never been more optimistic about our prospects for the future.”
The search process began formally in August of last year and included:
- The appointment of a search committee, made up of
Partnership Chair Larry Zimpleman, The Principal Financial Group
Capital Crossroads Co-Chair Barry Griswell, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
2012 Partnership Investment Campaign Chair Jim Wallace, GuideOne Insurance
Workforce Development/Education Chair Scott Johnson, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Downtown Community Alliance Co-Chair Mary O’Keefe, The Principal Financial Group
Partnership Executive Committee member Jim Hohmann, FBL Financial Group, Inc.
Partnership President & CEO, Martha Willits
- Input into the search criteria and process by a cross section of the community: Partnership members; non-profit and education sectors; affiliate members; public sector leaders; and Partnership staff.
- The assistance of a national search firm, Waverly Partners, with experience in executive searches for economic development organizations and Chambers of Commerce to welcome both local and external candidates.
“The Greater Des Moines Partnership is at the forefront of economic development with the most engaged business leadership, strategic plan, public-private partnership, momentum of development, and quality of life projects. With the talents provided by this great leadership team, the Partnership and Central Iowa are poised to accomplish our ambitious plans for the future,” said Zimpleman.
“I am excited to serve in this new role with my longtime friend and colleague, Gene Meyer,” said Byers. “We look forward to working with the Partnership investors, Board of Directors, professional staff and all our regional public and private partners to build on Greater Des Moines’ many successes and propel Central Iowa into the future.”
“Exciting opportunities await us, and Greater Des Moines is well positioned to move to a new level of success,” said Meyer. “I’m excited to partner with Jay Byers, business, education, and political leaders along with the entire Partnership staff as we together work for the good of the region.”
Jay Byers was hired as Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the Greater Des Moines Partnership in February of 2005. He currently serves on the American Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) Board of Directors, served as Chair of ACCE’s Government Relations Division last year, and has completed ACCE’s Ford Foundation Regionalism and Sustainable Development Fellowship. Through the Partnership, Byers has been active with the Iowa Chamber Alliance, Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives, Professional Developers of Iowa, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa, and International Traders of Iowa. He also serves as Chair of the Indianola Parks and Recreation Commission and on the boards of ChildServe, the Simpson College Alumni Association, VSA Iowa, and the Alpha Tau Omega National Fraternity.
Byers is a graduate and former board member of the Warren County Leadership Institute and is a member of the United Way of Central Iowa Education Leadership Initiative. He was named to the American Chamber of Commerce “40 Under 40 Rising Stars of the Chamber World” in 2009 and the Des Moines Business Record’s “Forty Under 40” class of 2006.
Prior to joining the Partnership staff, Byers served as District Director for Congressman Leonard Boswell and worked as a corporate attorney at the Ice Miller LLP law firm in Indianapolis, IN. Byers also taught for Simpson College as an adjunct professor of political science. A native of Northwest Iowa, he is a graduate of Simpson College and the University of Iowa College of Law.
Gene Meyer joined the Partnership staff in March of 2011 as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. He has supported the Partnership’s roles in implementing the region’s strategic vision plan, “Capital Crossroads: A Vision for Greater Des Moines & Central Iowa,” in elevating the alliance between business and education in central Iowa; and in developing strategic direction for the next phase of the Partnership’s work.
Meyer has extensive professional and political experience in regional strategy development and implementation. He was elected to the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education, serving three terms between 1988 and 1997. Meyer was elected Mayor of West Des Moines, serving between 1997 and 2006. While mayor, he served on the Metropolitan Advisory Council, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and led a collaborative effort to consolidate services in western suburban cities. His professional career spans 37 years of service to the State of Iowa’s Department of Public Safety, most recently as Commissioner under the appointment of Governor Chet Culver in 2007.
Meyer earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Parsons College in Fairfield, IA in 1973 and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 1980. He earned his Masters in Public Administration from Drake University in 1981.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization serving Central Iowa. Its mission is to maximize local resources to address opportunities for economic and community growth. Greater Des Moines will reach its full potential only through a united economic development effort, with one voice, one mission, and one focus.
Photos are available upon request. Media inquiries should be directed to Susan Ramsey, (515) 286-4954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- ### --