Age 33 | Chief operating officer, Silicon Prairie News
Geoff Wood wants Des Moines to become a place that young people, including his 3-year-old son, don’t dismiss when they graduate from high school or college.
The chief operating officer of the website Silicon Prairie News (SPN), Wood has a passion for covering and promoting technology start-up activity in the area.
“A lot of students probably dismiss Des Moines as an option. They want to go somewhere else,” Wood said. “I think there are a lot of things we can do with Des Moines – this just happens to be one.”
SPN’s goal is to promote Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City as a center of innovation and a place where technology start-ups can be successful. Wood joined the team in 2009 when he moved back to Des Moines from Indianapolis, and helped start and expand SPN’s presence in Greater Des Moines.
Wood, who graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in community and regional planning, worked at The Schneider Corp. in Indianapolis for five years, where he found a way to identify how the company could better structure the software development part of the business. At the same time, he went to Indiana University to earn his M.B.A., and found he enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspects of business.
That drove his desire to work for SPN, and also led him down the path of two of his own start-ups: VolunteerLocal LLC – in conjunction with three other entrepreneurs – and Eggcrates LLC.
Unlike some entrepreneurs, Wood says he is at his best when he can be the No. 2 person in a business operation. He feeds off the entrepreneurs with “big ideas,” and likes to help them achieve the steps to get there.
Outside of his business endeavors, Wood founded a monthly social meetup group called Des Moines Startup Drinks and is a member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Regional Business Development Board.
Five reasons he’s a 40:
• Extended the coverage area of Silicon Prairie News to Greater Des Moines.
• Through Silicon Prairie News, he founded the Thinc Iowa event.
• Founded networking group Des Moines Startup Drinks.
• Is involved in two of his own start-up companies.
• Recently added as a member to the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Regional Business Development Board
Wood and his wife named their son Graham Hilton Wood. Hilton as a middle name is a family tradition, and Graham as a first name came about in part because of IndyCar driver Graham Rahal. Wood became an IndyCar fan while living in Indianapolis.