Who is the best CEO in the metro?
 
Who is the best up and coming leader?
 
What is the best restaurant for entertaining? (Spoiler: The cover might give it away.)
 
What’s the best place for happy hour, or coffee, or men’s clothing?
 
You provided answers to all of these questions several months ago, and now it’s time for the results of the Business Record’s annual Best of Des Moines survey. A few months ago, we asked you, our readers, to cast your votes for what Des Moines has to offer in a variety of business-related categories.
 
Here’s how it worked: You voted. We checked the data, removed any suspicious or erroneous votes, and then tallied the results for all 70-plus categories. Now, we’re publishing them.
 
All Greater Des Moines businesses, people and organizations are eligible to win categories. In other words, there was no cost to be listed as an option due to the survey being open-ended. You can’t pay to win a category.
 
This year, we followed up with the winners and asked them to submit how their company or organization faced challenges in the last year or what they will strive to do better in the coming year. We’ve included responses from those who were able to take the time to do so.
 
Thank you for your continued participation in Best of Des Moines. We hope you enjoy checking out the issue.


Best CEO
Winner: Dan Houston, Principal
Runner-up: Eric Crowell, Iowa Methodist 
Runner-up: Jim Plagge, Bank Iowa

Best Metro Business Leader
Winner: Dan Houston, Principal
Runner-up: Jay Byers, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Runner-up: Suku Radia, retired from Bankers Trust

Best company to work for
Winner: UnityPoint Health 
Runner-up: Wells Fargo & Co.
Runner-up: NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions

Best Large Company With a Bright Future
Winner: Principal
Runner-up: Wells Fargo
Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best company for young professionals
Winner: Wells Fargo & Co. 
Runner-up: Principal
Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best company for diversity in the workplace
Winner: Wells Fargo & Co. 
Runner-up: Principal
Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best life insurance company 
Winner: Principal Life Insurance Co.
Runner-up: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. 
Runner-up: Farm Bureau 

Best Minority Business Leader
Winner: Michael Sadler
Runner-up: Suku Radia, retired from Bankers Trust
Runner-up: Janice Lane, Children & Families of Iowa

Best business supporting local charity 
Winner: Principal 
Runner-up: Wells Fargo & Co.
Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co.

Best nonprofit
Winner: Animal Rescue League of Iowa
Runner-up: United Way of Central Iowa
Runner-up: Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS)

Best Politician on business issues
Winner: Kim Reynolds  
Runner-up: Fred Hubbell
Runner-up: Zach Nunn

Best Company for women to work for 
Winner: Wells Fargo & Co.
Runner-up: Principal
Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Best UP and Coming business leader
Winner: Matt Glynn, COO/Partner Performance Marketing and Shift Interactive
Runner-up: David Stark, UnityPoint Health
Runner-up: Katie Fergus, PractiSynergy

Best Local Internet service provider
Winner: Mediacom 
Runner-up: CenturyLink Inc.
Runner-up: Aureon

Best Web Developer
Winner: Webspec Design
Runner-up: Farmboy Inc.
Runner-up: Spinutech Inc.

Best social media company
Winner: Happy Medium
Runner-up: Spinutech Inc.
Runner-up: Strategic America

Best Video production company
Winner: Screenscape Studios
Runner-up: Happy Medium 
Runner-up: Red Noise 6, Strategic America

Best computer consulting company
Winner: RSM US LLP
Runner-up: Aureon
Runner-up: Spindustry Digital

Best tech startup with a bright future
Winner: Spinutech Inc.
Runner-up: Dwolla Inc.
Runner-up: Rocket Referrals

Best Health Insurance Company
Winner: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Runner-up: UnitedHealthcare
Runner-up: HealthPartners UnityPoint Health

Best Property/Casualty Insurance Company
Winner: EMC
Runner-up: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
Runner-up: State Farm

Best Wealth management company
Winner: RSM US LLP
Runner-up: Foster Group
Runner-up: Wells Fargo Advisors 

Best Accounting firm
Winner: RSM US LLP
Runner-up: McGowen, Hurst, Clark and Smith PC
Runner-up: LWBJ

Best credit union
Winner: Veridian Credit Union
Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union
Runner-up: University of Iowa Credit Union

Best Bank
Winner: Bankers Trust Co. 
Runner-up: Wells Fargo & Co.
Runner-up: West Bank

Best Commercial Lender
Winner: Bankers Trust Co. 
Runner-up: Wells Fargo & Co.
Runner-up: West Bank

Best New restaurant
Winner: St. Kilda’s
Runner-up: Harbinger
Runner-up: Gastro Grub and Pub

Best Cultural Attraction
Winner: Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Runner-up: Des Moines Arts Festival
Runner-up: Iowa State Fair

Best Place to buy Wine and spirits
Winner: Hy-Vee
Runner-up: Ingersoll Wine and Spirits
Runner-up: WineStyles Tasting Station

Best happy hour
Winner: Eatery A
Runner-up: Bar Louie
Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts

Best restaurant for conducting business
Winner: Centro
Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts
Runner-up: 801 Chophouse

Best for entertaining out-of-town guests
Winner: Centro
Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts
Runner-up: 801 Chophouse

Best Coffee shop at which to do business
Winner: Smokey Row Coffee Co.
Runner-up: Scenic Route Bakery
Runner-up: Starbucks

Best Sporting event for entertaining clients
Winner: Iowa Cubs
Runner-up: Iowa Wild
Runner-up: Principal Charity Classic

Best bar for entertaining clients
Winner: The Republic on Grand
Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts
Runner-up: Iowa Taproom

Best Golf Course
Winner: Wakonda Club
Runner-up: Des Moines Golf and Country Club
Runner-up: Waveland Golf Course

Best Exercise facility
Winner: YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Runner-up: Lifetime Fitness
Runner-up: Prairie Life Fitness

Best Thing that will happen to central iowa in the upcoming year
Winner: NCAA Tournament returns
Runner-up: “Hamilton: An American Musical” (performed after the Best of Des Moines survey)
Runner-up: Governor’s election

Best Thing to happen to central iowa in the past year
Winner: Solheim Cup
Runner-up: Hilton Des Moines Downtown
Runner-up: Outlets of Des Moines

Best architecture firm
Winner: Shive-Hattery
Runner-up: RDG Planning Design
Runner-up: Substance Architectures

Best Engineering firm
Winner: IMEG Corp.
Runner-up: Shive Hattery
Runner-up: McClure Engineer

Best City government conducive to doing business
Winner: West Des Moines
Runner-up: Des Moines
Runner-up: Waukee

Best General Contractor
Winner: Weitz Co.
Runner-up: Graham Construction
Runner-up: Dean Snyder Construction

Best Electrical contractor
Winner: Baker Electric
Runner-up: Baker Group
Runner-up: Waldinger Corp.

Best Manufacturing company
Winner: Deere & Co.
Runner-up: Vermeer Corp.
Runner-up: Dee Zee Inc.

Best Homebuilder
Winner: Hubbell Homes
Runner-up: Jerry’s Homes
Runner-up: Greenland Homes

Best residential real estate company
Winner: Iowa Realty
Runner-up: Re/Max
Runner-up: Keller Williams

Best Commercial real estate company
Winner: NAI Iowa Realty Commercial
Runner-up: CBRE|Hubbell Commercial
Runner-up: R&R Realty

Best Mechanical contractor
Winner: Baker Group
Runner-up: Waldinger Corp.
Runner-up: A.J. Allen

Best development company
Winner: Hubbell Realty
Runner-up: Knapp Properties Inc.
Runner-up: Christensen Development

Best commercial real estate Agent
Winner: Kevin Crowley, NAI Iowa Realty Commercial
Runner-up: Adam Kaduce, R&R Realty
Runner-up: Bill Wright, CBRE|Hubbell Commercial

Best residential real estate Agent
Winner: Stephanie Anania, Re/Max
Runner-up: Rick Wannamaker, Iowa Realty
Runner-up: Kalen Ludwig, Peoples Co.

Best Real Estate Property Management Company
Winner: Hubbell Property Management
Runner-up: R&R Realty
Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Best Temporary Employment Service
Winner: Palmer Group
Runner-up: Midwest Professional Staffing
Runner-up: Aureon Staffing

Best Executive Search firm
Winner: Palmer Group 
Runner-up: Midwest Search Group
Runner-up: Aureon

Best Training and development company
Winner: Tero International
Runner-up: Dale Carnegie Training
Runner-up: ATW Training Solutions

Best Law Firm
Winner: Davis Brown Law Firm
Runner-up: Nyemaster Goode PC
Runner-up: BrownWinick

Best Small company with a bright future
Winner: LS2group
Runner-up: NCMIC Group Inc., Professional Solutions
Runner-up: Intoxalock

Best Public Relations Firm
Winner: LS2group
Runner-up: Flynn Wright
Runner-up: Strategic America

Best Commercial Printer
Winner: Beeline and Blue
Runner-up: Christian Printers
Runner-up: Purcell Printing and Signs

Best Advertising agency
Winner: Flynn Wright
Runner-up: Strategic America
Runner-up: Happy Medium

Best Security Company
Winner: Per Mar Security
Runner-up: ADT Corp.
Runner-up: Strauss Security Solutions

Best Place to buy office furniture
Winner: Triplett Cos.
Runner-up: Saxton 
Runner-up: Pigott Inc.

Best MBA Program
Winner: Iowa State University
Runner-up: University of Iowa Tippie College of Business
Runner-up: Drake University

Best Hospital/health care system
Winner: Iowa Methodist Medical Center (UnityPoint Health)
Runner-up: Mercy Medical Center
Runner-up: Iowa Lutheran Hospital (UnityPoint Health)

Best Place to hold a business conference
Winner: Hy-Vee Hall/Iowa Events Center
Runner-up: Hilton Des Moines Downtown
Runner-up: Prairie Meadows

Best Caterer
Winner: Hy-Vee
Runner-up: Cyd’s Catering
Runner-up: Taste To Go

Best place for auto repairs
Winner: Westside Auto Pros
Runner-up: Willis Auto Campus
Runner-up: Tjaden Automotive

Best Auto Dealership
Winner: Willis Auto Campus
Runner-up: Bob Brown Chevrolet
Runner-up: Karl Chevroley

Best Jewelry Store
Winner: Josephs
Runner-up: Christopher’s Fine Jewelry
Runner-up: Anglo

Best Women’s clothier
Winner: Von Maur
Runner-up: Talbots
Runner-up: Express

Best Florist
Winner: Boesen the Florist
Runner-up: Hy-Vee
Runner-up: Plaza Florist

Best men’s clothier
Winner: Mr. B
Runner-up: Von Maur
Runner-up: Badowers

Best Recycling/Waste Company
Winner: Metro Waste Authority
Runner-up: Waste Management Inc.
Runner-up: Ankeny Sanitation Inc.