• Jaimie Miller-Ackley, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
    Jaimie Miller-Ackley, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
  • Justin Schoen, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
    Justin Schoen, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
  • Kyle Oppenhuizen, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
    Kyle Oppenhuizen, Juice YP of the Year Award finalist
  • Larry Anderson, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
    Larry Anderson, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
  • Nathan Unsworth, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
    Nathan Unsworth, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
  • Alyssa Young, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
    Alyssa Young, YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award finalist
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For the past three years, Juice and the Young Professionals Connection have partnered to recognize the young men and women who dedicate their lives to improving the livelihood of the central Des Moines community.

This year, a jury of community and business leaders reviewed nearly 50 nominations to determine the top three finalists per category.

For the first time, the public will have a chance to vote on the finalists. The public vote is open from Saturday, Dec. 3 until Sunday, Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m. The public vote will be weighted with the judging panel votes to determine the overall winners.

The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

The four categories are:

YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award is given to a young professional who demonstrates a dedication to creating a vibrant community that attracts and retains YPs.

YPC Ashley Okland Community Service Award is given to a young professional who exemplifies the volunteerism and spirit of late YPC board member Ashley Okland in giving of his/her time, talents and other resources to community organizations.

Juice Young Professional of the Year Award recognizes a young professional who has made significant contributions for civic, charitable, entertainment or quality of life in central Iowa.

Juice Des Moines Creative of the Year Award goes to the person using his or her creative ideas to spur changes within the workplace or immediate community and within central Iowa and is committed to making central Iowa a desirable place to live.

YPC Amy Jennings YP Impact Award

Larry Anderson

Age: 30

Occupation: Business development officer, Central Bank

2016 accomplishments: Larry has been an integral part in making the Ankeny Young Professionals group succeed and grow. In 2016, Larry made a large impact in the community through organizations like Art for Ankeny, a small non-profit in the Ankeny community working to bring public art to Ankeny. Larry assumed the role as President of the Art for Ankeny board and under his leadership, helped the board achieve its fundraising goal to start its first project. Professionally, Larry has helped generate new revenue at his bank despite the tough competition in the metro. His ability to build and foster relationships helps him bring in new customers and partnerships.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? Right now there is a gap that exists between programming designed for young professionals and groups that form at the executive or “c-suite” level, and I think it’s a challenge that Des Moines needs to overcome to take our city to the next level.  As our young professionals are aging out or advancing out of their existing peer groups, we need to provide them with relevant educational, social and service programming to continue the advancement of this group that will be the future leaders of Des Moines, and that’s what we are trying to accomplish with the newly formed steering committee of the Greater Des Moines Area Experienced Professionals (appropriately shortened to GAP).

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Nathan Unsworth

Age: 31

Occupation: Administrative parks superintendent, City of Newton

2016 accomplishments: In his role as Administrative Parks Superintendent for the City of Newton, Nathan leads the Parks and Grounds Division for the city, managing an annual budget of $1.3 million and supervising more than 30 staff members. In 2014 and 2015, Nathan implemented the installation of new playground equipment for children in parks. In 2016, he successfully applied for grants through the Prairie Meadows Foundation and Jasper Community Foundation to help bring this project to reality. In Spring 2017, this course will be installed in Newton and will be the first of its kind in central Iowa. In 2016, Nathan also began having conversations with middle and elementary students to plan for the installation of a new skate park and is in the planning stages with citizens in their twenties to plan a jib park.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? The proposed water trail through downtown is one project that will help move Des Moines up to the next level. The water front is an iconic part of the community, and it happens to be my favorite spot in the city. The proposed water trail is going to further enhance the downtown area, and allow people to utilize and enjoy the Des Moines River in new ways. The trail will also have a positive economic impact, promote health and wellness, and retain and attract outdoor enthusiasts to the area. Smaller river towns in Iowa, who have already implemented similar trails, have seen great outcomes from these projects. This is a chance for Des Moines to follow the lead of these smaller communities and help put Iowa on the map for water sports.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Alyssa Young

Age: 29

Occupation: Assistant director of internal and strategic communication, Drake University

2016 accomplishments: As President of Habitat Young Professionals (HYP), Alyssa led efforts that exceeded the organization’s 2016 fundraising goal, tripled membership numbers and recruited new members to the board. She also serves as the communications committee chair for Habitat Young Professionals Advisory Council (HYPAC), the national committee facilitated through Habitat for Humanity International. Her leadership roles are helping to shape the way Habitat engages with young professionals not only in Des Moines, but around the world.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? There are two things I would say, one that’s close to my heart and one that I just see a need for. First would be to see more women in leadership positions around Des Moines. I would love to see our community be recognized nationally for supporting women leaders and business owners. I see women in top positions for non-profits, but very few in the public sector. Women get stuff done, and I see them taking Des Moines to the next level every day from a volunteer standpoint. I would love to see it happening more in the business sector.

The second is that a better mass transit system would be huge for Des Moines. As we continue to attract businesses and people, the lack of efficient mass transit is one of the biggest challenges to our continued growth.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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YPC Ashley Okland Community Service Award

Anthony Lyne

Age: 26

Occupation: Realtor, Coldwell Bankers MAG Realtors

2016 accomplishments: This year, Anthony was named the 2017 Des Moines Home Show Expo Chairman, where he'll be responsible for the logistics of a multimillion-dollar revenue stream for the Home Builder Association of Iowa Chapter and also a minimum of eight $650,000-$1.5 million homes. In addition, he volunteered many summer hours to his co-chair role for the 2016 Home Show Expo. In his free time, Anthony volunteers at Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Central Iowa, Youth Emergency Shelter & Services, three local nursing/retirement communities and coaches youth football.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? Due to the successful growth in the metro, and in order to plan for the future, it would be best to invest in a better public transportation system such as a train system.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Jessica Lowe

Age: 34

Occupation: Executive director, United Way of Jasper County

2016 accomplishments: Jessica makes an impact every day as Executive Director of United Way of Jasper County. However, she also did a variety of other things that helped the community over the past year. Jessica was named a 2016 20 under 40 by Newton Daily News. In her spare time, she serves as a volunteer and donor at St. Nick’s Christmas Club; marketing volunteer at Jasper County Conservation Board; marketing, volunteer and committee member at Brighton Chamber of Commerce; vice president of Friends of Newton Parks; and an active member of Young Professionals of Jasper County. She is known to always be one of the first to step up and help move a new idea forward within the Newton community

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? The one thing Des Moines needs right now is to be better at sharing its story. Des Moines has many great things going on – great restaurants, shopping and entertainment, some of the greatest universities in the nation, a vibrant downtown, sports franchises, cultural diversity, a great business community and much more. But people outside of Iowa don’t always realize this because of how Iowa and Iowans are shared in media. Sure, we love our Iowa State Fair and corn on the cob, but there is a lot more to Iowa. We just need to be better about sharing how wonderful our community is with the rest of the world, and we need to do it loudly. Also, I’d really like Adele to perform at Wells Fargo Arena, and if it’s not too much to ask, I would like front-row seats to that show.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Emily Toribio

Age: 33

Occupation: Corporate outreach and communications coordinator, Fareway Stores, Inc.

2016 accomplishments: Emily made a huge impact on the community in 2016. Rising to the ranks of President for Young Variety, she is always championing children and finding new ways to raise money and support the organization. Additionally, she volunteers at Courage League Sports to teach cheerleading to the children there. She is also involved with the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and a number of other organizations that reach so many people and continue to make Des Moines even better.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? My answer probably stems from my professional experience in government, but I believe we need to continually search for ways that local governments can collaborate in order to bring services to its residents. Local governments are lean and resources are scarce, so if we can find savings and efficiencies through collaboration, I think we’ll see improved services in the metro and additional cultural offerings. A piece of the puzzle is public/private partnerships – Brenton Skating Plaza and Gateway Sculpture Park are great examples. If we can also leverage the business community, we’ll just be able to further enhance and add to what’s already great in our community.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

Des Moines Creative of the Year Awards

Allison Fegley

Age: 31

Occupation: Director of booking and event services, Hoyt Sherman Place

2016 accomplishments: Allison works incredibly hard “behind the scenes” to make sure that every patron has an exceptional experience when coming to Hoyt Sherman Place. In 2016, Allison expanded Hoyt Sherman Place programming to cater to a younger demographic, including booking artists like Dave Chappelle, Ben Folds, Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves, while also drawing legendary artists such as Martina McBride, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs and Peter Frampton. Her work diversifying talent at Hoyt Sherman Place has had a profound effect on the Des Moines music scene this year.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? The most important cause to me right now is arts education. As the daughter of a teacher and an “arts kid” myself, I think it is incredibly important for kids to have a creative outlet. I was in choir, band, drama – pretty much whatever arts opportunity I could get into – and I am lucky enough to find myself in a career that allows me to continue to be involved in the arts. I think the arts opportunities in this community are what make it so great, and if we want to continue as a thriving arts community, we need to make sure we are investing in arts education for the students that call this place home since they will be the ones to uphold our arts legacy in the future. We at Hoyt Sherman Place are doing our part to foster Arts Education in the Community through partnerships with Scavo Alternative High School for community service opportunities, local dance schools for their annual recitals and child-care providers who schedule summer tours at the facility.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Liz Lidgett

Age: 31

Occupation: CEO, Adore Your Walls

2016 accomplishments: Liz is a creative entrepreneur helping to grow the Des Moines art scene through her company, Adore Your Walls. She works with local artists to help put their work in corporate and personal collections, in restaurants and on murals. This year, Liz launched the Des Moines Walls project, the mural project that will bring more public art throughout the city. She is also a board member for Salon 4700 at the Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Metro Opera and Ballet Des Moines. She is a tireless advocate for the art scene in Des Moines both personally and professionally.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? A percent for art plan. These plans often come in the form of a city ordinance, where one-half of one percent of construction costs are reserved for art projects. We have incredible public art in Des Moines thanks to the Public Art Foundation, the Des Moines Art Center and the Pappajohns, among others, but the work is fairly concentrated. A percent for art plan could help to spread the public art throughout the city and suburbs, especially since so many construction projects are underway or planned.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Hanna Wolle

Age: 27

Occupation: Client relations, Principal and co-founder of Quartet 515

2016 accomplishments: As a classically trained violinist, Hanna is involved with the classical music scene in Des Moines, where she is a violinist with the Des Moines Symphony. In February 2016, Hanna formed a collaboration between her organization, Quartet 515, and University of Iowa jazz professor Dr. Damani Phillips to perform “The String Theory,” which was a compilation of classic jazz favorites arranged for a jazz combo and string quartet. Quartet 515’s collaboration with Dr. Phillips was so successful that several other partnerships with jazz musicians have formed. Between Quartet 515 and her newly formed DSM Dueling Fiddles collaboration, Hanna has brought classical music to various venues and events throughout Des Moines and Iowa City. She currently serves on the board of directors at the Civic Music Association.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? The one thing Des Moines needs right now to move it to the next level is continuing to have our city’s residents be champions for how great the central Iowa region is to work, live and play. I’ll be the first to admit that as a Des Moines native, I never thought I’d live here in my 20s (and likely beyond), but we have so much to be proud of with how our region has grown and is continuing to change. Having all of us be ambassadors for our region’s quality of life and sense of community will shape tremendously how we attract and retain future leaders.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

Juice YP of the Year Awards

Jaimie Miller-Ackley

Age: 29

Occupation: Executive director, The Iowa Credit Union Foundation

2016 accomplishments: In 2016, Jaimie served as president of Lead Like a Lady, a non-profit founded to inspire leadership development and mentorship for young women who have the desire to grow personally and professionally. Through this role, Jaimie has personally impacted the lives and careers of 50 women and created a model for young women's leadership and support throughout the community. Other accomplishments include serving as the board ambassador of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute; an active member of University of Northern Iowa Greater Des Moines Alumni Chapter, YPC, Des Moines Water Works Foundation and Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority; as well the leader of several major leadership, fundraising and advocacy efforts at Iowa Credit Union Foundation.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? We need greater affordable housing options. Des Moines has had significant development over the last decade, but there continues to be a gap in affordable housing options for financially strapped young professionals and for families who are struggling financially.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Kyle Oppenhuizen

Age: 29

Occupation: Communications manager, Greater Des Moines Partnership

2016 accomplishments: Kyle has made an impact to the Des Moines Community this year in many different ways. Namely through his efforts to attract and retain young professionals to Iowa through his presidency on the Young Professional (YP) Iowa board, his efforts on the Iowa State Daily Board, where he helps guide young writers and provides real world business experience to future young professionals and through his commitment to the Emerging Leaders Collaborative to create a network of shared resources. He is committed to not only the future of Iowa (students) but also the Iowa of here and now through the current young professionals. He is a guiding force helping Iowa move in a positive direction through growth and leadership.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? I think Des Moines needs to put a great deal of thought into making strategic decisions today that will shape our future for years to come. I will give two examples. We are the fastest-growing city in the Midwest, and projected to be near 1 million in population in the next few decades. How will we ensure that the mobility we enjoy as a metro of 600,000 is the same when we are a metro of near 1 million? We know that people my age and people who are of retirement age value walkability and robust public transportation, and we can take steps right now to ensure that exists in the future. Another example: Our city has experienced great momentum in large part due to civic leadership. As our young professionals "graduate" from traditional YP groups, we need to collectively make sure that we are ready to lead and contribute to the region’s success for years to come.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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Justin Schoen

Age: 36

Occupation: Managing partner, Emerge Growth Strategies

2016 accomplishments: Justin is a constant presence, leader, innovator and community servant in central Iowa. As board chair of Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS), Justin oversaw the candidate search and on-boarding of the organization’s new executive director while continuing to work with staff and guide strategy for the next era of CISS. Also this year, the Des Moines Music Coalition, which Justin helped found, celebrated its ninth year of supporting live music in Greater Des Moines through the 80/35 music festival. Other accomplishments in 2016 include serving as committee member of Capital Crossroads, as well as mentor and adviser for Drake University and University of Iowa startup programs.

What is the one thing Des Moines needs to go to the next level? I work with small businesses and emerging start-up ventures, providing marketing, sales and business development assistance. I’m blown away with the innovative talent right here in central Iowa driving our local economy. We have great resources at the local and state level to assist these companies, but there is still much more that can be done to propel companies forward, keep the best talent right here in Iowa, and then introduce ourselves to the rest of the country. More collaboration between the existing small business and entrepreneurial resources will ensure that a wider net is cast and we are able to incubate and grow ideas from across a wide range of business sectors. Rather than recreate the wheel, we need to amplify and connect businesses and innovators with existing innovation hubs like Gravitate, Square One and the Iowa Innovation Corporation. Iowa also has a unique opportunity to leverage its five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers that can work collaboratively with other public and private entities to provide small-business assistance and help attract capital to support business growth. Leveraging these resources, central Iowa can become a leader in developing small business that rivals other start-up hubs like Austin, Denver, Miami and San Francisco. As I work with clients across the country, they are time and again impressed with the innovation, work ethic and culture we have here in Des Moines.

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The winners will be revealed at the 2016 Central Iowa YP of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9 at Sticks, Inc. To vote and attend the event, visit YP16.dmJuice.com

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