Dr. Joseph Jones Named Recipient of Annual Leadership for Iowa Award

May 30, 2024 | Download PDF

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation names Dr. Joseph Jones as this year’s recipient of the Leadership for Iowa Award. The award is presented annually to a distinguished alumnus of the Leadership Iowa program who exemplifies outstanding leadership on both a community and statewide level. Jones is a graduate Leadership Iowa’s 2006-07 class and will be formally recognized on June 6 at ABI’s Taking Care of Business Conference in Davenport.

Dr. Joseph Jones is chief of staff to the president at Des Moines University, a medicine and health sciences university in Des Moines, Iowa. Most recently he served as executive director for The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement.

Before joining The Harkin Institute in 2016, Joseph was Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Prior to moving back to Iowa, Joseph served as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Harkin in Washington, D.C. In addition to having worked in several capacities in the public sector including for Governor Tom Vilsack and Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson and the Iowa Finance Authority, he has also worked for not-for-profit organizations like Creative Visions. His election work has included serving as the Iowa political director for the 2008 Obama campaign for president and as a past political director for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Joseph has engaged in a career-long commitment to public service through volunteerism. He serves as the chairman of the board for both the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation. Joseph also serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Community State Bank, and The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. In 2017, Joseph was first elected to the city council of Windsor Heights, Iowa. He was chosen as the city’s Citizen of the Year in 2020 and re-elected to office in 2021.

Joseph was named to the Business Record’s “Forty Under 40” Class of 2009, and in 2019, Joseph was voted the most influential Forty Under 40 honoree from the 2009 class, noted as having the biggest positive effect on the community. He was subsequently named Alumnus of the Year for Forty Under 40 in 2022. In 2020, the Central Iowa Chapter of PRSA presented him with the Outstanding Iowa Advocate award and in 2021, he was presented with the Dr. Judith Conlin Welcoming the World Award from the Iowa International Center.

Joseph is a graduate of the United States Military Academy Preparatory School and earned his BBA in economics from Loyola University New Orleans. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree in public policy and a certificate in Non-Profit Leadership and Administration from Drake University. In 2014, he was presented Drake’s Distinguished MPA Alumnus Award. He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and is also a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project. Joseph also received his Ph.D. from Drake where his research focused on the intersection of civics, experiential learning, and access. In 2018, he was the Executive in Residence at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, and he also serves on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Organization Management.

Joseph is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, skydiving, and engaging in international citizen diplomacy and governance. Although Joseph has visited dozens of countries and all 50 states, he is most proud of seeing all of Iowa’s 99 counties. He follows national security issues closely and finds time to spend with his Newfie, Toula Marie, and his backyard chickens. 

Recipients of the Leadership for Iowa Award must show a demonstrated commitment to serve Iowa, have held a leadership role volunteering for civic or professional organizations, have demonstrated the ability to undertake difficult or controversial subjects, and be involved in projects designed to enhance the quality of life in Iowa. Honorees also must have held a professional or volunteer leadership position that contributes to local or statewide leadership development.

A list of past recipients of the Leadership for Iowa Award and more information about the Leadership Iowa program can be found at www.LeadershipIowa.com.