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Planting Roots in Iowa

When it comes to balancing the quality of work and life, you shouldn’t have to choose one over the other. Tim Marquis, a product manager at John Deere, answered a few questions about his recent relocation from Chicago to the Greater Des Moines area in search of an opportunity to nurture his career in the agriculture technology industry and plant roots with his growing family. 

Q: What brought you to Iowa?

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, I worked for a technology startup company in Chicago. Living in the city as a young couple was a great experience; however, we got to the point where we really needed to decide what we wanted for our future and our home life. We didn’t think this was Chicago.

It was around this time that John Deere came knocking with an amazing opportunity in the Greater Des Moines area. Without a doubt, I was eager to work for a global company that’s going through its own renaissance of becoming a leading technology company and really embracing all the advancements that represent Iowa.

Between the growing technology footprint and the balanced quality of life, including expanding suburbs, competitive school districts and childcare at a fraction of the price of Chicago, we knew this was where we could build a forever home. 

Q: What is one of your most memorable experiences since starting with John Deere? 

The global technology headquarters, John Deere Intelligence Solutions Group, is in Urbandale, Iowa, and this has allowed me to really see the whole process and understand how everything comes together from concept to reality.

One of the coolest experiences I’ve had so far, outside of my day-to-day work, was going on a tour of John Deere’s Des Moines Works factory. Witnessing the development of a new sprayer in a historical factory and then seeing it come to life in the field in real time was truly memorable.

Q: In your new role, have you found there are opportunities to continue in professional development?

Yes. Once we moved, I quickly got involved with a local data science organization and have also explored a whole track of development programs within John Deere. There’s really no shortage of opportunities to continue learning and growing throughout your career in Iowa.

Q: How has the transition been to life in Iowa?

Not an exaggeration, but the commute time has been life changing. Going from 1.5 hours one way in Chicago traffic to being at the office in seven minutes has given me so much time back in my day. What I love about where we live in Des Moines is that you can be anywhere in 15 minutes. Things that used to be a big deal in the city, like getting groceries and worrying about where you’re going to park, are now super easy and hassle-free.

Q: How do you spend your free time? 

We are loving the excellent restaurant options close by as well as downtown. When we’re interested in going out, the choices available to us feels like a “choose your own adventure” experience. With everything so close, we haven’t felt like we’ve had to sacrifice the amenities of the big city, but everything else feels way easier to access. 

Q: Are you an outdoors person? Have you explored the parks?

The amount of options for outdoor activity has been great. During the pandemic, we welcomed our baby Luke to the world, and at this point, we’ve been to just about every single park in Western Iowa. He gets very excited about new things, and we can easily find outdoor spaces with a variety of offerings to keep him entertained. We are also looking into purchasing bikes soon to explore more of the trails nearby. It really feels like this city was developed so intentionally to be welcoming to everyone in the community.

Q: What would you tell someone who was interested in relocating to Iowa?

As you get older, everything comes down to balancing the quality of your life. A lot of places require you to pick one thing over the other, but you don’t have to in Iowa. It may seem like a flyover state, but until you’re here and see everything going on, you’ll never know how amazing it is.

You could be the worst gardener ever and thrive here in Iowa. This state has the most fertile soil in the world.

Ready to plant some roots? Explore the Make Your Move toolkit and find the place that’s right for you.

Published May 27, 2021

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