Hiawatha City Administrator Kim Downs does her best to make a difference in her community, and it shows. Downs was chosen as one of the Corridor Business Journal’s Women of Influence for 2018. downs and nine other women were honored at a banquet at the Hotel at Kirkwood April 12.
Downs was nominated for the honor by her coworkers, Kelly Kornegor, Patrick Parsley and John Bender.
Parsley, Hiawatha’s Community Development Director, said it was a team decision to nominate Downs for the honor. “Kim’s ability to create and develop a team approach in Hiawatha has been inspirational,” he said.
“Her enthusiasm and encouragement make her one of the best ‘coaches’ many of us have ever worked for. This attitude invades all aspects of her work day and her relationships, creating an amazing atmosphere in which goals are accomplished and people are appreciated!
It would be a rare day when we do not hear her infectious laughter at least once, and her great attitude is only surpassed by her strong work ethic.”
Kornegor, the City Clerk for Hiawatha, added that Downs’ positive attitude drives the entire team’s efforts to do their best.
“I fully believe in supporting and lifting up other women, and celebrating their successes,” she said. “Seeing Kim achieve this award encourages me to be my best and not to let anything get in the way of accomplishing my own goals and desires. It is always a great motivator to watch others be celebrated for their achievements. Kim deserves this recognition for being very dedicated to her profession, showing a strong sense of leadership and inspiring others with her positive attitude.”
Downs said she is humbled by the honor. “I have always tried to be positive and make a difference in my community. It makes me feel good that I make an impact in the lives of my coworkers, as well.”
Bender, Hiawatha’s City Engineer, said Downs is a worthy recipient of the CBJ Women of Influence Award, as she has displayed great leadership qualities.
“She works very hard to build consensus and maintain focus on established goals. This award is well deserved.”
Downs began her career as the city clerk in the town of Ryan 18 years ago, accepting a position as Hiawatha’s deputy clerk in 2005.
“I still thank Linda Dixon every time I see her for giving me the support I needed to succeed in my chosen career,” she said. “She encouraged me to go back to school and fulfill my dreams.”
Kim became the city clerk of Hiawatha in 2007, and accepted the city administration position in 2014.
“We hadn’t had a city administrator for a few years, and I was already doing a lot of the work associated with that position,” she said. “(Former Mayor) Tom Theis asked me if I would accept the position if he offered it to me, and I knew it was something I would have to think about. I asked my husband, Kyle, and my children, if they would be okay with the long hours I would have to put in, if I were to accept the city administrator’s position. They told me to ‘go for it!’”
Downs said she and her co-workers have accomplished a lot in the past 10 years, with much of the focus on improving streets, attracting businesses to the city, and creation of the Town Village Center.
“I have always been someone who does what is needed to get the job done,” said Downs. “When I became City Clerk of Hiawatha, the mayor trusted me, and gave me the freedom I needed to make things happen for the Hiawatha community. My co-workers have stood beside me as we worked together toward a common goal. They are the reason we have accomplished so much in just a short time.”