Family ties drew Downs back to Centerville

Submitted photoMallory Downs is a sales manager at Honey Creek Resort.

Mallory (Eddy) Downs said that she never thought too much about returning to the Centerville area for her career.

The Centerville native graduated from Centerville High School in 2004 and said she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.

She earned her AA degree from Indian Hills and then decided to earn her bachelor of arts degree in graphic design from Grand View University in Des Moines in 2008.

Downs was able to find a job in Ankeny but the Great Recession of 2008 caused the company to downsize and Downs lost her job. She then moved back home and took a job at Honey Creek Resort as a front desk clerk.

“It was well paid and had good insurance,” said Downs.

Soon after starting at Honey Creek, Downs became the Activities Director but she left the job in 2010 when she was offered an art director position at McKinley Inc. in Chariton. Soon after that, Downs’ mother-in-law passed away and she gave birth to her first child, Mason. She and her husband decided they wanted to be close to home, so they moved back to Centerville.

Downs husband, Jacob Downs, is from Seymour and is a Centerville police officer. After returning to Centerville, Downs took about six months off to stay home with her son before returning to work. She was able to get a job at Honey Creek Resort again in December of 2011, but this time she was working in the sales department. Since then she has moved up from sales assistant, to reunion coordinator, to sales manager today. Since then, the Downs have also welcomed a daughter, Charli, who is now five years old.

Downs said that the birth of the couples’ children really influenced their decision to return to the area. The couple had always planned to stay in Iowa but didn’t have too much of a preference for staying around the Seymour or Centerville area before becoming parents.

“As the children started coming, we definitely wanted to be closer to family because it’s just easier,” said Downs. “You have that support system.”

Today Downs is in charge of helping religious groups and reunion groups at Honey Creek. She helps the groups plan activities and menus, book entertainment and takes care of other details of their stays. She also keeps their budgets in mind and what the group wants to get out of their experience when helping them plan.

Downs also plans the Father-Daughter Dance hosted each fall at Honey Creek and the Kids at the Creek Event held each winter.

“That is a way for Honey Creek to give back,” said Downs. “We have inflatables and magic shows and a book fair and our naturalists are here … “

Outside of her work, Downs helps out with Honey Creek Resort’s Adopt-A-Highway program. She also joined the Pancake Day Committee this year and also just joined TeamMates, a mentoring program in the Centerville School District.

“I’m super excited about it,” said Downs. “I think it’s going to be very rewarding.”

Downs is also the President of the Centerville Young Professionals group, an organization for people aged 21 to 40. The group holds events and social gatherings and also volunteers at different events around the community.

Downs is also participating in the West Des Moines Leadership Academy this year. The program is sponsored by the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, which Honey Creek Resort belongs to. To be accepted, you have to be nominated.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Downs. “The first class we went to at the armory at Fort Dodge, and we got to go through simulations and just learn about them and what they do and how they live. It’s eye-opening experiences that they give you.”

Downs said that Novembers class will be a poverty simulation.

“I’m bringing four of my co-workers to do that,” said Downs. “Over 80 people will be in the simulation … and each of us will have a role to play. … Sometimes we get busy in our lives and we forget about what other people are doing or how they’re living or what they’re experiencing.”

The leadership academy says it is a fun, rewarding experience meant to inspire a young generation of community leaders to be more informed and dedicated to their communities.

Krystal Fowler can be reached at kfowler@dailyiowegian.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow her on Twitter @KFowler_Daily.

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