ABI Members: Uncertain Now; Optimistic About the Future

October 3, 2019 | Mike Ralston

Mike Ralston, President, ABI

Each quarter, ABI board members are questioned about prospects for their business for the coming quarter. Last week, ABI released the results of its most recent Iowa Business Survey. If you are like me, there is nothing more interesting than ABI members speaking about their business; they are passionate about their employees and their businesses. That always comes through in the survey. What also came through in this latest survey were results that were somewhat cautionary.

What was cautionary was that in the nearly 15 years I have been with ABI, the September reports were some of the most mixed ever. Many members were experiencing strong years and expected that to continue. On the other hand, many members noted a softening in their business. While the reports were generally positive, challenges with workforce, trade and tariffs, and the ag economy are of concern.

To me, that means ABI must be doubly committed to offering products and services of value to our customer-members. ABI is well only when member businesses are well. I share this again to emphasize it.  ABI better be providing value. The good news is that, thanks to strong leadership by the ABI Board of Directors, that value proposition is well in place.

Related to the survey, let me stress that there was certainly no panic, just caution. ABI board members are some of Iowa's best business people, and they deal with challenges all the time. The point is the current business cycle is one of uncertainty, but optimism about the future prevails.

That optimism was on display Tuesday evening, when ABI celebrated the annual Legends in Manufacturing Dinner. Over 60 nominations for awards in five categories were received, and awards went to five legendary manufacturers and manufacturing supporters. Congratulations to all involved.