ABI COVID-19 Update - Monday Memo 3/30/20

March 30, 2020

ABI COVID-19 Update

The association continues to focus all our work and resources on assisting ABI members manage their way through the COVID-19 situation.  The stories you share with us about all you are doing to serve your employees, your customers, and your communities are simply amazing... and inspiring.  THANK YOU for everything you are doing. 

In the meantime, last Thursday’s ABI newsletter carried several pieces of information related to COVID-19 issues.  In case that information is helpful, some of it is re-printed below.  

"How are other members dealing with this?"

The Des Moines Register published an article sharing the impact of coronavirus on Iowa manufacturers, including several ABI members: Iowa’s manufacturers face tough decisions as coronavirus spreads, workers worry about infection

In addition, BrownWinick recorded a webinar, "COVID-19 and the Impact on Iowa Business: Guidance for Employers." I was pleased to be part of it, and I shared what I've heard from ABI members and how they're stepping up to help the state. Watch the webinar recording

"How can I help my employees and my business?"

A list of helpful national, Iowa and ABI member-created resources is updated daily on our coronavirus webpage

In addition, webinars hosted by ABI members and partners are some of the best sources of information to help you with the coronavirus-related challenges your business is facing. 


"How can I assist others?"

The Iowa Governor's office is seeking donations of PPE (personal protective equipment)--especially N95 masks, gloves and gowns. There is a great need for these items for healthcare providers in Iowa and other states. To donate, contact your county emergency management agency. You can find a list of counties and coordinator contacts here

If you do donate, for ABI tracking purposes, please also send an email to abi@iowaabi.org with:

  • Your name
  • Your company
  • What you donated
  • Which county emergency management agency you contacted 

Thank you to those of you who have already contributed. 

April Executive Committee Teleconference Next Week; Board to Meet May 13

ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will hold their regularly-scheduled April meeting by teleconference a week from Wednesday (April 8).  The committee will work through the usual reports and metrics. 

These and other issues will also be on the agenda for the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  The board will meet next month, on Wednesday, May 13.  Your participation in this meeting is essential in order for the association to take action on many important items.  It will be the final meeting of the board prior to the 2020 annual conference (which as of this writing is still planned for June). 

The May board meeting will be held at ABI or will be held by teleconference.  The very latest in updates related to COVID-19 is sure to be a focus of the meeting.

For Now, Work Continues for Terrific 2020 Convention

Current plans call for ABI’s 117th Annual Convention to be held in Cedar Rapids in two months.  The convention, the 2020 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, is scheduled to be held June 9-11.  

As you can imagine, we are closely monitoring things related to the conference.  Guidance from the CDC, Iowa state government, and other sources is our focus.  Will travel and large meetings be allowed in June?  If so, will ABI members be able to take time away to participate? 

Because of the size of our conference, ABI must make substantial payments ahead of time related to facilities, lodging, speakers, etc.  All of that will be lost if the conference is not held.  But here’s what is most important: you and your company.  We’ll take whatever action best serves ABI members.  Again, be assured we are monitoring things very carefully.  Stay tuned for more information as it develops. 

Leadership Iowa Class Meets Virtually This Week

Members of the 2019-2020 Leadership Iowa class will convene virtually this week.  The class will meet in a shortened session and will do so for a session that focuses on economic development.  Look for a full report on the status of LI and other ABI Foundation programs at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Video Project Underway

Longtime ABI Board Member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale) is also one of the leaders of ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative.  As Michele reported at the November ABI board meeting, Elevate has an exciting project underway. 

Video presentations of various ABI manufacturers are being developed.  These are fast-paced, exciting videos that show to young people what a cool and rewarding career they can have with an Iowa manufacturer.  So far, videos featuring ABI members Accumold and United Equipment Accessories are nearly ready, with more to come.  Thank you to them, and to Michelle and ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training, Urbandale), who has been assisting this project, for their work and leadership! 

Iowa Business Report Radio Program Broadcasts 13th Episode

The Iowa Business Report radio program’s 13th edition was broadcast statewide over the weekend.  ABI is proud to sponsor this terrific program.  Click here to listen for yourself: http://iowabusinessreport.buzzsprout.com/.  Links can also be found on the ABI website at https://www.iowaabi.org/news/iowa-business-report/.  The show is produced by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  

Sobering NAM Report This Week

Normally, this memorandum is distributed prior to the arrival of the Monday Economic Report, which is published weekly by the National Association of Manufacturers.  Today, the report arrived a few moments ago.  It is a sobering review of how COVID-19 has had an impact on manufacturing data and the economy in general.  If you wish to read it, please reply and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Lance Farrell Featured on WHO-TV

Speaking of Michele Farrell in an earlier item in this memo, I would note that she and her husband, Lance Farrell, own another ABI member business, Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping.  This very successful business has franchises all over Iowa. 

Last week, Lance and Farrell’s franchises were featured in a story broadcast by WHO television.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure order for health clubs, Farrell’s is now offering virtual services.  Click here to see the feature for yourself: https://whotv.com/news/des-moines-metro-gyms-offering-virtual-fitness-classes-during-coronavirus-outbreak/.  Congratulations to Lance and Michele for this neat coverage! 

Interpower Indicative of ABI Members Meeting the Call for Help

In response to a request from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, ABI members are stepping up and providing products, re-tooling to manufacture new, much-need products, and doing a hundred other things to help in the COVID-19 Crisis. 

One example of that is longtime member Interpower Corporation.  Given how grim some things can be during this time, it was fun to speak with former ABI Chair and company President Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) Friday.  Bob told me about his company making parts for ventilators – one of this situation’s most crucial pieces of equipment – for four new customers.  Interpower’s quality and service are really coming into play.  I won’t quote him, but Bob tells a great story about the surprise; no, amazement, that one customer shared when learning about Interpower’s inventory and ability to deliver.  Thank you, Bob – and thank you to all of you – for all you doing.  It means everything.