ABI Off and Running in 2020 - Monday Memo 1/6/20

January 6, 2020

ABI Files Petition Against City of Waterloo

ABI filed a petition Thursday in Black Hawk County District Court against the City of Waterloo and the Waterloo Human Rights Commission.  This action seeks to stop the City’s criminal-history ordinance from going into effect on July 1, 2020.  The ordinance regulates when an employer can inquire about an applicant’s criminal history (commonly known as “ban the box”) and prevents an employer from ever considering an applicant’s criminal history in some circumstances. 

Before Waterloo had finalized the ordinance, ABI retained attorney Ryan Koopmans of the Belin firm to write a letter on the association’s behalf outlining our concerns with the proposal and urging the city council to reconsider its initial vote.  ABI successfully advocated in 2017 to prohibit local governments from enacting policies that exceed or conflict with federal and state law as it relates to employment (including hiring practices).  The Waterloo ordinance violates the state statute and therefore, in keeping with long-established association policy, ABI, in the interest of members and the statewide business community, filed suit.  If you have questions about the lawsuit or would like a copy of the filed petition, please contact ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain. 

There has already been media coverage of the suit.  Thanks to ABI Board member Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Company, Cedar Falls) for sharing this coverage by Waterloo television station KWWL: https://kwwl.com/2020/01/04/waterloo-facing-suit-over-ban-the-box/.  And, click here for an article that is in today’s Des Moines Register: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/business/2020/01/04/iowa-business-lobbyists-sue-block-waterloos-ban-box-ordinance/2815724001/

New, ABI Supported-Business Radio Show Produced

Some weeks ago, the ABI Board of Directors approved association support for a new statewide business show.  The first episode of the Iowa Business Report has now been broadcast on radio stations across Iowa. 

Produced by well-known award-winning Iowa radio executive Jeff Stein, the shows will air weekly and will include business news, company profiles, and other features.  The first episode includes interesting interviews with Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig, Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, a terrific feature about longtime ABI-member Vermeer Corporation, and other news.  If you didn’t yet hear it on your local station, click here to listen for yourself: http://iowabusinessreport.buzzsprout.com/.  Simply scroll down to click on the latest episode (for now, that is easy… there is only one episode). 

Get ready; you and your company may be soon featured on the Iowa Business Report!  In the meantime, thank you to Jeff and his company for a first-class production! 

Next Week: Annual Legislative Briefing/Reception; Register Now

With only a little over a week to go, advance registrations for the 2020 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception are running at a very strong pace.  As I write today’s memo, it is clear that with ABI members, legislators and other officials, well over 500 attendees will be a part of the event.  I hope you have already registered, but if not, please register NOW by going to www.iowaabi.org or by simply replying to this email.  

NOTE: Registering for the briefing/reception does not register you for the board meeting and vice versa.  If you have any doubts about your registrations, please reply to this message and let me know your plans.  I'll check on your registration status and make sure it reflects your wishes.  If not, we'll take care of it right away.  Thank you!

This annual event is one of the association’s most popular and you won’t want to miss the 2020 edition.  Please join in the members-only briefing following the ABI Board Meeting and the Reception immediately follows.  All events will take place at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.   

We expect Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg will be there, as will members of the General Assembly and other state officials and department heads.  YOU are the reason that this event draws more legislators and state officials than any other similar meeting.  Your attendance and time spent with legislators is a crucial part of ABI’s legislative advocacy.  Thank you in advance for your participation. 

ABI Board to Meet

As referenced above, the ABI Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of the calendar year a week from Wednesday.  ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and members of the association's Executive Committee will also convene for the committee’s first meeting of 2020 on Wednesday. We look forward to your participation next week.  

Foundation Board Will Meet

The ABI Foundation Board of Directors, chaired by Kim Butler Hegedus (Community State Bank, Ankeny), will hold its quarterly meeting at ABI on Wednesday.  The Foundation Board is comprised of terrific leaders and the Foundation is enjoying a terrific year.  Watch for more news at next week’s ABI board meeting. 

Targeted Staff Search Soon to be Underway

As you know, ABI Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson resigned her position.  Kathy did good work and she will be missed; we wish her well. 

ABI has not yet published the opening and we are considering several options to move forward.  Please stay tuned for more information as it develops.

January Leadership Iowa Session Next Week

The ABI Foundation’s 2019-2020 Leadership Iowa Class will hold its January session next week, on Wednesday through Friday, in Des Moines.  The session is jam-packed with terrific speakers, meetings with legislators, a tour of the Iowa Capitol, media presentations, and other activities.  

The January session, as you can tell, focuses on state government and politics and is typically one of the program’s most popular.  You will have an opportunity to meet members of the LI class when they join the ABI Board for the Legislative Reception Wednesday evening.  

Not Too Late to Register for Leadership Iowa Alumni Dinner

Speaking of Leadership Iowa, the program next week hosts one of its most popular annual events.  If you plan to participate, please register now (please see below). 

On Wednesday the 15th, the day of the ABI Board meeting and legislative briefing and reception, the ABI Foundation will host the annual Leadership Iowa Networking and Reunion Event.  The Leadership Iowa Alumni Dinner connects all LI alums.  Go here for more information and to register: http://www.cvent.com/events/leadership-iowa-alumni-society-dinner-celebration/event-summary-de87cf1602f7429caec068f2f3819a85.aspx

Remember: You Can Receive ABI Updates Through Twitter, Facebook

ABI was one of the first associations to use new social media technologies to keep in touch and inform members of new developments.  With next Monday’s convening of the legislative session, it seems like a good time to remind you that you can receive updates via Twitter as legislative developments are happening.  

Many ABI members -- and members of the media -- tell me frequently that they appreciate these real time updates.  ABI's public policy staff regularly tweets LIVE from the committee rooms at the Statehouse. 

ABI also has a Facebook site, shares information via the web, and of course continues to utilize all the traditional media to ensure that you receive the latest information in the format that works best for you.  If you have other ideas for other ways we can communicate with you effectively, please let me know. 

NAM Report Documents Record Open Manufacturing Jobs Number

In a recent edition of the weekly Monday Economic Report from the National Association of Manufacturers, NAM noted that a record number of manufacturing jobs are now open, well over 400,000 openings nationwide.  That is no surprise to ABI members, of course, who have been dealing with workforce issues for well over a decade. 

In better news, manufacturing production is slightly on the rise in the United States.  If you are interested in viewing the report for yourself, reply to this message and I will send it to you. 

Cindy Dietz Recognized by Corridor Business Journal

In its annual Newsmakers edition, which highlights the top business stories of the year, the Corridor Business Journal highlighted ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) as one of the region’s top business leaders.  Congratulations, Cindy! 

CemenTech Celebrates 50 Big Years

I don’t know how I missed it, but I learned that a great ABI member, CemenTech, celebrated 50 years of success in 2019.  Belated congratulations to this great company and to the team there, including company President and ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola)!  Here’s to another 50 big years! 

Shine, Sommerfeld Celebrate

Two great ABI leaders are celebrating.  Longtime ABI Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool, Huxley) celebrated his birthday on January 3rd.  Former ABI Chair Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) also celebrates his birthday this month.  Happy birthday and congratulations to Todd and Toby! 

Gary Vermeer; Vermeer Corporation Featured on IPTV

On Saturday evening (December 28), Iowa Public Television broadcast another in its series of “Best of Living in Iowa” programs.  This one included a wonderful feature about iconic Iowa businessman and entrepreneur Gary Vermeer.  Other family members, including Gary’s wife Matilda Vermeer, and two of their children, Bob Vermeer and former ABI Chair Mary Vermeer Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), were also featured. 

Watch the program for yourself here: http://www.iowapbs.org/video/story/32614/best-living-iowa-113.  There are other neat segments, too, including one about a cross-country scout trip taken by dozens of Clinton, Iowa, boy scouts decades ago.  Meanwhile, congratulations to the Vermeer Family for the very cool segment featuring Gary.

January Always an Important Month for ABI; Aggressive Agenda for 2020

It seems like every year about this time, I note that while January is the first month in the calendar year, it marks the seventh month in the annual ABI fiscal year (which concludes June 30).  For many reasons, January is a critical month for association programs.  

The first ABI meetings of the year are held this month and these events help set the tone for the year.  Your participation in these meetings is vital to our success.  Also, Foundation programs conduct critical work each January and that is important.  Of course, the Iowa General Assembly convenes in January and there is no more important work ABI does than aggressively advance a pro-business agenda before the legislature.  Finally, January is ABI’s most important month for revenue, with more of our annual revenue coming in this month than any other. 

Thank you for your leadership and your investment, which we never take for granted and which makes our success possible.  On behalf of Association Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and our officers, thank you for that support.  As Cindy says, it is important that we keep our Future in Focus.  That is, we better be doing the things now that we need to do to ensure future success.  

Thanks to Cindy and all of you on the ABI Board of Directors, that is just what is taking place.  Big goals are a part of ABI's plans for 2020.  ABI has developed a strong record of success and those big goals for 2020 include continued growth in members and revenue, increased programming of value, legislative success, and increases in Foundation activity, among many other things. 

For now, your participation in the ABI events to be held this month is an important part of starting the year successfully.  We need your leadership to continue the aggressive and impactful record of the past years.  THANK YOU again for all you do for ABI and for Iowa business.