Final 2020 ABI Board Meeting Next Month - Monday Memo 10/5/20

October 5, 2020

Next Board Meeting a Month Away; Executive Committee Meets Thursday

ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) is inviting all former chairs and members of the board to participate in the final board meeting of 2020.  The board will meet by Zoom on Thursday, November 12.  To register, simply reply to this message.  You can expect a very full agenda.  

Again, this will be the final board meeting of the calendar year; I hope you can attend.  As for this month, the ABI Executive Committee will hold its monthly teleconference Thursday.  

Last Week’s Advanced Manufacturing Conference a Success, Breakouts to be Presented Again, Governor Signs Proclamation

Last week, ABI held the annual Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference.  A great crowd was on hand for the virtual event to hear terrific speakers and participate in high-value workshops.  Another highlight was the presentation of remarks by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, which included the Governor signing an official proclamation declaring October 2nd as Manufacturing Day in Iowa.  The final session of the conference was a very popular panel featuring two great ABI leaders: Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).  

One challenge with the conference related to the presentation of breakout sessions.  Some participants were able to access their chosen breakouts easily; others were not.  Because the breakouts involved high-value information and best practices, a decision was made to arrange for their presentation again.  This way, participants will still be able to get this information and may even be able to attend more of the sessions than was originally planned (there would be no charge for conference registrants).  Stay tuned for more information.  In the meantime, ABI deeply apologizes to presenters and participants for the trouble. 

Leadership Iowa Class Convenes in Atlantic Wednesday

The members of the 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa Class, the 39th LI class, will convene in a good ABI community, Atlantic, on Wednesday.  As is the case every year, this class is comprised of terrific young leaders from all around Iowa.  Class members will hold the first session, become acquainted with each other and the program, and focus on learning about issues facing Iowa.  Look for a full report at next month's ABI board meeting. Note: All possible health and safety protocols are being followed. 

IIPAC Board to Meet

The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee is ABI’s political arm.  IIPAC exists to support pro-business candidates of ANY party.  As long as a candidate supports business, IIPAC will consider supporting them. 

While a first round of “Friend of Iowa Business” declarations was announced previously (, the IIPAC board will meet tomorrow to consider additional endorsements and additional requests for financial support.  

Your personal involvement is what makes IIPAC succeed.  If you haven’t already, you should become an IIPAC donor.  I am.  Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to donate now:  In the meantime, thank you to Chairman Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and his fellow IIPAC board members for their leadership and support. 

2021 Annual Conference Workshop Proposals Now Being Accepted

Plans continue for the annual conference.  One of the conference highlights each year is the number of high value, substantive breakout sessions and workshops that are a part of the event.  Competition for these presentation slots has been keen and I am sure that will be the case again this year. 

RFPs related to the workshops are now being accepted by ABI.  Go here for more information or to submit a proposal:  The deadline for submissions is December 1. 

Iowa Events Center Again Location for Annual ABI Legislative Reception

ABI’s award-winning public policy advocacy is successful for many reasons.  One is a terrific staff.  Another is a sophisticated array of tools and programs in place to support that work.  But the critical reason for our success is you.  Your personal relationship with your legislator is vital to ABI’s success. 

The association’s second largest event held each year is a great tool to use to help in maintaining that personal relationship.  The annual ABI Legislative Reception is always a terrific event.  You will soon be able to register for this popular annual event, so please stay tuned. 

In the meantime, the big news related to the event is that it will again be held at Des Moines’ Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.  The convention center is spacious and is connected by skywalk to the brand new Hilton Hotel.  And, parking is plentiful and convenient. Please make plans now to attend. 

Friday is Deadline for ABI Directory Updates

This is the time of year that ABI's member database is being updated.  Information from the database will be checked, formatted, and put in to hard copy form for inclusion in the 2021 ABI Resource Guide.  The guide, in addition to including member data, includes information on the association's people, programs, and events. 

If there are no changes in your personnel or company information, you need do nothing.  If you have updates, simply send an email to Dorothy Knowles at  The deadline to receive updates is the end of the week.  Thank you for helping ensure accurate information. 

Annual ATW Talent Development Trends Survey Released

Each year, longtime member ATW Training Solutions publishes a comprehensive survey of trends in talent development.  The data in the survey can be of great use to you in establishing your own training program decisions for the coming year.  The latest survey was released last week and it is packed with terrific information.  

It is interesting to note that training budgets are holding steady, while virtual learning/training is on the rise.  A great deal of other data is included in the survey results.  If you wish to see it for yourself, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) for sharing the data! 

ABI Childcare Event October 13

ABI members more often cite availability of quality, affordable childcare as an issue of concern.  In response, the association over a year ago became much more active in this area.  

The latest example of work with regard to childcare comes in October.  ABI will host an event entitled “Childcare Best Practices for Business.”  The virtual event will start at 10:00 a.m. on October 13th.  The program features businesses that have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide childcare solutions for employees.  To find more information and to register for this free event, click here:  

ABI Environment Committee to Meet October 20, DNR Officials to Speak

One of ABI’s largest policy committees is the Environment Committee.  Dozens and dozens of association members from inside and outside Iowa participate in the work of this committee, which has achieved important results on behalf of members. 

The committee will hold its next meeting on October 20.  Featured in the program are Ed Tormey and other officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The latest information about DNR regulatory practices will be a focus.  Learn more and register at  

ABI Begins Webinar Series Later This Month

Members have asked for it and ABI is delivering it: more quality programming.  ABI will kick-off a six-part webinar series on October 29.  Between then and early December, ABI will present a series of programs on a variety of business-related topics. 

The first webinar focuses on e-commerce and association member Michael Bird (Spindustry, Clive), a digital and e-commerce expert, will be the keynoter.  Go here for more information:  Check the ABI Events page for more info. 

40th Iowa Business Report Radio Program Broadcast

It is hard to believe that the 40th edition of The Iowa Business Report was broadcast over the weekend.  It seems like this series of great programs just started.  The reports are heard on radio stations all over Iowa each week and ABI is proud to be the presenting sponsor. 

As you know, the show is the result of a great a partnership between well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein and ABI.  If you missed the latest episode, you can click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  

Longenecker on the Cover; Tyler, Lohmeier, Barr Featured in Latest Business Record

Be on the lookout for the latest edition of the Des Moines Business Record.  You can’t miss it, because there is a great photograph of ABI Board Member Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon) on the cover.  Kellan and two other ABI leaders are featured in an article about Iowa manufacturing. 

The other ABI leaders are former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and ABI Board Member Eric Lohmeier (NCP, Des Moines).  Economist Kanlaya Barr (Deere & Company, Moline) was also featured.  It is a great read and congratulations to these great ABI leaders. 

Grassley, Hinson to Visit Jackson Manufacturing

You hear me say often that one of the best things you can do to help advance ABI’s public policy agenda is to host elected officials at your plant.  Once these folks see your operation, meet your employees, and learn about what you do, they are much more likely to thoughtfully consider how policy proposals impact business.  Thankfully, a great many for you have hosted such meetings. 

The latest meeting will be held tomorrow in NE Iowa, as ABI Vice Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) hosts U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and State Representative Ashley Hinson.  Representative Hinson is the Republican nominee for Congress in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District).  Jack is no stranger to such meetings, as he has hosted many officials over the years, including presidential candidates.  Thank you, Jack, for hosting the meeting and for all you do to advance ABI! 

Becky Coady Named ESGR State Chair

As you read in this week’s ABI eNewsletter (, one of our own has been named to a very important post.  ABI Foundation Vice President Becky Coady has been appointed State Chair of the Iowa Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve.  Becky’s Chairship began October 1 and is an official department of defense volunteer position with a three-year term.  She will lead ESGR’s work to support the citizen-soldiers of the Iowa National Guard and will work with many other constituencies.  Congratulations, Becky on being named to this important post!