New Directors Elected - Monday Memo 11/16/20

November 16, 2020

New Directors Elected to ABI Board

It is unusual for vacancies develop on the ABI Board of Directors during the middle of the year.  It is more unusual when there are several of those vacancies.  That was the case this year, however, and several new directors were elected to the board during last week’s meeting.  

Congratulations to newly-elected directors Garrett Burchett (Mississippi River Distilling Company, LeClaire), Jack Carra (LMC Insurance and Risk Management, West Des Moines), Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines), Mike Lovell (Meredith Corporation, Des Moines), Bill McKim (Midland Power Cooperative, Jefferson), and Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City).  I hope you will join me congratulating these new board members at the board’s next meeting in January.  In the meantime, special thanks to Immediate Past ABI Chair/Nominating Committee Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) for her service with regard to the board election. 

COVID-19 Vaccines Near Deployment Phase; Read about Iowa Plan

As several of the vaccines under deployment to treat COVID-19 near approval, everyone is eager to access them once they are ready for deployment.  ABI reached out to the Iowa Department of Public Health last week to obtain information about Iowa’s plan for deployment. 

While plans are still fluid, it is clear that many ABI companies that include health care workers and manufacturing production workers and others will perhaps be able to access the vaccine sooner than some.  As noted in last week’s ABI newsletter, ABI will continue to monitor this matter and bring you information as soon as it is available.  For now, please click here for more information:  Page 16 provides vaccine deployment prioritization information.  

IEDA/IDPH/IWD Produce Best Practice COVID Resource

Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and Iowa Workforce Development have produced an online resource for businesses.  The PowerPoint outline includes best practice sharing and frequently asked questions (and answers) from businesses across Iowa.  Click here to access the outline:  The document is updated frequently, so check back often. 

Advisory Council to Meet Thursday

As I noted in last week’s memorandum, the ABI Advisory Council will meet Thursday.  This will mark the panel's final business meeting of 2020.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members 21st Century Rehab, ACS, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal, Shift Interactive, The Iowa Clinic, and Wells Fargo for their leadership and support. 

December Executive Committee Teleconference on the 10th

The ABI Executive Committee will hold its next regularly-scheduled monthly teleconference at 9:30 a.m. on December 10.  ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and members of the committee will work through a full agenda and the teleconference will mark the final ABI leadership meeting of 2020.  

Executive Committee members should watch for their usual meeting prep packets to arrive around December 3.  Thank you in advance for your participation in this important meeting. 

2021 ABI Legislative Briefing, Reception in January

One of ABI’s most popular events each year is the annual legislative reception (the annual legislative briefing precedes it).  This important association meeting provides an opportunity for you and your employees to visit with your legislators in a fun and casual setting.  Traditionally, more legislators attend this event than any other similar event held throughout the session and it is important for ABI members to be on hand to share business perspectives with them. 

The 2021 Reception will be held Wednesday, January 13.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, all 150 members of the Iowa General Assembly, and other state officials have been invited again this year.  Don’t miss this opportunity to greet your legislators and share important business issues with them.  

You can register now by going to and clicking on the button at the top of the page.  The event will be held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines (all appropriate health and safety protocols will be followed) and it will follow the January meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  See you there.  

Next Program in ABI Webinar Series Wednesday: Childcare Focus

There are a couple of programs remaining in the webinar series ABI initiated last month.  The next high value webinar will be on Wednesday, and it focuses on avoiding disruptions in your business.  The focus is on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on childcare. 

Thank you to ABI member/partner CIRAS (The Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University) for their team’s critical involvement in this event.  Registration is FREE and you may register here:  

First ABI Board Meeting of 2021 on January 13

The January meeting of the ABI Board of Directors is traditionally one of the association’s busiest and best attended.  The board will meet Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at the Community Choice Credit Union in Des Moines and the ABI Executive Committee will meet immediately prior.  

For now, the meeting is planned as an in-person event.  ABI staff members are constantly reviewing the latest information related to the pandemic and will make a final decision about whether or not the meeting takes place in person or virtually in the coming weeks.  

Your attendance is needed to ensure this important meeting goes well.  Please mark your calendars now to join your ABI colleagues on January 13.  

Iowa Business Report Radio Program

The Iowa Business Report radio program is broadcast weekly on stations all over Iowa.  The program 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  

Leadership Iowa Alumni Society Annual Membership Drive Now Underway

Alumni of the ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa program are some of the program’s strongest supporters.  Now is the time of year that the program is seeking all LI alumni to join the Leadership Iowa Alumni Society for the 2020-2021 program year.  The $100 membership, which is fully tax deductible, supports this year’s alumni engagement efforts as well as the development of the LI program and its participants. 

The Foundation reports that the Alumni Society is well on its way to one of its best years ever, even surpassing last year’s record-setting numbers.  The goal for the year is 230 members and a third have already joined (I have and I hope you will join, too).  Credit card payments may be made online at or call Foundation team member Jane Galloway at (515) 235-0578 for more information.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Foundation Asks: Please Remember #Giving Tuesday

Speaking of the Foundation, please remember the items I shared previously related to #GivingTuesday.  The hashtag signifies a global day of giving fueled by social media and collaboration.  

The statistics for this online event are growing exponentially.  Last year, over 3.8 billion people collectively gave more than $503 million in more than 145 countries.  The event is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely-represented shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

Please remember that the ABI Foundation hopes you will participate in #GivingTuesday this December 1st by supporting their programs.  Please support the ABI Foundation through #GivingTuesday and don't hesitate to contact Foundation Development Director Becky Coady for more information at or at (515) 235-0569. 

Brad Hartkopf Participates in ATRA Conference

ABI Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf represented ABI during the annual meeting of the American Tort Reform Association.  ATRA has long been an ABI partner and the annual conference provides great information from a variety of speakers and experts.  As you might expect, this year’s event was held virtually.  While Brad didn’t get to make a trip to some sunny destination, we are grateful for his participation in this always informative event. 

ABI Holds Last Board Meeting of Calendar Year

Last week by Zoom, members of the ABI Board of Directors met for the final board meeting of 2020.  Strong participation and great discussion marked the day.  Operations reports, the annual audit presentation, election of new members, and board members' business updates were highlights of the day.  

Thank you to board members and former board chairs for your participation in a great meeting.  On behalf of ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), thank you for helping make the final 2020 board meeting go so well. 

Make Your 2021 Annual Conference Lodging Reservations Now

In last week's memo, I noted that it is not too early to make your lodging reservation for the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference.  The conference will be held in Coralville/Iowa City June 8-10 of next year. 

Rooms are going fast, so make your reservations now.  The Coralville Marriott and the Drury Inn and Suites are the main conference hotels.  Click on this link for more information:  Watch for some other exciting conference announcements in the coming weeks. 

NAM Global Manufacturing Economic Update: Manufacturing Further Strengthened

The monthly Global Manufacturing Economic Update report from the National Association of Manufacturers is quite positive this month.  Much strong data is reported, though of course challenges remain.  GDP growth of 5.2 percent is predicted for 2021.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Longtime ABI Board Member Steve Roberts Passes

A week ago today, ABI received news that Steve Roberts (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines) had died after a long illness.  Many of you will well recall Steve, who served as a member of the ABI Board of Directors for at least 35 years. 

Steve was a prominent Des Moines attorney, political official, lobbyist, and civic leader.  He and his wife, Dawn Roberts, were heavily involved in Des Moines and in a wide variety of organizations.  

Steve was well known at ABI meetings for being a great “seconder of motions” and for always seeking to advance the association.  I know several ABI members that benefited from Steve’s counsel, whether that be in acquisitions of operations in new territories, or with complex taxation issues, or general business matters.  Steve was an exceptional storyteller, though many of his stories can’t be repeated here.  ABI Board Member Tim Coonan (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines) and former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) shared comments in honor of Steve at last week’s ABI board meeting. 

Kirk shared a saying that Steve had shared often.  When talking about an issue that might have become emotional and divisive, Steve would say, “Half of my friends support it, half of my friends oppose it.  I’m with my friends.”  Another story I remember Steve shared related to a story about the partners at a particular law firm who were not getting along.  About that time, one of them was involved in a critical automobile accident and Steve said the vote of the others was 5-4 to wish him a speedy recovery.  

Read more about Steve here:  A memorial service will be held in Des Moines sometime in 2021.  For now, our thoughts and prayers are with Dawn and the Roberts Family at this time.