No 2020 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference - Monday Memo 4/13/20

April 13, 2020

2020 ABI Conference Canceled

As I shared with you in a message last Wednesday and which you have no doubt seen in other media, the 2020 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference has been cancelled.  Thank you to ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and to the Executive Committee for making this difficult decision and to all of you for supporting it. 

This decision was not made lightly.  After considering this action and other alternatives, it became clear that cancelation provided the least amount of uncertainty to ABI and served members best.  

The ABI Bylaws require an annual business meeting for the purposes of approving minutes and electing board members and officers.  That meeting will occur electronically and we’ll share more information in the coming weeks.  For now, thank you again for your support.  We look forward to seeing you in Iowa City/Coralville next June for the 2021 annual conference! 

Special Public Policy Teleconference Wednesday

As you read about in last Thursday’s ABI newsletter, Iowa Workforce Development has announced a new policy that has the potential to add an additional charge to employers related to unemployment compensation.  ABI has been working on this issue since the announcement was made.  We believe there will be more information to share soon. 

In that regard, the ABI public policy staff will host a special teleconference at 8:00 a.m. on the day after tomorrow, Wednesday, April 15.  Participation is open to all ABI members at no charge.  Please RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt at and she’ll provide call-in numbers.  

May Board Meeting in Four Weeks

The final FY20 meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held May 13.  The board will meet by teleconference beginning at noon.  

Your comments related to your company and the COVID-19 pandemic, along with ABI issues, will be the focus of the meeting.  Watch for more information soon. 

Watch for Annual ABI CEO Survey

Each year, ABI surveys member CEOs regarding issues important to them and their businesses.  The survey differs from the new quarterly business survey, in that the annual CEO survey is distributed to ALL member company CEOs and it surveys general issues… not what is expected in the coming quarter.  It is anticipated that the survey will be ready for your attention very soon.

When it is, please complete the survey (it should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes).  You will be able to read the results in the June edition of Business Record Iowa

Nominating Committee Work to Begin

As you read in last week’s memo, the ABI Nominating Committee will meet two weeks from tomorrow.  The committee is chaired by Immediate Past ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) and will meet by teleconference on April 28.  Other members include Andy Kretz (Dexter Apache Holdings, Fairfield), Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston), Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), and Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer, Sioux City).  

If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact one of them, or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the Des Moines Business Record, ABI publishes Business Record Iowa.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  

The April edition focuses on sustainability and executives of longtime ABI member International Paper grace the cover.  The magazine should now be in your mailbox, inside the Des Moines Business Record.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you at once. 

15th Episode of Iowa Business Report Radio Program Broadcast

The Iowa Business Report radio program’s 15th edition was broadcast statewide over the weekend.  ABI is proud to sponsor this terrific program.  Click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  The show is produced by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  

Canadian Consulate Offers Assistance

The Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis is a terrific ABI member/partner.  The staff in the Consulate has been very helpful over the years in assisting ABI members in doing business with Canada. 

Senior Trade Minister Carl Pilon reached out to ABI last week to offer assistance.  If you are having trouble with Canadian vendors, or with trade or supply chain issues involving Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carl and his team can be of assistance.  Reply to this memorandum and I’ll provide contact information. 

Be Sure and Engage with Your Local Officials

Many ABI members are actively engaged with their legislative delegations and local officials.  The importance of this was demonstrated again this past week.  One of our longtime members and leaders, who is indeed active with elected officials, played  a key role in ensuring that negative local resolutions aren’t adopted relating to shutting down businesses.  That kind of interaction is important and it makes a difference.  If you have issues involving local officials, let us know. 

ABI Member Exec 1 Aviation Can help with Transportation Issues

It is not my intent to advertise for anyone, but I have heard of ABI members who have difficulty in securing air travel providers (due to changes in commercial airlines’ flight schedules related to the COVID-19 pandemic).  One source of assistance is another ABI member, Exec 1 Aviation.  In most cases, this private carrier can provide flights for your staff or for products and supplies.  Click here for more information:  

Diamond Vogel Again Honored for Paint Iowa Beautiful

Two ABI members were in the news last week.  Each year (for 17 years now), ABI members Keep Iowa Beautiful and Vogel Paint Company sponsor Paint Iowa Beautiful.  This quiet program has resulted in well over 1,000 Iowa communities bettering themselves.  Last week, announcement was made of the communities honored with Paint Iowa Beautiful awards for 2020.  Congratulations and thank you to everyone at KIB and at Vogel Paint, especially to ABI Board Member Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City)

One More Example of ABI Manufacturers Helping: Hy-Capacity

So many ABI members are re-tooling to produce personal protective equipment.  This PPE is needed as our state fights to curb the COVID-019 pandemic. 

One more example of a manufacturer re-tooling to help make PPE is ABI member Hy-Capacity.  Hy-Capacity, of course, is well-known as a leading maker of heavy-duty tractor parts.  The company last week changed some of its production to make medical gowns and masks.  That’s a big change!  It’s also terrific and thank you to everyone there, including company president and ABI Board Member Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt)