ABI: Always Focused on Your Future

October 4, 2018 | Mike Ralston

Mike Ralston, President, ABI

How can ABI help you and your business? That question—and delivering on the answer to the question—drives our work at the association and is really what ABI is all about.

For any organization that is 115 years old such as ABI, things tend to ebb and flow over time. Unless action is taken, there will be a lot more ebbing than flowing and ultimately, the organization won't be in a position to be successful.

Thankfully for you as an ABI member, the association's board of directors and former chairs of the board provide leadership that ensures ABI will be successful. The board develops a plan each year and focuses on results. Thanks to that leadership and that focus, ABI knows at all times whether or not it is achieving success.

You know about our work in public policy, in foundation programs and in events. That work is ongoing, and in every instance, ABI and the ABI Foundation are experiencing record success in those areas. What you may not know is the board also develops other objectives and ensures ABI pays attention to them as well.

As for some examples of that, many years ago, ABI members saw that more needed to be done in Iowa to help entrepreneurs. Rather than wait for someone else to do it, ABI created a relationship with VentureNet Iowa and provided practical help to new companies. ABI members saw a need for more Iowa students to be grounded in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. So, ABI has quietly provided funding and support to help various Iowa STEM initiatives succeed. A third example of leadership by the ABI Board is the Elevate Advanced Manufacturing campaign around manufacturing jobs. ABI saw a need and created a campaign to raise the profile of manufacturing in Iowa and to connect Iowans with good jobs. (Go to www.elevateiowa.com for more information). And there are many other examples of ABI leading in other areas.

The bottom line is that you can choose a metric (revenue, policy objectives, foundation participation, member programs), and ABI is experiencing success. But ABI is also achieving success in non-core mission activities as well. That is due to fantastic leadership by the ABI Board and incredible investment and support by all of you.

But here's the point of all this. This past success is terrific, but we are always focused on the future and serving you in the way YOU as member-customers want us to. So, as always and on behalf of the ABI Board, I sincerely thank you for your membership, and I also ask as I did at the start of this essay: How can ABI help you and your business?

Mike Ralston is president at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). You may email him at mralston@iowaabi.org.