ABI and COVID-19 - Monday Memo 3/16/20

March 16, 2020

ABI Responds to COVID-19 Virus, Resources for Members Available

Last Thursday, you should have received a message from me (prepared with the help of David Hildahl and Nicole Crain) about our work to closely follow news about the coronavirus (COVID-19).  As I noted, we’ve been having lots of conversations about its impact on ABI members. Here is a re-cap of that message: 

Where can I turn for trusted information?

ABI has created a Coronavirus webpage featuring background information and precautions, along with links to resources from trusted sources. You'll find general information, as well as advice specific to business and industry. 

Will this affect Iowa business and industry?

Iowa manufacturers are concerned about the economic effects of coronavirus, according to the results of the ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey released on Tuesday. Members projected decreased sales, hiring and capital expenditures for the second quarter. 

Is #ABICON20 still happening?

As of right now, with the information from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Taking Care of Business Conference in June is still on. We will continue to watch updates and follow the advice of experts.  

What are other members doing?

The ABI board of directors would like to hear how your company is addressing the situation--from company travel to remote working to sanitation procedures. What best practices are you following? What questions are employees asking? Please hit reply and let me know. 

Annual Business Day on the Hill, Other Events Big Success

ABI is celebrating another successful annual Business Day on the Hill and related events held last week.  As for Day on the Hill, the Iowa Business Council, the Iowa Chamber Alliance, the Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Iowa Taxpayers Association, and the National Association of Women Business Owners were our partners this year.  

After personal lobbying visits at the Statehouse, participants enjoyed a luncheon featuring Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg and Speaker of the House Pat Grassley.  Following the luncheon, the ABI Board of Directors held its March meeting.  

On behalf of ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), thank you to all of you who participated in last week's ABI meetings and events.  Thanks to you, ABI enjoyed a terrific day and strong work to advance the association's public policy priorities. 

Biennial ABI Program on Pre-Employment Testing POSTPONED

Every two years, ABI presents a program designed to share the latest information about pre-employment testing programs.  The 2020 edition was to be held later this month, but due to precautions related to the COVID-19 virus, it has been postponed.  For more information, reply to this memorandum. 

Busy Time for ABI Foundation; Foundation Annual Report Now Available

This is a busy time for the ABI Foundation.  In last week's memorandum, I noted that now is the time to make nominations both for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa.  Doing so is easy, free, and doesn't take a lot of time.  Click on https://www.leadershipiowa.com/ and/or http://www.businesshorizonsiowa.org/ for more information and to make your nominations.  

In addition to the nominations activity, the Foundation is celebrating the publication of its annual report for 2019.  The report documents a strong financial and program footing for the ABI Foundation.  If you would like a copy of the report, please reply to this memorandum and we’ll get you one at once. 

ABI Executive Committee Meeting April 8; Next Board Meeting May 13

As you read in last week's Memo, the ABI Executive Committee will next meet on April 8.  That meeting, which will take place by teleconference, will begin at 9:30 a.m.  The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors is scheduled for May 13 at the ABI office in Des Moines.  That meeting is still on for now, but please watch for more information ahead. 

For now, 'Best-Ever' Conference Coming in June; One Hotel Sold-out, Another Nearly So

You will soon receive your annual brochure invitation to the Taking Care of Business Conference, ABI's 117th annual convention.  This event, which has been predicted to be the 'best-ever' by some ABI members, will be held June 9-11 in Cedar Rapids.  Note: based on information from the CDC and other experts, ABI is still planning on holding the conference as planned.  That could change, of course, so please stay tuned.  

As you know, one hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton, is already sold-out.  Another, the Hotel at Kirkwood Center, is nearly sold-out.  That is one more indication of the crowd planning to descend on Cedar Rapids for this fabulous event.  Plenty of other lodging options remain, however, and you can find more information by clicking on this link: http://www.cvent.com/events/2020-abi-taking-care-of-business-conference/event-summary-f49a32e8f8d347c795fa4ba13d529054.aspx.   

When you click on the link above, you will be able to register for the conference and make your lodging reservations.  But you should also click on the link to view a brief, fun, and informative video about what you can expect at the conference.  It is simply Iowa’s best statewide business networking event.  See you in Cedar Rapids in June! 

Week 11 in the Iowa Business Report Radio Program

Another great edition of the Iowa Business Report radio program, made possible by ABI, has now been broadcast all over the state.  Click here to listen for yourself: http://iowabusinessreport.buzzsprout.com/.  Links can also be found on the ABI website at https://www.iowaabi.org/news/iowa-business-report/.  

ABI is pleased to support the show, which is produced by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  By the way, in May of this year, Jeff will celebrate his 40th year in broadcasting.  Congratulations, Jeff! 

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference to be Re-Scheduled

For many years, ABI has been among a number of organizations that are collaborating in producing the Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference.  Past editions of the conference have been a huge success. 

The 2020 conference, originally scheduled for next month, is now being rescheduled.  If you already registered, you will receive information soon.  If you haven’t yet registered, look for the new date soon and make your plans to attend.  Click here for more information: http://mecconference.com/.    

The Business of ABI: Programs and Services

As you know, from time to time in these memos, I like to share a little bit about some internal aspect of the way ABI operates.  As I always say, ABI ought to function like a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't delivering value for you, there is no reason for you to support our work. 

About 15 years ago, at the direction of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI conducted a review of its internal operations and programs and services.  When it came to internal operations, hemorrhaging cash and being involved in vendor relationships that didn't serve the association or its members were some of the challenges identified.  Outdated data systems and other challenges also existed and over the years, thanks to your leadership, these have been addressed.  For example, our balance sheet now shows strength and stability.  

The good news then is good news today.  ABI's core programs of public policy advocacy, member meetings and events, and Foundation programs were strong and continue to be strong.  Over the years, new programs have been added (such as VentureNet Iowa, Elevate Iowa, and others).  Events have been created, and some things have been transformed (ABI's annual conference and our monthly newsmagazine come to mind).  This kind of change and growth must continue for ABI to be the dynamic resource for Iowa business that you deserve. 

One of ABI’s original services continues to be vital to this day.  That is our association’s public policy work.   This year, as was the case last year, ABI is experiencing some of its most successful work ever at the Statehouse.  Longstanding ABI objectives have been and are being advanced.  That is thanks to some terrific work on the part of a talented staff and by YOUR leadership, participation, and support.  Thanks to YOU, the business of ABI is strong and getting even better.