Annual ABI Legislative Briefing Next Week - Monday Memo 1/4/21

January 4, 2021

Next Week: Annual Legislative Briefing; Register Now

With only a little over a week to go, advance registrations for the virtual 2021 ABI Legislative Briefing are running at a very strong pace.  Around 150 ABI members have already registered.  I hope you have already registered, but if not, please register NOW by going to or by simply replying to this email message. 

While the annual legislative reception has been postponed and will be held at a later date, the virtual briefing will give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  As you know, the 2021 Session of the Iowa General Assembly will convene a week from today.  Please join in this members-only briefing following the ABI Board Meeting. 

ABI Board, Executive Committee to Meet

As referenced above, the ABI Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of the calendar year a week from Wednesday.  ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) will convene the meeting by Zoom and a message with the necessary links should arrive in your email in-basket in just a couple of days.  Steven and members of the association's Executive Committee will also convene for the committee’s first meeting of 2021 on Wednesday. We look forward to your participation next week.  

Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning Seeks Your Projects

A little over a year ago, state government created the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning.  The Clearinghouse has done a terrific job of connecting work projects submitted by Iowa businesses with students that can complete the projects.  Click on this 3 minute video to learn more:  

Now, the Clearinghouse is seeking more projects.  If you have a project at your company that needs to be completed, please think about submitting to the Clearinghouse.  Need Ideas?  Click here for some ideas about the types of project that are a good fit:  The Clearinghouse is a good way (and a cost-effective way) to get your projects completed quickly.  And, the students involved may be your employees someday. 

Foundation Board Will Meet

The ABI Foundation Board of Directors, chaired by Kim Butler Hegedus (Community State Bank, Ankeny), will hold its quarterly meeting at ABI on Wednesday.  The Foundation Board is comprised of terrific leaders and the Foundation is enjoying a terrific year.  Watch for more news at next week’s ABI board meeting. 

ABI Office Renovations Underway

As you know, ABI recently negotiated a new lease with the association’s landlord, Member Company R&R Realty Group.  Part of the new lease called for new paint and floorcoverings in the ABI suite. 

That work is now underway and is causing some brief disruptions in telephone and email communications.  However, this work was planned in such a way that ABI members should not notice those disruptions.  At any rate, the project is designed to move quickly and we will be eager to host you back in the newly refreshed office very soon.  In the meantime, special thanks to Executive Vice President Nicole Crain, who is managing this project for ABI. 

Iowa Business Report Radio Program

In 2020, ABI was pleased to partner with well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein on the Iowa Business Report radio program.  The program is a weekly show focused on Iowa businesses and business-related news.  It is heard on 22 stations all over Iowa. 

While the official partnership is over, we plan to continue to support the show in other ways.  In the meantime, you can hear the full set of 2020 shows here:  Congratulations and thank you to Jeff for this terrific program. 

January Leadership Iowa Session Next Week

The ABI Foundation’s 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa Class will hold its January session next week, using a virtual format.  The session is jam-packed with terrific speakers, meetings with legislators, media presentations, and other activities.  

The January session, as you can tell, focuses on state government and politics and is typically one of the program’s most popular.  You will have an opportunity to meet members of the LI class at a future date.  

Remember: You Can Receive ABI Updates through Twitter, Facebook

ABI was one of the first associations to use new social media technologies to keep in touch and inform members of new developments.  With next Monday’s convening of the legislative session, it seems like a good time to remind you that you can receive updates via Twitter as legislative developments are happening.  

Many ABI members -- and members of the media -- tell me frequently that they appreciate these real time updates.  ABI's public policy staff regularly tweets LIVE from the committee rooms at the Statehouse. 

ABI also has a Facebook site, shares information via the web, and of course continues to utilize all the traditional media to ensure that you receive the latest information in the format that works best for you.  If you have other ideas for other ways we can communicate with you effectively, please let me know.

NAM Report Documents Seventh Straight Month of Manufacturing Growth

In a recent edition of the weekly Monday Economic Report from the National Association of Manufacturers, NAM noted that manufacturing production grew in November.  That’s the seventh consecutive month of manufacturing growth and amazing, given the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing. 

There was more good news, too.  All of it is encouraging as we enter a new year that should see a return to a much more normal situation.  One thing not improved is the need for manufacturing workers.  If you are interested in viewing the report for yourself, reply to this message and I will send it to you. 

Emily Schmitt Promoted to Key Position at Sukup Manufacturing Co.

There was some big news from longtime ABI member Sukup Manufacturing Co. last week.  The organization’s General Counsel, 3rd generation family member Emily Schmitt (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield), was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel. 

ABI members know Emily from her presentations at ABI conferences and events and as an appointee of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to essential state boards and commissions.  She has been a leading member of the executive team at Sukup for many years.  Congratulations to Emily and to the company’s president (and Emily’s dad) Steve Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield)

UEA, Story Team-Up for Exciting Construction Project in Waverly

You’ve read before that we enjoy seeing your company newsletters when they arrive in the ABI mailbox.  One of the best is StoryLine, the newsletter from ABI member Story Construction

In the latest edition of StoryLine, there is a fascinating article about a very cool project involving Story and another great ABI member, United Equipment Accessories in Waverly.  UEA has been on a steep growth curve for several years and seems to add facilities almost annually.  The latest addition of manufacturing space brought a special challenge. 

The project involved existing manufacturing capacity that marked a significant part of UEA’s sales.  Thus, the project had to be done in such a way that it did not impede ongoing production.  You’ll have to read the article to see how it was done (simply reply to this message if you wish to do so), but everything worked out incredibly well. 

Congratulations to Story and to UEA and to their leaders, ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames) and former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) on this very cool project! 

Shine, Sommerfeld Celebrate

Two great ABI leaders are celebrating.  Longtime ABI Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool, Huxley) celebrated his birthday yesterday.  Former ABI Chair Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) also celebrates his birthday this month.  Happy birthday and congratulations to Todd and Toby! 

Luke Van Wyk Organizes C12 Central Iowa

ABI member LDJ Manufacturing is well known in the Pella area.  A key executive there left to form a central Iowa chapter of C12.  Luke Van Wyk is that man and Luke has lots to share about C12 and how it can help you grow your business.  And not only grow your business, but doing so while helping you pay attention to what matters most is the key to C12.  Go here to learn more:  Or, even better, contact me and I’ll share a message from Luke with much more information and some video presentations as well.  Good luck, Luke! 

January Always an Important Month for ABI; Aggressive Agenda for 2021

It seems like every year about this time, I note that while January is the first month in the calendar year, it marks the seventh month in the annual ABI fiscal year (which concludes June 30).  For many reasons, January is a critical month for association programs.  

The first ABI meetings of the year are held this month and these events help set the tone for the year.  Your participation in these meetings is vital to our success.  Also, Foundation programs conduct critical work each January and that is important.  Of course, the Iowa General Assembly convenes in January and there is no more important work ABI does than aggressively advance a pro-business agenda before the legislature.  Finally, January is ABI’s most important month for revenue, with more of our annual revenue coming in this month than any other. 

Thank you for your leadership and your investment, which we never take for granted and which makes our success possible.  On behalf of Association Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and our officers, thank you for that support.  Big goals are a part of ABI's plans for 2021.  ABI has developed a strong record of success and those big goals for 2021 include continued growth in members and revenue, increased programming of value, legislative success, and increases in Foundation activity, among many other things. 

For now, your participation in the ABI events to be held this month is an important part of starting the year successfully.  We need your leadership to continue the aggressive and impactful record of the past years.  THANK YOU again for all you do for ABI and for Iowa business.