Board to Meet in March - Monday Memo 2/5/24

February 5, 2024

ABI Board Will Meet in March; Executive Committee a Week from Wednesday

The next ABI Board of Directors meeting will be held March 6th (following ABI Business Day in Des Moines; please see below).  In the meantime, the association’s Executive Committee will hold its regular monthly meeting by Zoom a week from Wednesday (February 14th).  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will convene the meeting at 10:00 Wednesday morning. 

ABI Business Day in Des Moines a Month Away

The second edition of ABI's newest event takes place in four weeks.  Business Day in Des Moines, which was created based on YOUR feedback and on a very successful event ABI hosted in 2021, will be held Wednesday, March 6.  

You’ll hear from invited guests Governor Reynolds, legislative leaders of both chambers and both parties (all four leaders are close to being confirmed), you’ll hear a political update from national expert Jim Ellis (BIPAC, Washington, DC), and more.  You’ll have the opportunity to interact with these leaders, with fellow ABI members, and you’ll hear the latest about ABI issues and programs.  You don’t want to miss it!  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Business Day in Des Moines (  

As noted above, March 6 is also the day of the March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  On behalf of our ABI officers, thank you in advance for your participation in this year’s event. 

Legislative Update a Week from Friday

Every two weeks throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists host a Zoom update to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each update.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed.  

The next update will be held a week from Friday, on February 16th, at 8:00 a.m., and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register by clicking on this link: Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  There is a lot happening at the Capitol, so don’t miss this update from ABI’s public policy team of JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf. 

Seeking Any Companies that conduct “Active Shooter Drills” at Their Facilities

ABI has been asked by an Iowa manufacturer if we have any information from companies that periodically conduct “Active Shooter Drills” in their plants and/or offices.  Do you conduct these types of drills?  If you do and wouldn’t mind sharing information about them, please reply to this message.  Thank you in advance for your help. 

Leadership Iowa Program LI Connect Zoom February 14

As you know, the Leadership Iowa program is one of the nation’s oldest statewide leadership development programs.  LI Connect seeks to do just that, provide programming of value to connect and inform LI alumni.  

The latest event in the series will be held later this month, when LI Connect focuses on government.  This is a great way for LI alums to be engaged in their community and their state and participation can be easy – once you know the system.  This free Zoom event begins at 8:30 a.m. on February 14.  To participate, click here: LI Connect: Government | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Advisory Council Meeting February 15

Members of the ABI Advisory Council provide leadership in many ways.  Certainly their financial support for ABI is important, but of even greater value are the resources and information these great companies provide to ABI members.  

The council will hold its monthly meeting on February 15.  Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are Anthologic, AssuredPartners, Bankers Trust, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CLA, Eide Bailley, EMC Insurance, G&A Partners, Fredrikson, HDH Advisors, Principal Network of Central Iowa, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo.  

Connecting Statewide Leaders Program in Dubuque on March 7

As I noted last week, on March 7th in Dubuque, ABI will host another in the series of ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders events.  Also as I noted last week, the location is still being finalized, but we are excited to share that a fantastic speaker will lead the program:  Jennifer Olson (MercyOne, Des Moines).  Dr. Olson, who is President of MercyOne Medical Group, will address trends in health care and discuss finance issues that may impact employers.  You can register and find more information here: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Dubuque (  Don’t miss this terrific program. 

Carroll Automation Summit Great Success, Board Members Attend

ABI has been hosting a series of Automation Summits around Iowa.  The fourth edition way held last Thursday in Carroll and a great crowd was on hand to learn about industrial robots, cobots, and other issues related to automation.  Thank you to member partners CIRAS, DMACC, and Kinetic Technologies for their support for these programs.  Special thanks as well to ABI Board Members Steve Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake) and Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Pella) for attending the summit.  Watch for news about the fifth summit soon. 

Economist Phil Levy: Inflation will Continue, Recession in 2025

It is always interesting to attend the Economic Forecast Luncheon produced by ABI member the Corridor Business Journal.  A number of us from the ABI team did so last week.  By the way, it was a pleasure to see former ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and longtime ABI Board Member Rich Dwyer (KENT Corporation, Muscatine) while we were there.  There were a ton of ABI member companies represented at the event. 

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was well-known economist Dr. Phil Levy.  Dr. Levy had some interesting perspectives to share.  As for a bottom line, he predicted that inflation will persist during calendar year 2024.  He also predicted some form of a recession for the first or second quarter of 2025.  Finally, Dr. Levy believes that 2024 will be a good year for the construction industry.  We’ll check in a year from now and see whether or not Dr. Levy’s predictions hold up. 

NAM Report: GDP, Consumer Spending Up

As for known-data (as compared to predictions, see above), last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, had some positive news to share.  That is that GDP and the US economy grew in the fourth quarter of the calendar year.   There was also other positive news, such as consumer spending as also up.  As always, should you wish to read the report for yourself, please contact me and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Rick Tollakson Inducted into ISU Department Hall of Fame

It was fun to read last week that longtime ABI Board Member Rick Tollakson (Hubbell Realty Company, West Des Moines) was inducted into Iowa State University’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering Hall of Fame. Rick, of course, is the longtime leader of Hubbell and its affiliated companies and is a key Iowa business leader generally.  Learn more here (and click on Rick’s name to read about his career): CCEE welcomes 2024 Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Inductees - College of Engineering News (  ABI sends deepest congratulations and hearty best wishes to Rick Tollakson! 

Kelly Barrick Celebrates Tomorrow

Another member of the board of directors is celebrating a birthday.  Tomorrow, February 6, is the birthday of longtime ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC Bank, Des Moines).  ABI sends best birthday wishes, Kelly; hope you have a terrific day! 

Nicole Crain Attends ASCP Winter Meeting

It was good to welcome home ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain Friday.  Nicole left Wednesday for Arizona, where she participated in the Winter Meeting of the Association of State Chamber Professionals.  

Governor Appoints Brad Hartkopf to District Judicial Commission

It is become somewhat of a tradition that an ABI staffer be appointed to one of the state’s judicial nominating panels.  Both ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain and ABI Senior Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf have previously served. 

In fact, Brad still serves as a member of the State Judicial Nominating Commission.  He must be doing something right, because last week, Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Brad to the District 5C Judicial Nominating Commission. His six-year term begins on February 1, 2024 and ends on January 31, 2030. District 5C includes Polk County. The commission includes five members appointed by the governor, five members elected by attorneys and the most senior district court judge in the district, who serves as Chair of the commission.  Congratulations and thank you for your service on both commissions, Brad!