Board to Meet March 9 - Monday Memo 2/22/21

February 22, 2021

ABI Board to Meet March 9

The March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held at 1:30 p.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. on March 9thVirtual participation options are now being investigated and watch for more information about that soon. 

Watch your email in-basket on or about March 2nd for the usual message with meeting links.  On behalf of ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), I hope you can all participate.  

By the way, per usual practice, the ABI Executive Committee will not meet in March, so that committee members can focus on the luncheon and board meeting.  Should you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Michelle Vollstedt or me. 

Beginning Thursday, Register for the Annual Conference

The 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in Coralville/Iowa City June 8-10.  At the conference, you will find not one, but three headline speakers.  You will see fabulous venues, you will have access to terrific alternative activities, and great golf at Finkbine Golf Course, and of course you will take part in the best business networking anywhere.  Registration for the conference will open THURSDAY!  Please register for the conference by going to  Don’t miss this terrific event! 

Bi-Weekly Legislative Update Coming Friday

As you know, ABI lobbyists host an update to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  These bi-weekly updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are held every two weeks and the next call is this Friday, February 26.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The update will take place by Zoom at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The members-only call is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register by emailing Michelle Vollstedt at  Go here for more information:  In the meantime, thanks to JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf, ABI’s public policy team, for their hard work. 

Not Too Late to Register for This Week’s ABI Webinars on Enviro Regs, H1-B, and Legislative Update

Tomorrow, on February 23, ABI is hosting an Environmental issues webinar.  Get up to speed with proposed changes and get information about potential additional changes.  Find more information and register here:  

Wednesday (2/24), ABI will host a webinar related to the H-1B visa program.  Just like the PPP webinar, this event focuses on a program that can be complicated and frustrating.  Make the program work for you with information from longtime ABI member BrownWinick

As noted above, we’ll close the week with the bi-weekly Legislative Update.  You can find information about these events at the links above or by going to  Thank you in advance for participating in these high-value events. 

By the way, a webinar related to the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to be held today was canceled due to lack of interest.  We’ll take that as a good sign that folks involved in the program have either completed their participation or have the information they need.

Business Horizons Board Will Meet

One of the ABI Foundation’s flagship programs is Business Horizons.  This terrific program brings about a hundred Iowa high school students together each summer to teach them about business and to help them find their future right here in Iowa. 

Plans are underway to hold this year’s BH session in person. Now scheduled for July 18-22 on the campus of Central College in Pella, BH 2021 is sure to be a big success.  In preparation for the BH session, the BH Board of Directors will meet this Wednesday.  Thank you to these leaders for their time and expertise. 

March 23: Biennial Workers' Compensation Seminar

As you know, the biennial ABI Workers- Compensation Seminar will be held on March 23 by Zoom.  The program will include the latest information about workers' comp and the latest information about best practices being utilized by other companies.  Click here for more information and to register:  We look forward to your participation in this always-popular event. 

IDPH Confirms Vaccination Policy, Sends Guidance to Counties

ABI has received confirmation from officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health that manufacturing production workers (including distribution, etc.) working in close quarters are eligible for the various COVID-19 vaccines during Phase 1B, Tier 2.  Even more importantly, IDPH officials have given clear guidance to public health officials in all of Iowa’s 99 counties that is the case.  

Two issues remain: supply and the date of initiation of Tier 2.  The federal government has notified Iowa officials that the supply of vaccines to Iowa is expected to double within the next 20 days or so.  That will impact the initiation date of Tier 2 dramatically.  That’s good news and please watch for more information as it develops. 

Iowa STEM Seeking Your Help in Placing Educators in Summer Externships

For many years now, ABI member companies have worked with local educators to help them learn about business and the needs of business and students.  Iowa educators are proactive in wanting to take advantage of these excellent opportunities. 

Iowa STEM (, a great ABI member/partner, is again seeking your help in placing educators in six-week externships with Iowa companies.  By participating, your company will get your name in front of local students and your local educators will understand what you do for your community and what you can do for students when it comes to a rewarding career.  For more information, please reply to this memorandum and I’ll connect you with the right people at Iowa STEM to provide you with all you need to get started. 

The Business of ABI: COVID-19 Pandemic

It was a year ago, in the Monday Memo of February 24, 2020, that I saw the first mention of COVID-19 in these weekly messages.  I did so in mentioning that a valued ABI member/partner, CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University), had developed a website with information about the then-newly reported coronavirus.  To quote CIRAS: “As of today, the impacts on Iowa manufacturing seem limited. We’re hearing of operational delays in supplies, shortages of PPE, and issues travelling to suppliers and customers. We’re concerned about how quickly these impacts will escalate if the crisis continues.” 

Of course we now know that CIRAS was right to be concerned and that small item in the Monday Memo was the beginning of ABI’s response to the pandemic, the second global pandemic in ABI’s long history.  About two weeks later, we held the annual ABI Day on the Hill, a terrific day of ABI meetings and events.  The day enjoyed fabulous participation and great energy among ABI members… then things shut down. 

As we slowly and carefully return to some measure of normalcy, I am grateful for the valued partners, such as CIRAS, that help ABI navigate the pandemic for members.  I am grateful for all the things the team here has done and are doing for members related to the pandemic.  We have helped members find personal protective equipment, sources of capital and new supply vendors, and we worked hard to ensure that members could remain in operation.  Now, we are working hard to make sure ABI members have access to vaccines at the earliest appropriate time. 

I am proud that thanks to your leadership, ABI stayed at the forefront throughout the pandemic.  Because ABI is well-managed, we are able to weather the virus.  We did not shut down, lay off employees, or eliminate programming.  In fact, we added programs and new ways to help members during the pandemic.  Thank you for your support and your leadership which made that possible.