Board Will Meet March 15 - Monday Memo 2/8/16

February 8, 2016

ABI Board to Meet March 15; Executive Committee Meets Wednesday

Register here for the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) and members of the board will next meet on March 15th.  That day will see a full day of ABI meetings and events, as the annual ABI Day on the Hill program and other events will also take place then.  

In the meantime, the ABI Executive Committee will hold its regular February teleconference this Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.  Look for a full report on the EC meeting at the board meeting on March 15th. 

2016 Iowa Business Day on the Hill March 15

During the first quarter of the year, much of ABI's work focuses on public policy and the Iowa General Assembly.  A few years ago, following on the exploding success of the annual ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception, ABI created the annual ABI Day on the Hill.  The event capitalizes on members’ wishes to get even more involved in ABI’s public policy work.  

This event gives ABI members an opportunity to get the very latest news from the Capitol in the heat of legislative activity.  Members are taken by private coach to the Capitol to meet with and hear from key state officials, legislative leaders, and their legislators.  The event has grown bigger and better each year and this year's event will again be conducted in partnership with the Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.  

ABI Day on the Hill 2016 is being held Tuesday, March 15.  The program begins with registration that morning at the ABI office near the State Capitol.  Following a report on legislative news and updates on related issues, and including other information, DOTH participants will head to the Capitol for meetings with legislators.  Register now for this event by clicking on

Business day on the Hill will be preceded by  a reception the evening prior.  Please click on this link for more information or tor register for the reception:  By the way, March 15 is also the day of the March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  Thank you in advance for your participation in these important meetings. 

Legislative Update Teleconference on the 19th

Periodically throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, Public Policy Counsel Myron Linn, and Director Public Policy Jessica Harder host a teleconference to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each call.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next call will be held Friday, February 19th at 9:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The call is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at

ABI Foundation to Host Biennial Business Horizons Session at Gilbert High School

Business Horizons, the week-long entrepreneurial experience for high school students, is one of the ABI Foundation's flagship programs.  Students gain a hands-on education about the American free enterprise system, discover the fact that they can have an exciting and successful future right here in Iowa, and they make great contacts and friends for life.  That's the program that is offered every summer on an Iowa college campus. 

You may not know that every two years, the foundation staff puts on the program for every single junior and senior high school student in the Gilbert School District.  Gilbert is located just north of Ames and the administration there committed to BH a long time ago.  ABI Vice President Foundation Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, ABI Foundation Development Director Mary Mendenhall-Core, and ABI Foundation Marketing and Programs Coordinator Jessi Steward will spend this week in Gilbert.  A full report will be shared at the ABI board meeting in March. 

Register Now for Critical Business issues, Connecting Leaders Sessions in Sioux City, Grinnell, and Dubuque

More in the series of Critical Business Updates and Connecting Leaders Forums are ahead.  Please click on the links below for more information or to register. 

2016 Critical Business Issues - Sioux City

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Connecting Leaders - Grinnell

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2016 Critical Business Issues - Dubuque

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Annual ABI Business Resource Guide to be Delivered in the Next Two Weeks

Members tell us they appreciate and find value in the information presented in the annual ABI Business Resource Guide.  This annual publication serves as ABI's membership and program directory. 

The 2016 edition of the guide is hot of the press (thank you to ABI members Pioneer Communications and the Des Moines Business Record for making that the case).  The publication should arrive in your mailbox sometime this week or next.  If you don't receive it, please let me know.  And, should you have suggestions, let us hear from you. 

Monday NAM Report Carries Good News

There was some good news in today's Monday Economic Report from the National Association of Manufacturers.  That in itself is good news, because lately, many of the reports have been somewhat negative. 

Today's report discusses strong job growth in manufacturing and some other data points.  If you wish to see the report for yourself, reply to this message and I will get it to you at once. 

Roger Hargens to Join Governor for Weekly Press Conference

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds hold a press conference ach Monday morning at the Statehouse at 9:00.  ABI Executive Committee Member Roger Hargens (Accumold, Ankeny) will be a guest at today's event. 

Roger will join the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to speak about a FutureReady Iowa Summit to be hosted in Des Moines in the coming months.  ABI has supported FutureReady Iowa and the ways it can enhance existing initiatives, such as ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program.  Watch for more news soon and thank you, Roger! 

Chris Sackett Again Pens Register Column

Yesterday's edition of the Des Moines Register carried another in a series of columns written by ABI Board Member Chris Sackett (BrownWinick Des Moines).  Chris' column provides tips for startup business owners.  Its great reading, as you can see here:  Congratulations on the coverage, Chris! 

Cedar Valley Alliance, Quad Cities Chamber Events Coming Up

Wednesday evening in Des Moines,  ABI member Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual legislative event at HOQ.  The restaurant is just across the street from the ABI office.  Congratulations to the QC Chamber for what is always a great event.  I'll bet we will see ABI Board Member John Riches (Alcoa, Davenport) and other terrific leaders there. 

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting its annual legislative reception next Tuesday night at the Hotel Savery.  Congratulations in advance to Alliance President and CEO (and ABI Board Member) Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo) and Alliance members for what is also always a great event! 

Steve Roberts Featured in IPTV Caucus Production

I know that a great many ABI board members participated in their local Democratic or Republican caucus, because politics and government are key interests for many of you.  Someone who has been active in politics for decades is longtime ABI Board Member Steve Roberts (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines).  Steve has led his local caucus, been the State Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, been a Republican National Committeeman, and been active in the campaigns of many state and national leaders. 

In that regard, Steve was featured in a documentary produced by Iowa Public Television about the history of the Iowa caucuses.  The documentary is very well done and interesting in its own right.  A young Steve Roberts is featured at about the 24-minute mark.  Click here to see it for yourself:  Congratulations to Steve for his part in this terrific program! 

Jon Kneen Passes

Former ABI Chair Jon Kneen (Al-Jon, Ottumwa) used to tell great stories about the formation of his company.  He was committed to starting his business and he led it to great growth over the years.  My personal recollection of Jon is the way he used to ride a bicycle around his plant.  He believed in his business and he believed in Iowa. 

Jon Kneen passed away late last month.  You can read about Jon's life here:  Jon and his son, former ABI Chair Kendig Kneen (Al-Jon, Ottumwa), who led the company to great success upon Jon's retirement, have an important distinction at ABI.  Jon and Kendig were the first father/son combination to both Chair the ABI Board of Directors.  We celebrate Jon's life and our thoughts and prayers are with Kendig and his family. 

Chrissy Blake to Wed Luke Viers

ABI's Bookkeeper, Chrissy Blake, has a very large fan club and that includes all ABI board members, I know.  I am pleased to tell you that this weekend, Chrissy and her fiancé, Luke Viers, will be married in Indianola.  Chrissy and Luke are terrific young people and we wish them all the joy and happiness possible!  Congratulations, Chrissy and Luke!