Business Day Coming Soon - Monday Memo 2/19/24

February 19, 2024

ABI Business Day in Des Moines Just Two Weeks Away

It looks like a great crowd will be on hand for the second edition of ABI’s newest event, as well over a hundred of you have already registered for Business Day in Des Moines.  The event will be held Wednesday, March 6.  The day starts with registration at 10:00 a.m. (program at 11:00) at the Des Moines Heritage Center, a block south of the ABI office in Des Moines' East Village.  

You’ll hear from legislative leaders of both chambers and both parties (all four leaders are confirmed), you’ll hear a political update from well-known national analyst Jim Ellis (BIPAC, Washington DC), and much 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 (  See you two weeks from Wednesday for this terrific event! 

ABI Board to Meet March 6

The March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held at 1:30 p.m. and conclude by 3:00 p.m. on March 6thThat is immediately following the event outlined above.  As with that event, the board meeting will be held at the Des Moines Heritage Center in Des Moines’ East Village.  Please watch your email in-basket next week for the usual message with meeting information.  On behalf of ABI vice Chair Chad Reece) Winnebago Industries, Forest City), 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 Business Day in Des Moines and the board meeting.  Should you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Michelle Vollstedt or me. 

Don’t Miss Opportunity to Advertise in ABI Business Monthly

You will recall that a year ago, ABI entered into a new partnership with the Corridor Media Group.  That ABI-member company publishes the Corridor Business Journal and the Quad Cities Business Journal.  And, the group also now publishes the Business Monthly, ABI’s monthly newsprint business journal. 

The ABI content is published once each month in both the CBJ and the QCBJ and distributed to ABI members all across Iowa.  YOU can also advertise your company and your products and services in the Business Monthly.  Great rates are available and you will want to contact Andrea Rhoades ( for more information. 

Correcting my Error Regarding New State Manufacturing Assistance Program

In last week’s Memo, I shared information about the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s new Manufacturing 4.0 Loan Participation Program.  Here is what I wrote: Under the program, you company’s lender can apply for up to 20 percent of the total funding of your project to be reimbursed by IEDA.  If your project (it can be for manufacturing equipment, software, real estate purchases, construction, renovation, etc., making it apply to much more things than former programs) qualifies, and odds are it will, your cost would be lowered by 20 percent.  The maximum amount funded is $2 million on a $10 million project.  Companies with employee counts of up to 500 are eligible. 

I erred when I indicated that 20 percent of the project can be reimbursed.  The program means that 20 percent can be guaranteed.  Here is information directly from IEDA: “IEDA will purchase a portion of an eligible loan from a lender in order to 1. Get more manufacturing loans across the finish line, especially those with projects that are harder to get lenders to agree to and, 2. Hopefully create more favorable terms for the borrower with the lender knowing 20% of their risk is mitigated. It doesn't necessarily lower cost by 20% for the manufacturer, as the borrower still eventually will pay back the full principal amount to their lender, it's just mitigating risk and creating a more favorable borrowing experience.” 

I apologize for any confusion I caused and the good news is that the program can still be beneficial to your business.  Should you have questions or comments, please contact me and I will connect with IEDA officials who can walk your team through the program.  

Beginning Thursday, Register for the Annual Conference; Flagship Hotel Sold Out

The 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in Davenport June 4-6.  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 a PGA tournament course, and of course you will take part in the best business networking anywhere in Iowa.  Registration for the conference will open THURSDAY!  Please register for the conference by going to  Excitement is building for the conference!  In fact, the conference flagship hotel, the Hotel Black Hawk, is already sold out.  But other fabulous options remain and all are within walking distance of conference activities.  Use the link above to make your lodging reservation now.  Don’t miss this terrific event! 

Next Week: ABI Webinar about Education and Business Partnerships

A week from tomorrow, on Tuesday, February 27th, ABI will host a webinar entitled Moving the Needle with Education and Business Partnerships.  ABI member Momentum Studios will share information about partnering with your local school district regarding valuable work-based learning experiences that can positively impact your business and your community.  Click here to find more information or to register: Moving the Needle with Education and Business Partnerships | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Connecting Statewide Leaders Program in Dubuque on March 7

As has been previously shared, the day after Business Day in Des Moines and the March board meeting, 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. 

Next Bi-Weekly Legislative Update March 1

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 Zoom update is scheduled for a week from Friday, on March 1.  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 and please go here for more information: Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  In the meantime, thanks to JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf, ABI’s public policy team, for their hard work. 

NAM Report: Manufacturing Exports Flat in 2023

You will recall that in recent editions of this memo, I have been reporting on data provided by the National Association of Manufacturers that highlights some positive metrics, things such as slight growth in the economy and decreases in trade deficits.  The NAM’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update, published last Thursday, had more data.  For example, manufactured goods exports were essentially flat in 2023.  However, the JP Morgan PMI improved.  The bottom line is that global manufacturing is still feeling the impacts of supply chain disruptions and other issues.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you. 

It‘s 75 Big Years for Henningsen Construction

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to be in SW Iowa and meet with longtime ABI member Brad Henningsen (Henningsen Construction, Atlantic).  Brad noted that the company is celebrating 75 years of growth and success this year.  That is fabulous news for this terrific ABI member and we send hearty congratulations to everyone there. 

I told Brad that it reminded me of being in that very same office 15 years ago meeting with his father, former longtime ABI Board Member Mike Henningsen (Henningsen Construction, Atlantic).  At that time, Mike told me the company was going to mark 60 years in business.  I told Mike that was great news and asked him how they were going to celebrate 60 years… Mike smiled and said, “We are going to try and make it to 61.”  I laughed when Brad told me that is sort of the same plan now… they are going to try to make it to 76.  Congratulations again to Brad and Mike and everyone at Henningsen Construction!