Busy Week, Exec Comm Meets - Monday Memo 4/5/21

April 5, 2021

Executive Committee Meets Thursday, Board in May

The monthly meeting of the ABI Executive Committee will take place this coming Thursday.  The committee will meet by teleconference starting at 8:00 that morning.  

The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will take place next month.  ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) will lead the board in its May meeting, which will be held at the Embassy Suites on the River Hotel in Des Moines on May 13.  

I hope you will be able to participate in the board meeting on May 13.  It will mark the board’s final meeting in advance of the annual conference.  Watch for more information soon. 

ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders Event in Mason City Thursday

This coming Thursday is a busy one for ABI.  As mentioned above, the Executive Committee will meet that day.  The 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa Class will also be in session (see below), and ABI will also host another in the series of Connecting Statewide Leaders programs.  It will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday (April 8) at the Historic Park Inn in Mason City and is followed by lunch. 

Make your plans now to join ABI members, community leaders, and the Leadership Iowa class for an engaging conversation about business-education partnerships.  A terrific panel of ABI leaders will share remarks during the program.  I hope you can attend.  Click on this link to register and to find more information: https://web.cvent.com/event/37f30c68-203d-4f53-9dd8-a31495a3299a/summary.  

Next ABI Legislative Update Friday

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

The next update will be held this Friday, April 9th, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  This will be the first update following the completion of the General Assembly’s first legislative funnel deadline, so there will be a lot to cover.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at https://www.iowaabi.org/events/detail/228-legislative-update-members-only/.  

Leadership Iowa to Hold Next Session this Week; Foundation Board Meets Wednesday

The ABI Foundation’s flagship program, Leadership Iowa, will hold its April session of the 2020-2021 class later week.   The class will meet in Mason City Wednesday through Friday of this week.  The session will focus on education and as usual, a terrific agenda has been developed.  Watch for more news about LI at next month’s ABI board meeting. 

In other ABI Foundation news, the Foundation board, which is chaired by Kim Butler Hegedus (Community State Bank, Ankeny), will hold its quarterly meeting this Wednesday, April 7.  Thank you to these leaders for their work and guidance for Foundation programs. 

ABI Joins the NAM, U.S. Chamber in Opposing CA Prop 65 Amendments

Some weeks ago, the California Office of Health Hazard Environmental Assessment filed proposed amendments to that state’s Proposition 65 short-form labeling regulations.  The amendments are burdensome, draconian, and ill-advised.  

Because the amendments, if they take effect, would impact every company doing business in California, they matter to ABI members.  And, ever since they were filed, ABI has been working with the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to see the amendments withdrawn or substantially altered. 

ABI has now joined with hundreds of other organizations to sign letters with both national organizations calling on California to formally withdraw the amendments.  Frankly, it is not expected that California will acquiesce, but state officials may alter the amendments.  And in any case, the letters put important issues into the public record and will be useful should a legal challenge be necessary.  Please stay tuned for any news of future developments. 

Nominating Committee to Meet May 5

The ABI Nominating Committee will kick off its work soon.  The committee, which is chaired by Immediate Past Chair of the ABI Board of Directors Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), will meet by Zoom on May 5th. 

If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact Cindy or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

Capacity Limits in Place, Register NOW for Annual Conference; Flyer in the Mail

The annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference gets bigger and better every year.  We love that it is so.  However, due to precautions being taken related to the COVID-19 pandemic, capacity limits are in place for this year’s event.  This is the first and only time we expect attendance to be limited, by the way. 

What does that mean to you?  It means don’t wait, register now!  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on https://www.iowaabi.org/events/annual-conference/.  People often wait for the colorful tri-fold flyer to arrive in their mailbox before registering.  Well, that flyer will be in the mail this week, so again, now is the time to register.  

By the way, using that same link above, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at the newly renovated Finkbine Golf Course, make your lodging reservations, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  

Based on those already registered and on room reservations already made, well over 200 people are already making plans to attend the conference.  Don’t let the capacity limits catch you off guard, register for the conference now.  You don’t want to miss it! 

Ramp-Up in COVID Vaccination Doses Coming; Remember to Let ABI Hear from You

At a media conference last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds shared information about a major increase in COVID-19 vaccination doses coming to Iowa starting this week.  That’s good news as ABI members promote vaccinations to their employees.  Special thanks to the Governor and her staff for their assistance and help in ABI members getting vaccinated. 

Remember that ABI is interested in your experience.  Please reply to this memorandum with regard to two questions: 1) Are you offering incentives to employees to increase their desire to be vaccinated, and 2) What is the percentage of employees who choose to be vaccinated.  As I noted previously, I am not collecting company names or identifiers of any kind, but if you have feedback to those questions, please reply to this message and thank you very much. 

Buy ABI Program Undergoing Revitalization

ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain is leading a review and revitalization of the Buy ABI program.  You may not even be aware of it, but ABI has several relationships with member companies that can result in major savings for you (and added revenue for ABI).  Click here for more information: https://www.iowaabi.org/membership/buy-abi/.  And watch for more information soon. 

Staff Notes

There is news involving ABI staff members to share this week.  First, you may have noticed if you called the office that ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt has not been there to answer the phone.  That is because Michelle is recuperating from a pretty serious foot surgery. 

Some years ago, Michelle hurt her foot and has been living with some intense pain since then.  Her doctor recommended surgery, which Michelle underwent a couple of weeks ago.  She had stitches removed last week and the prognosis is very good for a complete recovery, which is terrific, as Michelle is a very active person.  It was a very nice surprise to see Michelle when she stopped by for a brief visit ion Friday.  She was had her foot in a boot and she was on crutches, but she looked great.  We hope to see Michelle back in the office in 4-5 weeks.  Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery, Michelle! 

Also last week, it was announced that ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain has been appointed to the board of directors of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative.  The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.  Nicole will do a terrific job there.  Congratulations, Nicole! 

And finally, it was also announced that ABI Communications Consultant Steffi Lee is the winner of the 2021 First-Year Oral Argument Competition at the Drake University School of Law, where she is a student.  Congratulations, Steffi!

Gilliland Shares First Trust Economic Outlook: Tax Hikes are Coming

Like many of you, I am ways looking for the latest and best information about the economy and what might be coming in the future.  In that regard, longtime ABI member John Gilliland (Morgan Stanley, Des Moines) shared some interesting information last week. 

The piece was an economic outlook by economists at First Trust.  The bottom line… tax increases are almost certain to be heading America’s way.  Read the piece for yourself here: https://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2021/3/29/tax-hikes-are-coming.  Thank you for sharing the information, John. 

Kirk Tyler is Board Chairman at Southeastern Container

It was great to learn that former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) is now chairing the board of directors of Southeastern Container.  Southeastern Container (http://www.secontainer.com/) makes containers for Cocoa Cola products over much of the nation.  

Last fall, Kirk completed his term as Chairman of the American Beverage Association.  He remains chair of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee.   It was great to see Kirk when he stopped by ABI Friday and ABI salutes him for this latest leadership role! 

Kreg Tool Recognized for Work to Build Desks for Students

Longtime ABI member Kreg Tool Company was in the news last week for a very cool project.  Kreg employees built 250 desks for Woodworking with a Purpose (https://www.facebook.com/WoodworkingwithaPurpose?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Business%20Record%20Daily%20PM%203%2029%2021&utm_campaign=Business%20Record%20Monday%20PM%20Daily%203%2029%2021), an organization created to build desks for students in need in central Iowa. 

As are so many ABI members, Kreg is well known for its work in the community.  Thank you and congratulations to everyone at Kreg, including CEO and ABI Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool Company, Huxley)!

Birthdays for Lori Schaefer-Weaton and Bob Wersen Celebrated this Week

Two former Chairs of the association are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) marks her birthday tomorrow, on the 6th.  And Thursday, former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) marks his birthday.  Happy birthday, Lori and Bob!