Celebrating ABI Members - Monday Memo 3/15/21

March 15, 2021

Leadership Luncheon, Board Meeting are Big Success

Normally, I wouldn’t start this memo with a report about events that happened in the past.  However, these are different times. 

ABI is celebrating a very successful day of events that took place last Tuesday.  A hundred or so association leaders came together for an invitation-only luncheon featuring key state officials.  That event was followed by the March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors, led by ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine).  These meetings marked the first in-person ABI events in a year. 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered an exceptional address, one that was heartfelt and clearly touched ABI members deeply.  Her command of policies, programs, budgets, and related issues was simply outstanding.  She was joined on the program by Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley.  Both leaders also shared very, very strong remarks.  Together, these top state leaders presented a program that was interesting and compelling. 

Many of you commented that day (and messages are still coming in) about how much you enjoyed being together again.  Protocols were in place to guard everyone’s health and safety, of course, but folks still enjoyed a great day of networking and programming.  These kinds of events are important to ABI.  On behalf of Steven and our other officers, THANK YOU for your participation in last week’s events and we look forward to seeing you again soon. 

Biennial ABI Program on Workers Compensation Next week

Every two years, ABI presents a program designed to share the latest information about workers compensation.  The 2021 edition will be held by Zoom a week from tomorrow, on March 23rd

The webinar will include the latest information on the status of workers compensation processes and what they mean for your company.  The program will also include other information, such as best-practice data from other companies.  To register, please go to this https://web.cvent.com/event/fbd6343f-557a-44bb-b8fb-69aa6e12246e/summary.  Your HR, risk management, or other staff members should find real value in the webinar. 

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the Des Moines Business Record, ABI publishes Business Record Iowa.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  

The March edition focuses on the upcoming annual conference (yes, there will be a conference this year).  The cover photo is a terrific shot of ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine).  The magazine should now be in your mailbox, inside the Des Moines Business Record.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you at once. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations Underway at ABI Member Facilities

ABI continues to work with state and local officials related to distribution of the various COVID vaccines now being deployed throughout Iowa.  Vaccination clinics are now happening or are being scheduled in ABI member facilities.  If you are having difficulties working with your local officials to schedule vaccinations, please contact me.  ABI can be of assistance. 

Survey Results: Strong Sales Expected; NAM Report Mirrors ABI

The results of the Q2-2021 ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey are in and if they prove accurate, a big uptick in sales will occur.  65 percent of you who responded to the survey expect sales to expand in this quarter.  That is great news and you can read more about that and other good news from the survey here: https://www.iowaabi.org/news/press-releases/iowa-manufacturers-anticipate-strong-sales-in-second-quarter/.  

Today’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, included survey results that mirror the optimism of ABI members.  Nearly 90 percent of the respondents to the NAM survey are positive about the coming months.  And there were other positive data points as well.  If you wish to see the report, please contact me and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Busy Time for ABI Foundation; Foundation Annual Report Soon Available

This is a busy time for the ABI Foundation.  In last week's memorandum, I noted that now is the time to make nominations both for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa.  Doing so is easy, free, and doesn't take a lot of time.  Click on https://www.leadershipiowa.com/ and/or http://www.businesshorizonsiowa.org/ for more information and to make your nominations.  

In addition to the nominations activity, the Foundation is finalizing the publication of its annual report for 2020.  Watch for the report to be available soon. 

ABI Executive Committee Meeting April 8; Next Board Meeting May 13

As you read in last week's Memo, the ABI Executive Committee will next meet on April 8.  That meeting, which will take place by Zoom, will begin at 9:30 a.m.  The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors is scheduled for May 13.  Originally-scheduled to be held in Muscatine, it is now likely it will be held in Des Moines.   Please watch for more information ahead. 

'Best-Ever' Conference Coming in June; Register Now

As was noted above, the 2021 edition of ABI’s annual Taking Care of Business Conference will be held.  You will soon receive your annual brochure invitation to the conference, ABI's 118th annual convention.  This event, which has been predicted to be the 'best-ever' by some ABI members, will be held June 8-10 in Coralville/Iowa City.  

As you know, the flagship hotel for the 2021 conference is the Coralville Marriott.  There are other options available and you can find information about all of them - and register for the conference – by clicking on this link: https://www.iowaabi.org/events/annual-conference/.  

When you click on the link above, you will be able to register for the conference and make your lodging reservations.  But you should also click on the link to view a brief, fun, and informative video about what you can expect at the conference.  It is simply Iowa’s best statewide business networking event.  See you in Coralville in June! 

BIG Milestone Being Celebrated by Bankers Advertising/Tru Art

118 years ago, in 1903, a group of Iowa business leaders came together to plan an Iowa exhibit for the World’s Fair that was coming to St. Louis in the following year.  This same group of leaders remained together and created an organization to advance their interests.  It was called the Iowa Manufacturers Association, later to be known as the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. 

One of those business leaders represented his Iowa City business at that planning meeting and then was a leader in forming IMA/ABI. His name was Samuel Wakefield Mercer (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City).  Mr Mercer chaired ABI in 1907.  In 1994, his great grandson Willis M. Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City), chaired ABI.  And, in 2018, Mr. Mercer’s great-great grandson, David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City), chaired ABI.  

As you can see, this Iowa City Company has undergone change through the years and not just by the name it is known.  It has grown and expanded and now serves customers all over North America.  It is hugely successful and its history is intertwined with ABI and Iowa.  At last week’s ABI board meeting, Bill and David announced that in 2021, Bankers Advertising/Tru Art will celebrate 125 years of success.  That is a big deal and ABI joins all Iowans in thanking the Bywater Family for all they have done for our state.  We congratulate them and their employees on 125 big years - here is to 125 more! 

The Business of ABI: Programs and Services

As you know, from time to time in these memos, I like to share a little bit about some internal aspect of the way ABI operates.  As I always say, ABI ought to function like a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't delivering value for you, there is no reason for you to support our work. 

About 16 years ago, at the direction of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI conducted a review of its internal operations and programs and services.  When it came to internal operations, hemorrhaging cash and being involved in vendor relationships that didn't serve the association or its members were some of the challenges identified.  Outdated data systems and other challenges also existed and over the years, thanks to your leadership, these have been addressed.  For example, our balance sheet now shows strength and stability.  

The good news then is good news today.  ABI's core programs of public policy advocacy, member meetings and events, and Foundation programs were strong and continue to be strong.  Over the years, new programs have been added (such as VentureNet Iowa, Elevate Iowa, and others).  Events have been created, and some things have been transformed (ABI's annual conference and our monthly newsmagazine come to mind).  This kind of change and growth must continue for ABI to be the dynamic resource for Iowa business that you deserve. 

One of ABI’s original services continues to be vital to this day.  That is our association’s public policy work.   This year, as has been the case for many years, ABI is experiencing some of its most successful work ever at the Statehouse.  Longstanding ABI objectives have been and are being advanced.  That is thanks to some terrific work on the part of a talented staff and by YOUR leadership, participation, and support.  Thanks to YOU, the business of ABI is strong and getting even better.