COVID-19 Actions - Monday Memo 3/23/20

March 23, 2020

ABI COVID-19 Action Update; Here for Members

A week ago today, in keeping with governmental guidance and modeling many ABI members, I asked most ABI staff members to work from home.  We cancelled all travel and all ABI events for March and April. 

In addition, in consultation with ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), I made the decision to end consideration of candidates for the vacant membership development position.  I am carefully monitoring the business side of our operations and, with Nicole Crain, making decisions that will allow us to operate and serve members throughout this crisis. 

Perhaps the biggest internal decision will be coming in the next few weeks and that is regarding the status of the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  I can tell you that as of a week ago, we had a record number of registrants, two hotels were sold-out, and sponsorships were coming in at very strong pace.  Further, Cedar Rapids is truly excited to bring ABI to town.  

We are closely monitoring things and gathering information.  For now, we hope to be able go ahead, but of course, as with so many things, please stay tuned. 

None of that – none of it – is as important as what we can do to help you and your company.  Please go to the ABI COVID-19 webpage for all kinds of information and resources:  And don’t hesitate to contact any of us on staff with questions or any type of request for assistance.  Will do our utmost to help. 

Now, more than ever, THANK YOU for your support. 

ABI Executive Committee to Meet in Two Weeks; Board Will Meet in May

ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will meet by teleconference in two weeks.  The April EC teleconference takes place the morning of April 8 and committee members can expect to see the usual packet of meeting materials in their email in-basket next week. 

As for the ABI Board of Directors, that body will meet again on May 13.  The meeting will be held at the ABI headquarters, or, it, too, may be held by conference call.  Please stay tuned for more information. 

Week 12 in the Iowa Business Report Radio Program

The Iowa Business Report radio program’s 12th edition was broadcast statewide over the weekend.  ABI is proud to sponsor this terrific program.  Click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  The show is produced by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference Postponed

Please remember that the environmental compliance conference that ABI and a number of other organizations partner on each year has been postponed.  The 2020 Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference had been scheduled for next month in Kanas City. 

ABI receives financial support for every Iowa participant that registers for the conference.  While that is a great incentive, the real reason to attend is for the high-value program.  The conference is being rescheduled for late this year.  Find more information and register by clicking on    

Nominate Students for Leadership Iowa and Business Horizons

We don’t know yet whether or not the ABI Foundation will be able to host Leadership Iowa University and Business Horizons this summer.  No matter what, however, your nominations for these two great programs (and for the 2020-2021 session of Leadership Iowa) are strongly desired.  

It’s easy to nominate and you can do so by going to and clicking on the program links.  Thank you in advance for nominating participants for each of these important programs. 

NAM Report: Uncertainty Dominates

Last week seems like eons ago, but the headline in last week’s Monday Economic Report from the National Association of Manufacturers still applies today.  It read, “Financial Markets Rocked by Coronavirus and Global Outlook Worries.”  I fear that headline could apply for a long while.  As always, if you wish to read the report for yourself, please reply to this memo and I will forward it to you at once. 

Alan Mores, Harlan Newspapers Focus of Register Feature

Longtime ABI Board Member Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan) was the focus of a very cool essay in yesterday’s Des Moines Register.  The essay highlighted the coverage of community newspapers regarding the COVID-19 issue.  In so doing, it also highlighted one of Iowa’s best community media companies, Harlan Newspapers.  

It’s a fabulous essay and you can read it here:  Congratulations to Alan (and his brother, Steve) for this terrific coverage! 

Bill Bywater and Dick Smith to Celebrate

Former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City) and former ABI Board Member Dick Smith (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) share a birthday.  Bill and Dick celebrate today, March 23rd.  Congratulations and happy birthday to Bill and Dick!