Executive Open Next Week - Monday Memo 8/22/22

August 22, 2022

2022 ABI Executive Open a Week from Today

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2022 Open will be held a week from today at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. 

The event is a way for members to connect with each other in a fun way and I have been told frequently that a lot of business is conducted at the outing every year.  Whether you come for golf or not, join your ABI colleagues for the reception at 4:30 that afternoon.  

There is still time to register and play.  Click here to do so: Summary - Executive Open (cvent.com).  See you next week. 

IIPAC Board will Meet Thursday

Taking place Thursday is a meeting of the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee Board of Directors.  IIPAC, of course, is ABI’s PAC and it is an important resource in supporting pro-business candidates (of any party).  Chaired by former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines), the board will consider recommendations for support for candidates running in November’s general election.  Watch for more news as it develops. 

Webinar Coming Next Month on Employee Retention Credit

Some ABI member companies have taken advantage of the expanded employee retention credit.  Many others have questions about it.  In any case, be sure to register now for an upcoming webinar on this important topic. 

Created as part of federal legislation to help employers manage the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – and to keep folks employed – the employee retention credit has been expanded.  It is a refundable tax credit up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $28,000 per employee in 2021.  If you haven’t already, you should learn more about the credit and determine its applicability to your company. 

In that regard, ABI is pleased to sponsor a webinar about the ERC.  Experts from Eide Bailly will present the webinar at 10:00 a.m. on September 21st.  Click here for more information and to register Webinar: What to Know about the Expanded Employee Retention Credit | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  

Legislative Committee to Meet

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), will meet soon.  The meeting will mark the second-to-last step in the annual policy development process. 

Following on the many meetings held before it, the meeting will result in a final set of policies being developed for action by you and your fellow board members next month.  Look for the final policy draft in your September board packet. 

Watch for New Supply Chain Events in November

One issue we hear a lot about at ABI is supply chain.  Problems with receipts of full orders from vendors, rising costs of inputs, quality problems, etc.  In an effort to provide information of value for you as you manage your way through these issues, ABI is developing two supply chain events in November. 

These events will be held in Atlantic on November 10th and in Oskaloosa on November 15th.  Watch for more information and the opening of registration soon. 

Receive Timely Member and Legislative News

Each Thursday evening/Friday morning, the ABI Voice of Iowa Business e-newsletter is sent to you.  This has the most up-to-date information about what is happening with ABI, the ABI Foundation, and the advocacy work being done by the ABI public policy team.  

If you do not receive this email each week and would like to, please reply to this memorandum and let me know.  You will be added at once. 

If you do receive it, what are we missing?  Are we giving you too much or not enough information?  We know you are busy and we have worked to streamline our communications, but we want to ensure we are doing what YOU, our customers, want us to do.  Please let us hear from you and thank you. 

Board to Meet September 14 in Johnston

As you know, ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 14th for the first meeting of the fiscal year.  This is an important meeting and the board will be asked to consider and act on several issues.  

The board will meet in Johnston at the new headquarters/conference center of longtime ABI member the Iowa Bankers Association.  The agenda is a full one, with several issues to be considered.  Be on the lookout for a board packet to arrive in your email in-basket around September 7.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2023 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  

Many of you have already registered for the board meeting.  If you have not already done so, you can register by simply replying to this memorandum.  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of Kim and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

New Board Members to Attend First Meeting

This September meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will mark the first for newly-elected directors.  While it is not possible for all the new board members to attend, you will meet all the board members at one of the upcoming meetings.  In the meantime, it will be great to welcome some of the new members next month. 

Joining the board this year are Steve Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake), Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars), Ken Feldmann (Employee Owned Brands, Fairfield), Liz Hobart (GROWMARK, Waterloo), Eric Moerman (Interstates Companies, Sioux Center), Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines), Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), and Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield).  The honorary Leadership Iowa board representative this year is Nick Glew (Marion Economic Development Corporation, Marion.  Congratulations again to these incoming leaders. 

Legends in Manufacturing Dinner October 4th, Manufacturing Conference Next Day

The Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner is a great event.  The program was created by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and it honors Iowa's great manufacturing leaders.  The 2022 dinner will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny on the evening of October 4th. 

You do not want to miss this event!  Register now by clicking on the following link: Summary - Legends In Manufacturing Awards Dinner (and/or) Manufacturing Conference (cvent.com).    Sponsorship opportunities also remain and if you wish to see information about them, please reply to this message. 

And of course the Iowa Manufacturing Conference will be held the next day.  You can use the link above to register for the conference as well as the dinner.  This event has been re-tooled to focus even more on manufacturing, you do not want to miss it!  Highlights include a keynote address by Chairman and CEO Gage Kent (Kent Corporation, Muscatine), and a panel of manufacturing leaders: Steve Boal (Accumold, Ankeny), Kelli Gallagher (DeeZee, Des Moines), and Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines).  The panel will be moderated by a longtime ABI favorite, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham.  For those interested, manufacturing torus will cap the day.  See you there! 

Gilliland Shares Inflation Commentary

ABI member John Gilliland (RBC Wealth Management, Des Moines) has a bevy of resources he shares with us from time to time.  The latest is a piece from First Trust about the downfalls of making politics too much a part of your investing.  It’s terrific and I’ll share the final paragraph: 

“The bottom line is that, for now, the economy continues to grow and inflation remains a very serious problem.  In the meantime, investors need to set aside their personal political preferences and follow economic reports as they are, not as they want them to be because of the political spin their side gets to put on them.”

If you wish to read the full piece, let me know and I’ll get it to you, courtesy of John and First Trust.  Thank you for sharing, John! 

NAM Report: Inflation Moderating

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, led with a story about moderation in inflation.  Other issues were covered, too, of course.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you. 

Bruntz, Phelan Celebrate Tomorrow

Two ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair John Bruntz (The Boulder Company, Des Moines) and ABI Board Member/Officer Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) both celebrate their birthday tomorrow.  Happy birthday to John and Rich! 

Fairfield Golf and Country Club is the Oldest West of the Mississippi

In this morning’s Des Moines Register, there is a very cool article about the Fairfield Golf and Country Club.  The club, the oldest continuously operating club west of the Mississippi River, turns 130 years old this year!  Click here to read the article: Iowa's Fairfield Golf & Country Club reaches 130-year milestone (desmoinesregister.com).  Congratulations to everyone at the club, which counts several ABI members among its membership.  Special congratulations go to former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), who chairs the club’s board of directors and is quoted in the article.  

The Business of ABI

Editor's Note: I have been including this item at the end of August for the past several of years, because I am told that it is useful for newly-elected board members to see.  In case that is accurate, here it is once again.

As those of you have been reading these memos for years know, from time to time, I include an item called "the Business of ABI," in which I discuss a data point, or a metric, or some other issue related to how ABI itself runs its business.  I haven't done that for a while and because so many of the association's new board members asked about ABI's operating business, I thought I would share some comments about that this week.  Here are some things I know: 

First, I never forget that ABI really IS a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't providing value to you, we aren't doing our job and there is no reason for you to invest in ABI.  The good news is that, thanks to you, ABI does provide value. 

Second, I know there are three reasons for ABI's success.  The first is because of terrific support from businesses literally in every corner of this state.  ABI is Iowa's oldest and largest statewide business organization and that support makes possible everything we do.  The second reason for success is great leadership from the ABI Board of Directors.  That is not simple rhetoric; your leadership has resulted in tangible and measurable improvements in ABI.  The third factor in ABI's success is due to great work by a staff focused on implementing the vision you set for us each year.  

Finally, I have been asked about my focus at ABI when I started 17 years ago.  I was excited then to get to work for and with some terrific people.  I am still excited about that today and each day I commute to Des Moines thinking about what can be done THIS day to make ABI better. 

Many of you already know the story; it seemed to me back in 2005 there were so many things that needed addressing, I had to find a way to focus.  So, I came up with a plan called "It's as simple as ABC."  "A" stood for accountability in decision-making and results.  It seemed like that had been lacking and we needed to instill it from the top (the board of directors) down (the staff). 

"B" stood for balance sheet.  ABI's balance sheet was a mess.  We were spending more than we were bringing in and there was no focus on our cash position or on program metrics.  "C" stood for communication.  There was not a lot of communication between board members, between the board and the staff, or between staff.  

The data shows that all of these areas have been addressed.  And again, that is due to great leadership from you and hard work on the part of the board and members and staff.  I am eager for ABI's new board members to have the opportunity to see this first-hand and to work with you who have been on the board for some years.  

The strength of ABI is its members.  If ABI can continue to build an association as great as those members, another 119 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.