February Executive Committee Meeting Next Week - Monday Memo 2/1/21

February 1, 2021

Executive Committee Meets Next Week; Board Meets in March

The ABI Executive Committee will hold its regular February meeting a week from Thursday (February 11) at 9:30 a.m.  To be convened by ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), this Zoom meeting will mark the committee’s second meeting of 2021.  Look for a full report on any news from the meeting at the next board meeting. 

Speaking of the ABI Board of Directors, the board will meet in March.  Originally scheduled for the 11th, the board is more likely to meet on the 9th and perhaps at a very socially distanced in-person meeting.  Please stay tuned, as details will be finalized soon.  

2021 Iowa Business Day on the Hill Canceled

During the first quarter of the year, much of ABI's work focuses on public policy and the Iowa General Assembly.  A few years ago, following on the exploding success of the annual ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception, ABI created the annual ABI Day on the Hill.  The event capitalizes on members’ wishes to get even more involved in ABI’s public policy work.  

Unfortunately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Day on the Hill 2021 has been canceled.  ABI is reviewing options for a different high-value event to take its place.  As noted above, please stay tuned for more details coming soon. 

ABI Office Renovation Nearly Complete

As you know, coinciding with the signing of a lease extension for the ABI office suite, the office has received new paint and carpet and some other technical improvements.  When I arrived at the office this morning, it was great to see that the project appears to be all but completed. 

We’ll do a final run-through and there will be deep cleaning tonight, but other than that, the renovation appears complete.  When you next are able to visit the office in person, we hope you like the changes.  Please join me in thanking the staff for their patience and extra work to make the renovation possible.  Thanks, too, to our landlord and ABI member R&R Realty, and to ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain, who served as the project manager on the project. 

First 2021 Legislative Update Held, Will be Held Bi-Weekly Through the End of Session

Periodically throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf host a virtual update to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each call.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The first update of the session was held last week.  Now through the end of the legislative session, updates will be held bi-weekly.  Thus, the next update will be February 12.  Watch for more information ahead.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at https://www.iowaabi.org/events/detail/224-legislative-update-members-only/

Biennial ABI Workers' Compensation Seminar March 23 in Des Moines

The association will host its biennial workers' compensation seminar late next month.  This is the place to find the latest information about workers' compensation programs and to learn the best practices utilized by other companies.  The seminar will be held virtually on March 23 and you can register for the event here: https://web.cvent.com/event/fbd6343f-557a-44bb-b8fb-69aa6e12246e/summary.  We look forward to seeing (figuratively) your HR, risk management, and compliance teams on March 23rd. 

Elevate Scholarships Available

You know how important ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative is to our state.  Manufacturing firms employ nearly 210,000 jobs to Iowans. These well-paying careers require education and training beyond high school, but many don’t require the often burdensome cost of a bachelor’s degree. Recent studies have shown that two-year degree holders, especially in high-demand manufacturing occupations, can earn salaries that surpass those of college graduates.

A career in manufacturing means getting to work sooner with less debt.

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing promotes great careers in advanced manufacturing. In 2021, Elevate is again offering (15) $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa’s 15 community colleges. One award will be made per college region.  Interested candidates can apply by completing the application at www.elevateiowa.com

With Focus OneSource? Be Sure to Utilize FOS Referral Program; Not Yet with FOS? Give Them a Look

Longtime ABI member Focus OneSource is a valued member of the ABI Advisory Council.  More than that, they are ABI’s chosen strategic partner on things such as payroll and benefits administration.  The team there is exceptional with regard to customer service and our relationship has saved ABI significant dollars compared to our previous vendor.  We recommend them to anyone looking for a quality PEO.  If you aren’t yet with FOS, give them a look. 

In the meantime, FOS has a referral program that can put money in our pocket.  If you wish to see more information, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

NAM Report Documents Economic Growth

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, documents strong growth for the beginning of the year.  As usual, there was other great information included in the report as well.  Reply to this memo if you wish to read the report for yourself and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Fred Buie Elected Chair of Greater Des Moines Partnership

The 2021 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, one of Iowa’s largest business organizations, is no stranger to ABI.  In fact, it is none other than former ABI Chair Frederick V. Buie (Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company, Des Moines).  Fred was elected at the Partnership’s annual meeting and will serve in this key leadership role throughout this year.  ABI salutes and congratulates Fred Buie! 

Dave Backus Passes

Many of you knew ABI member David A. Backus (Stellar Industries, Garner).  Dave was the longtime Chief Financial Officer at Stellar, where he also served on the Board of Directors. 

Dave was very active in his community and also active in ABI.  He was a terrific guy and you can read more about him here: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/whig/name/david-backus-obituary?pid=197594887.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s family and with his Stellar Family, including former ABI Chair and company President David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner).  Dave will be greatly missed.