Final 2019 Executive Committee Teleconference This Week - Monday Memo 12/9/19

December 9, 2019

ABI Executive Committee to Hold Final 2019 Teleconference Wednesday; First 2020 Board Meeting Next Month

The ABI Executive Committee, chaired by Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), will hold its final meeting of the calendar year Wednesday.  After that, the next ABI leadership meeting will be held next month.  The first ABI Board of Directors meeting of 2020 will be held on Wednesday, January 15.  

At the meeting, the latest updates regarding critical association business will be a focus, as will issues related to (what will then be) the just-convened 2020 session of the Iowa General Assembly.  

Your attendance at this meeting and at the ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception that follows is essential (see more information below).  Please finalize your plans to attend and thank you in advance for making the ABI events of January 15 a priority. 

Quarterly ABI Iowa Business Survey to Close Today

All board members and former Chairs of the Board should have received an email message from me a week ago related to the ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey. This survey applies to the first quarter of 2020.  The survey is now underway and it will close at the end of the day today. 

If you haven’t already completed the survey, which takes just a couple of minutes, please do so now.  Survey results will be tabulated and shared with you, the public, and the media.  Thank you for your participation in this new initiative. 

Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Officials, Legislators Want to See You at 2020 ABI Legislative Event; Register Now

ABI knows that Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, other state officials, and legislators of both parties attend the ABI Legislative Reception so they can see YOU.  As you know, this event is one of the most popular events ABI hosts all year long.  Also as you know, it is likely that over 500 people will attend the event, including more legislators of both parties than at any other similar event.  I pointed out last week that the attendance of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, coupled with that of so many legislators and other state officials, is one more confirmation of your importance to Iowa policy makers.  They attend because YOU attend. 

The ABI staff is busy finalizing details related to the 2020 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception, which will be held Wednesday, January 15 at the Iowa Events Center (Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) in downtown Des Moines.  The briefing is your opportunity to hear the latest about legislative news and about ABI's agenda.  You can then head right into the reception and share comments with your local legislators.  Your participation and interaction with legislators is what makes this event a must-attend for Iowa policy-makers.  

Go to the ABI Events webpage and click on  You’ll find all the information you need and can follow the easy instructions to register now.  See you January 15.  

Members Use ABI Online Directory

A couple of years ago, ABI’s new online member directory became operational.  This is just a reminder that the new directory allows you to check member company information, search industry partners, connect with ABI colleagues, and much more.  Find the online directory log-in page here:  

Advisory Council Members Add Value

Members of the ABI Advisory Council do much to advance the work of the association.  Their leadership and support is never taken for granted.  They have played a very large part in the increase in quality and quantity of ABI programs across Iowa. 

Thank you to the members of the council for their work in 2019.  And welcome to some new members for 2020.  Thank you to 21st Century Rehab, ACS, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Far Reach, Focus OneSource, Fredikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal Financial Group, Shift Interactive, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo

Clinton Regional Development Commission Annual Meeting Next Week

ABI is fortunate to have many member partners who do big things for Iowa.  One of these is the Clinton Regional Development Corporation, one of Iowa’s greatest development organizations.  The CRDC Annual Meeting will be held in Clinton next Wednesday (12/18).  Congratulations to the organization on a very successful 2019 and to two of its longtime leaders, ABI board members Tom Determann (CRDC, Clinton) and Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton)

Fort Dodge LI Session Big Success; ABI Statewide Leaders Event Draws Crowd, Board Members Attend

As usual, this time of year is a busy one for the ABI Foundation.  For example, the 2019-2020 Leadership Iowa Class held its third session last week in Fort Dodge.  The class heard from an incredible array of terrific speakers, including ABI Board Member (and Fort Dodge Mayor) Matt Bemrich (Bemrich Electric, Fort Dodge) and Jenae Jenison (Central College, Pella).  You'll have an opportunity to meet the class at next month's ABI legislative reception. 

By the way, a part of the LI session included the latest in ABI’s “Connecting Statewide Leaders” series of events.  A terrific address by Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ryan Wise was the highlight of that event.  Special thanks to ABI board members who made the trip to Fort Dodge to attend: Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City), and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).   

NAM Report: U.S. Economy Grew Over 2 Percent Last Quarter

As you know from my frequent mention of them, I pay close attention to the publications of the National Association of Manufacturers. NAM publications are first-rate, and the Monday Economic Report is no exception.  

Last week's Report included an article that cited data showing that the U.S. Economy grew at a rate of over 2 percent in the last quarter.  As always, there was also lots of other good information.  Please reply to this message if you wish to read the report. 

Vermeer Acquires Schuler

It was announced over the weekend that longtime ABI member Vermeer Corporation has acquired Schuler Manufacturing, a high-quality feeding solutions manufacturer based in Griswold, Iowa.  The move strengthens Vermeer’s already strong vision related to new product innovation.  Read more about the acquisition here:  Congratulations to everyone at Vermeer, including former ABI Chair and Vermeer Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), and current ABI Board Member and company executive Mindi Andringa Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella)

Steve Dust Celebrates Tomorrow

ABI Board Member Steve Dust (Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Ottumwa) will celebrate his birthday tomorrow, on December 10.  Happy birthday, Steve! 

Dave Underwood has Cardiac Bypass Surgery

Most of you well recall longtime ABI Board Member David Underwood (CFO on DEMAND, Mason City), who started his own consulting business after a very long and successful corporate career.  While no longer on the board, Dave continues to remain an ABI member.  

I heard Dave was experiencing some health issues and I checked in with him last week.  It turns out that he recently underwent triple bypass surgery.  Dave reports he is on the mend but is finding it lots of work (he reports that he now understands what was meant when his physician explained that the procedure would be “major surgery”).  It is clear to see that Dave continues to be in good humor and ABI sends best wishes for a speedy recovery!  Note: This major surgery is not expected to prevent Dave from calling in to participate in this Thursday’s Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference meeting.  Thank you for your service on that important panel and again, hope you’re back up to speed soon, Dave! 

Jack Pray Passes

Longtime ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines) passed away Friday afternoon.  As most of you know, Jack had been battling serious health issues for some time.  Jack always had a smile and a positive word for everyone and will be greatly missed.  Click here for more information about Jack:  Our deepest sympathies to Jack’s family and I am grateful to ABI Board Members Rand Fisher (Iowa Area Development Group, Des Moines) and Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) for making sure I was aware of Jack’s death. 

IADG Venture Awards

If you want to witness a terrific celebration of Iowa business, you want to be a part of ABI member Iowa Area Development Group’s annual Venture Awards Ceremony.  The event was held last Thursday and Rand Fisher (IADG, Des Moines) reports it was another rousing success, with over 350 in attendance. 

Another 8 leading companies were honored. Together they had invested over $535 M in recent Iowa projects, employed over 2,300 people, and had facilities in over 60 counties. 26 member IADG utilities were impacted by their company investments.  Thanks, Rand, for sharing this news and thank you for all you and IADG do to help grow Iowa! 

The Business of ABI: Reserves Untouched for 13th Consecutive Year

Please allow me one operational note, one that I often share this time of year.  For the 13th consecutive year, ABI has not tapped its budgetary reserves.  As you know, that is a reversal of an untenable situation that saw the association tap reserves for several years in a row in the early 2,000’s.  In fact, thanks to your leadership, ABI is growing.  Why is that important?  Because it allows the association to aggressively advance the agenda developed by the board and to serve members.  Thank you -- and thanks to every ABI member -- for making that the case.