More Support Coming to Elevate - Monday Memo 2/15/16

February 15, 2016

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing to Receive IIG Donation

Some of you will recall the Iowa Innovation Gateway.  ABI supported and helped create the Gateway, which was a multi-county workforce and economic development organization.  ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown), ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames), myself, and others were members of the IIG Board of Directors. 

Partly due to the success of ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and for other reasons, IIG is being closed-out.  The organization did terrific work and accomplished many important benefits for its member counties.  It will continue to do big things as it ends, because remaining funds are being split among other organizations doing key work. 

One of those Elevate.  In the near future, Elevate will receive an IIG check for nearly $4,500.  Thank you to IIG for your good work and for your support!  By the way, remember that you can always find the latest news about Elevate at:

Legislative Update Teleconference Friday; Jessica Harder Returns from Leave

ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain and Director Public Policy Jessica Harder will host another in a series of teleconferences designed  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 next call will be held this coming Friday, February 19, at 9:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The call is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register by emailing your plans to participate to ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt at   

As you might have noticed in the first sentence above, it is a pleasure today to welcome back to the staff Jessica Harder.  You will recall that six weeks ago, Jessica and her husband and son welcomed a beautiful baby girl to their family.  Jessica comes back at a great time (funnel week) and we are excited to have her return.  Welcome back, Jessica. 

Business Day on the Hill A Month Away; BIPAC's Jim Gerlach to Keynote

The 2016 version of ABI Day on the Hill will be held Tuesday, March 15.  The program begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the ABI office in Des Moines' East Village (plenty of convenient free parking is available directly across the street).  Following a continental breakfast and an exclusive update with the latest information from the General Assembly, participants will be taken to the Capitol for meetings with legislators and other leaders.  

One highlight of this year's event is a keynote address by BIPAC CEO (and former Congressman) Jim Gerlach.  Congressman Gerlach is leading BIPAC, one of ABI's premier partners on the national level, to new heights and he was very well-received during the ABI trip to Washington, DC last fall. 

There will be other highlights during the day.  For instance, you'll have plenty of time to speak with your legislators, look around Iowa's beautiful Statehouse, and conduct other business.  Register now at

This year, ABI Day on the Hill has again become Business Day on the Hill, as our association is partnering with the Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.  On behalf our officers, thank you in advance for your participation in this year’s event. 

Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow to Headline DOTH Reception, Hagenow to headline Annual IIPAC Luncheon

The Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Representative Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, and the House Majority Leader, Representative Chris Hagenow of Windsor Heights, are champions for ABI and Iowa business.  Both officials will address ABI members (and members of the NFIB) at the reception held the night before the Day on the Hill.  

Register now for this event at  This  fun event will be held at the Scenic Route Bakery, located a block away from ABI's East Village office.  The Scenic Route became one of Des Moines' premier political hangouts for national media during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. 

The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, ABI's political arm, is pleased to announce that Majority Leader Hagenow will also join IIPAC contributors for this year's annual IIPAC luncheon.  The luncheon will be held at ABI on March 15 (the same day as Business Day on the Hill).  Leader Hagenow is a longtime 100-percent ABI supporter and it will be a pleasure to host him in one of his very first appearances before a statewide group. 

YOU should be a contributor to IIPAC (I am) and I hope you will participate in the luncheon.  On behalf of IIPAC Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Waukee), please consider this your personal invitation to attend.  You can make your donation that day, or go now to and do it today.  When you scroll to the bottom of that page, you will find easy instructions for making a secure, online donation.  You won't want to miss the opportunity to hear from a key statehouse leader, so make your plans now to join IIPAC on March 10. 

ABI Board Will Meet March 15

The next ABI leadership meeting will be a meeting of the ABI Board of Directors on Tuesday, March 15, in Des Moines.  ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) will lead the meeting, which will be held at the ABI Office in downtown Des Moines.  

In addition to the latest news from the Statehouse, a full agenda will be on tap for the meeting and I hope you can all attend.  Watch for the usual packet of materials to arrive in your email in-basket about a week in advance of the meeting date.  Click to register. 

Latest BRIowa Now Out

The Des Moines Business Record is a great ABI member and partner.  The business weekly covers central Iowa and, once a month when it publishes  (in conjunction with ABI) Business Record Iowa, it is a statewide newspaper. 

The latest edition of  Business Record Iowa,  ABI's monthly newsprint magazine, is now out and it should be in your mailbox by now.  If you haven't received it, please contact me and we'll get another copy out to you right away.  

In addition to the latest news about ABI members and programs, the focus of this edition is on new reporting requirements related to the Affordable care Act.  Look for it in your in-box now. 

Leadership Iowa University in Cedar Falls Next Week; BH Gilbert successful

Last week was a busy one for the ABI Foundation's Business Horizons program.  Foundation Vice President Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, Marketing and Programs Coordinator Jessi Steward, Development Director Mary Mendenhall-Core, and Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway spent all or part of last week in Gilbert presenting BH to that school district's high school juniors and seniors. It was another success for the Foundation. 

The foundation's newest program is Leadership Iowa University.  This exciting program involves the participation of Iowa college students (be they from one of Iowa's community colleges, private colleges, state universities, or even Iowa students attending school out of state) in a multi-session program focused on our state and its many opportunities. 

The 2015-2016 LIU Class will meet again next week on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.  Find out about this year's dynamic class here:   

The class is another in a series of terrific groups of young Iowans and these are the folks that will be a part of your future workforce.  In fact, one of the goals of LIU is to let these students know that they can have a very successful future right here with an Iowa company.  Look for news about the program at the next board meeting. 

Advisory Council Meeting Thursday

Members of the ABI Advisory Council provide leadership in many ways.  Certainly their financial support to ABI is important, but of even greater value are the people and information these great companies provide to ABI members. 

The council will hold its monthly meeting this Thursday in Des Moines.  Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are ATW Training Solutions, BCC Advisers, Brick Gentry P.C., BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Global Reach, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Manpower, Measured Intentions, Principal Financial Group, Spindustry Digital, Transition Point Business Advisors, and Wellmark

Next ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders Forum March 3 in Grinnell

The next event in ABI's Connecting Statewide Leaders series will be held March 3 in Grinnell.  A high-value panel, networking, and a luncheon will all be a part of the program, which will be held at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company in Grinnell.  

These programs are simply great ways to gain information and connect with your fellow ABI members, Leadership Iowa Class members, local business leaders, and others.  And we appreciate the reports we hear about sales/deals being made during these events, too. 

Join ABI for these events on March 3.  For more information and to register, click on

Alcoa to Host Senators Grassley and Ernst

Alcoa is a longtime valued ABI member.  It is well-represented on the ABI Board of Directors by John Riches (Alcoa, Davenport).  John and his colleagues will host two very important persons at the Davenport Works next week. 

The plant will be visited by U.S. Senators Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst.  Both officials have toured the plant previously, but this visit will mark the first since some major changes have taken place.  Congratulations to John and thank you to him and to his colleagues for ensuring that public officials see manufacturing operations firsthand! 

Charles Sukup to Celebrate

Speaking of men named Charles (see above), another Charles will be celebrating this week.  Former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) will celebrate his birthday on Wednesday.  Congratulations and happy birthday to Charles! 

Jason Gross Named to Art Center Board

ABI Board Member Jason Gross (Nationwide, Des Moines) has been named to a prestigious board.  Jason was named a member of the Board of Trustees of the Des Moines Art Center.  

The internationally-known Art Center is a Des Moines treasure.  Congratulations to Jason upon his appointment to this important panel! 

John Butler Named to RHI Board

Reaching Higher Iowa is an ABI member organization focused on improving the effectiveness of Iowa's educational system.  Mark Jacobs (Reaching Higher Iowa, Urbandale) is RHI's president and a member of the board. 

Last week, RHI announced its board of directors and several ABI member companies are represented.  Those representatives include former ABI Chair John Butler (Cottingham & Butler, Dubuque), who was one of those named to the board.  Congratulations, John! 

Linns Celebrates in London

You might wonder why I didn't mention ABI Public Policy Counsel Myron R. Linn in the item above about ABI's public policy teleconference.  That's because he won't be able to participate... but he has good reason.

Myron is in London, England celebrating his youngest daughter's graduation from graduate school.  Sometime Thursday, Jacquelin Linn will receive a Masters in Cultural Relations, Policy, and Diplomacy from Goldsmith University.  Congratulations and best wishes to the entire Linn Family!