Successful Week for ABI - Monday Memo 3/21/16

March 21, 2016

Annual Business Day on the Hill, IIPAC Luncheon Big Success

ABI is celebrating another successful annual Business Day on the Hill and IIPAC Luncheon held last week.  As for Day on the Hill, this year marked the second time our association has partnered with another organization on this event.  The Iowa Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business was our partner again this year.  Plans are already underway to expand the list of partners and include other business organizations next year.

After returning from personal lobbying visits at the Statehouse, donors participated in the annual IIPAC Luncheon.  Iowa House Majority leader Chris Hagenow headlined the event and briefed attendees on the latest from the State Capitol.  Following the luncheon, the ABI Board of Directors held its March meeting.  

The afternoon/evening before Day on the Hill were headlined with a reception (with double the attendees at last year's session) featuring House Speaker Linda Upmeyer and Majority Leader Hagenow.  That event was followed by a dinner for board members/IIPAC contributors that featured BIPAC CEO former Congressman Jim Gerlach.  On behalf of ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown), thank you to all of you who participated in last week's ABI meetings and events.  Thanks to you, ABI enjoyed a terrific two days and strong work to advance the association's public policy priorities.

Biennial ABI Program to Create a Drug-Free Workplace Workers April 27

Every two years, ABI presents a program designed to help you and your employees create a drug free workplace.  The 2016 edition will be held on April 27 at the ABI office in Des Moines.  Your HR staff will find the latest in rulings, best practice-sharing, and other items related to drug testing at the meeting.  Registration will be available soon, but in the meantime, please block your calendars now. 

Busy Time for ABI Foundation; Development Director Position Description Available

This is a busy time for the ABI Foundation.  In last week's memorandum, I noted that now is the time to make nominations both for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa.  Doing so is easy, free, and doesn't take a lot of time.  Click on and/or for more information and to make your nominations.  

In other news, the 2015-2016 Leadership Iowa Class will soon meet again, this time in April in Council Bluffs for a session focused on public safety.  Work also continues related to development of an endowment fund for the Foundation.  Please watch for more news soon.  

And, of course, with Mary Mendenhall-Core soon leaving for a new position, ABI is searching for a new Development Director for the Foundation.  If you have folks you believe would make a strong addition to the ABI staff, please tell them about the position.  You can find more information by clicking on this link to the job description for the post:

April ABI Connecting Leaders Event Coming on the 7th

The next ABI Connecting Leaders event will be held April 7 in Council Bluffs.  The forums have proven quite successful and we have held them throughout Iowa since the first one over three years ago in  Orange City.  ABI leaders and Advisory Council members will lead this high-value program. 

You will recall that a few years ago, at the direction of the ABI Board of Directors, the association created  this series of events to be held throughout Iowa that would bring together ABI members, local business people, Leadership Iowa class members/alums, and others to discuss issues and interact with each other.  These events have proven incredibly successful and have resulted in real membership growth for ABI.  See you in Council Bluffs next month. 

U.S. Attorneys' Cybersecurity Roundtables Next Week

Kevin Techau, U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, along with Kevin VanderSchel, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, have invited ABI board members to participate in  Cybersecurity Roundtables.   The roundtables will be held at Iowa State University in Ames and Drake University in Des Moines on March 30th.  You are invited to attend one of the roundtables at no cost.  To learn more, reply to this memo and I will get you details and registration information. 

ABI Executive Committee Meeting April 6; Next Board Meeting May 4

As you read in last week's Memo, the ABI Executive Committee will next meet on April 6.  The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held on May 4 at Emerson/Fisher in Marshalltown.  

The May board meeting will be preceded by a dinner the night before (on May 3).  Please watch for more information soon. 

ABI Co-Sponsor of New IPTV Program Focused on Entrepreneurs

Iowa Public Television last week announced that it will air a new series called Iowa Entrepreneur.  In each of 13 episodes, the series will feature two Iowa businesses and the stories of how their owners overcame challenges to build strong and successful companies.  Beginning April 3, the series will premiere Sundays at10 10:30 a.m.  It will repeat at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning April 12.  

ABI is always focused on doing all it can to promote Iowa business.  Look for more information soon.  

Lapel Pins Coming for Board Members

Longtime (113 years long) ABI member Economy Advertising Company recently helped ABI with a fun project.  Thanks to the company, ABI now has lapel pins in the form of the association's band new logo.  Pins are available for every member of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Frankly, I meant to distribute them out at the last two board meetings, but forgot to do so.  Look for the pins in May, or pick one up the next time you are in the ABI office.  Thank you former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) and ABI Board Member David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) for the beautiful pins! 

'Best-Ever' Conference Coming up in June; See Vitale Video Now

You will soon receive your annual brochure invitation to the Taking Care of Business Conference, ABI's 113th annual convention.  This event, which has been called the 'best-ever' by some ABI members, will be held June 14-16 in Sioux City.  

While some conference hotels are already sold-out, other hotels have plenty of rooms still available.  Register for the conference, make your lodging reservations, and find out more at:

In the meantime, take a look at this fun video highlighting the conference keynote speaker, nationally-known sports analysts and author Dick Vitale.  You will see several people you know and the star of the show may well be ABI Board Member Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda)!  Click here for the video:  See you in Sioux City in June! 

BCC Advisers Newsletter Worth a Read

Baton, the newsletter for ABI member BCC Advisers, is always great reading.  The latest edition, which you can access here:, is no different.  

The cover story, Avoiding Deal Fatigue, is very helpful and the column by BCC President and ABI Board Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) is, as usual, interesting reading.  Thanks to Steve and everyone at BCC Advisers for this great publication. 

Charese Yanney Named Volunteer of the Year

Ten years ago, longtime ABI leader Charese Yanney (Guarantee Roofing and Siding, Sioux City) was nearing the completion of a very strong year as Chair of ABI.  Since that time, Charese has continued to serve ABI, Greater Siouxland, and the State of Iowa in dozens of ways and capacities. 

In recognition of her service and leadership, Charese was named Siouxland Volunteer of the Year by Quota International.  You can read about it here:  Charese is  perfect person for this honor.  Congratulations Charese Yanney! 

ALCOA Value-Add Company is Arconic

As many ABI members know, longtime member company Alcoa is creating a value-added company and separating itself into two independent, publicly-traded companies later this year.  It was exciting to see the new name of the other company announced last week: Arconic.  Congratulations to everyone at Alcoa, including longtime ABI Board Member John Riches (Alcoa, Davenport)

Krista Tanner Celebrates

It is always a pleasure to recognize board members' birthdays.  Regretfully, I am late in doing so when it comes to ABI Board Member Krista Tanner (ITC Midwest, Des Moines).  Krista celebrated her birthday last Wednesday, March 16.  ABI sends belated happy birthday wishes to Krista! 

CIPCO Holds 69th Annual Meeting

Last week, longtime ABI member Central Iowa Power Cooperative held its 69th Annual Meeting of Members.  The event was a great success and featured several terrific speakers.  Two of the speakers are well-known to ABI: CIPCO CEO and former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) and ABI Board Member Rand Fisher (Iowa Area Development Group, Des Moines).  Congratulations to all involved! 

The Business of ABI: Programs and Services

As you know, from time to time in these memos, I like to share a little bit about some internal aspect of the way ABI operates.  As I always say, ABI ought to function like a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't delivering value for you, there is no reason for you to support our work. 

About a decade ago, at the direction of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI conducted a review of its internal operations and programs and services.  When it came to internal operations, hemorrhaging cash and being involved in vendor relationships that didn't serve the association or its members were some of the challenges identified.  Outdated data systems and other challenges also existed and over the years, thanks to your leadership, these have been addressed.  For example, our balance sheet now shows strength and stability.  

The good news then is good news today.  ABI's core programs of public policy advocacy, member meetings and events, and Foundation programs were strong and continue to be strong.  Over the years, new programs have been added.  Events have been created, and some things have been transformed (ABI's annual conference and our monthly newsmagazine come to mind).  This kind of change and growth must continue for ABI to be the dynamic resource for Iowa business that you deserve. 

Last week, ABI had one of its best weeks ever at the Statehouse.  Longstanding ABI objectives were advanced.  That is thanks to some terrific work on the part of a talented staff and by YOUR leadership, participation, and support.  Thanks to YOU, the business of ABI is strong and getting even better.