YOU Should Support IIPAC - Monday Memo 8/10/20

August 10, 2020

Goal: 100 Percent ABI Board Member Participation in IIPAC

ABI’s award-winning public policy work encompasses many elements.  One of those elements is the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee.  IIPAC is ABI’s political arm and it exists to support pro-business candidates, regardless of party.  As I often say, IIPAC will support a Democrat, a Republican, a Whig, or a Tory… as long as they support business. 

The IIPAC Board of Directors is chaired by former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and it consists of ABI members and IIPAC contributors who are focused on pro-business policies.  This is the time of year that the IIPAC Board and all of us at ABI are focused on raising funds for the PAC.  

One key component in IIPAC support has always been the ABI Board of Directors, as there is a goal every year to have ALL board members make an IIPAC contribution.  Several of us on staff contribute as well (for a list of IIPAC contributors, reply to this message).  If you aren’t an IIPAC contributor already, you should be (I am).  Click here now to make your donation:  Thank you and thank you to ALL IIPAC supporters! 

Executive Committee Meets Thursday; First ABI Board Meeting of Fiscal Year September 10 by Zoom

Later this week, ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will hold their August meeting (the committee will meet using the Zoom virtual meetings platform).   The committee will work through a full agenda and will meet again immediately prior to the September board meeting. 

The ABI Board of Directors will meet September 10, also by Zoom.  You will receive much more information, including a detailed meeting packet, a week prior to the meeting. 

The September board meeting is typically well-attended and is important for several reasons.  It marks the first board meeting of the ABI fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Because it also marks the first meeting of the board in three months, the agenda is typically full and involves action on a number of issues, including ABI's public policy agenda for the next year.  On behalf of Steven and our other officers, I look forward to “seeing” you. 

Annual Policy Development Policy Committee Meetings Underway

Some of the most important work done by ABI each year relates to public policy advocacy.  And the most important part of that process is the active involvement and leadership of ABI members themselves.  In order to ensure that ABI members have every opportunity to lead and guide this critical task, ABI hosted several meetings by Zoom earlier this summer.  Last week, ABI began a series of meetings in Des Moines to develop public policy positions for 2021. 

It is the ABI Vice Chair who leads this process each year and thus Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) is chairing the 2021 process.  Last week’s meetings involved strong participation and it is likely that will continue this week.  However, there is still time for you and your employees to participate in the policy committee meetings.  

The ABI Environment Committee, chaired by Mick Durham (Grain Processing Corporation, Muscatine), meets Thursday.  The ABI Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Kelly Barrick (CIBC, West Des Moines), and the ABI Tax Committee, chaired by Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City), meet next week.  Please go to to register for these free meetings.  As you know, this process will conclude next month when you (the ABI Board of Directors and Past Chairs) meet to adopt final policies.  Thank you in advance for your involvement in this critical work. 

LIU Session Convenes Today

The 2020 session of the ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa University convenes later this morning.  The program, delivered in a virtual format this year, seeks to educate, inspire, and develop college students as a foundation for Iowa’s economic growth and to encourage their on-going involvement in community and state initiatives.  

To get a feel for LIU, go to and click on the links to see what class members have to say and to watch videos that offer an insight into this great program.  You can also use that link to see who is in the class and to access blogs students have written. 

ABI Advisory Council Meets Tomorrow by Zoom

Members of the ABI Advisory Council will meet tomorrow (by Zoom) for a networking session in Des Moines.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members 21st Century Rehab, ACS, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal, Shift Interactive, The Iowa Clinic, and Wells Fargo

Next Week: Biennial ABI Pre-Employment Testing Process Seminar

As you know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABI’s biennial Pre-Employment Testing Process Seminar had to be rescheduled.  That event will now be held at ABI in about two and a half weeks, on Wednesday, August 19.  

A good crowd has already registered for this popular seminar and your HR and risk-management teams will find value in the information shared through this event.  Expert speakers and the latest information about best practices and current trends will be shared.  Register now at:  

ABI Sponsors Business Record Manufacturing Event; Longenecker, Lohmeier Featured

Speaking of the Business Record, ABI is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of the BR’s “Made in Iowa: Manufacturing Forecast Event” on August 27.  In fact, two ABI board members will be featured speakers at the event: Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon) and Eric Lohmeier (NCP, Des Moines) are panelists.  Find more information and register now at  

2021 Convention Planning Well Underway

All ABI members regret that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the association had to cancel the 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference.  The event was shaping up to be ABI’s best convention ever.  Perhaps because of that, everyone is even more focused on next year’s conference. 

The 118th ABI Annual Meeting (Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2021) will be held in Coralville/Iowa City next June.  Community leaders there are pulling out all the stops to welcome ABI and you will see some absolutely terrific new venues.  Planning for the convention is well underway and is being ably led by a great committee.  Believe me when I say the 2021 conference is shaping up to be another spectacular meeting and you won’t want to miss it.  

ABI Executive Open August 31

The annual ABI Executive Open best ball golf outing will be held Monday, August 31 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, one of Iowa's most exclusive and beautiful private clubs.  Register now to play golf and enjoy a day on the course with your ABI colleagues.  To find more information or to register, please go to the ABI webpage at and click on the Events Calendar tab.  Well over a hundred ABI members have already registered! 

New Board Member Orientations Concluded

With a meeting last Thursday with newly-elected ABI Board Member Tim Coonan (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines), meetings with new members of the ABI Board of Directors are concluded.  During next month’s meeting, you will have an opportunity to meet the new board members. 

In addition to Tim, new directors include Robert Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines), Adam Steen (Syverson Strege, West Des Moines) and the honorary Leadership Iowa board representative, Jenny Steffensmeier (Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing, Pilot Grove).  Please join me in welcoming Tim, Rob, Adam, and Jenny to the board. 

Episode 32 of Iowa Business Report Radio Program Broadcast over the Weekend

The Iowa Business Report’s 32nd episode was broadcast over the weekend.  If you missed it, you can click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  The show is the result of a great a partnership between well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein and ABI. 

NAM Reports Increased Economic Activity, But “Speedbumps” Ahead

The latest Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, reported growth in the economy (after a virtual economic shut-down earlier in the year), but noted that COVID-19 “speedbumps” are hampering further growth.  The Report also noted a few other factors impacting manufacturing and the economy in general.  If you would like to see the publication for yourself, please reply to this message and I will send it to you at once. 

Buies, Roberts Celebrate Anniversaries

Two great ABI leaders and their wives are celebrating wedding anniversaries this month.  Former ABI Chair Frederick V. Buie (Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company, Des Moines) and his wife, Valeska Buie, and former longtime ABI Board Member Steve Roberts (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines) and his wife, Dawn Roberts, celebrate anniversaries.  ABI salutes and congratulates Fred and Valeska and Steve and Dawn!  Best wishes for many more happy years together! 

Kim Augspurger GDMC Chair

The Greater Des Moines Committee is a group of Des Moines-area business leaders who come together for an information exchange about topics of importance.  This year, the chair of the committee is longtime ABI Board Member/Officer Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines).  She’s a great leader and congratulations, to Kim! 

ATW Recognized by SBA

Longtime ABI member ATW Training Solutions received special recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration last week.  The SBA cited ATW as a model for other companies regarding participation in the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.  ATW worked with another great ABI member, Central Bank, to manage its PPP participation. 

The SBA specifically noted ATW’s pivot in developing new products and services for its clients in the midst of the COVID-219 pandemic.  ATW’s move to short training videos, virtual training options, and services provided through the ATW New Horizons Computer Learning Center were all highlighted by the SBA.  Congratulations to everyone at ATW on this special recognition including company President and ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale)

Former ABI Board Member Mara Sovey Downing has New Role

For over a decade, former ABI Board Member Mara Sovey Downing (Deere & Company, Moline) has led one of the nation’s most impactful philanthropic organizations.  As president of the John Deere Foundation, Mara was a leader in addressing global issues such as hunger and poverty, helping to improve lives around the world. 

Now, Mara is transitioning to a new role at Deere, where she will serve as Vice President, Global Brand and Communications.  Congratulations and very best wishes to Mara!