September 17, 2020
ABI Board Establishes 2021 Priorities and Policies
The ABI Board of Directors held its first meeting of the fiscal year last Thursday. One of the main action items of the meeting was to discuss and approve the association’s public policy agenda for 2021. The board established three priorities for the association to advocate at the state Capitol on behalf of its members. The priorities are Workforce, Infrastructure and Regulatory. Read the priorities. ABI’s public policy team will follow and lean on these priorities and policies as we advocate for members at the Capitol next January. ABI would like to thank the hundreds of members who volunteered their time to help develop ABI’s policies this year.

Election Updates Begin Next Week for IIPAC Members
Every election cycle, members of the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC) receive weekly updates on election activity, insights on key races, candidate comparisons on key issues and much more for state and federal races in Iowa. If you would like to receive these insights but have not joined IIPAC, you can become a member by making a contribution here. You will receive updates weekly, and your contribution will support pro-growth, pro-jobs candidates.

ABI Policy Team to Present at Advanced Manufacturing Conference
ABI public policy and political experts JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will lead a workshop during the virtual 2020 Advanced Manufacturing Conference. The workshop, “2020 Landscape: Implications of Policy and Politics to Iowa Businesses,” will take a deep dive into state and federal elections. They will also take a brief look at ABI’s 2020 legislative session. The Advanced Manufacturing Conference is less than two weeks. Be sure to register for this session to gain insight into the state of the 2020 election and the ramifications it could have on Iowa's business community. Register for the conference.

Employee Voter Registration Week Begins Monday
ABI is one of many organizations across the country teaming up with the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), one of our national partners, to support Employee Voter Registration Week, which begins on Monday, September 21. The annual nonpartisan effort provides resources to help private employers and employees become more engaged in the political process. It’s critical everyone gets involved by registering to vote and then casting a ballot in November. ABI members can take advantage of these resources by going to You can also go to ABI’s grassroots website,, for more information on election resources.

Initial, Continuing Unemployment Claims and Trust Fund Payments Fall Again
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 4,962 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of September 6-12. Approximately $18.4 million was paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $1.8 million less than the week prior. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 65,653, which is a decrease of 5,300 claims from last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included construction (1,174); manufacturing (890); and those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (531). Read IWD's news release.

Federal Spotlight: Judge Rules Against Trump Administration’s Rewrite of Joint Employer Rule
A federal district court judge in New York struck down the Trump administration’s narrower definition of ‘joint employer’, stating that the rule conflicted with the broader protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The ruling is a setback for the business community, which sought to return the Joint Employer Standard to its traditional and historical definition, which was upended and expanded by the Obama administration in 2015. If the ruling eventually stands, it will expand liability for franchisees and contractors with concerns to overtime and minimum wage laws. The administration has not yet appealed the decision. Read more.
Iowa Manufacturers Expect Strong Results, Sobering Concerns in Q4
Iowa manufacturers expect strong results in the fourth quarter. However, any positive economic news could be overshadowed by sobering concerns related to social unrest and the pandemic. That’s according to the results of the latest ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey.

“I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the generally strong results that have been projected,” said Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “Overall, most members are doing well. Others are having a much more difficult time.”

ABI members also identified issues they’re facing for the first time. “They’re starting to see the impact of social unrest and COVID-19 on employee well-being and engagement," said Ralston. Additional new issues were concerns about schools staying open and childcare shortages. Read the full news release.

Highlights of media coverage:
Thank You #ABIMFG2020 Sponsors
ABI is able to bring you the Advanced Manufacturing Conference, which is less than two weeks away, thanks to all of the great sponsors above. Register now for the virtual event on Sept. 30. You'll gain the insights, innovation and inspiration you need to take your operation to the next level.
Just In: Gov. Reynolds Joins #ABIMFG2020 Speaker Lineup

This morning it was announced Gov. Kim Reynolds has been added to the Advanced Manufacturing Conference speaking lineup.

Other speakers include:
  • Nationally known author and consultant Matthew Lamons, who will present "Business, Industry and COVID-19: The Industry 4.0 Guide to Response, Recovery & Rebound." 
  • ABI members Mary Landhuis, Lori Schaefer-Weaton and Molly Varangkounh, who will take part in a Women Leaders in Manufacturing panel.
Send Us Your Directory Updates By Oct. 9
Work will begin soon on the 2021 edition of ABI's annual printed membership directory, the Business Resource Guide.

Ask yourself, "Since I received the last directory in January 2020:

  • Have any key contacts joined or left my organization?
  • Has the name of my organization changed due to rebranding or an acquisition?
  • Has the way people contact my company changed, such as a new website URL or a different phone number?"

Please email updates to Dorothy Knowles at by Oct. 9. Thank you for helping us ensure your information is accurate.
Des Moines Attorneys Masterson and Bottenberg to Join Ahlers & Cooney Law Firm
Attorneys Jeremy Masterson (left) & R. Charles Bottenberg (right), who founded the Masterson & Bottenberg Law Firm in 2013, are joining the Ahlers & Cooney law firm as special counsel, effective October 1, 2020. Bottenberg will work in the Trusts, Estates & Personal Taxation Practice Group. Masterson will focus his work with the Business Entities Practice Group. Read the full news release.
Evora Group Named One of Iowa's Top Workplaces in 2020
Evora Group, an industry leader for providing environmental and petroleum solutions, has been awarded a Top Workplace honor by the Des Moines Register. The Central Iowa firm was first recognized as an Iowa Top Workplace in 2017 and has since won the Top Workplace Award multiple times. Read the full news release. Learn more about what makes Evora Group a Top Workplace at
Three Associates Join Davis Brown Law Firm 
  • Katherine Anderegg (left) joins the Davis Brown Law Firm as an associate attorney in the litigation division. She will primarily work in the insurance defense department.
  • Joel Aschbrenner (middle) joins the business division after clerking with the firm for two summers. He worked as a journalist for several years including at the Des Moines Register.
  • Michael Kaufmann (right) joins the litigation division to practice in business, commercial and construction litigation. He represents construction and design firms in matters relating to construction defect and mechanic’s lien litigation. Read the full news release.
Women Lead Change Central Iowa Conference is Oct. 28
The Women Lead Change Central Iowa Conference is being held virtually on Oct. 28. Women Lead Change has become a comprehensive, statewide, nonprofit organization devoted to promoting women’s leadership, offering resources such as learning and networking opportunities and events, including the conference. The conference will feature a number of nationally recognized speakers, including Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat Pray Love, as well as Kindra Hall, Amelia and Emily Nagoski, Caroline Criado Perez and Katrina Adams.

This conference is not just for women. The Women Lead Change conference provides engaging opportunities for women and men alike to think about how gender plays into work and life decisions. With the help of dynamic speakers and active corporate sponsors, attendees can connect and unite in thoughtful conversation and further their own understanding of the unique characteristics that add value to the business world and beyond. ABI Advisory Council member EMC Insurance is the conference's presenting sponsor.

CenturyLink Transforms, Rebrands as Lumen
CenturyLink has a new brand name and bold new purpose. As Lumen Technologies, or simply Lumen, the company will help lead enterprises through the challenges and opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution–a time when smart, connective devices are everywhere. Lumen brings a new focus to how it views the marketplace and the world with the purpose to further human progress through technology. Read the full news release.

Severance & Separation Benefits Study Released
LHH and Compensation Resource Inc. have released their 2020 Severance & Separation Benefits Study. The U.S. study provides benchmarks and insights to help organizations and HR teams make informed severance and separation decisions as part of their workforce strategy. It includes the reasons why severance is offered, how severance is typically calculated at various levels
of employment, and what common severance and separation benefits, such as outplacement and redeployment, are offered. It also shares profiles that show differences in benefits and practices across industry, company size, organization type and region. Read the study.

"Returning to Work and School During COVID-19...Now What?" Webinar is Sept. 22
This Holmes Murphy-hosted webinar, Sept. 22 from 3-4 p.m., will focus on best practices for employers who are returning to work and balancing schools reopening, as well as provide new legal guidance. This includes the importance of leadership alignment conversations and the opportunities that come from employers and employee engagement. Register now.

The webinar will feature:   
  • Dr. Scott Conard, Chief Medical Officer, NME, Holmes Murphy
  • Jo Ellen Whitney, Attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
  • Ali Payne, President, Organizational Engagement/Shareholder, Organizational Engagement, ethOs
  • Nataliya Boychenko Stone, Account Executive, EB/Shareholder, Holmes Murphy (moderator) 

Kryton and CAPS Come Together to Create a Divided Solution for Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic has made schools innovate new ways for students to be safe when they returned to school this fall. Earlier this summer Cedar Falls School District STEM Coordinator Kenton Swartley committed to having the school’s robotics team that he leads design and manufacture 46 polycarbonate divider panels for elementary school classrooms. In late August an additional 200 pieces were ordered to be delivered by the end of August. Read the full news release.

Creative Visions Named Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award Winner, Receives $67,000 Grant
The Opus Foundation, the charitable foundation for The Opus Group, announced today that Creative Visions Human Development Institute has been named the Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award winner and has been awarded a $67,000 grant. Creative Visions provides resources to individuals who want to make a positive change in their life with programing guiding them toward sustainability and self-sufficiency through education, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. Read the full news release.