June 20, 2019
Director Durham to Speak at ABI Economic Growth Meeting
Debi Durham, director of the Economic Development Authority, will speak to attendees at ABI’s annual Economic Growth Committee meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 14 in Des Moines at the ABI office. Director Durham is a thought-leader and has been a strong advocate for Iowa by helping existing businesses continue to invest and recruiting new businesses to the state.  Register  to attend the meeting. There is no cost to attend, but you must register, as space is limited. All other public policy committee meetings have been scheduled for August as well. See the  full list .

Gov. Reynolds Announces “This is Iowa Campaign”
On Monday June 17, Gov. Reynolds announced the “This is Iowa” campaign to draw people from around the country to our state, both as tourists and permanent residents. The stated goal is to stimulate economic growth by highlighting the wonderful opportunities available to Iowans, and will also familiarize non-Iowans with the multitude of cultural and recreational activities available across the state. Read more .

Environmental Protection Commission Approves Contracts
ABI Public Policy Coordinator Drew Wynes attended the Environmental Protection Commission’s business meeting on June 18, 2019. DNR Acting Director Bruce Trautman spoke briefly prior to approval of several contracts relevant to ABI members. Director Trautman thanked the commissioners and emphasized that contracts are essential to the DNR. Legal Services Bureau Chief Ed Tormey followed with monthly reports citing efforts to assist disaster-stricken communities. Read more .

ABI Participates in Annual Workers’ Comp Symposium
ABI Director, Public Policy Brad Hartkopf attended the 57th Annual Workers’ Compensation Symposium held last week in Des Moines. Panelists including claimant and defense attorneys, insurance adjusters, doctors, officials from the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation and others covered several important topics within the overall scope of workers’ compensation. Read more .

Mexico Ratifies USMCA Agreement
On Wednesday, Mexico became the first country to ratify the USMCA agreement when the Senate passed the language with overwhelming support and a vote of 114-4. Canada and the United States must still ratify the agreement before it is final. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is signaling she would like to see some changes enhanced in the agreement before it is final. If there are any changes made, both Canada and Mexico would need to sign off.  Read more  from Politico on the status of the agreement.
Event Spotlight: Okoboji CEO Forum
CEOs, presidents and founders: Join us at the Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Okoboji on August 1-2 for the third annual ABI CEO Forum. Programming will include "Leading for the Long Term" with Casey's CEO Terry Handley, "Leadership When the Stakes are High" with Trauma Surgeon Dr. James Swegle of the Iowa Clinic and Retired Major General Tim Orr, and "Strengthen and Harvest Company Value While Leaving a Lasting Legacy" with succession planning experts from ABI's Advisory Council. Register now . A hotel room discount is available to ABI members through July 6.
Clinton Region Manufacturing Roundtable to Feature ABI
The Clinton Regional Development Corporation will host ABI's Mike Ralston, Kathy Anderson and Brad Hartkopf for the Clinton Region Manufacturing Roundtable on June 28, 8-10 a.m., at the Clinton Community College Technology Center. Learn more about ABI's many programs and advocacy efforts designed to support business growth in Iowa–especially those for manufacturers. The program is free and open to the public. Learn more and register .
The Right Questions to Ask Customers
Andrea Olson

There are quite a few best practices out there to gain customer feedback to help improve your organization's performance and growth. Some of the recommendations for questions to ask customers to gain insight (via places like Google) have included:

Is our product/service no longer useful to you?

Did the price of our product/service cause you to leave?

Have you decided to test out a competitor?

What would you like to see changed?

What would you say about your experience?

While all interesting, they are fairly useless. There's a good reason for this–they are binary questions. Each can be answered with a Yes or a No, or a singular comment. In addition, there's little to no context of the WHY. And the "why" is the most important thing to know. Read more .
BrownWinick Volunteers with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity
The BrownWinick Volunteer Day was held on June 7 with over 80 attorneys and staff participating in the afternoon event. This year, the firm’s Volunteer Day benefited the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. Three teams of volunteers worked at Habitat ReStore (Urbandale and Euclid locations), Rock the Block® and a new construction site. See more photos .

AT&T Invests Nearly $100 Million Over 3-Year Period to Boost Local Networks in Iowa
AT&T has invested nearly $100 million in its Iowa wireless and wired networks during 2016-2018. These investments boost reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for residents and businesses. It's also improved critical services that support public safety and first responders using the FirstNet communications platform. AT&T's wireless network covers more than 99% of all Americans and has become the fastest wireless network in the nation, according to the first quarter 2019 results from ... Read the full news release .

Businesses Invited to Attend "Hiring for Today's Workforce" Conference
Join Future Ready Iowa on July 16, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines. Subject matter experts, speakers and breakout sessions will focus on creative solutions for developing your workforce. Topics include employment law, untapped labor pools, cultural diversity and more. There will also be reverse job fair. Learn more about this free event.

Holmes Murphy Adds Enterprise Resource for Organizational Wellbeing
Ali Payne recently joined the Holmes Murphy team as practice leader for organizational wellbeing. She brings more than 19 years of experience developing holistic, innovative solutions to enhance both the employee experience and engagement. She will create a new division focused on all facets of organizational and client wellbeing and success. Read the full news release .

ABI Members Encouraged to Join Gov. Reynolds'/IEDA's Trade Mission to China this November
Participate in high-level meetings in Beijing and Hebei to inform and equip you for a better China strategy. Hear first-hand from senior leaders at the U.S. Embassy, successful business leaders and expert speakers who provide practical assessment of the risks and opportunities of doing business in China. Contact Joseph.Rude@IowaEDA.com or call 515-348-6244 to learn more.

Local University Students Produce 72,800 Pounds of Donations in Goodwill of Central Iowa Campus Move-out Program
Goodwill of Central Iowa teamed up with college campuses this spring to help students move out of their dorm rooms and apartments while also helping the environment and local communities. Partners included Central College, Drake University, Grand View University, Grinnell College and Iowa State University. Goodwill Campus Move-Out is the easy way for students to take home what they still want or need—and donate what they don’t need to a worthy cause. Read the full news release .

New Winnebago Food Truck to Serve Summer Lunches to Children in Disadvantaged Communities in the Twin Cities
This summer children experiencing food insecurity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region could access a meal from a new food truck supported by the Minnesota Vikings Foundation in partnership with Xcel Energy. This is the first commercial kitchen produced using the Winnebago commercial shell vehicle platform. Read the full news release .