September 10, 2020
2020 Friend of Iowa Business Endorsements Announced
The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC) Board met last week and awarded 76 candidates running for the Iowa Legislature with the Friend of Iowa Business Endorsement for the 2020 cycle. The IIPAC Board endorsed 57 candidates running in the House and 19 candidates running in the Senate. The endorsements include incumbent legislators, those running in open seats and also a few challengers taking on incumbents. ABI is proud to support candidates who back the business community and support a pro-jobs agenda. You can view the endorsements.

Register for ABI Environment Committee Update with Iowa DNR
The ABI Environment Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. Iowa DNR Environmental Services Division Administrator Ed Tormey and Air Construction Permit Supervisor Sarah Piziali will provide an update on communication enhancements within the air quality bureau and what to expect if you are beginning a project. You can register here.

SOS Begins to Mail Absentee Ballot Requests for General Election
Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office has started to mail absentee ballot request forms to all active registered Iowa voters for the November general election. Secretary Pate initiated this measure for the June primary election as a means of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. There was record turnout for the primary with more than 500,000 Iowans casting ballots. Some county auditors are also mailing request forms to voters; both have pre-paid return postage. Early voting begins in a few weeks in Iowa, and ABI has a number of resources that members can use to encourage voter turnout among employees. ABI’s IAVotes website has the tools you need to be an informed voter, including candidate comparisons in key federal races and state legislative vote records. In addition, another way you can encourage employee engagement is participation in Employee Voter Registration Week (EVRW). ABI is a partner, and it’s easy to do—click here to sign up or learn more!

Initial, Continuing Unemployment Claims and Trust Fund Payments Continue Decline
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced there were 5,689 initial unemployment claims filed by individuals for the week of August 30 through September 5. Approximately $20.2 million was paid out of the state unemployment trust fund, which is about $1.4 million less than the week prior. The number of continuing unemployment claims was 71,644, which is a decrease of 4,233 claims from last week. The top sectors that saw the most initial claims filed included manufacturing (1,311); those not identified by industry including the self-employed, independent contractors, etc. (682); and food accommodation and food services (565). Read IWD's news release.

Return to Learn Employer Survey
The Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), an ABI partner, is seeking input from employers regarding what companies are doing in the childcare care realm and how companies are transitioning since COVID. If you have already received this survey, there is not a need to fill it out again. The deadline to complete the survey is Thursday, Sept. 17. Click here for the link to this short survey. This survey aligns with the work ABI is doing to better understand childcare challenges and advocate for business-minded solutions. 

Federal Spotlight: Latest COVID-19 Relief Package Dies in the Senate
U.S. Senate Republican Leadership announced on Tuesday that the upper chamber would be voting on a more tailored and narrowly focused COVID-19 relief bill today. This comes as the White House, the Republican Senate and the Democratic House have been in a stalemate over a larger package for months now. The bill, which included additional money for schools, extensive liability protections for a variety of entities and an extension of jobless aid, needed 60 votes to move forward, but failed 52-47. As each day passes, it will become more and more challenging for Congress to agree on a package that can reach the president’s desk with less than two months away from the general election.
Members, ABI Participate in Ernst Childcare Roundtable
Last Friday, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst convened a roundtable of experts to discuss issues related to childcare. ABI members have identified childcare as a priority issue. 

Two of the roundtable participants were ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain. Chris Moulden, child development center manager at ABI member Casey's General Stores, also participated.

At the roundtable, Sen. Ernst shared comments about the latest legislative efforts to help address childcare issues. Vanden Bosch and Crain talked about Iowa solutions that are already seeing positive results now. Congratulations to all involved and thank you for your work on this important issue. 
Meet Our New Members

Krist Insurance Services
MD Orthopaedics, Inc.
Mid America Recycling, LLC
Terracon Consultants, Inc.
The Benefits of Employee Stock Ownership Plans in Iowa
Hillary Hughes
Prairie Capital Advisors

As an owner of a closely-held business, many hours, and certainly years, are invested in working towards the viability and success of the business. At some point, the planning and objectives shift, and the owner will need to invest time and planning to implement an exit strategy. The exit strategy should encompass whether the owner is planning for retirement, wishes to ensure the long-term legacy of the company and any other number of additional considerations unique to the individual business owner.

One way to help ensure the continuation of the business, while also providing significant financial benefits for both the owner and the employees, is the implementation of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). An ESOP—which is a form of a retirement plan—is an attractive benefit for employees since ESOPs are typically funded and sponsored by the company. In other words, the employees’ sole contribution toward this benefit is their time and dedication to the company. Another plus is that any gains in the value of the ESOP are tax-deferred.

When the ESOP is established, a trust is set up, and the trust invests primarily in company stock and holds its assets for the benefit of employees. At the same time, the business owner gains liquidity by selling up to 100% of the company’s stock—although it can be less—to the trust. While shares of company stock are sold to the trust, the sale does not transfer control of the company to the ESOP participants; rather, control of the company remains with the company’s management. Read more.
Craig Herbst Joins Honkamp Krueger Partner Group
Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. has announced the addition of Craig Herbst (left) to the firm as partner. Herbst joins the firm with over 20 years of experience in finance, consulting and analytics. He specializes in data analytics, tax and employee benefits consulting, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions. He is a University of Wisconsin alum. Read the full news release.
Iowa Careers in Business & Financial Services: Project Announcement and Employer Survey
The Iowa Department of Education, in support of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, is proud to announce a new partnership with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), Iowa Business Council (IBC), Iowa Business Education Association (IBEA), and the Iowa chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) to develop promotional materials to highlight a wide range of exciting and fulfilling business and financial services careers in Iowa.

A short five-minute survey has been created to gather direct input from the many different types of industries and employers with a growing need for workers with advanced education, training, and experience in business and financial services in Iowa. This initial survey will remain open until the close of business on Friday, September 18.

Twenty-Six Attorneys from Ahlers & Cooney Recognized in Practice Areas by “Best Lawyers in America”
Twenty-two attorneys from Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., a Des Moines-based law firm, were recently selected by their peers to be recognized in respective practice areas by The Best Lawyers in America 2021 edition for Des Moines. Four attorneys were recognized as Ones to Watch, a new category this year. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence. Read the full news release.

Business Acumen Series Offered By DMACC Business Resources
DMACC Business Resources will offer a Business Acumen series in October and November. Topics will include:

  • The Five Factors of Business Success (Cash, Margin, Asset Utilization, Growth, People)​
  • Price, Margin, Fixed Costs, Variable Costs, Volume and Profit
  • Working Capital, Asset Efficiency, Capacity Utilization, Inventory/Value Chain Optimization
  • Cash Position, Cash Flow
  • Capital Budgeting, Return on Investment, Time Value of Money and Risk
  • Budgets, Budgeting and Decision-Making

Classes will be delivered via Zoom. Cost is $1,400 per seat with the same employee to attend all sessions. Funding assistance may be available.

Focus OneSource Welcomes New Team Members
Focus OneSource, a leading local Professional Employer Organizations, has announced the following new hires and promotions at their Des Moines office. Five team members have been promoted to shareholders of the business: Lynn Kooker, Pam Clearwater-Lovell, Beth Dieleman, Mary Ward and Brad Johnson. Hires includes Stacy Early-Jannenga (payroll manager), Jeff Hopp (HRIS system administrator), Grant Nichols (employee specialist) and Sara Tollerud (payroll specialist). Read the full news release.

Davis Brown Wills, Trusts and Probate Department Recognized Globally 
This summer, Davis Brown Wills, Trusts and Probate Department was recognized by Chambers High Net Worth Guide in the area of Private Wealth Law. Commenting on the strength of the department, one interviewee said, "They're deep and have a good future in this practice area," and another said the firm has "very good planning lawyers." Chambers is a global organization and a renowned legal research directory. Read the full news release.
Troy W. Vincent Named Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 Heartland Award Finalist
Ernst & Young LLP recently announced Troy W. Vincent (left) of Navigate Wellbeing Solutions was named an Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 Heartland Award finalist. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur of the Year program honors entrepreneurial business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform our world. Read the full news release.