October 24, 2019
ABI Attends Tri-State Governors’ Conference
On Monday, Mike Ralston and Nicole Crain traveled to Siouxland to participate in the Tri-State Governors' Conference. The biennial event, hosted by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, a great economic development and business advocacy organization in northwest Iowa, features governors from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. All states are focused on attracting and retaining workers. Gov. Noem of South Dakota talked about the devastating floods, Gov. Ricketts of Nebraska spoke about tax reform, and Gov. Reynolds discussed all the innovative workforce solutions taking place in Iowa and provided an update on Future Ready Iowa. The luncheon was followed by an issues conversation about hot topics in the Siouxland region. ABI appreciated the opportunity to participate and connect with Gov. Reynolds and many ABI members. 

Tax Credit Review Committee to Meet Next Week
The Joint Tax Credit Review Committee will meet next Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the Capitol to begin a review of Iowa’s tax credits. The committee was established in the  2018 comprehensive tax reform bill . The legislation required legislative leaders in both chambers and parties to appoint members to a committee. The committee, as stated in the legislation, is "to evaluate tax credits available under Iowa law, including Iowa’s utilization of tax credits as a tool for promoting and supporting economic growth and development. Read more .

Survey Says: Employees Want to Hear from Employers
One of ABI’s federal partners, the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), recently released results from the independent survey conducted by Moore Information Group. As in previous years, the results are positive when an employer engages an employee with regard to information to help the employee become more politically engaged and educated about the electoral process.

For example:
  • 78% of those who received information on policy, elections and candidates want employers to continue to provide policy issue information as a benefit to their employees.
  • 72% of employees who received information from employers consider themselves a more informed citizen and voter because of the employer-provided policy issue, election or candidate information communication.
  • 67% want employers to continue to provide election information.

Those are just a few of the key statistics from the  survey . Read more .

Deadline for Iowa Employer Innovation Fund Applications in Two Weeks
Employers interested in taking advantage of Iowa Employer Innovation Fund dollars must submit their applications by Friday, Nov. 8. The fund, which is a component of Future Ready Iowa, received an appropriation of $1.2 million during the 2019 legislative session. Iowa Workforce Development, which will review the applications, will match up to $50,000 of those applicants that qualify. The purpose of the fund is to expand opportunities for Iowans to earn for-credit and non-credit post-secondary credentials preparing them for high-demand jobs by developing creative wrap-around programs for training–whether that be childcare or books and other supplies. The goal is to encourage local and regional solutions to the workforce shortage. Awardees will be notified no later than Dec. 1.  Learn more .

Opportunity to Comment on DOT Transit Plan
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking feedback from stakeholders about its long-range public transit plan. The in-progress plan will work in conjunction and facilitate the  Iowa in Motion 2045  to plan effective and efficient multimodal services. You can take the  online survey , which closes Friday, Nov. 1.

Now Live: Let’s Get Local and Iowa Caucus Toolkit
The  IAVotes.com  website has new local election and caucus resources for you to share with your colleagues. The Let’s Get Local Toolkit helps you share information about the importance of local elections, as you’ve read about in past newsletters . The Caucus Toolkit includes a tutorial, as well as banners you can use on social media or your website. For more information about either resources, or to learn how you can customize these products for your business, please contact  Nicole Crain

Iowa Unemployment Rate Remains Static
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) announced last week the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 2.5% for the month of September. The U.S. unemployment rate slid to 3.5%. IWD Director Beth Townsend noted that Iowa’s labor force participation has increased with 7,900 more Iowans in the workforce since August. Iowa continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country though there are still tens of thousands of job openings across the state. Read the  news release .

Legislative Reception Registration Now Open
Pictured: Sen. Jerry Behn and ABI board member Stacey Pellett of John Deere enjoy visiting at the 2019 Legislative Briefing and Reception.

Registration for the 2020 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception is now open. You can take advantage of the early bird rate for the next month, so don’t forget to  register . If you're interested in sponsoring the briefing and reception, or other public policy events, please contact  Nicole Crain . Remember, if you want to be recognized as an IIPAC investor at the January reception, make sure you have your 2019 investment in before Dec. 31 or commit to your 2020 investment by Jan. 10.
Register Now: Building Business Value Program in Fort Dodge
No matter how young and vibrant you feel, you will eventually want to retire and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. When that day arrives, you should have a solid exit plan in place to successfully leave the business on your terms, set the minds of your employees and clients at ease, and help your chosen successor take the reins with confidence.

Join us for the Building Business Value program on Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m., in Fort Dodge. It will help you assess and take action on some of the questions below:
  • Do you have a plan for the future of your business? Do you know what your exit goals are?
  • Are there gaps between your current situation and your desired situation?
  • Are you prepared for both the planned events and potential unplanned events?
  • Does your culture and total compensation support your largest asset–your people?
  • Do you have a strong strategy for the 4 R’s: Recruit–Retain–Reward–Retire?

Speakers will include Kevin Lentz, president, Performance Marketing; Jim Nalley, VP, BCC Advisers; Mark Wyzgowski, managing principal, CliftonLarsonAllen; and Brian Crotty, managing director, HDH Advisors. Register now .
Involving the Right People in Your E-Commerce Planning
Stephen G. Fry

If your business has never had E-Commerce, it is important to assemble a team of knowledgable people from across multiple departments. This steering committee should be made up of team members who are encouraged to freely express their ideas, experience and potential concerns.

The very first person needed is an executive sponsor. Depending on the size of the organization, this individual might be the owner, president or a division leader. Regardless of who it is, this person must have ultimate control over how E-Commerce will function within the company and be able to secure adequate budget to plan, build and grow your online sales efforts. Read more .
Pictured: Olivia Brooks (left) and Elizabeth Heffernan (right)
Brooks and Heffernan Join Ahlers & Cooney Law Firm
Olivia Brooks has joined the Ahlers & Cooney law firm as an associate attorney. She will work with a broad base of clients, including privately-held corporations of all sizes, insurance companies and individuals, as well as educational institutions and government agencies. Read the full news release about Brooks.

Elizabeth Heffernan has also joined Ahlers & Cooney as a member of the public law practice area, focused in the areas of education law, litigation and employment law. She will work with K-12 school districts and higher education institutions, where she will assist clients on a variety of issues, including those related to accessibility, accommodations, student programming, student rights and discipline, and special education. Read the full news release about Heffernan.

For over 130 years, Ahlers & Cooney has provided comprehensive legal services to local, state, national and international businesses, educational institutions and municipalities.

North Central Regional HTEC Conference is Nov. 22-23 in Ankeny
Join DMACC in Ankeny for the fifth annual North Central Regional HTEC Conference. Nov. 22 will begin with two industry tours, followed by a special networking event. Nov. 23 will include industry/educator roundtable sessions, partner presentations, lab tours and demos, as well as a panel discussion including local industry and educational professionals. Registration is free and open to all CNC educators, HTEC partners and manufacturing professionals. Learn more .

Seminar for Top Decision-makers Coming to Fairfield
"The Journey to Your Vision" seminar, presented by Iowa Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa,  will be Nov. 12 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Every business faces peaks and valleys as it progresses through stages of growth. Do you know what stage your business is in and how you can reach the next level? Attend this valuable one-day seminar to help stack the odds in your favor by understanding the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them.  Learn more .