September 26, 2019
Two Days Left: Take Part in EVRW
Employee Voter Registration Week concludes tomorrow, but you still have two days to participate! It may be too late to do a large-scale voter registration drive at your company, but do you have a colleague or a neighbor who has moved recently? Have you checked your own voter registration to make sure it’s up to date? Checking your voter registration information and telling a colleague are two quick and easy ways to participate. Check  your registration information. Read more .

Federal Spotlight: Overtime Rule Final
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the final overtime rule. The rule , which increases the salary threshold for those eligible for overtime, raises the total compensation requirement for highly compensated employees, and makes changes to nondiscretionary bonuses and commissions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the rule will make approximately 1.3 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay. The final rule is effective January 1, 2020. Read more .

Iowa Unemployment Rate Remains Steady
Iowa Workforce Development announced last week that Iowa’s seasonal unemployment remained at 2.5% for the month of August. The number of Iowans in the labor force increased by 5,800 compared to July, according to IWD Director Beth Townsend. She also noted employers are looking for skilled workers to fill jobs across the state and highlighted the efforts of employers engaged in Future Ready Iowa summits to help address this issue. If you are interested,  register for a summit

Crain and Hartkopf Speak on ABI Public Policy Issues
This week ABI’s public policy team spoke at two conferences and a regional chamber meeting. Nicole Crain spoke about medical cannabis in Iowa and what’s on the horizon from an employer’s perspective at the Iowa-Illinois Safety Council conference. She also traveled to Sioux City to provide a 2020 legislative preview to members of the Siouxland Chamber. Thank you to both ABI members for the opportunity to address your groups. Brad Hartkopf spoke at the regional government affairs conference for state chamber professionals. Read more .

Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Applications Available
The offices of Gov. Reynolds and the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) jointly announced last week that grant applications for private sector communication services providers and public entities seeking to expand rural high-speed internet services in underserved areas of the state are now available. Five million dollars in grant funds are available to be awarded as a result of the Empower Rural Iowa legislation approved earlier this year. The grant application window is from Sept. 20 through Oct. 18. Read more .

Lawsuit Climate Survey Released
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) unveiled the 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States. The ILR has partnered with the nationally renowned Harris Poll to highlight the states that have the best and worst legal climates in the nation. Iowa ranks in the middle overall at number 23 for the state liability system. However, it’s important to note Iowa has declined substantially since coming in at number 4 in 2013. Read more .
There’s a feeling of uncertainty about Iowa’s economy, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).

“The number of Iowa business leaders concerned about lower sales revenue next quarter stood out,” said Mike Ralston, ABI president. “Most of our members, about half of whom are manufacturers, traditionally have slower fourth-quarters. But this appears to be beyond seasonal.”

Read the full news release and the Business Record's coverage .
3 Reasons to Build Your Tech Company in the Silicon Prairie
Dan Murray
Founder and CEO
Vertex Software

As a six-time entrepreneur with two IPOs under my belt, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of keeping businesses close to home. In fact, all of my six businesses started and grew in or near Ames, Iowa, my current home, and a mere 40 miles from my hometown of Jefferson, Iowa. I’m taking the same approach with Vertex Software, which is situated in Iowa State University’s backyard.

For me, it’s not so much about the fact that my businesses have been in Iowa specifically—although I can’t speak highly enough of my experiences here. It’s about building and growing start-ups in Silicon Prairie, “flyover” states, the heartland or any other name you call the Midwest. I truly believe that our location is helping us shape the future of manufacturing and Iowa-based technology growth. Read more .
Julie L. Spieker Joins McKee, Voorhees & Sease PLC 
MVS is excited to announce that Julie L. Spieker has joined MVS as an Intellectual Property Attorney in the Biotechnology & Chemical and Mechanical & Electrical practice areas. Spieker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University. She then worked in the semiconductor manufacturing industry performing research & development and process integration. Read the full news release .
Focus OneSource to Host "Everything You Need to Know About Sugar" Seminar
Often times, sugar is hiding in foods that we would least expect. Join Focus OneSource as local Hy-Vee dietitians teach you the ins and outs about sugar and how to spot hidden sugar mines. This free nutrition seminar is Oct. 10, 5-6 p.m., at the Focus OneSource Training Facility, 2929 Westown Parkway, in West Des Moines. RSVP to Focus OneSource at 515-369-7550.

Master Builders of Iowa to Host "The EOS Experience" featuring Gino Wickman, Panel with ABI Members
Ask yourself and your leadership team, “Are you running your company…or is your company running you?” If your answer is not a resounding “I’ve got it under control!”, then take a look at The EOS® Experience Conference presented by the Master Builders of Iowa on Nov. 12 in Des Moines. Highlights will include speaker Gino Wickman and a panel of peers who have adopted the EOS® program including ABI members Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Inc.), Connor Deering (Cemen Tech, Inc.), Mike Espeset (Story Construction Co.) and Steve Hauschilt (Graham Construction Co.).  Learn more and register .

Des Moines Register Names Barker Lemar a Top Workplace in Iowa
Barker Lemar Companies has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Des Moines Register. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution and connection, just to name a few. This is the second year Barker Lemar has received the Top Workplace honor. Read the full news release .

National Safety Council Releases New Employer Opioid Toolkit
Last week the  National Safety Council  (NSC) made specific asks of the American business community and unveiled a new toolkit that employers can use to address the  opioid crisis . To help employers answer this call, NSC launched its free  Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit  at a press event. It was attended by ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee Chair Rex Butler, a safety professional and advocate who lost his brother to an opioid overdose. Read the full news release .

Steady Job Market Expected in Fourth Quarter of 2019 for Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA
U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain positive in Q4 2019 with hiring intentions improving one percentage point compared to a year ago, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The last time the survey of more than 11,500 employers reported a Q4 Net Employment Outlook (NEO) as high as +20% was in Q4 2006. For the coming quarter in Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA, employers expect to hire at a hopeful pace of 13%. Read the full news release .

Meatingplace: Hormel Moves SPAM Production to Iowa
From : "Hormel Foods is moving a SPAM production line to northeast Iowa from Nebraska, the company confirmed to Meatingplace. The Austin, Minn.-based processor is shifting a SPAM production line to a facility in Dubuque, Iowa, from a plant in Fremont, Neb., creating 58 jobs, the company confirmed. Hormel also is expected to make $13 million in capital investments in Iowa as part of the production adjustment and reportedly will receive about $600,000 in tax credits from the Hawkeye State."