Iowa Business Council: We're Proud of Our Roles Helping Our State During the COVID-19 Crisis

May 19, 2020

The Des Moines Register, Mary Andringa

In what can appear to be an unending grim news cycle, we should pause to highlight the positive everyday occurrences that have made a difference in the current crisis and note the best practices that will pave the way for Iowa's regrowth and rebuilding. In evaluating our individual and collective responses, I'm proud of the leadership shown throughout the state by businesses, nonprofits, community leaders, citizens, and government officials.

Iowans are known for their hard work and ingenuity. Instead of waiting for the answer, we tackle the challenge head-on and create solutions to the problem at hand. Our front-line workers in healthcare, retail, manufacturing, nonprofits, and local government are the perfect example of this, and we can’t thank them enough for their willingness to answer the call to serve. Thank you for your courage and leadership when needed most.

As chair of the Iowa Business Council (IBC), I have witnessed members step up to answer the challenges in their communities. Since 1985, IBC has served as a catalyst for Iowa's economic vitality. Our membership, the chief decision-makers of 22 of Iowa's largest companies, are leading the way to recovery in their communities, and ultimately driving recovery efforts around the world.

IBC members are caring for the front line. IBC manufacturing members have retooled their operations to design, develop and manufacture critical personal protective equipment for their communities and healthcare workers in a time of need.

IBC members are developing creative solutions. Through an innovative partnership, MercyOne and Corteva Agriscience have joined forces to fill the urgent need in testing COVID-19 samples in Iowa. MercyOne providers are collecting the samples and then deliver them to Corteva, where a team of trained technicians process and assess the samples using the company’s sophisticated genetic screening capabilities. This type of partnership and implementation can serve as a best practice to carry forward during recovery.

IBC members are guiding decision-making. IBC's three health systems have come together to advise elected leaders with on-the-ground intelligence and response plans. The systems share predictive modeling and consistent regional surge planning to increase hospitals' capacity, work regionally to resume elective procedures, and share needed supplies such as ventilators.

IBC members are giving back. Local communities have taken a huge hit, but this is when Iowans step up and take care of our neighbors. IBC members are donating funds to infuse local economies and prop up small business. Food insecurity among our citizens has climbed during the crisis. IBC members have donated over $2 million to philanthropic efforts across the state to provide additional food and funding to feed those in need. From Muscatine to Sioux City and in between, IBC members have helped restock shelves, donated thousands of pounds of food to local shelters and food banks, cooked hot meals for residents, and provided funding for local disaster relief efforts.

As we look ahead to economic recovery, the Iowa Business Council knows we are stronger together than we are alone. We stand ready to assist public officials and our local communities to strategically rebound. IBC members have called Iowa home for decades, and some for over a century. We have seen financial upheaval, domestic and international turmoil, and considerable natural disasters. We have also seen incredible growth, the birth of new industries, the strengthening and expansion of our agricultural roots, and innovative technologies that emerge from Iowans. We know how to work hard, and we are up for the challenge. We are confident that together, with our fellow Iowans and alongside the communities we live and work in, we will develop the solutions we need to get us back on track and thrive once again.

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