Town Hall – May 6, 2020

Private sector operational and financial challenges being faced in this COVID-19 era

Thank you, presenters!

Richard (Dick) Gilbert: former Iowan, owner-businessman, corporate director and current chair of a Chicago-based CEO group of 20 members who own and/or operate businesses with aggregate sales of more than $5.5 billion.

“Think about a plane that took off in clear skies when thunderstorms unexpectedly occurred.  Dictated by changing circumstances, the course had be be adjusted in-flight, and the pilot warned the passengers to buckle up as the ride was going to be rough!”

Mike Gassmann: Chief Growth Officer of Van Meter Inc., an employee-owned regional distributor of electrical, mechanical and automation equipment with a large distribution center in Urbandale and facilities in Omaha and Kansas City. 

“We entered March with momentum that carried into April.  So far, construction and “maintenance and repair” projects continue, but at a reduced level. Projections are less optimistic, but so far we have been able to safely maintain all of our employees.” 

Scott Carlson: Managing Partner at Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Co., Owner Americana Restaurant and The Craft Beer Tent.

Right now, it is impossible to see through the windshield; all I can see is in the rearview mirror. Restaurants are struggling to remain in business, many through carry-out service. Operating at 50% capacity doesn’t make economic sense, but it may be the first step in getting people back. It is going to take time, and many restaurants aren’t going to make it.

Julie Gammack: 20-year CEO coach, writer, columnist, talk-show host, historian, and futurist.

“Business and government leaders today are in full crisis-mode, ‘catching falling knives,’ as a result of the economic shutdown. But we must also envision the future for it to manifest. People and companies are learning that work can be successfully preformed from home. Iowa has a real opportunity to attract individuals from high cost areas like the Silicon Valley. Now is the time to put the plan together.

“how strikingly partisan”

CNBC’s “States of Play” survey results on reopening the economy have some some frightening statistics. Will decisions being made by local officials reflect a personal political bias or include a thoughtful consideration of opposing thoughts and information contrary to their understanding?