119th Annual Conference is a Smash - Monday Memo 6/20/22

June 20, 2022

Wow!  What a Conference!!

You are used to reading that exclamation in the first Monday Memo after the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; that’s because every year it is appropriate.  It is perhaps more true this year than ever before… it was a fabulous conference! 

ABI members from across Iowa and from other parts of the nation converged on Dubuque last week for the association’s 119th Annual Convention.  A great crowd, local hospitality, exciting venues, nationally-known speakers, and terrific events made the 2022 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference something very special.   

As you know, the annual convention is important to ABI for several reasons.  While the revenue raised by the convention is one of those, even more important is the event’s value as a source of programming and information for members.  And even more important than that, the annual convention helps continue ABI’s momentum and provides members and sponsors with the very best business networking in Iowa.  It is abundantly clear that this annual meeting achieved the convention committee’s goals related to revenue, programming, and networking. 

On behalf of the ABI Board of Directors, THANK YOU to all members, sponsors, and convention attendees for your time and support last week.  Special thanks go ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa), a terrific conference committee chaired by Brett Burkhart (MakeuSafe, Des Moines), and to staff events leader Holly Mueggenberg.  Nicole Crain, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Jessi McQuerrey, Jane Galloway, Kelsey Smith, Becky Coady, JD Davis, and Brad Hartkopf also deserve special thanks.   

ABI members are off to a convention in another great city for the 2023 conference.  See you back in Cedar Rapids next June! 

Kim Augspurger Elected New Chair of ABI

At the Annual Business Meeting held last Wednesday in Dubuque, ABI members elected new officers and directors for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.  Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) was elected Chair, Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) was elected Vice Chair, Chad Reese (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) was elected Treasurer, and Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon) was elected Secretary.  Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) is Immediate Past Chair.  

Executive Committee members were also elected, including returning members John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) and Tim Conlon (Conlon Construction, Dubuque).  New committee members are Stacey Pellett (John Deere, West Des Moines), Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring Manufacturing Company, Adel), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City).  

New board members from across the state were also elected and they will take office (along with the new officers and Executive Committee) on July 1.  Retiring board members have provided important leadership for ABI and they are recognized for their service. 

Kim Augspurger is a longtime ABI board member and a well-known Iowa business leader.  She recently sold her former company, Saxton, to Pigott, which has offices in 5 locations across Iowa and South Dakota. The company represents the newly formed largest commercial furniture manufacturer and design brand in the world, MillerKnoll.  Kim is active on several boards and initiatives, both in Central Iowa and throughout the state.  Congratulations to Kim and to our other officers and directors! 

Governor Addresses Convention; Signs Bills

Having the Governor of Iowa address the annual convention is an honored ABI tradition.  Last week, Governor Kim Reynolds addressed the convention and paid tribute to ABI member companies throughout Iowa.  

In addition, Governor Reynolds signed into law three separate pieces of legislation passed by the Iowa General Assembly.  Dealing with unemployment insurance and childcare issues, the bills were important and were supported by ABI. 

It is always a treat to have the Governor with us.  Thank you to Governor Reynolds for joining us in Dubuque.  

LI Class Graduates; Jacque Andrew Named 2022 Leadership for Iowa Award Winner; 2022 Business Horizons Session Fast Approaching

At a ceremony held Thursday, members of the 202-2022 Leadership Iowa Class graduated.  Class members have demonstrated a real commitment to continuing their leadership activities and it is clear that our state will benefit from these committed young leaders.  Congratulations to everyone! 

Prior to the LI ceremony, the Leadership for Iowa Award was presented to longtime Iowa leader Jacque Andrew.  ABI congratulates and sends best wishes to Jacque. 

The focus of the ABI Foundation now shifts to the upcoming session of Business Horizons.  As you know, BH is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students and this year’s session will take place next month on the campus of Central College in Pella.  Please go to http://www.businesshorizonsiowa.com/ for more information. 

In other Foundation news and thanks to all of you, last Wednesday evening's Foundation Auction raised funds for the ABI Foundation.  A special thank you goes to newly-elected ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield), who led the auction, and to his special event partner, ‘The Voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes,’ Gary Dolphin.  Thank you, Nate and Dolph! 

Lefebure, Antle Join ABI, ABI Foundation

ABI and the ABI Foundation will soon be adding two new quality staff people. 

You’ll recall that we have been searching for someone to fill Dorothy Knowles’ position upon her retirement next month.  Levi Lefebure will join us in mid-July in the role of member services coordinator and will work with Dorothy until her retirement date.  Levi is currently employed by Wells Fargo as an operations specialist and is an award-wining researcher.  His database knowledge and contacts will give him a tremendous start in filling the big shows that Dorothy will leave behind.  Nicole Crain and I have discussed shifting the parameters of this role a bit and perhaps seeing if it can benefit our political work as well. 

Also in mid-July, Kendall Antle will join the ABI Foundation in a position that is similar to the one previously held by McKenzie Kielman.  Kendall comes from the Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, where he led a number of special projects.  Perhaps most importantly, he has an extensive network with Iowa high schools, which will be helpful in Foundation recruiting, among other things. 

While both new hires are male and are filling roles previously held by women, I assure you that qualifications and fit were paramount, not gender.  I sought to bring the most qualified person to the team and relied heavily on the counsel of Nicole Crain, Jessi McQuerrey, and Becky Coady. 

Please join me in welcoming Levi and Kendall to the team. 

ABI Publishes Iowa HR Library

One of ABI’s popular services over the years has been to provide a library of reference books related to Human Resources and other issues.  The reference set is periodically updated and highlighted for those companies seeking such a resource and it is offered at a very nominal rate for ABI members.  For more information or to obtain a set of manuals, please contact the ABI office.  

Annual ABI Okoboji Executive Forum This Summer

Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) used to say that an official ABI conference had to be held in Okoboji.  Dennis relented in recent years, because as he told me, he enjoyed the ever-growing ABI conferences.  But ABI members still love the Iowa Great lakes. 

In response to the great many of you who asked for a Lakes-area event, ABI six years ago created an executive forum.  The event, held at Okoboji, focuses on high-value programming for top executives.  It has been a huge success and it is ABI’s fastest-growing event. 

Plans are in place for another terrific program.   Anderson Erickson Dairy CEO Miriam Erickson-Brown (Anderson Erickson, Des Moines) will keynote the event, which will be held July 28 and 29.  Register now at Summary - Okoboji CEO Forum (Members Only) (cvent.com).  I look forward to seeing you there! 

Women Lead Change Launches New Program for Manufacturing Managers

ABI member Women Lead Change has launched a new program focused on providing leadership development specifically for women and men pipeline leaders in the manufacturing industry in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor.  The program is called Level up Manufacturing and you can find more information here: Level Up Program (wlcglobal.org).  

Correction Re: West Des Moines Schools Seeking Business Partners from Last Week

In last week’s memorandum, I noted that the West Des Moines Community Schools, which are well-known for their work to connect students with career opportunities, has students involved in welding, software development, and customer service careers, among others.  District officials are seeking partnerships with Greater Des Moines businesses to get their students into your facility.   

I also noted that this can be a terrific way to recruit future employees and suggested that if you have an opportunity and want to involve students, you might contact Shane Scott, an Education Specialist in the West Des Moines Schools’ Teaching and Learning Services Department.  That was great, but I included the wrong email address for Shane.  Here is the correct address: scotts@wdmcs.org.  

Tylers Celebrate 42st; Phelans their 49th

Former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and his wife, Janel Tyler, recently celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.  Congratulations to Kirk and Janel and their family on this terrific milestone! 

Also celebrating are Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) and his wife, Carolyn Phelan.  They marked their 49th anniversary.  Congratulations and very best wishes to Rich and Carolyn and their family! 

The Business of ABI: Convention Edition

As you know, the metrics associated with ABI’s annual convention have been steadily growing over the past several years.  There is a very real momentum at ABI that ensures the association’s long and proud history is leading to an even stronger and more successful future.  Members tell me they can hardly wait until next year’s 120th Annual ABI Convention to see what will happen.  On behalf of Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and soon-to-be Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and our other officers, THANK YOU for making the convention – and our association – so successful.