ABI Foundation Marks Anniversary With Major Gift - Monday Memo 9/20/21

September 20, 2021

$40,000 Gift Launches ABI Foundation 40th Anniversary Campaign - The Dick & Judy Smith Family Foundation gifts $40,000 to ABI Foundation Programming

Last week, the ABI Foundation announced the launch of its 40th Anniversary Campaign, while simultaneously announcing a huge campaign kick-off gift.  The Dick and Judy Smith Family Foundation in Fairfield has generously donated $40,000 ($1,000 for each year the Foundation has been in existence) to be matched with other gifts.  The anniversary fundraiser celebrates 40 years of statewide initiatives that promote personal and professional responsibility and leadership for Iowa.   

Longtime ABI member Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, an industry leader in large-scale blow-molding and fuel tank systems, was founded by former ABI Board Member Dick Smith (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and his wife Judy Smith.  The company is known for investing in the community, including a variety of educational initiatives. In that spirit, the Smiths, their children Brian Smith and former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and Lori’s husband, ABI leader Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield), along with the Smith’s grandchildren, continue their family’s longtime commitment to giving back through the Dick and Judy Smith Family Foundation.  

ABI and the ABI Foundation are profoundly grateful for this terrific support and for all that the Smith Family has done for ABI.  Read more about the gift and the 40th Anniversary Campaign here: $40,000 Gift Launches ABI Foundation 40th Anniversary Campaign | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  And again, THANK YOU to all involved! 

Legends Dinner, Advanced Manufacturing Conference NEXT WEEK

Two of ABI’s most popular annual events will be held next week, starting a week from tomorrow evening.  The annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner and the 2021 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference will be held at the Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona on September 28th and 29th respectively.   Register now for these important events Summary - Legends In Manufacturing Awards Dinner (and/or) Advanced Manufacturing Conference (cvent.com).  If you wish to make a hotel reservation, go to: http://www.prairiemeadows.com/.  These events have become a must-attend for ABI members in recent years and the awards dinner is always a fun celebration of Iowa manufacturing.  See you at Prairie Meadows! 


Every two years, the ABI Public Policy staff, led by Vice President JD Davis and Director Brad Hartkopf, puts together a fabulous slate of meetings in Washington DC.  This year is no different. 

There will be meetings with the ALL members of the Iowa Congressional delegation in their offices.  Not with staff, with the senators and congressional representatives themselves.  There will be briefings at the National Association of Manufacturers and we expect to make several other important stops as well. 

The 2021 Fly-In will take place October 26-28 and based on early feedback, the schedule looks to be the best ever.  Please contact Brad with questions.  

November 11 Board Meeting to be Held at ABI

The ABI Board of Directors will hold its next meeting on Thursday, November 11.  The board will meet at ABI Headquarters at 400 East Court Avenue in Des Moines' East Village.  Watch for more information soon. 

The board will also meet at ABI on January 12 and March 8 of next year.  It is expected the board will meet in Des Moines in May.  Finally, ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) will host a fabulous annual conference in Dubuque next June. 

CIRAS Advisory Council to Meet

The Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University is a key ABI partner and the CIRAS Industry Advisory Council will meet Thursday at ISU.  Several ABI member companies are represented on the council and over the years, many members of the ABI Board of Directors have also played leadership roles on the CIRAS Council. 

Thursday’s meeting will focus on a data review and advanced manufacturing assistance programs.  Watch for news of CIRAS events and services to come your way in the near future. 

Leadership Iowa Class Announced; Will Convene in October for First Session

The ABI Foundation and Leadership Iowa last week announced the 2021-22 Leadership Iowa class. View the class list online here

As are all LI classes, this class is comprised of terrific young leaders from all around Iowa and they will meet for the first time October 6-8 in Okoboji.  You can view the schedule online here to see where the class is headed and what topics will be the focus of each session.  Congratulations to class members and best wishes for a great year. 

In other Leadership Iowa news, the program’s Board of Governors will participate in a retreat this coming Thursday.  LI is the Foundation’s flagship program and over the years, it has helped thousands of Iowans develop their skills to help their communities and their state.  Thank you to BOG members for their work in keeping LI the wonderful program it is. 

Other ABIF Programs Also Busy

The ABI Foundation has a big week ahead as it concludes and celebrates another successful year of programming – and, as mentioned above, kicks off the 40th anniversary. The ABI Foundation team will be meeting with all three of its program boards this week including Leadership Iowa University on Tuesday, Leadership Iowa on Thursday and Business Horizons on Friday. Thank you to the leaders on each of these boards for working to ensure the success of the ABI Foundation programs. 

ABI Directory Updates Due by Friday, October15

This is the time of year that ABI's member database is being updated.  Information from the database will be checked, formatted, and put in to hard copy form for inclusion in the 2022 ABI Resource Guide.  The guide, in addition to including member data, includes information on the association's people, programs, and events. 

If there are no changes in your personnel or company information, you need do nothing.  If you have updates, simply send an email to Dorothy Knowles at dknowles@iowaabi.org.  The deadline to receive updates is Friday, October 15.  Thank you in advance for helping us make sure your information is accurate. 

ABI Members Invited to Participate in Export Webinar

Officials with the federal government have invited ABI members to participate in a free webinar devoted to exporting.  The webinar is especially designed for Iowa companies who are developing and expanding their international business.  One resource to be reviewed during the webinar is a one-stop shop focused on the finance tools that can help support, grow, and protect your international sales and endeavors.  The webinar will be held September 28 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  If you are interested, please reply to this memorandum and I’ll forward detailed information. 

Kim Augspurger Family to Celebrate

ABI Vice Chair Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) and her husband, Pat Mescher, will be celebrating this coming weekend.  That is when their daughter Danielle Mescher will marry Chris Johlie.  The happy couple will reside in Madison, Wisconsin, where Danielle is a speech language pathologist and Chris is a technical services engineer.  ABI sends very best wishes and congratulations to all involved! 

Todd McDonald’s Family Celebrating Birth of First Grandchild

Longtime ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) and his wife, Shonn McDonald, shared that Blakely Rae Reynolds, their first grandchild, was born 5 weeks early in Nashville, Tennessee, where her dad was practicing with the Tennessee Titans.  Both mom and baby are great after a short stay at Vanderbilt University Hospital.  Ross, Tatum and Blakely are back in Iowa for a few weeks while Dad is rehabbing from an injury.  The entire family, Todd and Shonn included, are enjoying their time together.  And as a side note, for those that haven’t put it together yet…Tatum is the face you see doing all the interviews on the Elevate Iowa videos.  Congratulations to Tatum and Ross… and to Grandpa Todd and Grandma Shonn! 

Editor’s Note:

In last week’s memo. Thanks to former ABI Chair Bill Bywater(Bankers Advertising, TruArt, Iowa City), I shared a remembrance and a section of the Minutes from the ABI Board Meeting of September 11, 2001.  I ended that remembrance this way, “I have heard from several members over the years, however, that the day’s events were closely followed by ABI directors that day.  And I have heard stories of what other members did in their plants and offices as the event’s unfolded and how they tried to ensure their employees were aware and safe.  I know that ABI members will never, ever forget.  Thank you, Bill, for your call.” 

After reading it, I received a couple of phone calls and three email messages with additional remembrances.  I thought you might like to see the messages.  With the permission of the authors, I share them below and thank you. 

From longtime ABI Board Member Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Company, Cedar Falls):

Your comments regarding Bill Bywater’s memory of the board meeting that day triggered my own memories of that day.   It is a memory that is indelibly fixed in my mind. 

As I was driving to Newton, I heard the news on the radio (no SiriusXM or Apple Play then) that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  Then a few minutes later, news of the second plane flying into another tower was announced.  When I arrived in Newton, everyone was still somewhat befuddled as to what had happened, but it was decided to go ahead with the meeting and plant tour since everyone was there and ready to proceed.  Without the benefit of instant information via smartphones and social media, the events seemed to move to the back of everyone’s mind as the meeting proceeded in a more or less normal fashion. 

By the time the meeting concluded, the major details of the day’s events had become known.  Since all air traffic had been grounded, Drew Vogel, and perhaps some others who had flown to Newton, found themselves stranded.   I gave Drew a ride to Marshalltown, where Diamond Vogel has a plant and where he met up with several of his colleagues who were driving back to Orange City.  Although I didn’t need to, I decided to fill my car up with gas just in case a major war broke out in the Middle East.  Fortunately, my doomsday fears in that regard did not materialize. 

These aren’t exactly pleasant memories, but there is nevertheless a degree of fondness in recalling the comradery of people like Bill Bywater and Drew Vogel. 

From former longtime ABI Board Member Hank Evans (A.F. Johnson Millworks, West Des Moines):

I remember that day 20 years ago like it was yesterday.  

A number of us who had arrived early were visiting in the parking lot.  Kendig (Kneen), who was then Chair of ABI, had his car radio on and we were all gathered around trying to understand what on earth was going on.   

Kendig called the Board to Order and had a TV brought into the meeting room as we all sat in silence trying to comprehend what was going on.  After half an hour he announced that "Our country is under attack" and that he was going home to his family in this emerging crisis.  A number of the board members departed immediately.   

The business meeting was suspended and the rest of us started on a tour of the plant.  I should note that the television reports were so confusing and contradictory that many of us really didn't yet comprehend the gravity of what had occurred.  There were TV's on the plant floor, the production lines had stopped and all the employees were watching.  For another half hour there was a false report that the White House had been hit by a plane. It turned out it was the Pentagon.   

A buffet lunch was served with several TV's on and everyone watching.  After lunch the meeting was adjourned and everyone departed for home in a state of shock and disbelief.   

There were several board members who usually flew their planes to the meetings, myself included.  I did not fly that day as Newton was close to Des Moines.  The national ground stop shut down the airways and board members offered rides to those pilots whose planes were now grounded in Newton.   

I am sure that every member of the board who was there vividly remembers that morning at Maytag in Newton. Never Forget! 

From former longtime ABI staff member Jan Meek:

I remember that day (9/11) vividly.  As we concluded the ABI Board meeting at Maytag headquarters in Newton, we received news of the attack on the twin towers in NYC.

Then, as staff and directors boarded the bus to tour the Maytag manufacturing plant and Maytag Dairy, some directors got in their cars and headed directly home—thinking it was Armageddon.