ABI Golfers Tee-Off Next Week - Monday Memo 8/21/23

August 21, 2023

2023 ABI Executive Open a Week from Today

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2023 Open will be held a week from today at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. 

The event is a way for members to connect with each other in a fun way and I have been told frequently that a lot of business is conducted at the outing every year.  Whether you come for golf or not, join your ABI colleagues for the reception that afternoon.  There is still time to register.  Click here to do so: Summary - Executive Open (cvent.com).  See you next week. 

Attend Economic Luncheon Preceding Board Meeting on September 13

Please make your plans now to attend an event that will precede the ABI board meeting scheduled for September 13th.   The board meeting will follow an Economic Forecast Luncheon (presented by ABI member Security National Bank) that will provide the latest information and analysis regarding the state of the economy.  You can find more information and register for the luncheon here: Summary - What is the Future of the Economy? Presented by Security National Bank of Iowa (cvent.com).  

Board to Meet September 13 in West Des Moines

As you know, ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 13th for the first meeting of the fiscal year.  This is an important meeting and the board will be asked to consider and act on several issues.  

The board will meet at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines.  The agenda is a full one, with several issues to be considered.  Be on the lookout for a board packet to arrive in your email in-basket around September 8.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2024 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  

Many of you have already registered for the board meeting.  If you have not already done so, you can register by simply replying to this memorandum.  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of Chad and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

New Board Members to Attend First Meeting

This September meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will mark the first for newly-elected directors.  While it is not possible for all the new board members to attend, you will meet all the board members at one of the upcoming meetings.  In the meantime, it will be great to welcome some of the new members next month. 

Joining the board this year are Katie Hall (Cargill, Clive), Sarah James (Principal, Des Moines), Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll), Kelly McGriff (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Casey Mills (Mills-Shellhammer-Puetz & Associates, Sioux City), Brad Nielsen (Iowa America Water Company, Davenport), Kelli O’Brien (Union Pacific, Omaha), Chip Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City), and Andrew Schriner (Lumen, Des Moines.    The honorary Leadership Iowa board representative this year is Dustin Watters (Keen Project Solutions, Ankeny.  Congratulations again to these incoming leaders. 

MakuSafe Invites ABI Members to Attend Users Summit at NO CHARGE

Longtime ABI member MakuSafe is a leader in technology and data analytics.  The company’s workforce wearables ease and improve safety and culture in the workplace.  MakuSafe is well-known for its annual Engage Users Summit.  And now, the company has invited all ABI members to attend the MakuSafe Engage23 Users Summit at no charge.  The 2023 summit will be held in Des Moines on September 28th.  This is a terrific value and if you are interested in having your team take advantage of this offer, simply reply to this message and I’ll get you all the information you need to do so.  In the meantime, thank you to MakuSafe for making it possible! 

Latest in Series of ABI Automation Summits to be Held Next Week

The next in a series of ABI events focused on automation and cobots will be held on the Newton Campus of Des Moines Area Community College on August 31st (that is a week from Wednesday).  Register now for this high-value event.  Past summits have been incredibly popular and have drawn manufacturing operations staff from far and wide.  You will find information about cobots (and be able to see them in action), other automation solutions to workforce and process issues, and talk to experts about cost/savings and other issues.  Click here to find more information and to register: Summary - Automation Summit (cvent.com)

ABI Economic Growth, Tax Committees to Meet Next Week

A week from tomorrow, on August 29, ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC, West Des Moines) will again Chair the ABI Economic Growth Committee in its annual meeting.  On August 30, the ABI Tax Committee, chaired by longtime member company executive Ryan Loecher (EFCO, Des Moines), will meet.  That meeting will mark the final meeting in the series of five policy meetings held this month. 

Literally hundreds of ABI members from all across Iowa and beyond are participating in the 2023 series of meetings.  The process next shifts to the ABI Legislative Committee and then will conclude with the meeting of the ABI Board of Directors on September 13.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), who this year leads this process for ABI, thank you for your participation in this important work. 

Manufacturing Conference, with Legends in Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, October 4th

As reported last week, two popular ABI events return this fall, now wrapped into one event.  ABI’s Iowa Manufacturing Conference now includes the Legends in Manufacturing Awards event in a luncheon format.  The conference will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College on October 4.  Please click here for more information and to register now: Summary - Iowa Manufacturing Conference & Legends In Manufacturing Awards (cvent.com).  If you are an Iowa manufacturer, you will want to attend this event! 

Jessi McQuerrey YPIowa Chair; YPIowa Conference Friday

Over the years, the ABI Foundation has played a major role in sustaining Young Professionals of Iowa.  YPIowa is our state’s organization to develop and connect young professionals. 

ABI Director Foundation Programs Jessi McQuerrey currently serves as the YPIowa Board Chair.  YPIowa is hosting its annual conference, to be held in Ankeny, on Friday of this week.  Find more information and register here: Young Professionals of Iowa Conference 2023 Tickets, Fri, Aug 25, 2023 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite.  Young professionals on your team will find the programming of interest and of value.  For now, congratulations to Jessi on her leadership of YPIowa! 

Receive Timely Member and Legislative News

Each Thursday evening/Friday morning, the ABI Voice of Iowa Business e-newsletter is sent to you.  This has the most up-to-date information about what is happening with ABI, the ABI Foundation, and the advocacy work being done by the ABI public policy team.  If you do not receive this email each week, please reply to this memorandum and let me know.  You will be added at once.  

If you do receive it, what are we missing?  Are we giving you too much or not enough information?  We know you are busy and we have worked to streamline our communications, but we want to ensure we are doing what YOU, our customers, want us to do.  Please let us hear from you and thank you. 

NAM Report: Strong Data Boosting Growth Estimates

Today’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, led with a story about strong data that is leading to growth estimates regarding the economy.  Other data was also positive and other issues were covered, too, as always.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you. 

Hank Norem, Maple Studios Featured in Business Record Daily

ABI Board Member Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines) was featured in one of the Business Record’s daily email blasts last Monday.  The feature shared information about Ramco affiliate organization Maple Studios’ latest move, this time expanding to the Quad Cities.  Maple Studios provides assistance and operating space to startup companies and it has been a help to several ABI member companies.  Reply to this message if you wish to read more.  In the meantime, congratulations to Hank, Ramco, and Maple Studios! 

Hasken Family News

It was great to hear from former ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) when he called in last week.  Always positive, always promoting ABI, Jack had some very cool family news he shared as a part of our conversation. 

First, Jack and Sarah (former ABI Chair Sarah Hasken) will be celebrating this October when their son, Taylor Hasken, is married.  Second, Jack was honored for his support of a major community project that included the renovation of an historic building for use as a community daycare and emergency 911 center.  Great news and congratulations, Jack (and Sarah)! 

More on Francis Zrostlik

It was fun last week to share information about the City of Garner honoring the late Francis Zrostlik.  Francis was an incredible businessman and leader and was the creator of two strong ABI member companies that now employ hundreds of people (Iowa Mold Tooling and Stellar Industries). 

After reading the Monday Memo, Francis’ son and former ABI Chair Dave Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), along with longtime former ABI Counsel Russ Sampson (Dickinson Law Firm, Des Moines), both reminded me that Francis had been a board member of ABI’s predecessor organization, the Iowa Manufacturers Association and even began a progression through the officer rotation.  Congratulations again to Dave and his family on this latest honor for Francis! 

Charese Yanney Elected Chair of Iowa Transportation Commission

It was fun to read in the latest edition of the Siouxland Business Journal that former ABI Chair Charese Yanney (Guarantee Roofing and Siding, Sioux City) has been elected Chair of the Iowa Transportation Commission.  Charese was first appointed to the commission by former Governor Terry E. Branstad in 2011.  She is serving her third four-year term and also served as Chair some years ago.  Read more here: Page L5 (siouxcityjournal.com).  Congratulations, Charese! 

Bruntz, Phelan Celebrate Wednesday

Two ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair John Bruntz (The Boulder Company, Des Moines) and former longtime ABI Board Member/Officer Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton, Ret.) both celebrate their birthday Wednesday.  Happy birthday to John and Rich! 

The Business of ABI

Editor's Note: I have been including this item at the end of August for the past several of years, because I am told that it is useful for newly-elected board members to see.  In case that is accurate, here it is once again.

As those of you have been reading these memos for years know, from time to time, I include an item called "the Business of ABI," in which I discuss a data point, or a metric, or some other issue related to how ABI itself runs its business.  I haven't done that for a while and because so many of the association's new board members asked about ABI's operating business, I thought I would share some comments about that this week.  Here are some things I know: 

First, I never forget that ABI really IS a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't providing value to you, we aren't doing our job and there is no reason for you to invest in ABI.  The good news is that, thanks to you, ABI does provide value. 

Second, I know there are three reasons for ABI's success.  The first is because of terrific support from businesses literally in every corner of this state.  ABI is Iowa's oldest and largest statewide business organization and that support makes possible everything we do.  The second reason for success is great leadership from the ABI Board of Directors.  That is not simple rhetoric; your leadership has resulted in tangible and measurable improvements in ABI.  The third factor in ABI's success is due to great work by a staff focused on implementing the vision you set for us each year.  

Finally, I have been asked about my focus at ABI when I started 18 years ago.  I was excited then to get to work for and with some terrific people.  I am still excited about that today and each day I commute to Des Moines thinking about what can be done THIS day to make ABI better. 

Many of you already know the story; it seemed to me back in 2005 there were so many things that needed addressing, I had to find a way to focus.  So, I came up with a plan called "It's as Simple as ABC."  "A" stood for accountability in decision-making and results.  It seemed like that had been lacking and we needed to instill it from the top (the board of directors) down (the staff). 

"B" stood for balance sheet.  ABI's balance sheet was a mess.  We were spending more than we were bringing in and there was no focus on our cash position or on program metrics.  "C" stood for communication.  There was not a lot of communication between board members, between the board and the staff, or between staff. 

The data shows that all of these areas have been addressed.  And again, that is due to great leadership from you and hard work on the part of the board and members and staff.  I am eager for ABI's new board members to have the opportunity to see this first-hand and to work with you who have been on the board for some years.  

The strength of ABI is its members.  If ABI can continue to build an association as great as those members, another 120 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.