ABI Starts New Fiscal Year - Monday Memo 7/3/23

July 3, 2023

Executive Committee Meets in Two Weeks

ABI Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) and the members of the ABI Executive Committee will hold their first meeting of the 2023-2024 fiscal year on July 19.  The meeting will take place by Zoom at 10:00 a.m. 

Thank you to Rich and the other members of the committee: Vice Chair Chad Reese (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Treasurer Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), Secretary Kathryn Kunert (MidAmerican Energy, Des Moines), Immediate Past Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and District Vice Chairs Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield), Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston), Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring Manufacturing Company, Adel), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City)

Orientations with New Board Members Ahead

As I have mentioned in recent memos, you will have the opportunity to meet the new board members soon, as ABI Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) and all of you will welcome them in September.  Orientation sessions with these new board members will take place in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, please welcome newly-elected board members Sarah James (Principal, Des Moines), Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll), Katie Hall (Cargill, Clive), 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), Charles Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City), and Andrew Schriner (Lumen, Des Moines.  We appreciate their service and leadership! 

DON’T MISS the ABI Okoboji Executive Forum; Fantastic Program on Tap

Registrations are pouring in for 2023 ABI Okoboji Executive Forum.  This annual meeting, which is ABI’s fastest-growing event, focuses on high-value programming for top executives (though any ABI member is welcome to attend).  It was created at the request of members and this year’s program is terrific.  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (cvent.com).    

The forum will be held the 3rd and 4th of August in Okoboji.  The event takes place at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Okoboji.  

Following lunch on Thursday, the program begins with a special speaker, which we are in the process of nailing down.  Next, attendees will see a new edition of the well-known business valuation panel of ABI Advisory Council members led by ABI Board Member Casey Cason (Wells Fargo, Des Moines) and Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines).  That panel will be followed by a fabulous panel of ABI board member business owners: Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel), Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda)

Keynote Speaker Ben McLean (Ruan Corporation, Des Moines) will speak next.  Ben is the third-generation CEO of his family’s company headquartered right here in Iowa.  We’ll take a break and then Ben’s remarks will be followed by a reception and dinner at former ABI Chair Toby Shine’s (Shine Bros. Corp. Spencer) fabulous Okoboji Classic Cars facility.  ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield) will share some very compelling remarks about his battle with cancer and some life lessons learned.  Thanks to Toby and Nate, it will be truly wonderful evening. 

Friday morning, attendees will be back at the Arrowwood to hear from longtime ABI Board Member Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer).  Bruce will provide an update about Tecton and cover some other issues in what will be a terrific wrap-up to the event. 

As you can see, this is an exceptional program.  Don’t miss this event!  Register now at Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (cvent.com).  See you at the Lakes in August. 

Also in August: Annual ABI Executive Open Golf Event

As you know, ABI holds an annual golf event each year.  The event has proven incredibly popular and the 2023 event will be held Monday, August 28.  Join us for golf and for an afternoon of fun and networking.  The ABI Executive Open will again be held at the beautiful Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines (https://www.glenoakscc.com/).  This is a fabulous course and registration is now open for this always-great event.  Please click on https://www.iowaabi.org/events/detail/350-executive-open-golf-outing/ to register now.  See you at Glen Oaks in August! 

Still Time to Nominate Students for Business Horizons; Leadership Iowa University

The ABI Foundation’s Business Horizons program is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for high school students.  Each year, participants rave about their experience and learn about all the many career opportunities available to them right here in Iowa.  The 2023 session of the program will be held at Drake University in Des Moines in Pella July 16-20.  There is still time to nominate students for the program and you can do so here: Nominate a Student | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  

Following just a couple of weeks later is the Foundation’s Leadership Iowa University program.  You can also make nominations to this program.  The program, open to all Iowa College students (community college and four-year colleges alike), provides leadership and career development training and other opportunities to students in a week-long course.  The 2023 program will be held August 6-10 in Des Moines.  Go here for more information: https://www.iowaabi.org/leadership-iowa-university/about/.  

And, if you have questions or wish to be involved in either program, please don’t hesitate to contact ABI Foundation Programs Director Jessi Steward McQuerry.  In the meantime, thanks to the many of you who have already nominated students for these terrific programs. 

Senator Grassley Visits Collins Aerospace’ Decorah Operations

You hear me say frequently that the best thing you can do to help advance ABI’s public policy agenda each year is to host elected officials in your plant or office.  Thankfully, many of you do just that on a regular basis.  The latest example is a visit by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to the Decorah operations of ABI member Collins Aerospace.  Senator Grassley toured the plant and met with employees (and likely cross Winneshiek County off his list of stops on his annual 99-county tour).  Thank you to former ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) for letting me know about the visit! 

Former Vice President to Visit Midland Power

In keeping with the previous item above, ABI members are no strangers to hosting presidential candidates of both parties, either.  Again, this sort of outreach is good for Iowa business. 

In fact, this week, longtime ABI member Midland Power Cooperative will host former Vice President Mike Pence for a discussion of energy and rural communities.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Bill McKim (Midland Power Cooperative, Boone) for sharing the news and for promoting Iowa issues! 

Sukup Manufacturing Celebrates 60 Years, Raises $100,000 for Charity

It was fun to be in Sheffield last Thursday evening.  Longtime ABI member Sukup Manufacturing Co. threw a huge party to celebrate 60 years of growth and success.  A golf tournament, awards ceremony, and steak dinner were all a part of the festivities.  Hundreds of employees, vendors, customers, and others were on hand.  Cyclones and Hawkeyes, college and professional athletes, and state officials all were there.  Congratulations to company President Steve Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) and company Chairman – and former ABI Chair – Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) and all involved! 

As is typical for the Sukup Family, however, they were thinking of others as well as having a celebration.  The day’s events raised $100,000 for global charity GoServ Global.  Congratulations again to Charles, Steve, and their family and employees on this big milestone! 

Alan Mores Checks In

Former longtime ABI Board Member Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers *Retired, Harlan) checked in last week.  It was great to hear from him and retirement is finding Alan busier than ever.  His lawn service/property management business in Okoboji has exploded, he has written the THIRD edition of his book detailing the history of Harlan (available at Harlan Newspapers, the Harlan Chamber, and elsewhere), with proceeds going to fund Shelby County tourism, and he and wife Donna Mores are moving to Overland Park (but retaining their Iowa residency).  Whew!  Thanks for checking in, Alan, and we’ll see you at the ABI Executive Forum in Okoboji next month! 

Charese Yanney Named Parade Marshall

There was some big news out of Sioux City last week, as former ABI Chair Charese Yanney (Guarantee Roofing and Siding, Sioux City) was named Marshall of the annual River-Cade parade.  The parade, which is one of Siouxland’s biggest annual events, will be held July 20 in downtown Sioux City. Learn more here River-Cade appoints new ‘Port Admiral’ and ‘Commodore’ (ktiv.com) and here River-Cade Parade-River-Cade of Siouxland.  Congratulations, Charese!  And thank you to Alan Mores (see above) for sharing the news! 

Ziehan: Assessment Bleak for China, and Getting Worse

At an ABI Taking care of Business Conference held in Iowa City several years ago, one of the keynote speakers was globalist and geopolitical analyst Peter Ziehan.  His remarks about the state of the world were fascinating and in many cases, prescient.  I have been following him and reading his books ever since.
Last week, Mr. Ziehan reported on the absolutely terrible demographics in China.  He believes the country is headed for ruin.  In fact, he summed up his report this way, “China is entering its final decade of operating as a modern industrialized nation. For any foreign business still in China, those sunk costs on factories can only keep you there for so long...and it will only get worse from here on out.”  

Many ABI members do business in China, but not all have facilities there.  If you do, I pass this on for reference.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once.