Annual Conference Coming Quickly - Monday Memo 4/5/24

April 5, 2024

Conference Just Two Months Away

The 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will take place two months from this week.  The conference will be held in the Quad Cities June 4-6.  Well over 200 people have already registered, with many more than that already reserving rooms at the conference hotels.  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on  Using that same link, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at the fabulous TPC Deere Run, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  Register NOW; you don’t want to miss this event!  The ABI Conference Committee has developed a fabulous event and again, don’t miss it! 

Nominating Committee to Meet April 30

The ABI Nominating Committee will kick off its work soon.  The committee, which is chaired by Immediate Past Chair of the ABI Board of Directors Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret.), will meet by Zoom on April 30th.  If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact Kim or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

ABI Legislative Update Friday

ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf will hold another Legislative Update this Friday (April 12).  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  You and your employees are encouraged to join us for the update at 8:00 a.m. Thus members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

May Board Meeting in Four Weeks; Special Guest, Tour on Tap

The final pre-conference meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held May 8.  The board will meet at ABI-member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Des Moines.  There will be several highlights at the meeting, but a top highlight is that the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, Major General Stephen E. Osborn, will address the board.  General Osborn, as the guest of longtime ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield) will share information about the Guard and other matters.  

Another highlight will be the meeting location itself, at longtime member Atlantic Bottling.  The company’s Des Moines facility is easy to get to on Army Post Road south of the Des Moines International Airport.  As noted previously, the day will include an optional tour of this terrific facility and its fabulous new automated palletizing system.  Special thanks to ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) for making the visit possible! 

As I noted above, this meeting will mark the board’s final session in advance of the 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference.  Watch for more information soon. 

Next ABI Automation Summit April 17

The next in the popular series of ABI Automation Summits will take place two weeks from this Wednesday, on the 17th.  It will be held at Scott Community College (part of Eastern Iowa Community College) in Davenport.  You may register for this high-value program here: Summary - Automation Summit (  These programs have been very well-received and are packed with information.  I hope to see you in Davenport. 


The latest in the LI CONNECT series of programs will be held on April 17.  It will focus on education in Iowa and, while the programs are geared to Leadership Iowa alumni, everyone is invited to participate.  To do so, click here: Meeting Registration - Zoom

Advisory Council Meeting Next Week

The members of the ABI Advisory Council will hold their monthly meeting a week from Thursday.  Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are AnthologicAssured PartnersBankers Trust, BCC AdvisersBrownWinickCliftonLarsonAllenEideBailley, EMC InsuranceFredrikson, G&A PartnersHDH AdvisorsPrincipal Midwest Business CenterThe Iowa ClinicWellmark, and Wells Fargo.  These organizations can be terrific resources for you and your employees.  Don’t hesitate to contact them for information and assistance.  We are grateful for their premium support for ABI. 

2024 Executive Forum Will Be Another Terrific Event; Will be Held August 8 and 9

Right now, we are focused on producing a fabulous annual Taking Care of Business Conference in June.  Thanks to terrific work by the Conference Committee and so many others, I assure you that you will not be disappointed.  It WILL be a fabulous conference.  However, planning for another event is also well underway and it, too, is shaping up to a great one. 

Some years ago in response to members, ABI created the ABI Executive Forum.  Each year, the event gets better and better.  This year, the event is being held at spectacular venues in Mason City and will include not one, but TWO great manufacturing tours. 

The event kicks-off on August 8th.  A terrific keynote is almost finalized.  A spectacular CEO panel, including Former ABI Chair Dave Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and ABI Board Members Heather Bruce (Osmundson Manufacturing, Perry) and Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Company, Cedar Falls) is also a part of the program.  Other great speakers will also be on tap.  The evening will feature dinner at the famed Music Man Square in Mason City. 

Everything kicks-off with a tour of ABI-member Stellar Industries’ Mason City operations.  Then, lunch will be held at the MacNider Art Museum.  We’ll then move to programming at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Historic Park Inn (The Historic Park Inn Hotel).  And then as noted, move to Music Man Square for dinner.  The Forum will conclude Friday, August 9th, when ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) hosts attendees for breakfast and a tour of one of Iowa’s iconic manufacturers. 

Watch for more information soon, but for now, block your calendar for this great event.  This is a terrific program, open to all ABI members.  Don’t miss it! 

Coolest Thing Nominations Pouring In

As you have heard a lot about, ABI is partnering with longtime member MidWestOne Bank to host our brand-new statewide competition in search of the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  The competition showcases the Iowa manufacturing industry’s best innovations, craftsmanship, and state of the art technologies.  ABI received a ton of media coverage already about this initiative and we anticipate a great deal more.   

Nominations for “Coolest Thing” opened last week, and they are pouring in; almost 60 have already been received! 

After products are nominated, they will compete in a popular vote that sets the field for a tournament-style bracket.  The top 16 Iowa-made products will compete in head-to-head matchups to be named the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  Click here to see more: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (  The winner will be announced at the 2024 Taking care of Business Conference in Davenport in June.  As I noted last week, get your product nominated today and be a part of this exciting competition! 

World Food Prize Invites You to Iowa Hunger Summit; ESGR Invites You to Special Day of Activities

Many ABI members support the World Food Prize.  Officials from the Food Prize have specifically invited your participation in the 2024 Iowa Hunger Summit, to be held on June 31st.  Many events will be a part of the day’s program.  For more information, click here: Iowa Hunger Summit.  

Another special invitation was received last week, as Iowa Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve has invited you to participate in an experience on April 26th.  At this event, you’ll learn about Iowa National Guard units, their mission, and much more.  For more information email, Becky Coady at