Annual Conference Just Two Months Away - Monday Memo 4/10/23

April 10, 2023

Conference Two Months Away; Conference Committee Meets Tomorrow

The 2023 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will take place two months from this week.  The conference will be held in Cedar Rapids June 13-15.  Nearly 250 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 newly renovated Ellis Golf Course, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  Register NOW; you don’t want to miss this event! 

Related to this, the ABI Conference Committee meets tomorrow.  ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and committee chair Tami Anderson (Pigott, Des Moines) and members have developed a fabulous event and again, you don’t want to miss it! 

Leadership Iowa to Hold April Session This Week; Connecting Statewide Leaders April 13

The ABI Foundation’s flagship program, Leadership Iowa, will hold the April session of the 2022-2023 class this week.   The class will meet in Sioux City Wednesday through Friday.  The session will focus on economic development and workforce and as usual, a terrific agenda has been developed.  Watch for more news about LI at next month’s ABI board meeting. 

In other Leadership Iowa news, the LI class will participate in the next Connecting Statewide Leaders event.  The session, also focused on economic development and workforce, will be held on April 13.  Register and find more information here: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Sioux City (  

Nominating Committee to Meet April 27

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 Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa), will meet by Zoom on April 27th. 

If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact Jack or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

ABI Legislative Update a Week from Friday

ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf will hold another Legislative Update a week from Friday (April 21).  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; Bird to Speak

The final pre-conference meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held May 10.  The board will meet at ABI-member Express Logistics in Urbandale.  There will be several highlights at the meeting, but a top highlight is that Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird will address the board.  Attorney General Bird took office in January and has already established an aggressive agenda of service to Iowans.  This meeting will mark the board’s final session in advance of the 2023 Taking Care of Business Conference.  Watch for more information soon. 

Watch for Annual ABI CEO Survey

Each year, ABI surveys member CEOs regarding issues important to them and their businesses.  The survey differs from the quarterly business survey, in that the annual CEO survey is distributed to ALL member company CEOs and it surveys general issues; not what is expected in the coming quarter.  It is anticipated that the survey will be ready for your attention very soon.

When it is, please complete the survey (it should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes).  You will be able to read the results in the June edition of the ABI Business Monthly

2025 Conference Planning Begins; Site Tours This Week

You’ve heard me say that planning for the annual conference never ends.  Well, that is true and in fact, planning for the 2025 annual conference has already begun.  This week, ABI Treasurer Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and a group of ABI team members will travel to two different Iowa cities to conduct site visits.  Cities across Iowa compete to host ABI; it will be fun to learn in some months where we will be in 2025.  Stay Tuned! 


The latest in the LI CONNECT series of programs will be held on April 19.  It will focus on housing 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 AdvisersBrownWinickCIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllenEMC InsuranceFocus OneSource/G&A PartnersFredrikson & ByronHDH 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. 

2023 ABI Okoboji CEO Forum Will Be Another Terrific Event; Will be Held August 3 and 4

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 Okoboji Executive Forum.  Each year, the event gets better and better. 

A great keynote is almost finalized.  A spectacular CEO panel, including Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines), Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) is also a part of the program.  Also included is a high-value panel presented by the ABI Advisory Council.  The evening will feature dinner at former ABI Chair Toby Shine’s (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) fabulous Okoboji Classic Cars (Home - Okoboji Classic Cars, LLC. (  A very special feature of the dinner will be personal remarks by football coach, business owner, manufacturer, and ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield).  Nate has an incredibly compelling personal story and you do not want to miss it. 

The event will be capped off Friday morning with remarks by longtime ABI Board Member and company President Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer).  Everything kicks-off at the iconic Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center (for decades, the home of the annual ABI convention) on August 3rd.  Watch for more information soon, but for now, block your calendar for this terrific event.  This is a terrific program, open to all ABI members.  Don’t miss it! 

Arconic Davenport Works Celebrating 75 Years

A longtime ABI member is celebrating 75 years of growth and success.  Arconic’s Davenport Works turns 75 this year!  Formerly Alcoa, this sprawling manufacturing complex began operation just after World War II and has done nothing but grow, innovate, and lead since then.  Congratulations to everyone at Arconic, including longtime ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport)

Iowa Spring to Cut Ribbon on New Manufacturing Location; You’re Invited to the Festivities

Thursday of next week will be a big day for longtime ABI member Iowa Spring, as the company will cut the ribbon on its brand new, $12 million manufacturing location in Adel.  The project has been in the works for two years and marks a significant investment in terms of dollars, infrastructure, facilities, and new equipment. 

The best part of the news is that you, ABI board members, are invited to attend the grand opening/ribbon cutting event.  Company president and ABI Board Member Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel) invites you to join him and dignitaries in Adel on April 20th.  Please contact me for more information.  Iowa Spring has been an industry leader in the manufacturing of industrial and commercial springs for decades and it is cool to see this news.  Congratulations to Tim and everyone at Iowa Spring! 

Feenstra Visits Seneca Foundry

You hear me say often that hosting elected officials in your facility is the single best thing you can do to advance ABI’s public policy agenda.  Thankfully, many of you do just that. 

The latest example took place in Webster City last Tuesday.  Congressman Randy Feenstra toured longtime ABI member Seneca Foundry.  Company President Lori Mason (Seneca Foundry, Webster City) and former President and ABI Board Member Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City) led the Congressman on a tour of Seneca’s plant and you can read more about it here:  Thank you to Kirk and Lori and congratulations on some great coverage! 

Weaton Companies Acquires Bovard Studios

It was exciting to see the announcement last week by ABI member Weaton Companies that the firm had made another terrific acquisition.  Weaton Companies acquired Bovard Studios, an award-winning provider of products and services related to stained-glass windows.  Bovard, at nearly 40-years old, will add to Weaton Companies’ industry-leading complex, customer project capabilities.  Congratulations to everyone at Weaton Companies, including the company’s President and longtime ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield)

Lisle Corporation Featured in CIRAS News

It was fun to pick up the latest edition of the CIRAS News, published by ABI partner the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University, and see the cover story about longtime ABI member Lisle Corporation.  The article notes that Lisle has been around for a longtime (120 years!), but the company is noted for being forward-thinking.  Longtime ABI board Member and company President Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) is quoted in the article, which focuses on Lisle’s approach to workforce and the Industry 4.0 program.  It is a great read and you can see it for yourself here: CIRAS News Winter 2023—Volume 58, No. 2 (  Congratulations to Mary and everyone at Lisle! 

Stellar Success Story Highlighted in Foundation Report

It was also fun to pick up the annual report published by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.  Inside, in a cool feature about the founding of longtime ABI member Stellar Industries, was a photo of former ABI Chair and company President Dave Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and his mother, Barbara Zrostlik Beyer.  In the article, Dave and his mother talk about Steller’s founding and tis impact on the community and company employees.  It’s a great story and congratulations to Dave, his mother, his late father, and everyone at Stellar!  To read the article for yourself, contact me and I’ll get it to you.