Big ABI Events Held - Monday Memo 3/13/23

March 13, 2023

ABI Business Day in Des Moines, Cobot Summit Each a Big Success

ABI is celebrating a very successful inaugural edition of Business Day in Des Moines held last Tuesday.  Nearly 200 ABI members from Iowa and beyond participated in Business Day.  Governor Kim Reynolds and top legislative officials headlined the event, which also included updates from longtime ABI member Kavi Chawla (Baton Global, Des Moines) and ABI staff.  We appreciate your attendance and your favorable comments.  We also seek your ideas about ways to make this great new event even better.  Thank you again. 

Another first-time event was held last week.  On Thursday, at the Algona campus of Iowa Lakes Community College, ABI and ABI member Kinetic Technologies hosted the first ABI Cobot Automation Summit.  It was a huge success, with 80 participants (many driving hours through winter weather) attending, along with a dozen robots.  Special thanks to the college and to Kinetic owners Mark and Betsy Bargloff (Kinetic Technologies, Algona) for their leadership. 

The event was so successful that plans are in the works to hold more automation summits.  Please stay tuned for more information.  In the meantime, THANK YOU to all of you for your strong support for these brand new ABI events! 

Legislative Update March 24

As you know, every two weeks throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists host a Zoom meeting to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each call.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next Zoom update will be held a week from Friday at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The members-only call is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Biennial ABI Workers Compensation Program in Two Weeks

Every two years, ABI presents a program designed to share the latest information about workers compensation and related issues.  The 2023 edition will be held at ABI in a little over two weeks, on March 28th. 

The seminar will include the latest information on the status of workers compensation programs and what they mean for your company.  The program will also include other information, such as best-practice data from other companies.  To register, please click on the following link: Summary - Workers' Compensation Seminar (  Your HR, risk management, or other staff members should find real value in the webinar. 

Busy Time for Nominations for ABI Foundation Programs

This is a busy time for the ABI Foundation.  In recent editions of this memorandum, I noted that now is the time to make nominations both for Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa.  Doing so is easy, free, and doesn't take a lot of time.  Click on and/or for more information and to make your nominations.  

ABI Executive Committee Meeting April 5; Next Board Meeting May 10

As you read in last week's Memo, the ABI Executive Committee will next meet on April 5.  That meeting, which will take place by Zoom, will begin at 10:00 a.m.  The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors is scheduled for May 10.  It will be held at the Des Moines headquarters of ABI member Express Logistics in Urbandale.  Please watch for more information ahead. 

'Best-Ever' Conference Coming in June; Register NOW

The 2023 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, ABI's 120th annual convention, will be a spectacular event.  This event, which has been predicted to be the 'best-ever' by some ABI members, will be held June 13-15 in Cedar Rapids.  

As you know, two hotel options for the 2023 conference are already sold-out.  There are other great options available.  For now, you can register for the conference by clicking on this link:  

When you click on the link above, you will be able to view a brief, fun, and informative video about what you can expect at the conference.  It is simply Iowa’s best statewide business networking event.  See you in Cedar Rapids in June! 

LI CONNECT March 22nd, ABI Statewide Leaders Events April 13th

Another LI event, the latest in the LI CONNECT series of programs, is coming up on March 22nd.  Focusing on business-education partnerships, it will be held by Zoom at 8:30 a.m. on that date.  Click here for more information: LI CONNECT: Business-Education Partnerships | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Finally, LI will be a part of the next Connecting Statewide Leader programs.  That program will be held April 13 in Sioux City.  A popular ABI speaker will provide the program:  Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham.  As you can guess, the event will focus on economic development in Iowa.  Click here for more information and to register: Agenda - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Sioux City (  These programs are ways to gain information and connect with your fellow ABI members, Leadership Iowa Class members, and others. 

Kim Augspurger Again Named ‘Best of Design’ Judge by DSM Magazine

The ‘Home 2023’ edition of DSM magazine is now out.  The magazine is devoted to the publication’s ‘Best of Design’ awards for 2022.  

For the third year in a row, ABI Board Chair Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) was named a judge for the competition.  As I noted in mentioning Kim last year, I don’t know a thing about design.  That said, there are some beautiful photos of beautiful spaces carried in the magazine.  And it was neat to see that Kim was selected as a judge for the competition again this year.  Congratulations, Kim!  Click here to see the magazine: dsm Mar/Apr 2023 - Powered by, which starts on page 77. 

HNI Makes Big Acquisition

Longtime ABI member HNI Corporation last week announced that it had purchased Kimball International.  The acquisition speeds HNI’s growth in the workplace furnishings industry segment and brings to the company a high-quality competitor.  Read more here: HNI Corporation - HNI Corporation to Acquire Kimball International.  This is big news and ABI sends congratulations to everyone at HNI, concluding former ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine)

Arconic, Rada Both Mark Big Milestone This Year

It is exciting to learn that two longtime ABI members are turning 75 years old in 2023.  Both Arconic and Rada Mfg. are marking this big milestone.  All these companies have done for the past seven-decades-plus is grow and succeed.  Congratulations to them and to ABI Board Members John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) and Phil Jones (Rada Mfg., Waverly)

Looking for a Talented Business Development Professional

As you know, I don’t often share information about folks looking for positions, but I have learned that some of you appreciate the information.  Recently, I met an individual who has had a very successful career in business development.  He is looking for a new position and if you are looking for a successful business development executive, please reply to this memorandum and I will send more information. 

Jessi McQuerrey Presents at Lean-In Conference

ABI has a talented staff.  Jessi McQuerrey, Director of ABI Foundation Programs, is one example.  Jessi leads work with regard to programs such as Business Horizons, Leadership Iowa, and Leadership Iowa University… and she is very good at what she does. 

Last week, Jessi was one of the speakers selected for the Lean-In Conference.  Hosted by Ottumwa Partners in progress, the event was focused on elevating and developing women as leaders.  Jessi’s address was entitled “Imposter Syndrome.”  Congratulations, Jessi, on being selected a Lean-In speaker! 

The Business of ABI: Programs and Services

As you know, from time to time in these memos, I like to share a little bit about some internal aspect of the way ABI operates.  As I always say, ABI ought to function like a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't delivering value for you, there is no reason for you to support our work. 

About 18 years ago, at the direction of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI conducted a review of its internal operations and programs and services.  When it came to internal operations, hemorrhaging cash and being involved in vendor relationships that didn't serve the association or its members were some of the challenges identified.  Outdated data systems and other challenges also existed and over the years, thanks to your leadership, these have been addressed.  For example, our balance sheet now shows strength and stability.  

The good news then is good news today.  ABI's core programs of public policy advocacy, member meetings and events, and Foundation programs were strong and continue to be strong.  Over the years, new programs have been added (such as VentureNet Iowa, Elevate Iowa, and others).  Events have been created, and some things have been transformed (ABI's annual conference and our monthly newsmagazine come to mind).  This kind of change and growth must continue for ABI to be the dynamic resource for Iowa business that you deserve. 

One of ABI’s original services continues to be vital to this day.  That is our association’s public policy work.   This year, as has been the case for many years, ABI is experiencing some of its most successful work ever at the Statehouse.  Longstanding ABI objectives have been and are being advanced.  That is thanks to some terrific work on the part of a talented staff and by YOUR leadership, participation, and support.  Thanks to YOU, the business of ABI is strong and getting even better.