Big Week at ABI - Monday Memo 1/8/24

January 8, 2024

Big Day of ABI Events Wednesday; Governor Reynolds to Attend

A series of important ABI meetings and events are scheduled for the day after tomorrow in Des Moines.  The day will be capped by one of the association’s best-attended events of the year (second only to the annual conference), as hundreds of people will be on hand to participate in the annual ABI Legislative Reception (and the members-only briefing that precedes it).  The 2024 edition of the briefing/reception and other ABI events take place Wednesday, January 10.  All events will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.   

ABI just last week received confirmation that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will again attend the reception.  Because you attend, the Governor, legislators and other state officials attend.  They want to meet you and learn about your business.  If you haven’t already registered, simply reply to this memo and I’ll make sure you are registered.  Thank you in advance for participating and see you Wednesday. 

ABI Board Will Meet Wednesday

Prior to Wednesday’s briefing and reception, the ABI Board of Directors will hold its first meeting of 2024.  The board will meet at 2:00 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will lead the board through a fast-paced meeting.  Strong attendance is expected.  

General Assembly Convenes Today; First ABI Legislative Update of 2024 on the 19th

The Iowa General Assembly convenes today for its 2024 legislative session.  At the Capitol with legislators will be ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and ABI Senior Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf.  JD and Brad are two of the very best public policy professionals in Iowa and you can count on them to well represent you every day and every hour the legislature is in session.  

ABI's Public Policy team will again hold bi-weekly teleconferences related to the work of the General Assembly.  The first call of the 2023 session will be held Friday, January 19 at 8:00 a.m.  

Members have told us they appreciate these calls, which offer the very latest in news from the Statehouse.  The calls, which are free of charge and are open to ABI members only, typically last about 30 minutes and you and your employees are invited to participate.  To do so, simply email ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt at and she will add you to the list.  Then, the day before each call, you will receive from her a link to participate in the next day’s Zoom, which will be held every two weeks starting January 27. 

JD Davis to Represent ABI at Business Record Forum

ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis will represent the association at an upcoming legislative forum.  The forum, which will be hosted by the Business Record, will be held tomorrow.  JD and a panel of others will preview the 2023 session of the Iowa General Assembly and discuss other issues important to business.  

Click here to register for this free virtual event: Legislative Forecast Event - Business Record.   Congratulations to JD for being selected for the panel and thank you for representing ABI members and Iowa business.

Annual Resource Guide Available Soon

The annual ABI Business Resource Guide and membership directory is being finalized and will be printed and available soon. 

Look for your 2024 directory to arrive in the near future.  In the meantime, thank you.  Your support in terms of people, resources, and ideas is what makes the guide (and ABI itself) possible.   

Conference Planning Continues

ABI's 121st Annual Meeting, Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2024, will be held June 4-6 in Davenport.  There will be many highlights to the conference, including terrific speakers, great food, and exciting venues.  Another highlight is golf at TPC Deere Run.  This fabulous private course is a favorite of ABI members.  Learn more here:  

Planning for this fantastic conference continues at ABI.  Watch for more information soon.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), please consider this your personal invitation to join him for the conference.  We'll see you in Davenport in June. 

Leadership Iowa Class Will Meet; LI Dinner Wednesday

At over 40 years, the ABI Foundation's Leadership Iowa program is one of the nation's oldest statewide leadership development programs.  As you know, LI enjoys a strong base of alumni.    

Those alumni will meet this Wednesday evening for an LI Alumni Dinner in Des Moines. There is still time for you to register.  Do so here: Leadership Iowa Alumni Society Dinner | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  And, the current LI class will hold its January session this Wednesday – Friday.  A full and varied agenda is on tap for the class, which will focus on government. 

Rescheduled Carroll ABI Automation Summit February 1

You will recall that ABI had scheduled another in the series of very popular summits focused on automation.  Originally scheduled for last Tuesday, due to conflicts for many ABI members, the summit has been rescheduled for February 1st.  It will be held at the Carroll Campus of Des Moines Area Community College

This program is designed for manufacturers of any size, as well as those interested in workforce solutions and automation. Local manufacturers, workforce organizations, and national cobot leaders will be in attendance. Click here to register or to find more information: Summary - Automation Summit (  If you registered for the original date, your registration has already been transferred to the new date. 

NAM Report:  Manufacturing Employment Up

There is good news in today’s Monday Economic Report published by the National Association of Manufacturers.  Manufacturing employment is up significantly over last year at the same time.  That usually means good things for the coming months.  If you wish to read the report, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Mary Landhuis, Nate Weaton Celebrate Birthdays

Two more longtime ABI board members are celebrating birthdays this month.  Happy birthday to   Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) and Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield)!

Big News Out of Osceola: Jack McFarland Sells Miller

Longtime ABI Board Member Jack McFarland (Miller Products Company, Osceola) shared some big news last week: he sold Miller!  Jack says it was a difficult decision, made a little easier by the fact that the buyer is his longtime General Manger, Kerry Richardson(Miller Products Company, Osceola).  Jack will continue to have some responsibilities at Miller and will remain on the ABI board through the end of the fiscal year in June. 

Miller manufactures a variety of precision-turned, milled, and screw machined products and Jack grew up in the company.  Jack shared that he continues to own manufacturing and machining facilities in Arizona and actually just made another acquisition there.  For all of that and more, now was the time to sell Miller.  ABI sends best wishes to Jack, Kerry, and everyone at Miller - congratulations, Jack! 

Hank Evans Battling Cancer

It is always great to hear from former longtime ABI Board Member Hank Evans(A.F. Johnson Millworks, West Des Moines – ret.).  Hank’s annual Christmas letter arrived by email last week.  It is fun to keep up with Hank and his wife Beth, who are always on the go.  At the end of the letter, Hank shared that he has been diagnosed with spots of cancer in both lungs and is in the middle of a two-month regime of chemotherapy and radiation.  Hank reports that his medical team believes the prognosis is positive for getting all the cancer and not seeing it spread.  In typical Hank Evans fashion, he doesn’t complain about the illness or the difficult treatment, only that it will keep him and Beth away from his beloved Key West for another winter.  We are pulling for you, Hank, and keeping you in our thoughts and prayers!