Board Meeting Ahead - Monday Memo 10/23/23

October 23, 2023

Final ABI Board Meeting of 2023 in Two 1/2 Weeks

The final board meeting of the calendar year will be held two weeks from Wednesday.  The November meeting is an important one for ABI and it is typically one of the best-attended meetings of the year.  

The ABI Board of Directors, led by Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), will convene at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15.  The board will meet at the ABI Office in Des Moines’ East Village and you can register for the board meeting by simply replying to this memo. 

As noted above, the November board meeting is an important one.  Members will work through a very full agenda of reports and action items.  Look for the usual packet of reports and materials to help you prepare for the meeting to arrive in your email in-basket late next week.  

Every once in a while, a board member will remark to me that it is nice that the board meetings are enjoying strong participation.  As I always reply when I hear such comments, strong board participation is much more than nice.  In fact, your participation in board meetings is all-important.  Our association needs your leadership and it is board leadership that has made the difference in ABI's growth and return to prominence.  Thank you in advance for your attendance and participation in the upcoming meeting. 

ABI and Lean TECHniques to Host Free Webinar on Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Friday

This Friday, October 27th, ABI and Lean TECHniques will host a free virtual seminar related to the digital transformation taking place in Iowa manufacturing.  Join the webinar for a discussion with leaders from Iowa manufacturing companies as they share about their organization’s digital transformation and key learnings from their journey so far.  Click here for more information and to register: State of Digital Transformation in Iowa Manufacturing Webinar Panel | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Biennial DC Fly-In Again a Smash

Last week, the association was pleased to host the biennial ABI DC Fly-In.  This event takes ABI leaders to the nation’s capital for substantive meetings and events.  Last week’s Fly-In (which included a late-night tour of the U.S. Capitol and being caught in a protest) was perhaps the best ever.  

Over the years, I have often heard first-time Fly-In participants comment on how the trip is packed full of substantive, very valuable meetings.  Some are surprised that we meet with the actual members of Iowa’s congressional delegation and not their staffers.  And they appreciate the other high-value meetings that are a part of the trip.  Make no mistake, the Fly-In is a business trip and you get access on this trip you don’t find elsewhere.  THANK YOU to those ABI leaders who participated and we look forward to the next Fly-in, which will be held in 2025. 

Leadership Iowa to Hold Second 2023-2024 Session in Carroll

The ABI Foundation's 2023-2024 Leadership Iowa class is comprised of a terrific group of Iowans.  The class will meet for its second session beginning Wednesday of next week in Carroll.  This session will focus on agriculture and renewable resources.  

Trudeau Government Names New Consul General for Iowa Region

Over the years, the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis has been a terrific partner for ABI members.  The consulate has helped with trade issues involving ABI members and assisted in vendor relationships, among other things. 

The Government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new Consul General for the region of the U.S. that includes Iowa.  Beth Richardson (Beth Richardson, Consul General of Canada in Minneapolis, United States ( is the new Consul General and she will be visiting ABI later this week.  Consul General Richardson has been a foreign affairs diplomat with the Canadian government for over 25 years and she has worked all over the world.  ABI welcomes her to the Midwest and we look forward to working with her. 

Weekly ABI Newsletter PACKED with Useful Information

For decades, through good times and bad, ABI has published The Voice of Iowa Business newsletter.  This weekly publication always leads with the latest in public policy news, not just what is happening with regard to the Iowa General Assembly, but just about anything government-related that can impact your business is covered.  It also includes information about high-value events, about ABI programs that help your bottom line, news from the ABI Foundation, and a ton of other information and resources that provide value for you, your company, and your employees. 

Why do I share this?  Simply to remind you to be on the lookout for the newsletter each week and to remember to take advantage of the information you’ll find in it.  If you don’t already receive it, respond to this message and I will make sure you are signed-up.  And, if ever you want to re-read back editions, you’ll find them on the ABI website.  Click here to access the newsletters: Voice of Iowa Business | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

2024 ABI Legislative Reception to be Held January 10

ABI’s second most popular event each year is the annual Legislative Briefing and Reception.  Well over 500 people attend this event, many more than attend any other similar event.  Related to that, folks are already finalizing plans to attend the 2024 event to be held at Hy-Vee Hall in the Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines on January 10.  Watch for registration to be available soon.  In the meantime, make plans now to attend. 

NAM Report Highlights Trade/War/PMI Issues

Other interesting insights are found in the latest edition of the monthly National Association of ManufacturersGlobal Manufacturing Economic Update.  Progress on trade deficits, growth predictions, and increases purchasing index news highlighted to report.  As always, simply reply to this message if you wish to see the report for yourself. 

Reece Welcomes Grandchild; Dietz Family Celebrates

One of the fun parts of the DC Fly-In was news involving grandchildren of our ABI leaders.  Perhaps the biggest news came Wednesday, when ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) learned that he become a grandfather for the fifth time.  His newest grandson was born in Des Moines and is doing well (as his mother, Chad’s daughter, and her husband). 

Other fun news came from former ABI Chari Cindi Dietz (RTX Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), who celebrated her grandson Ansel’s 18th month mark with tacos and carrot cake last week.  Congratulations to the Reece and Dietz families! 

Rick Tollakson to Celebrate

An ABI and IIPAC leader is celebrating his birthday this week.  Longtime ABI Board Member Rick Tollakson (Hubbell Realty Company, West Des Moines) will mark his birthday on Friday (October 27th).  ABI sends best birthday wishes to you, Rick! 

RBC Provides Israel-Hamas Insights

ABI Member Gilliland Group – RBC Wealth Management provided a link to an RBC report with very interesting insights related to global tensions, particularly focused on the war involving Israel and Hamas.  You can see the report for yourself here: OPEC Watch List: Contagion Effect (  Thank you to ABI member John Gilliland (Gilliland Group – RBC Wealth Management, Des Moines) for sharing the report! 

Bill Trent Moving Back to the Midwest

In last week’s Memo, you learned that former ABI Chair Bill Trent (KENT Corporation-ret., Muscatine) was celebrating another birthday.  Bill acknowledged his birthday and shared with me that he and his wife, Cathy Trent, are moving back to the Midwest.  They are moving to Wisconsin to be closer to family (including grandsons J).  Bill promised to attend an upcoming ABI conference.  It will be good to see you, Bill; best wishes for your move! 

The Business of ABI: Moving Forward

You know that from time to time in these memos I like to provide information about ABI's internal operations, what I call the business of ABI.  As you know, I believe ABI needs to operate as a business and provide value to its customers (ABI has customers, we just happen to call them members). 

One thing that is clear from all of you is that one part of what you all do in leading your companies is always move forward.  You are always innovating, always meeting new demands, always providing value.  ABI sure needs to do that as well.  

Over the years, you have allowed us to try new things.  Some have worked very well and grown (Elevate Advanced Manufacturing and BizWize and Leadership Iowa University and the Iowans for Jobs Initiative and many others).  Some have grown and we have spun them off to flourish on their own (VentureNet Iowa and others).  Some have not worked as well, or others are doing them better, so we stopped doing them (ABI Jobs Fair).  The point is that by following your example and with your leadership, ABI continues to enjoy growth and increase.  THANK YOU.