Board Meeting Thursday - Monday Memo 5/3/21

May 3, 2021

Board to Convene Next Week; Governor’s Chief of Staff to Speak

Strong participation is expected when you and your fellow members of the ABI Board of Directors convene for the May meeting next week.  ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and the ABI Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, May 13.  The meeting will begin with lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites on the River Hotel (just three blocks from the ABI office in Des Moines’ East Village.  

Following lunch, Sara Craig Gongol, Chief of Staff to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, will provide a brief update regarding Iowa’s COVID-19 vaccination status.  Ms. Craig Gongol has been instrumental in helping Iowans and Iowa employers obtain vaccinations.  ABI is deeply grateful to her and we look forward to her remarks next week. 

All board members are invited to join ABI for the meeting, which will mark the board’s final meeting of the fiscal year.  You will receive the usual packet of meeting materials in an email message from me later this week.  In the meantime and on behalf of Steven and our other officers, thank you in advance for your participation in the meeting. 

General Assembly Still Working, Stay Tuned for Policy Meeting Re-Scheduling; Next ABI Legislative Update Friday

As predicted in last week’s Monday Memo, the Iowa General Assembly has not adjourned for the year, though it had been scheduled to do so.  In fact, many observers expect that the legislative session will continue for at least another couple of weeks. 

If that prediction holds true, it means that at least one (if not more) of ABI’s Regional Policy Meetings will also need to be re-scheduled.  Please stay tuned and check the ABI Events web page often for updates:

Because the session has not ended, ABI’s bi-weekly legislative updates also continue.  The next edition of the updates will take place this Friday, on May 7.  Participation is open to ABI members only and is free of charge.  Please register for the Zoom update here:  

Let me end this by thanking ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf.  Both are terrific at what they do and work hard to well represent ABI members.  They have been putting in some long hours at the Statehouse.  Thank you, fellows.

Final ABI Conference Site Visit Today; Don’t Miss Tarika Barrett

ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and Conference Committee Chair Janice Konchar (Allsteel, Cedar Rapids) will lead a final site visit to Coralville/Iowa City today.  This will be the final tune-up ibn advance of the 2021 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference June 8-10 and several of us on staff will jump in the car in about an hour to head for Coralville to join the group. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this will be a fabulous event and you simply do not want to miss it.  We are fast approaching the one-time attendance cap of 450 people and there is a ton of interest in the conference.  A packed, high-value agenda, terrific venues, golf at the brand new Finkbine, and the very best business networking in Iowa are making this event the must-attend event of the summer.  Go here now to register:  

Speaking of the conference, last week, some of us met (via Zoom) with the keynote speaker, Dr. Tarika Barrett.  She was simply fabulous.  Compelling, Personable, gracious, engaging, and eager to be with us in Coralville, I know she will deliver a truly remarkable keynote address. 

And now let me end this by thanking ABI Director Membership Programs Holly Mueggenberg and Membership Coordinator Dorothy Knowles.  Holly leads events planning and Dorothy leads database and billing.  Both do absolutely terrific work and we appreciate it very, very much. 

Nominating Committee Meets Wednesday

Members of the 2021 ABI Nominating Committee will meet the day after tomorrow by Zoom.  Thank you to these ABI leaders for their important work.  Immediate Past ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) also serves as Chair of the Nominating Committee.  

The committee includes representatives of each of ABI’s five Iowa districts.  Thank you to Cindy and to these other ABI leaders for serving on the committee: Andy Bramstedt (SSAB, Muscatine), Tim Conlon (Conlon Construction, Dubuque), Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola), and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).  Thank you again to committee members for their service. 

Maximizing Your Membership Event Successful; Next Edition Tomorrow

Last week, ABI hosted a webinar designed to help new (or existing) members get the most out of their ABI membership investment.  20 people joined a Zoom to learn about ABI programs and services and about all the many ways ABI can provide value.  A second edition of this program will be presented tomorrow, May 4.  For more information or to register, please click here:  

ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain has led planning development, and execution for these events.  Thank you, Nicole, for the great work and for all you do. 

Leadership Iowa Meets This Week in Marshalltown

The 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa class is nearing the end of its journey.  The class will meet again later this week in Marshalltown.  This month’s session will focus on public safety issues facing Iowa.  The class has enjoyed strong participation and will graduate from the program in June at the annual conference.  Watch for more news as it develops. 

It is a busy time of year for the Foundation… and it will get even busier this summer.  Thank you to the fabulous team at the ABI Foundation: Director of Programs Jessi McQuerrey, Vice President Becky Coady, Marketing and Engagement Coordinator McKenzie Kielman, and Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway. 

ABI Okoboji CEO Forum Registration Opens

ABI’s Okoboji CEO Forum returns this year and it does so in spectacular fashion.  This event seems to get better each year. 

Keynoting the event is Chairman, President, and CEO Dan Houston (Principal, Des Moines) and a panel of ABI leaders: Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer), Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City).  Also presenting is the popular ‘Building Business Value’ panel including terrific experts from the ABI Advisory Council: Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines), Brian Crotty (HDH Advisors, West Des Moines), Jim Nalley (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Mark Wyzgowski (CLA, West Des Moines).  Day 2 of the event features longtime ABI member Butch Parks (Parks Marina, Okoboji) and a tour of his iconic businesses. 

Throw in the Lakes Region’s fabulous venues and that great Okoboji spirit and you get an event you don’t want to miss.  Go here to register now:  

Michelle Vollstedt Returns

As you have read in previous editions of this memorandum, ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt has been out of the office.  Michelle had foot surgery some weeks ago and is recovering.  Last week, she returned to the office on a part-time basis. Today, she is back full time.  Michelle leads and assists with many tasks and does strong work in doing so.  It is great to have her back in the office and we hope her recovery continues to go well.  Welcome back, Michelle! 

ABI Manufacturers Featured on Elevate Iowa Website

Each May, we update you on the status of Elevate Iowa.  Elevate is ABI's program to raise the profile of manufacturing jobs in our state and to connect Iowans with training and with jobs.  Board leadership for Elevate has been well-provided by ABI leaders Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), and Paul Gregoire (Fisher -Emerson, Marshalltown).  

Remember that Elevate features ABI/Iowa manufacturing companies on its website under its “Made in Iowa” section.  This page educates Iowans about the many exciting opportunities available at Iowa’s advanced manufacturing companies.  The goal is to ultimately connect these Iowans with companies like yours.  Please follow this link: and click on the link to the "Made in Iowa form" under "Share your Company Story".  We can also provide examples of other company profiles if you wish.  

Consultants Help Advance ABI

Over the years, you have heard us talk about individuals who work for ABI on contract.  For many, many years, our two membership consultants, Gary Nash and Kerry Servas, have done great work in helping meet our membership goals.  During the COVID-19 pandemic and while we have been without a membership director, their work has been even more important and is much appreciated. 

We have also added two consultants to help advance our communications and marketing efforts.  They, too, are doing terrific work.  Thank you to Steffi Lee and Katelyn Adams. 

Each of these folks has been a value-added addition to the ABI team and we appreciate all four of them. 

Iowa Business Report Highlights ABI

ABI has been proud to support the Iowa Business Report radio program, which as you know was created by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  The report is now in its second year and has added a daily edition to its program. 

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Jeff about several issues.  We continue to believe Jeff is the best business broadcaster in Iowa and we appreciate his focus on business issues.  If you wish to listen to our conversation, please click here:

ABI Staff Members and Twitter

Whether it is during a legislative committee hearing, a manufacturing meeting, an association conference, or at some other event, you might see ABI staffers busily typing away on their mobile devices.  They aren't ignoring the proceedings, they're tweeting.  Every time you are at an ABI event of any kind, you can expect that someone is tweeting about it. 

As you know, ABI was one of the first organizations to embrace Twitter and other social media and our members say they want more of it.  Just like your business, we want our customers (our members) to have access to the very latest information about what is happening at a given meeting.  Twitter and other social media allow that to occur.  

If you want to follow ABI, go to and click on the bird that is the Twitter logo in the upper right-hand corner of the page (you will also see logos for other social media resources).  It will take you to the ABI Twitter homepage, where you can see that ABI has nearly 6,000 followers.  You can follow ABI's general account and the accounts of several ABI staffers (including me).  If you need help, reply to this email and I'll ask a staffer to get in touch with you. 

NAM Report: Spending, Saving Up

It’s another interesting Monday Economic Report, published today by the National Association of Manufacturers.  The headline is that personal spending AND saving increased last month.  The two do not usually go together.  Other data points also improved.  As always, please reply to this memo if you wish to read the report and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Dietz Family to Celebrate

When I was visiting with Immediate Past ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), it was good to learn that Cindy and her husband, KC Dietz, would soon (perhaps in June) be able to return to their home.  Their house had been devastated by the derecho that hit Iowa last August and Cindy and KC have been working to have their home repaired ever since. 

I thought that was a reason to celebrate.  Cindy shared that there is even bigger news to celebrate. 

Cindy and KC’s daughter Zoey will be getting married.  Zoey and her fiancé Eric will be married two weeks from today in Maryland.  That is terrific news and ABI sends congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple and to Cindy and KC! 

John Butler Marks Birthday

Former ABI Chair John Butler (Cottingham & Butler, Dubuque) was a great leader for the association and he continues to be an important business leader for Iowa.  John is celebrating his birthday; happy birthday, John!