Board Meets Next Month - Monday Memo 10/9/23

October 9, 2023

ABI Board Will Meet in November; Executive Committee Meets Wednesday

The ABI Board of Directors will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, November 15.  The meeting will begin with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and will be held at the ABI office in Des Moines’ East Village. 

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), board members, and former chairs will work through a full agenda of important items.  This will be the final meeting of the calendar year for the board and a number of important discussion topics will be highlights of the November session.  Look for registration information to come your way soon. 

Chad will also lead this month’s meeting of the ABI Executive Committee.  That meeting will take place by Zoom this Wednesday morning at 10. 

Last Week’s Events Celebrated Iowa Manufacturing; Terrific Manufacturers Highlighted

Last week, ABI held the annual Iowa Manufacturing Conference.  A record crowd was on hand to hear terrific speakers, attend high-value workshops, participate in manufacturing tours, and share best practice ideas with each other.  

Iowa manufacturers were celebrated at the annual ABI/Elevate Legends in Iowa Manufacturing Awards event, this year held at a special luncheon during the manufacturing conference.  Congratulations to these ABI leaders and others who were recognized at the Legends Dinner: Former ABI Chair Jack (and Sarah) Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa), ABI Board Member Heather Bruce (Osmundson Mfg. Co., Perry), ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport), and Former ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids).  Congratulations to all the awardees and thanks to all who attended! 

Thanks to so many great events highlighting Iowa manufacturing last week (to mark the start of manufacturing month in Iowa), folks were able to hear terrific remarks from some of Iowa’s best business leaders.  Other manufacturers who shared terrific remarks at events around Iowa were Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Jason Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines), and many others across the state.  On Friday, CEO Gage Kent(KENT Corporation, Muscatine) did a wonderful job as the keynote speaker for the Ames Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Breakfast.  So again, a week full of great manufacturing leaders! 

ABI DC Fly-In Zoom Meeting Thursday

A week from tomorrow, the 2023 edition of the Biennial ABI DC Fly-In will take off for Washington, DC.  For those of you who have signed-on to the trip, ABI staff will host a meeting with information about the trip, the meetings included, and much more.  That meeting will take place by Zoom this coming Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  You should have received a Zoom link in that regard, but if you didn’t, please let me know and I’ll resend it at once.  And while we have a full contingent, for those of you who haven’t registered for the trip, there is still time to do so if you do it today.  Reply to this memorandum if you wish to register.  Thank you to those ABI leaders participating in the 2023 edition of the Fly-In and we’ll see you virtually on Thursday. 

ATW Training Solutions Releases Results of Annual Iowa Training Trends Survey

Longtime ABI member ATW Training Solutions recently released the results of its 17th annual “Iowa Trends in Talent Development Survey” conducted in partnership with the Association for Talent Development Central Iowa chapter (ATD-CI), and the Iowa Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) State Council. The survey, conducted August 1-18, 2023, was completed by 117 respondents representing a variety of Iowa industries, companies, and organizations. 

Key findings include continued strong talent development budgets, continued remote work by employees, and more.  Thanks to ABI Board member and company president Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale), you can access the survey data yourself.  Click here to do so: 2023-2024 Trends Survey | ATW Training Solutions.  There is rich information here of great value to your organization.  Thank you to Todd for sharing the data! 

Plan Now to Attend 2024 ABI Legislative Reception

Every year, more people attend and participate in the annual ABI Legislative Reception than in any other similar event in Iowa.  The 2024 Legislative Reception will be held January 10th at Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.  Make plans now to attend and watch for registration information to be available soon. 

Hank Norem Keynotes Burlington Manufacturing Luncheon

ABI Board Member Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines) is well-known as an innovative and successful CEO.  Hank is also known as an Iowa manufacturing champion and it was fun to learn that he was the keynote speaker at the annual Manufacturers Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the Greater Burlington Partnership.  The luncheon was held last Friday at the Burlington Golf Club.  Congratulations, Hank, and thank you for continuing to spread the message of Iowa manufacturing excellence! 

Vermeer Corporation Marks Opening of Des Moines Operations

It was fun last Thursday afternoon to join folks in celebrating the opening of the new Des Moines operations of longtime ABI member Vermeer Corporation.  The company is leasing manufacturing space from another longtime member, EFCO, on the north side of the capitol city.  While the plant has been in operation for some months now, Thursday’s event was an opportunity to see the incredible progress that has been made and to thank Vermeer employees for their terrific work.  The plant, and the work being done there, is truly impressive.  Remarks were shared by company executives, including President and CEO Jason Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and Vice President of Operations and ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch(Vermeer Corporation, Pella).  Both Jason and Mindi are third generation leaders of the Vermeer.  Congratulations to everyone at Vermeer Corporation on this exciting new plant! 

Fall Economic Outlook Available from CIBC

ABI member CIBC provides a great deal of economic information.  It is always interesting and more than that, useful as we seek to plan our business for the coming months.  CIBC has now published its Fall Economic Outlook.  If you wish to see it, reply to this memorandum and I’ll get it to you.  In the meantime, thank you to ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC, West Des Moines) for sharing the analysis! 

Tom Yeoman Heading to Asia

It’s always fun to learn when ABI members are taking trips.  ABI Board Member Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello) has a big trip coming up.  Tom leaves soon for a business trip to Asia.  There is a lot going in Asia right now and we’ll look forward to hearing about from Tom upon his return.  Safe travels, Tom! 

Dianne Martin, Mother-in-Law of Chad Reece, Passes Suddenly

ABI is keeping Kris and ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) in our thoughts and prayers at this time.  Chad received a call from Kris during the manufacturing conference that her mother, Dianne Martin, had passed away suddenly.  Services are pending, but the funeral and burial will be held in Council Bluffs.  ABI extends deepest sympathies to Kris and Chad and their family. 

Marlene Murdock, Wife of Dennis Murdock, Passes

ABI received the news last week that Marlene Murdock, the wife of Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines ret.) had passed away.  Ms. Murdock had been ill for some time and Dennis had been her primary caregiver; they were married 55 years this year.  A funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 10:00 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Marion.  You can read more about Ms. Murdock here: Marlene Murdock Obituary (1947 - 2023) - Marion, IA - The Gazette (  Our thoughts and prayers are with Dennis and has family. 

The Business of ABI: The Very Best Business Public Policy Advocacy Programs

(Editor’s Note: A few of years ago at this time, several of us on the ABI staff were receiving inquiries from members who were being requested to provide financial support for non-ABI lobbying activities.  I included the following in the Monday Memo each of the past six years and it still applies today.) 

You have heard me say often that I like things that can be measured, because they let us know whether or not we are having success in achieving the goals that the board sets for us each year.  Some goals are easy to measure, such as the condition of our balance sheet (it is strong).  Other things are more difficult to measure, but are measurable nonetheless.  One example of that is ABI’s public policy work.  Is the association getting passed into law the bills that will help members grow and create jobs?  And, is the association stopping advancement of bills that hinder that growth?  The answer to both questions, for decades through today, is a resounding yes. 

You don’t have to take my word for it.  National recognition, awards, mentions by media about how strong and effective is ABI’s policy work, all these things attest to ABI’s success. 

In fact, as it pertains to public policy, no business organization has had more success than ABI… none.  For over a hundred years, ABI has been at the Statehouse; year in, year out, achieving success in public policy advocacy and doing the hard and tough work of representing business interests. 

You already receive that award-winning public policy work as a benefit of your membership in ABI.  You don’t have to pay extra for it.  Between ABI and our programs such as the Iowans for Jobs Initiative, ABI annually puts together the strategy that will bring victory; and then achieves it.  

Success.  It is what you are pay for when you make your annual investment in ABI.  You already receive Iowa’s best pro-growth, pro-business public policy work as a result of your membership in ABI.  And, thanks to your continued investment in ABI, continued success is assured.