Board Meets Next Week - Monday Memo 9/5/23

September 5, 2023

ABI Board Will Meet Next Week; Economic Forecast Luncheon Precedes Meeting

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will convene the first board meeting of the fiscal year a week from tomorrow.  The board will meet at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13.  

You will have receive an email message from me later this week with a link to the board packet.  If you have any difficulties accessing the packet, please contact Michelle Vollstedt at and she will see that you receive access. 

The September meeting is an important one for several reasons.  First, it marks the first meeting of the fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Second, it will involve board consideration and approval of the policies developed through the annual policy development process (ABI members from across Iowa and beyond have participated in meetings to propose a slate of policies for 2024).  Third, the board will receive and act on operational reports regarding the business of ABI.  Fourth and finally, board members’ brief business updates will be a highlight.  

Another highlight will be the luncheon preceding the board meeting (also to be held at DSM Golf).  This event is an Economic Forecast Luncheon presented by ABI member Security National Bank that will provide the latest information and analysis regarding the state of the economy.  You can find more information and register for the luncheon here: Summary - What is the Future of the Economy? Presented by Security National Bank of Iowa (  

On behalf of Chad and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday.  Thank you in advance for making plans to participate in the meeting. 

Legislative Committee to Meets Today

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), will meet later today in Des Moines.  Following on the many committee meetings held in Des Moines and around Iowa before it, the meeting will result in a final set of polices being developed for action by you and your fellow board members next month.  Look for the final policy draft in your September board packet. 

ABI Honored at Annual ASCP Meeting

ABI Vice President Member and Investor Relations Michele Farrell and Director Communications and Marketing Kelsey O’Connor last week represented ABI at the annual Association of State Chamber Professionals in Anchorage, Alaska.  We were pleased to welcome them home and they brought some nice hardware back with them.  

At the ASCP awards banquet held a week ago yesterday, ABI was honored to receive the award for Greatest Growth in New Member Numbers.  That’s an important metric and one that ABI has worked hard to achieve.  Doing so was only possible thanks to the help and leadership of you, the board of directors.  THANK YOU!  And congratulations, ABI! 

Iowa Manufacturing Conference, Legends Luncheon in October; Great Speakers Featured

ABI, the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University (CIRAS), Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Community State Bank, Express Logistics, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Ramco Innovations are the lead sponsors for ABI’s Iowa Manufacturing Conference 2023.  The conference will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny on October 4th.  Find more information and register now for the conference by clicking on this link: Summary - Iowa Manufacturing Conference & Legends In Manufacturing Awards (  

Great speakers are on tap, such as Director of Corporate Economics Dr.Kanlaya Barr (John Deere, Moline), who will keynote the morning session, and retired naval commander Dr. Mary Kelly, who will keynote the afternoon session.  High-value workshops and the annual luncheon featuring the Legends in Manufacturing Awards and much more will make the conference one you don’t want to miss.  The day will close with some fabulous manufacturing tours.  Use the link above to see the entire program for yourself.  You don't want to miss this program and the terrific value provided for conference attendees. 

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference Later this Month

As you may recall, ABI and a number of other organizations partner each year in producing the Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference.  The 2023 conference will be held September 26-27 at the Overland Park Convention Center in suburban Kansas City.  The agenda for the conference is packed full of information and your team members who attend will receive the very latest in environmental regulatory information. 

ABI receives financial support for every Iowa participant that registers for the conference.  As I always say, while that is a great incentive, the real reason to attend is for the high-value program.  Find more information and register by clicking on    

ABI Conference Planning Committee Meets Next Week; Fabulous New Venues in 2024

Planning is well underway for the ABI Taking Care of Business Conference that will be held in June of next year.  I can tell you already that it will be a fabulous event.  While much work has been done, more is to come and it will begin with the first official meeting of the 2024 ABI Conference Committee a week from today.  

Related to the conference, ABI team members and former ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton Ret.) were a part of a site visit to the Quad Cities some weeks ago.  While you have been to the Quad Cities previously, there are big changes in store and fabulous new venues will be a part of the 2024 conference. 

A great flagship hotel, the Hotel Blackhawk, will make a terrific home base for attendees.  Other great hotels (within walking distance of the convention center) have been set with ABI room blocks and your accommodations will be first-class in each of them.  Click here to make your conference hotel reservation now at any of these terrific hotels: Taking Care of Business Conference | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  By the way, there are other changes and new additions to Davenport itself that will provide a fun and terrific conference experience.  Watch for much more exciting news in the months and weeks ahead. 

Jessica Stringer Joins ABI Part-Time to Assist with Communications and Marketing

Today marks the first day on the job for a new part-time ABI team member.  Jessica Stringer joins us to assist with communications and marketing tasks.  She is a senior at Simpson College and has experience in marketing and communications.  Her duties will include a number of tactical responsibilities, which will free our full-time team members to handle more strategic tasks.  Jessica has a strong work ethic and is a personable, positive person.  If you see her in the office, please join us in welcoming her to ABI. 

Tim Bianco, Iowa Spring Honored by SBA

It was very cool to see Friday, in a message from U.S. Small Business Administration State Director Jayne Armstrong, that ABI Board Member Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel) and his company are being honored this Thursday with an award marking the company’s success and longevity.  The event will also mark the SBA’s 70th anniversary.  If you wish more information, please contact me.  In the meantime, congratulations to Tim, his family, and his employees on this terrific honor! 

Correction: Next Edition of Baton Coming Soon

There I go again.  In last week’s Memo, I mentioned the baton, the newsletter from ABI Advisory Council Member BCC Advisers.  Truth be told, I included that section as a placeholder in a preliminary draft of the Monday Memo because it was included last year at this time.  I intended to check later to see if the latest baton was now out.  

Last Monday, trying to do too many things at once, I forgot to check.  After apologizing to longtime ABI Board Member and BCC President Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), Steve graciously shared with me that the next edition of the baton will publish in a couple of weeks.  It will no doubt be another great newsletter and I’ll bring it to your attention at that time. 

John Riches “Goes Over the Edge” for Charity

Some ABI board members do pretty fun things on the weekend.  Longtime ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) is one of them.  A week ago Saturday, John rappelled down the side of the Hotel Black Hawk in downtown Davenport at an event hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley.  John (and other “Edgers,” as they are called) raised a ton of money for this worthy non-profit.  

In a message to me, John shared that this event afforded him a quite different view than he normally sees when he attends meetings at the Black Hawk.  I have seen photographic evidence and I can confirm John’s comment!  Congratulations and ABI salutes you for all you do for the community, John! 

Jim Tyler Feted at Tyler Family Golf Tournament

Each year, the Tyler Family hosts a family golf tournament at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  While the event is always a lot of fun, this year’s tournament, held August 26th, was even more special than that of past years.  That’s because the family honored its patriarch, former ABI Chair Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) on the occasion of his 99th birthday. 

In addition to dozens and dozens of family members, including former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and longtime ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines), the evening was made special by former ABI Board Member Mike Henningsen (Henningsen Construction, Atlantic) flying over the golf course in his vintage aircraft.  That is in recognition of Jim’s career as a decorated combat fighter pilot in World War II.  Perhaps the highlight of the evening, however, was Jim getting out on the course and making a putt.  Sounds like a special time in honor of a special man.  Congratulations to Jim and the entire Tyler Family! 

Kelly Barrick Invites You to Ride in a Huey Helicopter for a Great Cause

Longtime ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC Bank USA, Johnston) is a terrific ABI supporter and she is just as passionate about helping Iowa.  Related to that, Kelly is a board member of the Patriot Peak Foundation (Home - Patriot Peak Foundation), an organization that seeks to bring people together across political, societal, and other divides.  Started by her brother, Leadership Iowa alumnus Jeff Dentlinger (Farm Bureau Financial Services, Carroll), the Patriot Peak Foundation has already done important work in hosting events and preserving the stories of Iowans, especially with a military focus. 

Kelly invites your help in support of the Foundation and she invites you take a ride on a Huey Helicopter.  The rides will originate from and return to Ames, Boone, and Carroll early this month.  To help Patriot Peak, please click on the link above.  To learn more about the Foundation and about the Huey rides, reply to this memo and I will forward a message from Kelly that includes all necessary information.  In the meantime, thank you to Kelly and Jeff for the work and leadership! 

Steve Anderson Invites you to Support Storm Lake Youth Initiative

Speaking of worthy causes, ABI Board Member Steven Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake) shared news about a youth development initiative that was brought to his attention and that of his leadership team last week.  Area volunteers are developing an unused property as a wrestling facility for the region.  The initiative will seek to develop young people both athletically and as good citizens.  Officials there see the initiative as a workforce initiative as much as a wrestling facility.  If you are interested in helping, please contact me and I’ll share a message with much more information.  Thank you, Steve, for sharing this project with ABI!