Board Meets Thursday - Monday Memo 9/8/20

September 8, 2020

ABI Board Will Meet in Two Days

ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) will convene the first board meeting of the fiscal year Thursday.  The board will meet by Zoom at 11:30 a.m. on September 10.  

You should have received an email message from me last Thursday 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.  One, it marks the first meeting of the fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Two, it will involve board consideration and approval of the policies developed through the annual policy development process (literally hundreds of ABI members have participated in meetings to propose a slate of policies for 2021).  This part of the meeting will be led by ABI Vice Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa).  Three, the board will receive and act on operational reports regarding the business of ABI.  Four and finally, board members’ brief business updates will be a highlight.  

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

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference in Three Weeks; Great Speakers on Tap

ABI and the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University are the lead sponsors for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2020.  The conference will be held by Zoom on September 30th.  Register now for this important conference at   

Great speakers are on tap, such keynote speaker Matthew Lamons, nationally known author and consultant.  He is tailoring his remarks specifically for ABI and especially for the challenges being faced by ABI members, from pandemics to disaster recovery.  The final event of the day is a fantastic panel featuring three highly successful ABI leaders: former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and ABI Board Members Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).  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. 

ABI Conference Planning Committee Meets Today; Fabulous New Venues Featured

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 2021 ABI Conference Committee later this morning.  

Related to the conference, ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Conference Committee Chair Janice Konchar (Allsteel, Cedar Rapids), Holly Mueggenberg, and I participated in a site visit last Wednesday.  While you have been to Iowa City/Coralville previously, there are big changes in store for the 2021 conference. 

The changes start with the flagship hotel, the Coralville Marriott.  It has been updated and renovated since ABI was last there in 2018.  The fabulous Xtreme Arena is brand new and the ABI conference will be one of the very first large events held there.  Finkbine Golf Club has built a fabulous new clubhouse and the course has never looked better.  And, there are other changes and new additions to the Iowa River Landing area itself that will provide a fun and terrific conference experience.  Watch for much more exciting news in the months and weeks ahead. 

2020-2021 Leadership Iowa Class to be Announced

Later this week or next, the ABI Foundation will release the names of those selected for inclusion in the Leadership Iowa Class of 2020-2021.  As always, participants will come from all corners of our state and together, they will comprise a great group of Iowans. 

This year’s class will kick off its term in Atlantic on October 7th.  Look for a complete list of class members soon. 

Episode 36 of Iowa Business Report Radio Program Terrific; Steffensmeier, Lamons Featured

Over the weekend, the Iowa Business Report broadcast its 36th episode and it was another in a series of terrific shows.  As you know, the show is the result of a great partnership between well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein and ABI. 

In this week’s show, Jeff has a great interview with newly-elected ABI Board Member Jenny Steffensmeier (Steffensmeir Welding and Manufacturing, Pilot Grove), talks with nationally-known ABI Manufacturing Conference Keynote Speaker Matthew Lamons, and shares information about the latest edition of the manufacturing scorecard.   If you missed it, you can click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  

Vanden Bosch, Crain Participate in Ernst Childcare Roundtable

Last Friday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst convened a roundtable of experts to discuss issues related to childcare.  ABI members have identified childcare as a priority issue.  Two of the roundtable participants were ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain. 

At the roundtable, Senator Ernst shared comments about the latest legislative efforts to help address childcare issues.  Mindi and Nicole talked about Iowa solutions that are already seeing positive results right now.  Congratulations to all involved and thank you for your work on this important issue. 

ABI Participates in 21-Day Challenge

ABI has joined dozens of members in supporting the United Way of Central Iowa’s 21-Day Equity Challenge.  The United Way calls the program a powerful opportunity for shared learning and growth.  It is meant to bring people together to develop a deeper understanding of community unity and solutions to racism.  Please go to for more information. 

Mores Brothers Sell Harlan Newspapers

It was announced last week that brothers and Co-Publishers Steve and Alan Mores have sold their business, Harlan Newspapers, to Blackbird LLC, a newspaper company based in Wyoming.  The Mores Family has owned Harlan newspapers for 81 years.  Leo Mores, Steve and Alan’s father, was publisher before them.  

The Mores Brothers have been long leaders in their community, their industry, and in the state.  Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan) is a longtime member the ABI Board of Directors.  Read more about the sale and about the Mores Family here:  In the meantime, congratulations to Steve and Alan and THANK YOU for all you have done for Iowa and for ABI!