Board to Meet Next Week - Monday Memo 5/2/22

May 2, 2022

Board to Convene Next Week

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 Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and the ABI Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, May 12.  The meeting will begin with lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.  

All board members are invited to join ABI for the meeting, which will mark the board’s final regular 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 Jack and our other officers, thank you in advance for your participation in the meeting. 

Allow me to close by thanking ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt.  She leads ABI’s administrative work and serves as the contact for the board of directors and does terrific work. Thank you, Michelle! 

General Assembly Still Working, Stay Tuned for Policy Meeting Re-Scheduling; ABI Legislative Updates may Continue

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 may need to be re-scheduled.  Please stay tuned and check the ABI Events web page often for updates:

If the session does not end this week (again, that appears likely) ABI’s bi-weekly legislative updates will also likely continue.  Again, please stay tuned.  Participation in the updates is open to ABI members only and is free of charge.  

Let me end this by thanking ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf.  Intern Steffi Lee Dwyer also played a key role this session.  This team is terrific at what it does and it works hard to well represent ABI members.  They have been putting in some long hours at the Statehouse.  Finally, let me also thank new ABI Marketing and Communications Director Kelsey Smith, who is doing a fabulous job in helping ABI communicate related to tis public policy work (and other things). Thank you, all! 

Final ABI Conference Site Visit Made; Don’t Miss Sheryl Connelly, Other Keynoters

A group of us made a final site visit to Dubuque last Thursday.  The trip marked the final tune-up in advance of the 2022 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference June 14-16. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this will be a fabulous event and you simply do not want to miss it.  We are experiencing a record in terms of folks registering for the conference and there is a ton of interest in the event.  A packed, high-value agenda, terrific venues, golf at the beautiful Dubuque Golf and Country Club, and the very best business networking in Iowa are making this event the must-attend event of the summer.  Go here now to register: Summary - Taking Care of Business Conference (

Speaking of the conference, recently some of us met (via Zoom) with the keynote speaker, Ford Motor Company Futurist Sheryl Connelly.  She was compelling, personable, engaging, and eager to be with us in Dubuque.  I know she will deliver a truly insightful keynote address.  By the way, we have also met virtually with our other keynote speakers, Carson Group Executive Scott Kubie and UnityPoint Health President and CEO Clay Holderman (UnityPoint Health, Des Moines).  They will all be terrific. 

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 Meeting Held

Members of the 2022 ABI Nominating Committee met last week by Zoom.  Thank you to these ABI leaders for their important work.  Immediate Past ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) also serves as Chair of the Nominating Committee.  The committee includes representatives of each of ABI’s five Iowa districts.  Thank you to Steven and to these other ABI leaders for serving on the association's Nominating Committee: Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Company, Cedar Falls), Taylor Teepell (Lumen, Des Moines), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City).  Thank you again for a job well done. 

Thanks, too, to ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain, who helped with this year’s nominating process.  You know that Nicole has a broad portfolio at ABI and leads our accounting, finance, and HR functions.  She’s great at it and thank you, Nicole! 

Leadership Iowa Meets This Week in Iowa City

The 2021-2022 Leadership Iowa class is nearing the end of its journey.  The class will meet again later this week in Iowa City.  This month’s session will focus on healthcare 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, and Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway. 

ABI Okoboji CEO Forum Registration Opens Soon

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

We are close to finalizing another fantastic program for this event.  An incredible opening speaker, two terrific panels, and a fabulous closing keynoter, plus a behind-the-scenes tour of a great ABI member will all be a part of the agenda. 

Throw in the Lakes Region’s fabulous venues and that great Okoboji spirit and you get an event you don’t want to miss.  Look for more information and registration to be available soon.

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 years, Kerry Servas has been an ABI membership consultant.  We are grateful to Kerry for her help. 

We also added two consultants to help advance our communications and marketing efforts.  They, too, are doing terrific work.  Thank you to Katelyn Adams and Steffi Lee Dwyer (yes, Steffi has interned with the public policy team and continues to help with communications work).  Each of these folks has been a value-added addition to the ABI team and we appreciate all of them. 

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 over 5,000 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: Wages on the Rise

It’s another interesting Monday Economic Report, published today by the National Association of Manufacturers.  The headline is that manufacturing wages are in the rise.  And again, though challenges abound, 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. 

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 tomorrow; happy birthday, John! 

Rich Phelan Has Successful Surgery

It was a pleasure to receive a text message Monday afternoon from longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton).  As you read last Monday, Rich was undergoing knee replacement surgery as last week’s memorandum went to press.  Rich reports that the surgery went well (when your surgeon describes the procedure as “boring,” that’s a good thing) and Rich is now on the mend.  I am certain that when we see him in Dubuque in June, Rick will be dancing.  Continued best wishes for a speedy recovery, Rich! 

Editor’s Note:  Legislative Success on a Longstanding ABI Priority

As you read in last week’s ABI e-newsletter and heard about on Friday’s legislative update Zoom, ABI scored a major legislative victory last week.  For years, ABI members have identified making changes that modernize Iowa’s unemployment insurance trust fund system as a leading association priority.  And for just as long, the ABI public policy team has been working hard at the Statehouse to make those changes a reality. 

Thanks to incredible leadership from Governor Kim Reynolds and thanks to strong support by legislative leaders and other members of the General Assembly, those changes passed the House and Senate last week and are now in front of Governor for her signature.  

The legislation well serve Iowa employers and their employees and it is projected the changes will lead to annual savings of $74 millionThank you to the ABI public policy team and thanks even more to all of you.  Your support and your leadership make the difference at ABI every single day.