Board to Meet Thursday - Monday Memo 9/7/21

September 7, 2021

ABI Board Will Meet in Two Days

ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) will convene the first board meeting of the fiscal year Thursday.  The board will meet in Maquoketa at 11:30 a.m. on September 9.  

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 2022).  This part of the meeting will be led by ABI Vice Chair Kim Augspurger (Saxaton, Des Moines).  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.  

A final highlight will be a tour of ABI member Jackson Mfg. upon completion of the board meeting.  On behalf of Jack 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, the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University (CIRAS), and the Iowa Economic Development Authority are the lead sponsors for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2021.  The conference will be held at the Meadows Events Center in Altoona on September 29th.  Register now for this important conference at Summary - Legends In Manufacturing Awards Dinner (and/or) Advanced Manufacturing Conference (  

Great speakers are on tap, such as keynote speaker Dr. Ron Cox, CIRAS Director and Manufacturing leader.  He will expand on remarks he shared at the ABI Okoboji CEO Forum related to workforce and business growth.  Manufacturing expert Tamara Hedgren of John Deere will address manufacturing challenges and opportunities.  And, IEDA Director Debi Durham will provide the lay of the land related to Iowa’s’ economy.  

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. 

Don’t Miss Annual Legends Awards Dinner

The evening before the manufacturing conference is one of the most uplifting events of the year, the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner sponsored by ABI’s Elevate initiative.  You do not want to miss this annual celebration of Iowa manufacturing.  Hear inspiring stories, see ABI friends, and enjoy an evening of networking.  Use the same link in the above item to register. 

ABI Conference Planning Committee Meets Next Week; Fabulous New Venues in 2022

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 2022 ABI Conference Committee a week from today.  

Related to the conference, ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa), Conference Committee Chair Brett Burkhart (MakuSafe, West Des Moines) and others were a part of a site visit to Dubuque some months ago.  While you have been to Dubuque previously, there are big changes in store for the 2022 conference.  Fabulous new venues will be a part of the 2022 conference. 

Two great flagship hotels, the Julien and the Grand Harbor will make a terrific home base for attendees.  The fabulous Grand River Conference Center is always a treat.  And, there are other changes and new additions to Dubuque area itself that will provide a fun and terrific conference experience.  Watch for much more exciting news in the months and weeks ahead. 

2021-2022 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 2021-2022.  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 Okoboji on October 6th.  Look for a complete list of class members soon. 

Leadership Iowa NEXT on September 15

Speaking of Leadership Iowa and as you read about last week, the program has expanded its events and has held several interesting forums.  Another in this series, known as Leadership Iowa NEXT, will be held a week from tomorrow on September 15.   Plan now to participate in this high-level discussion of leadership.  Specifically, how can the next generation of Iowa leaders be identified and supported and what can you do to help.  Again, this program will take place on September 15.  Find more information and register at LI CONNECT: Engaging the Next Generation of Iowa's Leaders | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Assistance Available for Those Seeking to help Afghan Nationals

Many ABI members have or are interested in helping Afghans who are fleeing their homeland during this time of turmoil.  There is assistance available to aid in this regard, and please go to this website for more information: Office of Global Partnerships: Partnerships for Afghan Response - United States Department of State.   And there are state resources available as well.  Please contact me if you wish to be connected to state officials who can help. 

New ABI Board Member Claudia Schabel Part of Business Record Panel

Newly-elected ABI Board Member Claudia Schabel (Schabel Solutions, Des Moines) is an expert in diversity and inclusion processes and a frequent speaker at events and conferences.  In fact, Claudia will be panelist at an event hosted by the Business Record (a longtime ABI member) later this week.  This is a free, virtual event. 

If you have never heard Claudia speak, or if you have, take this opportunity to hear her proven strategies to help build an inclusive workforce and improve your business.  You can register and find more information at: Power Breakfast: Future of corporate culture Tickets, Thu, Sep 9, 2021 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite.  

Nate Weaton Featured in Article

Iowa business leader Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield) has also been an ABI leader for years.  As you know, Nate has recently successful beaten cancer.  And successfully continued to lead his companies.  And successfully led the Fairfield Trojans football team as its coach.  

All of these things were highlighted in a cool article published in the Ottumwa Courier.  You can read it for yourself here: Class 3A, District 5: Weaton walks the walk for the Trojans | Sports |  Be sure and click through the photos and see a neat photo of Nate and his son Max (a Trojan football player).  It’s a special story. 

Congratulations to Nate (and the Trojans, who are now 2-0!) and thank you to former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Nate’s wife, for making sure we saw the article!  Best wishes all around! 

Upon Retirement of Fisher, Nuzum to Lead IADG

As you read in this publication a few weeks ago, the end of an era is ahead for longtime ABI member Iowa Area Development Group.  At the end of January, after 25 years as its leader, ABI Board Member Rand Fisher (IADG, Des Moines) will retire.  Other big news came last week, as it was announced that longtime IADG Senior Vice President Bruce Nuzum (IADG, Des Moines) will step into the role of the organization’s President.  This is good news and congratulations to Bruce and Rand; ABI wishes you both the very best!