Business Horizons a Hit, CEO Forum this Week - Monday Memo 7/26/21

July 26, 2021

Business Horizons 2021 Huge Success

As you read about in last week's edition of this memorandum, the 2021 session of the ABI Foundation's Business Horizons high school experience was held last week.  Around 65 students from all over Iowa converged on the campus of Central College in Pella to participate in this terrific program.  

The week provided a fabulous experience for all involved. Making it so was another great group of students, terrific ABI members, and leaders.  BH 2021 was a huge success, with students and parents sharing praise for the curriculum and the connections made during the week.  This program is simply a terrific event each year and it is possible only through the support of you, your company, and your employees.  Special thanks to the Foundation team of Jessi McQuerrey, Becky Coady, McKenzie Kielman, and Jane Galloway for their terrific work in making BH a smash. 

Final Call: ABI Okoboji CEO Forum THIS WEEK; Additional New Speaker Added

Please consider this information as a final call for this week’s 2021 ABI Okoboji CEO Forum.  Click here for more information and to register:  The forum will be held Thursday and Friday in the Okoboji area.  Thursday afternoon’s events take place at the Waterfront Events Center in Arnolds Park.  On Friday morning, we’ll be at a terrific, longtime ABI member, Parks Marina, in Okoboji.  Both locations are situated on beautiful East Lake Okoboji.  The forum starts with lunch on Thursday and ends with the tour Friday morning. 

Following lunch on Thursday, the well-known panel of ABI Advisory Council members Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines), Matt Fett (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and  Brian Crotty (HDH Advisors, Des Moines) will again present their very popular panel about business valuation.  That panel will be followed by a fabulous panel of ABI member family business owners; Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corporation, Spencer), Mindi VandenBosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City).  Keynote Speaker Dan Houston (Principal, Des Moines) will speak next.  Friday morning, attendees will be addressed by Butch Parks (Park Marina, Okoboji) and then tour his marina.  Butch is an iconic figure in the Lakes Region and is the owner of several businesses in the area.  His talk about business and entrepreneurism is sure to be a hit.  

In fact, the program gets even better, as a new additional speaker has been added.  Dr.Ron Cox (CIRAS, Ames) is the aerospace engineer who leads the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University.  Ron is a valued ABI member/partner and he has information to share about a much more detailed address he’ll be delivering at the ABI Advanced Manufacturing Conference this fall.  He’ll speak briefly at noon on Thursday. 

As you can see, this is an exceptional program.  Join ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and his wife and business partner, former ABI Chair Sarah Hasken, and 60 other ABI leaders at the lakes later this week! 

August ABI Executive Committee Teleconference Two Weeks from Thursday; September Board Meeting to be Held in Maquoketa

Members of the ABI Executive Committee will convene for their monthly Zoom meeting on August 12.  ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and committee members will work through a full agenda in advance of the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

As you know, the first ABI Board Meeting of the 2022 fiscal year will be held on September 9.  It will be held in Maquoketa, the home of Jackson Mfg., and Jack Hasken is inviting board members to tour his operation.  You will not want to miss it and thank you, Jack!  Please mark your calendars now and finalize your plans to participate in this important meeting.  

Leadership Iowa University to Begin in Two Weeks; ABI Leaders Can Interact with Class at Event on August 11

Two weeks from yesterday, on August 8, talented Iowa college students will assemble for the annual session of the ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa University program.  Students come from Iowa’s public universities, private colleges, and from community colleges and all will learn about our state and ways they can impact its future.  LIU class programs have received rave reviews from students, college officials, ABI leaders, and others.  

A part of the LIU program is “The New Normal” seminar, the latest in the Connecting Statewide Leaders series of events.  This program will be held immediately prior to a networking reception with the Leadership Iowa University group.  Find more information and register here: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Des Moines (  The event will be held on August 11 at ABI member company R&R Realty Group in West Des Moines.  Take the opportunity to attend and network with the LIU students… your future employees! 

Policy Development Meetings Start Next Month

Along with other changes made to ABI's award-winning public policy advocacy work, our association has advanced the annual policy development process.  This extra time allows ABI members and staff to further engage legislators and other state officials in issues important to Iowa employers.  In keeping with that change, the annual policy development meetings be held next month.  The ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee will kick things off on August 6.  

Regarding each of the committees, well over 100 members have already registered for these important meetings.  If you haven't already done so, there is still plenty of time for you and your employees to register.  Simply go to to register for the committee meetings of interest to you.  The ABI Board of Directors will act on the policy recommendations at the September board meeting. 

New Board Member Orientations Continue This Week

Ask any ABI staff member about one of the best perks of their job and they will cite the opportunity to tour so many Iowa manufacturing and business operations.  That is typically one of the best things about the annual orientation sessions with newly-elected board members and it is so again this year.  

The process continues this week with a session involving new board member Jerry Krantz (SSAB, Muscatine).  Thank you to Jerry and to our other new board members Heather Bruce (Osmundson Mfg, Co., Perry), Josh Byers (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan), Claudia Schabel (Schabel Solutions, Des Moines), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board representative, Eric Moerman (Interstates, Sioux Center), whom you will have an opportunity to meet at a future meeting. 

Annual ABI Executive Open (Central) in Five Weeks Exec; Open (East) in September

Register now for the annual ABI Executive Open Best Ball, which will be held five weeks from today, on August 30, at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines.  One of the nation’s most beautiful private clubs, Des Moines Golf provides an exceptional playing experience.  Learn more about Des Moines Golf and Country Club here:  

Golf, networking, and a reception will highlight the day.  To register right now for the remaining spots, go to Summary - Executive Open - Central (    And look for another executive Open to be held in September.  This one will be held in eastern Iowa, at Elmcrest Country Club (Home - Elmcrest Country Club) in Cedar Rapids.  Elmcrest is the home club of PGA Champion Zach Johnson and is a beautiful course.  Click here to register: Summary - Executive Open - East (  We look forward to seeing you at one (or both) of these events! 

NAM Report:  Manufacturing Data Mixed

The news in last week’s National Association of ManufacturersMonday Economic Report was mixed.  It highlighted manufacturing activity’s continuing issues with supply chain and productivity, but noted that manufacturers were seeing significant expansion.  There was other great information included in the report, as there is every week.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, please reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Espeset Pens another Strong Column

In previous editions of this memorandum, I have shared news about the columns written by company President and ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames) in his company’s newsletter.  Mike’s columns are always interesting and thought-provoking and the latest is no exception.  

Mike makes reference to the ABI Annual Conference and shares a perspective about re-training ourselves to pre-pandemic behaviors.  I thought the message was darn good counsel.  You can read the column here: President's Perspective: There, but not *there* | Story Construction.  Thanks for another great essay, Mike!