Check out the Latest Business Record Iowa - Monday Memo 9/13/21

September 13, 2021

Latest Edition of ABI's Business Record Iowa Now Out

The most recent edition of ABI's monthly newsprint magazine, Business Record Iowa, has been published and should have been received by you late last week inside the Business Record.  We are proud to partner with member company Business Publications Corp. on the magazine.Look for a great ABI leader, Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield), and members of his team on the cover.  

By the way, your input is important; let us know what you would like to see in future editions.  And, if you have not received the new edition of the magazine, please reply to this memo and I'll make sure it is sent to you at once. 

Conference Committee Meets Tomorrow

The committee planning ABI’s 119th annual conference will hold a meeting tomorrow.  Chaired by ABI member Brett Burkhart (MakuSafe, West Des Moines), the committee is doing great work in developing a fabulous program for next year.  Stay tuned for much more news and get ready to join ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) in his home town of Dubuque in June of next year.  You won’t want to miss it! 

Also Meeting Tomorrow: ABI Foundation 40th Anniversary Committee

Another important panel is meeting tomorrow.  That is the group of leaders planning a 40th anniversary celebration for the ABI Foundation.  Led by ABI Board Member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), this group is developing plans for a terrific event (series of events?) and again, stay tuned for more information soon. 

ABI Board Holds Great Meeting

This memorandum is meant to be a forward-looking report, but on behalf of our officers, THANK YOU to the many of you who made the September ABI board meeting so successful.  As it is the first meeting of the fiscal year, it is always important that the September meeting goes well.  Thanks to you, it did. 

The board meeting had great participation, it was substantive, and it was marked by strong engagement and good discussion.  That is not just rhetoric, as your participation in board meetings is critical to ABI's success.  So, again on behalf of ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and our officers, THANK YOU for your support.  Thanks, too, to Jack and his team at Jackson Mfg. for the tour of his plant that followed the board meeting.  It is ALWAYS great to see members’ operations and the Jackson tour was terrific! 

ABI Legends Awards Dinner, Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference in Two Weeks

Two of ABI’s big annual events are just a couple of weeks away.  The evening of September 28th is when the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner, sponsored by ABI’s Elevate initiative, will be held.  Click here to see the list of awardees: Elevate Iowa to Honor 2021 Legends in Manufacturing Leaders | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  You do not want to miss this annual celebration of Iowa manufacturing.  Hear inspiring stories, see ABI friends, and enjoy an evening of networking.  Register using this link: Summary - Legends In Manufacturing Awards Dinner (and/or) Advanced Manufacturing Conference (

The next day, September 29th, is when the 2021 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference will be held.  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 event.  

Both events will be held at the Meadows Events Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona.  You can sue the link above to register for both events or to find more information. 

As you know, a terrific lineup of speakers has been arranged for the conference.  Dr. Ron Cox, CIRAS Director and Manufacturing leader, 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.  The manufacturing conference gets better every year and has become a must-attend for ABI members in recent years.  Thank you in advance for your participation. 

September Meeting of ABI Advisory Council Thursday

As you know, the members of the ABI Advisory Council provide important support to the association and to all ABI members.  Certainly the financial support provided is of value, but even more valuable are the resources and business solutions provided by the council. 

The advisory council will hold its monthly meeting this Thursday.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members Anthologic, ACS, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal, The Iowa Clinic, and Wells Fargo

NAM: Manufacturing Hourly Wage Grows 5 Percent; NAM Survey Mirrors ABI

The most recent edition of the National Association of ManufacturersGlobal Manufacturing Economic Update was published last week.  The lead item was news that manufacturing hourly wages have grown 5 percent over the past year.  There was much other interesting news as well.  

In today’s Monday Economic Report, also published by the National Association of Manufacturers, the lead item was a report about a recent manufacturing survey.  Topline results mirrored those provided by all of you in the latest ABI quarterly Iowa business survey.  They are that: 1) manufacturers are mostly optimistic about sales ahead, 2) hiring is still the lead issue, and 3) concerns regarding the cost of inputs and materials are higher than normal.  As always, reply to this memo if you wish to see either publication for yourself and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Vermeer Corporation Celebrates Fabulous New Plant 7

One of the very best parts of my job is the opportunity to tour your facilities.  Iowa manufacturing plants are a wonder to behold and I had a double tour opportunity last week.  Like many of you, I was in Maquoketa Thursday to tour Jackson Mfg.  It’s a terrific facility and it was great to see it again. 

Then, Friday, I was fortunate to represent ABI when Vermeer Corporation officials had folks in to see the new Plant 7.  This incredible, state of the art facility takes the place of facilities that were destroyed by a tornado three year ago. 

Over 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space was created with the new plant.  Its air handling system is amazing and was developed In HOUSE by Vermeer personnel.  Read more about this amazing facility here: Vermeer Corporation to Host Open House in New Plant 7 Factory.  In the meantime, congratulations to everyone at Vermeer for building back stronger than ever! 

ABI and the Events of 9/11/2001

Friday, former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Bankers Advertising, TruArt, Iowa City) called.  Bill was good enough to share some wonderful comments about last week’s board meeting (and it was a great meeting).  Then, he shared some comments about the ABI Board Meeting of September 11, 2001.  The meeting that day was held at longtime ABI member Maytag Corporation in Newton. 

And that day was of course the day of the terrible terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.  Here is the only reference to that attack in the minutes from that meeting: Following a tour of Maytag Appliance’s Plant 2, hosted by ABI Director Art Learmonth, Dave McConnaughey and Ralph Hake (Maytag’s New CEO), Learmonth reviewed the events of the day regarding the bombing of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. 

I have heard from several members over the years, however, that the day’s events were closely followed by ABI directors that day.  And I have heard stories of what other members did in their plants and offices as the event’s unfolded and how they tried to ensure their employees were aware and safe.  I know that ABI members will never, ever forget.  Thank you, Bill, for your call.