Conference Registration Available Next Week - Monday Memo 2/12/24

February 12, 2024

Registration for the Annual Conference Opens Next Week; Fabulous Keynotes Ahead

You have read previously about ABI's 121st annual convention, the 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference.  It will be held in Davenport June 4-6.  You do not want to miss this fantastic annual event. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this may be our best speaker lineup ever!  Lesa France Kennedy is the Executive Vice President of NASCAR and a nationally-known business leader.  Tommy Spaulding is a globally best-selling author and speaker.  Frank Kelly is a seasoned Wall Street and White House pro.  Each of these speakers could be a highlight by themselves for any conference.  Together, they are a simply fabulous group that I know you will enjoy. 

In addition to these terrific speakers, you will see one-of-a-kind venues, you will have access to terrific tours, historical sights, and world-class golf at TPC Deere Run, home of PGA golf and more.  Click here for information:  Of course the real highlight of the conference is that you will take part in the best business networking anywhere.  Please register for the conference starting next Thursday (February 22nd) by going to  Be sure and click on the blue box near the top of the page to view a video about the Quad Cities, the area will be a great host community for ABI.  In the meantime, finalize your plans now and we will look forward to seeing you in Davenport in June! 

Editor’s Note:  The conference flagship hotel is the Hotel Black Hawk, but there are other stunning hotels within two blocks of the convention center.  Use the link above to connect to make your lodging arrangements at any of these great facilities now. 

Register NOW for ABI Business Day in Des Moines

Almost a hundred of you have already registered for ABI’s newest event, Business Day in Des Moines.  The second edition of the event will be held Wednesday, March 6.  The day starts with registration promptly at 10:45 a.m. at the Des Moines Heritage Center, a block south of the ABI office (ABI has arranged convenient FREE parking close by. 

You’ll hear from invited guests Governor Reynolds, legislative leaders of both chambers and both parties (all four leaders are confirmed), you’ll hear a national political update from Washington DC analyst Jim Ellis of BIPAC and more.  You’ll have the opportunity to interact with these leaders, with fellow ABI members, and you’ll hear the latest about ABI issues and programs.  You don’t want to miss it!  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Business Day in Des Moines (  See you in March for this high-value event. 

ABI Board Will Meet March 6

Members of the ABI Board of Directors will meet at the Des Moines Heritage Center on March 6.  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will call the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. 

The March meeting agenda will be a full one, with many important issues on tap. The March board meeting will be preceded by the ABI Business Day in Des Moines program.  Plan now to join your fellow ABI board members and past chairs at ABI in March. 

IEDA Creates New manufacturing Finance Program; Greater Flexibility for Manufacturers

Iowa Economic Development Authority officials recently announced the new Manufacturing 4.0 Loan Participation Program.  Under the program, you company’s lender can apply for up to 20 percent of the total funding of your project to be reimbursed by IEDA.  If your project (it can be for manufacturing equipment, software, real estate purchases, construction, renovation, etc., making it apply to much more things than former programs) qualifies, and odds are it will, your cost would be lowered by 20 percent.  The maximum amount funded is $2 million on a $10 million project.  Companies with employee counts of up to 500 are eligible. 

In addition, it is expected that IEDA’s former Manufacturing 4.0 Program will be open again this summer.  This is for smaller projects and smaller manufacturers.  ABI member/partner CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University) will do an assessment of your companies’ status and needs (if you have already had one done, you don’t need another) prior to funding be awarded.  Both programs can be quite beneficial to your company. 

Connecting Statewide Leaders Program in Dubuque on March 7

The day after Business Day in Des Moines and the March board meeting, ABI will host another in the series of ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders events.  Also as I noted last week, the location is still being finalized, but we are excited to share that a fantastic speaker will lead the program:  Jennifer Olson (MercyOne, Des Moines).  Dr. Olson, who is President of MercyOne Medical Group, will address trends in health care and discuss finance issues that may impact employers.  You can register and find more information here: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Dubuque (  Don’t miss this terrific program. 

Executive Committee Will Not Meet in March

You may recall that ABI does not typically hold an executive committee meeting in March.  Following the new Business Day in Des Moines program, members will move right in to the March board meeting in the afternoon.  The board will meet at 1:30 p.m. on the 6th. 

ABI Foundation Board to Meet

This is a busy time for ABI and the ABI Foundation.  The Foundation is in the middle of the 2023-2024 Leadership Iowa sessions and is now finalizing planning for the 2024 session of Business Horizons.  And busy holding LI Connect programs (see below).  Thankfully, just like ABI, the Foundation programs benefit from strong board leadership.  In that regard, the Foundation Board, led by former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) will meet Wednesday by Zoom.  

Leadership Iowa Program LI Connect Zoom February 14

Also happening Wednesday is the latest LI Connect event, which will focus on government.  This is a great way for LI alums to be engaged in their community and their state and participation can be easy – once you know the system.  This free Zoom event begins at 8:30 a.m. on February 14.  To participate, click here: LI Connect: Government | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Friday: Final ABI Legislative Update for February

This Friday, February 16th, at 8:00 a.m., ABI lobbyists Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Senior Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf will host the next bi-weekly Zoom update to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each call.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

This session will mark the final update of February, with the next update taking place on March 1.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  By the way, Friday will also mark the day of the General Assembly’s first funnel deadline, by which bills must be advanced by a committee in at least one chamber (though there are exceptions), or be considered dead for the session. 

Advisory Council Meeting February 15

As I always say, members of the ABI Advisory Council provide leadership in many ways.  Certainly their financial support for ABI is important, but of even greater value are the people and information these great companies provide to ABI members.  

The council will hold its monthly meeting at this Thursday, February 15.  Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are Anthologic, AssuredPartners, Bankers Trust, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CLA, Eide Bailley, EMC Insurance, G&A Partners, Fredrikson, HDH Advisors, Principal Network of Central Iowa, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo.  

More Automation Summits Coming Up

More of the popular ABI Automation Summits are coming up.  These events have drawn great crowds and participants tell us they have received valuable information.  The sessions provide an informative and interactive program about bringing automation to your company.  Find out about industrial robots and small cobots.  Learn about costs, best practices, and more.  Best of all, you’ll be able to see these machines in action and talk to experts about how they can add value to your company. 

The next summit will be held in eastern Iowa in April in eastern Iowa, with more summits being planned around the state throughout 2024.  Watch ore more information soon. 

Latest NAM Report: Trade Deficit Falls

This week’s edition of the Monday Economic Report (received Friday, for some reason), published by the National Association of Manufacturers, notes that the U.S. trade deficit totaled its lowest point in three years in 2023.  American manufactured goods exported were essentially unchanged year-to-year.  There are other interesting items in this week’s report and if you wish to read it for yourself, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

John Riches, Charles Sukup Celebrate

Two ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week.  ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) celebrates his birthday Friday.  Former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) celebrates his birthday Saturday.  I note the same thing every year: both John and Charles are terrific guys and terrific leaders and it is a pleasure to wish them happy birthday; best birthday wishes to John and Charles! 

Mary Andringa Pens Magazine Essay

It was fun to read an essay written by former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) last week.  The essay appeared in Private Company Director Magazine and on the publication’s website.  You can read it here: What Comes Next - Private Company Director.  

In her essay, Mary discusses elements of success in planning for retirement.  The bottom line: It’s not all about the money.  Congratulations on the publication of the essay and thank you to Mary for this thoughtful (and helpful) guidance.