Conference Registration Coming Soon - Monday Memo 2/15/21

February 15, 2021

Registration for the Annual Conference Opens in 10 Days

You have read previously about ABI's 118th annual convention, the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference.  It will be held in Iowa City/Coralville June 8-10.  You do not want to miss this fantastic annual event. 

At the conference, you will find not one, but three headline speakers.  You will see fabulous venues, you will have access to terrific supplemental activities, and great golf at Finkbine Golf Club (with a newly remodeled, gorgeous clubhouse), and of course you will take part in the best business networking anywhere.  Finally, be assured that all possible health and safety protocols will be followed for the conference. A much larger convention arena that allows for social distancing and many other measures will all be in place to protect your health and safety. 

Please register for the conference starting in just 10 days (February 25) by going to  In the meantime, finalize your plans now and we will look forward to seeing you in Coralville in June! 

ABI Actively Addressing COVID Vaccine Distribution Issues

Several of us on staff have been working with state and local officials related to distribution of the various COVID vaccines now being deployed throughout Iowa.  While a significant number of experts tell us that vaccines will glut the state within a couple of months, the focus is on now, and ensuring that ABI members’ employees receive the vaccine as soon as it is their turn (not before emergency workers, the elderly, or other identified populations, etc., but when it is their turn). 

A wide variance in definitions of critical employees is currently the primary issue, followed closely by the date that Phase 1B, Tier 2 will begin as the second issue.  Again, we continue to work with state and local officials to institute uniform compliance within state distribution protocols.  Watch for more information as it develops. 

Series of High-Value ABI Events Last Week of March; Sessions on H-1B, Enviro Regs, PPP, and Legislative Update All on Tap

A week from today, on February 22, ABI will be hosting a series of events that will provide terrific information for you and your employees about a variety of topics.  Monday (2/22), the SBA and ABI will co-host a webinar related to the Paycheck Protection Program.  We know this program can be complicated.  Participate in this webinar to get the latest information about the program and how to make it work for you.  Content is provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration

A week from tomorrow, on February 23, ABI is hosting an Environmental issues webinar.  Get up to speed with proposed changes and get information about potential additional changes.  Find more information and register here:  

Wednesday (2/24), ABI will host a webinar related to the H-1B visa program.  Just like the PPP webinar, this event focuses on a program that can complicated and frustrating.  Make the program work for you with information from longtime ABI member BrownWinick

Then, on Friday, February 26, ABI will host another edition of the bi-weekly Legislative Update.  Participate in this Zoom event to receive the latest news from the Iowa Statehouse about issues important to you. Click here:  

You can find information about these events at the links above or by going to  Thank you in advance for participating in these high-value events. 

Governor Reynolds Outlines Manufacturing Support for Iowa

Last Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds released information about her plans to support Iowa manufacturers.  ABI was involved in the plan’s development, as were many ABI members.  Special thanks to ABI members Kevin Gaul (Pella Corporation, Pella) and Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines), who led the work behind the plan.  Read more about the plan, known as Manufacturing 4.0, here:

Latest Business Record Iowa Now Out

The Des Moines Business Record is a great ABI member and partner.  The business weekly covers central Iowa and, once a month when it publishes (in conjunction with ABI) Business Record Iowa, it is a statewide newspaper.  

The latest edition of Business Record Iowa, ABI's monthly newsprint magazine, is now out and it should be in your mailbox by now.  If you haven't received it, please contact me and we'll get another copy out to you right away.  

In addition to the latest news about ABI members and programs, the focus of this edition is on a key issue identified by ABI members: childcare.  You will find a great photo of ABI member Chris Moulden (Casey’s General Stores Child Development Center, Ankeny) on the cover.  

Advisory Council Meets Thursday

The members of the ABI Advisory Council will hold their monthly meeting Thursday. Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are ACS, Anthologic, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC Insurance, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal Midwest Business Center, The Iowa Clinic, and Wells Fargo

Leadership Iowa Board to Meet

This is a busy time for ABI and the ABI Foundation.  The Foundation is in the middle of the 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa sessions and is now finalizing planning for the 2021 session of Business Horizons. 

Thankfully, just like ABI, the Foundation benefits from strong board leadership.  In that regard, the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors meets Thursday.  As for BH, Iowa’s premier summer entrepreneurial experience for high school students, it will again be held at Central College in Pella this summer. 

Latest NAM Report: Strong Growth Predicted

The latest edition of the Global Manufacturing Economic Update, published last Thursday by the National Association of Manufacturers, notes that the manufacturing economy is predicted to experience strong growth in the coming months.  That’s good news, and of course there was other great information included in the report as well.  To read the report for yourself, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

John Riches, Charles Sukup Celebrate

It is always fun to note the birthdays of great ABI leaders.  ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) celebrates his birthday tomorrow.  Former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) celebrates his birthday Wednesday.  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! 

Emily Schmitt Featured in Successful Farming

It was fun to see a young ABI leader featured in Successful Farming magazine recently.  Company Chief Administrative Officer and General Council Emily Schmitt (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) was the focus of an interesting Q&A article and you can read it here:  Congratulations on the great coverage, Emily! 

CemenTech Acquires Contech

ABI member CemenTech made the news last week as the company acquired Contech Testing and Consultancy.  Contech is based in the United Kingdom and will allow CemenTech to expand its European footprint.  What does CemenTech do?  Grow!  The company has seen significant growth over the past few years.  Congratulations to everyone at the company, including CEO and ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola)

ABI Member Mississippi River Distilling Featured on Iowa PBS Podcast

Newly-elected ABI Board Member Garrett Burchett (Mississippi River Distilling Company, LeClaire) and his brother Ryan Burchett (Mississippi River Distilling Company, LeClaire) have, as have so many ABI members, worked hard to adapt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  It certainly disrupted the distillery, but the Burchetts successfully pivoted and continue to be successful.  It is an interesting story and one that was highlighted in a recent podcast produced by the team at Market to Market, one of Iowa PBS’ most popular programs.  See the podcast for yourself here:  In the meantime, congratulations to Garrett and Ryan on being featured on the podcast! 

Interpower Story Again Focus of Iowa Business Report Radio Program

You will recall that ABI was privileged to sponsor the Iowa Business Report radio program during its first year on the air.  Produced by prominent Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein, the program is a terrific review of Iowa businesses and business issues.  By the way, you can listen to the program’s 2020 episodes here:

Jeff is still producing great episodes of the show.  In fact, the most recent episode tells a story familiar to many of us.  It is the story of ABI member Interpower Corporation and its move from California to Iowa.  Former ABI Chair and Company President Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) made the courageous decision to move Interpower decades ago, and time has proven him right over and over again.  Congratulations to Bob on the great coverage!  You can listen to the entire episode here:  

Bruce Tamisiea Highlighted in Lakes Corridor Newsletter

There were so many ABI connections in a recent article in the Iowa Lakes Economic Corridor newsletter it is hard to know where to focus.  But let’s try anyway. 

First and foremost, the Corridor is a great ABI member/partner.  ABI and the Corridor are fortunate to share many members in common and the organization does great work in NW Iowa. 

One of the leaders in the corridor, as he is in ABI, is ABI Board Member Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer).  In addition to being a well-known Iowa business leader, Bruce also is a leader in developing Iowa entrepreneurs.  He is a founding supporter of one of Iowa’s best entrepreneurial events, the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute (ABI is also pleased to be an OEI sponsor) and Bruce fosters and supports entrepreneurs every chance he gets.  The Corridor newsletter shared information about one of the area’s newest entrepreneurial ventures and Bruce played a significant role in it.  You can read about the venture here:  In the meantime, congratulations, Bruce, and thank you for all you do to grow the region and our state! 

Alan Mores Recuperating From Fall

ABI sends good wishes to longtime ABI Board Member Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan).  Alan recently had a serious fall.  What was a small bump on his elbow grew to the size of an orange and then a very serious infection set in.  Surgery was prescribed, but no time slot was available.  As Alan waited overnight for one to open, doctors pumped him full of antibiotics.  Ultimately, he responded to the medication, avoided surgery, and is now recovering.  Get well, Alan! 

Nate Weaton Recovering from Major Surgery

Many of you know that former ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield) has been battling cancer.  Along with the help of his wife, former ABI Board Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Nate has been approaching this battle in the same way he does everything...all out. 

For the next 6-8 weeks, Nate will be recovering from major surgery.  I end this week’s memo with news of Nate because he is one of the most positive people I know.  At ABI, we are certain Nate will recover and we look forward to celebrating with him and with Lori when he does.  In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them both.