Conference Starts TOMORROW - Monday Memo 6/3/24

June 3, 2024

It's Here; 121sth Annual ABI Convention Starts Tomorrow!

The 121st Annual ABI Convention, the 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, kicks-off tomorrow.  The conference begins with golf at TPC Deere Run and other activities around the Quad Cities.  The annual Gala Welcome Reception will be held tomorrow evening at the terrific Hotel Blackhawk in downtown Davenport. 

By the way, as I type this, 500 people are set to attend the conference; but if you haven’t registered, it's not a problem.  Email me now or just show up and we’ll take care of you.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and our other officers, we look forward to seeing you in Davenport! 

Governor Reynolds to Address ABI Conference-Goers Wednesday

ABI was among the very first organizations Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds addressed after becoming governor.  Governor Reynolds will again address ABI members at the annual conference this year, during Wednesday’s morning session.  She is a great friend to ABI and we look forward to Governor Reynolds joining us again this year. 

Association Headquarters Closing for the Week Later Today

Due to the annual conference, the ABI headquarters in Des Moines will be closed later today through Friday.  Please don’t hesitate to contact staff members by email (we receive our email messages on our phones) or cell phone if you need assistance of any kind.  We look forward to being back in the office – and celebrating the completion of a great convention – bright and early a week from today. 

ABI’s Coolest Thing on the Cover of the June Edition of ABI Business Monthly

ABI members around Iowa have shared with us that they enjoy the brand new ABI Business Monthly publication that ABI produces in conjunction with the Corridor Business Journal and the Quad Cities Business Journal.  This newsprint product is produced twice-monthly and goes to a statewide distribution list. 

The June edition of the Business Monthly should hit your mailbox sometime this week.  You will also find copies of the newsprint magazine at this week’s annual ABI conference at the CBJ/QCBJ Booth.  Just look for the cover feature related to ABI’s new ‘Coolest Thing Made in Iowa’ initiative (and see more about Coolest Thing in this memo further below). 

Annual ABI Policy Tour Nearing Completion

Starting with a meeting in Waterloo and after making additional stops in Council Bluffs, Le Mars, and Ames, the annual ABI Regional Public Policy Tour is nearing completion.  The final session will take place in Davenport on June 5th.  

Following that, ABI’s policy work will move to the next phase.  Each of ABI's five policy committees, plus the Legislative Committee, will meet later this summer.  You and your employees are invited to participate in those meetings at no charge.  You can find more information or register for any of the meetings using this link:  

General Membership and Board to Elect New Members, Officers for FY25

Thursday, all board members and former board chairs should have received an email message that included documents related to the annual conference.  That message also highlighted the fact that the ABI Board of Directors will hold its final meeting of the association’s 2023-2024 fiscal year during the annual business meeting at the conference on Thursday.  The board will hold the traditional 60-second meeting to elect officers.  That immediately follows board elections by the general membership. 

The previously-mentioned message shared the FY25 meeting schedule and the 2024 Nominating Committee report.  Thank you to Nominating Committee Chair (and Immediate Past ABI Chair) Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret.) and committee members Jenny Steffensmeier (Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing, Pilot Grove),  Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Urbandale), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), and Stephen Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake).  

By the way, with one month to go in ABI’s fiscal year, the May financial report (which is being prepared this week) will show that ABI will end another year well in the black and continue a lengthy string of successful years.  I take very seriously your charge to me related to strong financial performance and I am very proud of ABI’s record in that regard.  Thank you to ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and to all of you for your leadership, which is responsible for that success. 

Terrific Foundation Auction Items

Each year, the ABI Foundation holds an auction in conjunction with the Taking Care of Business Conference.  There are always many terrific items available and as I have noted the post couple of weeks, this year is no exception.  Also as noted in previous editions of this memorandum, this year, the event is taking place NOW through June 5th in a silent auction format.  

Don’t miss it!  Bidding will conclude on June 5 at 9:00 p.m. Please click this link for more information: Foundation Auction - Taking Care of Business Conference (  All the proceeds from the auction go to benefit the programs of the ABI Foundation and Iowans who participate in them.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Your support for the Foundation is important, appreciated, and it is never taken for granted.  Leadership Iowa, Leadership Iowa University, Business Horizons, and Elevate Iowa have made our state a better place and impacted the lives of thousands of Iowans.  Thank you again! 

Get Your Students Registered for Business Horizons Now

The ABI Foundation's Business Horizons program has been phenomenally successful, literally changing the lives of Iowa's young people over the years.  The 2024 edition of this terrific program will be held next month at Drake University in Des Moines.  There are still slots left for students and I hope you will consider nominating the high school-age daughters and sons of your employees.  It's free and it won't take long to do it.  Please click here:  Thank you for your help! 

Leadership Iowa to Celebrate; Current Class Will Graduate

The ABI Foundation's Leadership Iowa program marks another successful year with activities coinciding with the annual conference.  Go now to for more information. 

The LI graduation ceremony will take place on the Main Stage during Thursday morning’s conference session.  It will be a highlight of the annual conference for attendees to honor the LI Class, which has been noted by some as the best ever.  I know you join me in congratulating all class members. 

Joseph Jones to be Honored with Leadership for Iowa Award

The ABI Foundation's highest honor is the Leadership for Iowa Award.  The award is presented periodically to an alumnus of the Leadership Iowa program who is a leader among leaders and who has demonstrated a commitment to serve Iowa. 

As you read last week, the award will be presented to longtime Iowa leader Joseph Jones, a member of the Windsor Heights City Council.  Joseph is a great guy; congratulations, Joseph! 

Next ABI Automation Summit Set for Fort Dodge on June 20

The next in the very popular series of ABI Automation Summits will be held at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge on June 20th.  Click here to register and to find more information: Summary - Automation Summit (  The summits are an easy and cost effective way for you and your team to learn about the benefits of automation and what is involved in gearing up (or expanding) your automation programs.  See you in Fort Dodge later this month. 

NAM Report Includes Interesting Data

You all know I am a fan of the National Association of Manufacturers.  The NAM does solid work and adds value to manufacturers all across our nation.  In that regard, last week’s NAM Monday Economic Report carried a number of interesting features.  Durables goods manufacturing is up (good news).  The cost of inputs is also up (bad news).  And so it went through several more data points.  Should you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Lt. Governor Visits Agri

You’ve heard me say often that the single biggest thing you can do to advance ABI public policy initiatives to host elected officials in your plant or office.  So many of you do that on a regular basis and it is important.  Just last week, longtime ABI member Agri-Industrial Plastics Company hosted Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg at the company’s Fairfield campus.  That’s terrific and thank you to everyone at Agri, including company president and former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield)

Phelan’s to Mark Anniversary

June 8th is a big day for former longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) and his wife, Carolyn Phelan.  On that day, Rich and Carolyn will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary.  ABI sends hearty congratulations to Rich and Carolyn! 

Bywater’s to Celebrate

Speaking of anniversaries, former ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) and Angie Bywater will celebrate 30 years of marriage on June 11.  ABI sends congratulations to David and Angie and best wishes for many more years together!