Crain, Davis to New Posts at ABI - Monday Memo 11/11/19

November 11, 2019

Important ABI Staff Announcements Made at Meeting; Crain, Davis Roles Announced

At last week’s meeting of the ABI Board of Directors, major announcements regarding two of ABI’s senior positions were made.  In the words of ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), the moves position ABI to be a stronger and even higher performing organization in the future. 

Nicole Crain moves from Senior Vice President, Public Policy to Executive Vice President.  In her new role, Nicole will manage ABI’s accounting, finance and administrative functions. She will also provide strategic support to ABI’s public policy team.  JD Davis, formerly a member of ABI’s board (representing his longtime employer, ABI member MidAmerican Energy Company), will join ABI as Vice President, Public Policy.  As such, JD will lead ABI’s policy, government relations, and political work. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: These are fantastic moves that involve two highly-respected Iowa professionals.  They are part of an already terrific team at ABI and together, each of us on staff will remain totally focused on one thing: serving ABI members.  Please join me in congratulating Nicole and JD when you see them. 

Tomorrow and Wednesday: 2020 Manufacturing Best Practices Road Show

Starting tomorrow and continuing Wednesday, ABI members will be exposed to the very latest in digital manufacturing technology and practices.  ABI and the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University (CIRAS) are leading a tour of sites with the very latest in digital manufacturing technology and practices.  

ABI will take a manufacturing technology trip to north Iowa and to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  You, your operations team, and senior engineering staff will find value in this trip.  Several folks are already registered for the roadshow.  If you and your team have not yet registered, or if you wish to see more information, please click here:

Conference Speaker Announcement

At last week’s meeting of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) shared an announcement about the keynote speaker for the 2020 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  Dr. Tarika Barrett, the Chief Operating Officer of Girls who Code, will serve in that role. 

Dr. Barrett and Girls Who Code ( are nationally known for their work in closing the gender gap in technology.  Dr. Barrett is an inspiring speaker who is sure to provide conference attendees with a strong message. 

Other exciting speakers are also being developed for the conference, but we are not yet ready to make an announcement.  So, stay tuned for more news and mark your calendar now for this great event. Conference registration will open in February. Again, please watch for more exciting news about additional speakers in the weeks to come. 

Not Too Soon to Make 2020 Annual Conference Lodging Reservations

Speaking of the annual conference, it is not too early to make your lodging reservation for the 2020 Taking Care of Business Conference, ABI's 117th annual convention.  That event will be held June 9-11 of next year in Cedar Rapids. 

The main conference hotel is the beautiful Doubletree by Hilton, which is connected to the convention center in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Go here and click on the “Hotels” button to find a link to the flagship hotel:  You will also see other lodging options and believe me, Cedar Rapids has some fabulous hotels for ABI members.  

Remember, this conference will involve exciting, brand new venues, fabulous speakers, and sessions unlike any seen before are also a part of this terrific event.  You will be able to register for the conference on the ABI website soon.  In the meantime, use the link above to make your lodging reservation now. 

ABI Legislative Briefing, Reception January 15

Mark your calendars now for one of ABI’s most popular, and most important, events of the year.  The annual ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception will be held Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.  Over 500 members and state officials attend this event each year.  

Because of your participation, this event draws more Iowa legislators (of both parties) than any similar event hosted by other organizations.  Your local legislators enjoy this event and appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and your fellow Iowa business leaders in a relaxed and informal setting.  As always, all 150 legislators and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg have been invited to join you at the reception.  

Immediately prior to the event, the annual members-only legislative briefing will be held.  This event will provide you with the very latest in legislative news and information about ABI issues.  You can find more information and register NOW by going to  By the way, as always, this event is being held the same day as the January meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  On behalf of our ABI officers and directors, I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines on January 15. 

Remember to Register for December 5 Fort Dodge Events

As you know, ABI will soon host two more events that will bring value to your company.  On the morning of December 5, ABI will host the next in a series of Connecting Statewide Leaders events.  Following that event and lunch with the leadership Iowa class, ABI will then hold a value-building seminar. 

The Leaders forum will feature Ryan Wise the Director of the Iowa Department of Education.  The Director will share news regarding Iowa training and educational initiatives and related matters.  You can register for this event now at  The seminar about building business value will immediately follow lunch.  You can register and find more information here:  Both events will help your business succeed. 

Lieutenant Governor to Tour Rada Tuesday

You have heard me say many times that the single most important thing you can do to advance ABI’s public policy agenda is to host elected officials in your plant or office.  Well, another ABI member is doing just that.  

Tomorrow afternoon in Waverly, longtime member Rada Mfg. Co. is hosting Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg for a tour and business discussion.  Thank you and congratulations to everyone at Rada, including ABI Board Member and company General Manager Phil Jones (Rada Mfg. Co., Waverly)

Crain to ATRA Conference

ABI Senior Vice President, Director, Public Policy Nicole Crain left over the weekend for Florida.  Nicole is representing ABI at the annual conference of the American Tort Reform Association

 ATRA is a coalition of business and legal organizations collectively focused on reforming the civil justice system.  It has proven to be a great resource for ABI and we look forward to the information Nicole will be bringing back with her. 

Governor’s Staff Shares Work-Based Learning Project Information

Staff members of Governor Kim Reynolds specifically asked that information be shared with you about work-based learning resources available to employers.  Further, employers can share THEIR information about projects taking place in their plants.  Go here for more information:  

Executive Committee Meets, Will Hold December Teleconference

Members of the ABI Executive Committee met prior to last week’s board meeting.  The committee will convene again for the final teleconference of the year at 9:30 a.m. on December 11.  The December meeting is typically one of the association’s briefest.  As always, look for a full report on all issues at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Advisory Council to Meet Next Week

The ABI Advisory Council will meet next Thursday in Ames.  This will mark the panel's final business meeting of 2019.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members 21st Century Rehab, ACS, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Far Reach, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal, Shift Interactive, Tero International, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo for your leadership and support! 

ABI Holds Last Board Meeting of Calendar Year

Last week in Des Moines, members of the ABI Board of Directors met for the final board meeting of 2019.  Record November attendance and great discussion marked the day.  Operations reports, the annual audit presentation, staff announcements, and board member’s business updates were highlights of the day.  

Thank you to board members and former board chairs for your participation in a great meeting.  On behalf of ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), thank you for helping the final 2019 board meeting go so well. 

Business Record Iowa Receiving High Marks

You soon will be receiving the monthly edition of ABI's flagship publication, Business Record Iowa.  Published in conjunction with member Business Publications Corporation, BRIowa took the place of our quarterly publication, magazine.  

Two longtime ABI leaders are on the cover of this month’s magazine.  ABI Board Members Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) and Jack McFarland (Miller Products Company, Osceola) are featured.  In addition to these great leaders and others inside, you’ll also find great content about ABI programs and activities.  

When it comes to BR Iowa, members are telling us they really like the greatly increased publishing schedule (from 4 times each year to 12) and the content.  Those comments are nice to hear.  Just as important is anything we can do to make the new journal even better and more useful to you.  Please contact me with any comments or suggestions. 

NAM Economic Report Cites Growth in U.S. Economy; Concerns for 2020

Last week’s Monday Economic Report published by the National Association of Manufacturers cited conflicting data.  The U.S. economy continue to grow at a rate of about 2 percent annually. 

Manufacturing activity, however, has slowed.  The report also cites concerns about further slowing in 2020.  If you wish to see the report for yourself, reply to this memorandum and I will get it to you at once. 

Jason Gross, Mary Andringa, Tom McMahon Celebrate

ABI Board Member Jason Gross (EMC Insurance, Des Moines) recently celebrated his birthday. Other ABI leaders are also celebrating birthdays this month.  ABI Past Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and former ABI Board Member and former ABI Foundation Chair Tom McMahon (Barker Company, Keosauqua) share birthdays.  ABI sends best birthday wishes to Mary, Tom, and Jason!