Executive Committee Meets Wednesday - Monday Memo 4/2/23

April 3, 2023

Executive Committee Meets Wednesday, Board in May

The monthly meeting of the ABI Executive Committee will take place this Wednesday, April 5th.  The committee will meet by Zoom at 10:00 that morning.  

The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will take place next month.  ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) will lead the board in its May meeting, which will be held at ABI-member Express Logistics in Urbandale on May 10.  

As noted previously, we have some special elements in the works for the meeting and I hope you will be able to participate in the board meeting in May.  It will mark the board’s final meeting in advance of the annual conference.  Watch for more information soon.

Michele Farrell to Join ABI Staff

As you know, a decision was made some weeks ago to pursue a new, more strategic approach to member support and development at ABI.  With the assistance of Nicole Crain, and after consultation with Jessi McQuerrey, I initiated a comprehensive review of certain staff positions related to membership and investor support, and the overall needs of the association.  A strategic new staff position, focused on member, investor, and organizational development (touching on both ABI and the ABI Foundation) was created.  In full consultation with the Chairs of both ABI and the ABI Foundation, and other ABI officers, a candidate was identified and a process of developing a performance outline was begun.  

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I share with you today that Michele Farrell has accepted our offer to join ABI as Vice President, Member and Investor Relations. 

This is big news and Michele will be a terrific addition to the team.  Nicole and I met with Michele multiple times to develop a job description and position outline that will lead to great success as she advances ABI and Foundation programs.  Michele’s background as a business owner, investor, and community leader gives her a perfect lens from which to advance ABI.  Further, her leadership in fundraising, her demonstrated commitment to ABI and the ABI Foundation, her personal work to build Elevate Iowa/Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, and so many other factors make her the perfect person for this new role. 

Michele will of course now need to phase-out her Measured Intentions clients and so will not be able to start until April 28.  Between now and then, however, she will begin transitioning to ABI and I won't be surprised if we see her in the office a few times before the end of April.  Michele’s position on the ABI Board of Directors will become vacant upon her beginning her staff duties, and the remaining term will be filled at the annual conference in June.  Please join me in welcoming Michele to the team! 

Next ABI Legislative Update Friday

Periodically throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists host a Zoom conference to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next update will be held this Friday, April 7, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  Believe it or not, legislators are entering what they say will be the final weeks of the session, so there could be a lot to cover.  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 (iowaabi.org)

Environment Committee Meets Wednesday

Wednesday (April 5), the ABI Environment Committee will meet.  This will be an important meeting as the committee deals with several legislative and regulatory issues.  Click here to register and for more information: ABI Environment Committee Meeting | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  

Leadership Iowa to Hold April Session Next Week; Connecting Statewide Leaders April 13

The ABI Foundation’s flagship program, Leadership Iowa, will hold the April session of the 2022-2023 class next week.   The class will meet in Sioux City Wednesday through Friday of next week.  The session will focus on economic development and workforce and as usual, a terrific agenda has been developed.  Watch for more news about LI at next month’s ABI board meeting. 

In other Leadership Iowa news, the LI class will participate in the next Connecting Statewide Leaders event.  The session, also focused on economic development and workforce, will be held on April 13.  These programs are held virtually and there is no cost to participate.  Register and find more information here: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Sioux City (cvent.com).  

Register NOW for Annual Conference; Flyer in the Mail

The annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference gets bigger and better every year.  What does that mean to you?  It means don’t wait, register now!  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on https://www.iowaabi.org/events/annual-conference/.  People often wait for the colorful tri-fold flyer to arrive in their mailbox before registering.  Well, that flyer has arrived or will be in the mail this week, so again, now is the time to register.  

By the way, using that same link above, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at the newly refurbished Ellis Golf Club, make your lodging reservations, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  

Based on those already registered and on room reservations already made, we expect a huge crowd in Cedar Rapids June 13-15.  Register for the conference now.  You don’t want to miss it! 

Final Cedar Rapids Site Visit This Month

ABI Vice Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) will lead the final pre-conference visit to Cedar Rapids later this month.  That city is the site of the 2023 conference.  Following on the 2022 conference, which was spectacular, don’t miss being with your ABI colleagues in Cedar Rapids in June! 

Remember the Buy ABI Program

Last year, ABI conducted a review and revitalization of the Buy ABI program.  The result is a new and improved program that can add real value for your company.  You may not even be aware of it, but ABI has several relationships with member companies that can result in major savings for you (and added revenue for ABI).  Click here for more information: https://www.iowaabi.org/membership/buy-abi/.  

Birthdays for Lori-Schaefer-Weaton, Connor Deering, Bob Wersen Celebrated this Week

Two former Chairs of the association and a member of the board of directors are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) marks her birthday Thursday, on the 6th.  ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola) celebrates on Friday, the 7th.  And Saturday, the 8th, Former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) marks his birthday.  Happy birthday, Lori, Connor, and Bob! 

CemenTech Delivers 5,000 Volumetric Concrete Mixer

Speaking of ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola), it was fun to read in last Monday’s AM Update from the Business Record that CemenTech had sold its 5,000th volumetric concrete mixer!  These machines are incredibly sophisticated high-tech mixers that can handle a myriad number of jobs.  Congratulations to Connor and everyone at CemenTech on this big news! 

Bill Brown, Bob Wersen Check In

Two former Chairs of ABI checked-in last week and it was good to connect with both.  Former Chair Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines) sent an email from his new home in Colorado.  Shocker: Bill has become heavily engaged in advocacy work with local and state government in Colorado (Bill is well-known as a terrific good policy advocate in Iowa).  He shared some very interesting perspectives on how differently things work in that state.  Good to hear from you and thanks for sharing, Bill! 

Friday morning, it was a pleasure to have a long telephone conversation with former Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa).  Bob always has fascinating insights to share regarding what is happening with his businesses and others.  We covered a lot of topics (the state of business in the UK and continental Europe, commercial real estate in California, the current business cycle, and more) and I am grateful for the time and information Bob shared.  Thanks, Bob! 

Russ Samson and Bill Trent Share Georgetown Connection

It was also fun last week hearing from former ABI Chair Bill Trent (Kent Corporation, Muscatine) and former ABI Counsel Russ Samson (Dickinson Law Firm, Des Moines).  It’s always fun hearing from Bill a few times each year and he is doing well in retirement.  Later the same day, Russ checked in and mentioned that he and Bill are both graduates of the Georgetown University Law School (in Russ’ words, “Hoya Saxa!”).  Thanks for checking in, Bill and Russ!