Executive Forum Next Month - Monday Memo 7/1/24

July 1, 2024

Register NOW for ABI Executive Forum

Registrations are strong for the 2024 ABI Executive Forum (open to all members, not just CEOs), but there is still plenty of time for you to register if you haven’t yet done so.  As you know, this is a spectacular program.  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (cvent.com).     

The forum will be held the 8th and 9th of August in North Iowa.  Thursday’s events take place at various locations in Mason City.  The forum starts with a tour of Stellar Industries’ Mason City Plant on Thursday and ends with a tour of Winnebago Industries’ manufacturing campus in Forest City on Friday morning.  Thank you to former ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and to ABI Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) for making the tours possible. 

Following the Stellar tour, the event moves to the well-known MacNider Art Museum for a terrific lunch program.  We’ll be welcomed by Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel, who was an ABI champion during his many terms in the Iowa House of Representatives.  We’ll also hear from a couple of business leaders (former ABI Board Member Kim Pang and MercyOne North Iowa president Chad Boore) regarding executive perspectives in health care. 

Following lunch on Thursday, we’ll move to the world-famous Historic Park Inn Hotel in downtown Mason City.  This incredible facility will be the site for a program featuring Wells Fargo Senior Economist Dr. Michael Swanson and a fabulous panel of ABI Board Members and company owners.  The panel includes Heather Bruce (Osmundson Mfg. Co. Perry), Tim Conlon (Conlon Construction, Dubuque), and Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Co., Cedar Falls)

Keynote Speaker and former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) will speak next.  Mary, of course, is a second generation leader of her family’s company and is now Chair Emerita.  We’ll take a break and then Mary’s remarks will be followed by a reception and dinner at Mason City’s fabulous Music Man Square events center.  All of these facilities are spectacular and if you haven’t seen them, you will be amazed at what our state has right here in North Iowa.  As I noted last week, it will be easy to get from place to place, as Mason City is a very accessible and easy to transit community. 

Friday morning’s breakfast and tour will be hosted by ABI Chair Chad Reece at Winnebago Industries’ main manufacturing location in Forest City.  The forum is always an exceptional event and I hope you will join us in north Iowa this August!  I know you will be glad you did. 

Business Horizons 2024 Next Week at Drake

The 2024 session of the ABI Foundation’s annual Business Horizons program will begin next Sunday.  The program will be held on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines July 14-18. 

BH brings high school students from across Iowa together to learn about our state and the opportunities that exist for them here.  The program connects students with their future in Iowa. By the time the annual session is completed, students know that they have terrific employment opportunities right here. 

BH has received rave reviews from students, college officials, ABI leaders, and others.  Watch for more information about Business Horizons coming soon. 

Highlighting Story-Kenworthy ABI Partnership; Your Participation Benefits You and ABI

If you aren’t aware of it, you and/or your administrative team should become familiar with the Buy ABI program.  You can find more information here (Buy ABI | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org)), but what the program is all about is saving you significant dollars.  I mean the kind of savings that can make a difference in your bottom line. 

In particular, I would highlight the savings that can come your way by partnering with longtime ABI member Story Kenworthy.  Through the Buy ABI program, ABI members receive the best pricing, service, hassle-free returns, and much more.  SK then provides a portion of that savings back to ABI, making for a true and valued partnership.  Please click on the link above and explore participating in the Buy ABI program.  I sincerely believe you will be glad you did. 

Mark Your Calendars Now for ABI Executive Open

In recent editions of this memorandum, I have been sharing information about the Annual ABI Executive Open.  This best ball golf tournament has quickly grown into one of ABI's most popular annual events.  

This Des Moines-area event will be held on August 28th at Glen Oaks Country Club (https://www.glenoakscc.com/) in West Des Moines.  One of Iowa's most beautiful private clubs, Glen Oaks is sure to be a fabulous venue for this always-popular event.  Register now at Summary - Executive Open (cvent.com).   

Executive Committee Meets Next Week, Board in September; Kim Augspurger to Continue Service

As I noted in last week’s Memo, the ABI Executive Committee will hold its first meeting of the fiscal year next week, on July 17th.  The board of directors will hold its first meeting of the fiscal year on September 11th.  Watch for more information in the coming weeks.  

In the meantime, thank you to executive Committee members Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Vice Chair Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), Treasurer Kathryn Kunert (MidAmerican Energy, Des Moines), Secretary Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring Manufacturing Company, Adel) and District Vice Chairs Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield), Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello), Hank Norem (RAMCO Innovations, West Des Moines), Kelli O’Brien (Union Pacific, Council Bluffs), and Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars)

And in other news, due to a situation involving last year’s committee, ABI was set to be without a Past Chair on the Executive Committee.  ABI Immediate Past Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigot, Des Moines – ret.) had completed her service on the committee, but has agreed to serve another year.  The committee will be at full strength for the first time in several months.  Thank you, Kim! 

And, welcome to newly-elected board members Kathy Evert (Signarama, Ankeny), Brad Henningsen (Henningsen Construction, Atlantic), Ed McGreen (Kreg Tool Company, Ankeny), Bethany Pautsch (Tyson Foods, Storm Lake), Chad Rubner (Express Logistics, Urbandale), and Andrew St. John (CIPCO, Des Moines).  We look forward to seeing you, and the entire board, in September!

Pre-Employment Testing Webinar Series Coming in July, September, December

For years, ABI hosted a single day conference related to pre-employment testing.  After receiving feedback from members, that conference has been re-developed as a FREE webinar series.  Webinars will be held on July 30th, September 17th, and December 10th and will last an hour.  Get the latest information and best practices when it comes to effective pre-employment testing and treated issues.  To learn more, click here: Summary - Pre-Employment Testing Process Webinar Series (cvent.com)

Help Set ABI Policy for 2025, Register Now for August Policy Committee Meetings

As noted previously, preparing ABI for 2025 has now moved to the annual policy committee stage.  Through the annual policy meetings, literally hundreds of ABI members will come together to shape the public policy agenda for the association for 2025.  You and your employees are key to the success of these meetings and it is not too early to get the meeting dates on your calendar.  Click here for more information or to register: http://www.iowaabi.org/events/.  As always, you as board members will have the final say on ABI policies for 2025.  Final action will occur at the September meeting of the board.  

EPIC Sessions Commence

I was remiss last week in not mentioning the 2024 sessions related to EPIC, Economic Progress for Iowa’s Citizens.  EPIC was created by ABI nearly 40 years ago.  It is still managed by ABI, and is a consortium of businesses and organizations interested in learning about candidates for state office and their views on business issues.  All candidates (regardless party) running in open seats are invited to participate in the EPIC process.  It is a terrific way for the business community to get to know the candidates and whether they are pro-business in their views.  EPIC met for sessions with some candidates last week and will hold sessions in three days in July as well.  Thank you to all EPIC members and to participating candidates.  Thanks, too, to JD Davis, Brad Hartkopf, and Michelle Vollstedt for their work in managing EPIC. 

ABI Advisory Council Webinar July 31; ESOP 101: Options for Selling Your Business

Members of the ABI Advisory Council can be a great resource for your business.  In that regard, AC members have created a webinar to help you learn about options available to you as you contemplate transitioning your business to new ownership.  On July 31st, AC members will host an hour-long webinar that focuses on Employee Stock Ownership Plans as a potential transition method.  Click here for more information and to register: Advisory Council Webinar: ESOP 101: An Introduction to Options for Selling Your Business | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  Please note: last week I indicated this webinar was being held free of charge.  I am told there is a $50 registration fee to participate in this event. 

Assistance for ABI Members Devastated by Recent Flooding

In last week’s memo, I noted the terrible impact of the floods that have devastated Iowa and many ABI members.  We have been in touch with these members and shared information about assistance available to them and their employees.  If there is anything additional we can do to help, please call on us at once. 

Jackson to Host Senator Cournoyer

Thank you to former ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa), who is the latest ABI leader to host an elected official at his plant.  As you know, that is the single best way you can help advance ABI’s public policy (I know you hear that from me often).  Jack is no stranger to this policy and has hosted both state and federal officials at Jackson over the years. 

Jack will host Iowa State Senator Chris Cournoyer at his plant sometime soon, and I’m told the visit may be happening as early as this week.  Jack, thank you again for all you do to help advance ABI! 

NAM Report Packed with Information; New DOL Overtime Rule, New Orders Number, and More Covered

Last Thursday’s Input, the daily newsletter published by the National Association of Manufacturers, carried a great deal of formation on some important topics.  One was the new overtime rule being implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor.  It is onerous for employers and will not serve employees well.  The NAM, the U.S. Chamber, ABI, and many other organizations are seeking a delay in implementation while the rule is being adjudicated.  Also a part of the newsletter was information about durable goods orders, an indicator on the state of manufacturing in the country.  Orders were up slightly and that is good news.  If you wish to see the newsletter for yourself, simply reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

ABI Finalist for Leadership Award

ABI is a longtime member of the Conference of State Manufacturing Associations.  COSMA is managed by one of ABI’s key national partners, the National Association of Manufacturers and includes manufacturing organizations in the 50 states (and more). 

Last week, we learned that ABI has been selected as a finalist for the 2024 COSMA Leadership Award.  ABI was selected because of our organization’s contributions to ABI members and their communities, as well as our commitment to the manufacturing industry and its workforce.  By the way, we are grateful to ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain, who is leading our participation in the award initiative.  

Whether or not ABI ultimately is the award winner, being named a finalist is a high honor.  And that high honor is really a reflection on the leadership of the ABI Board of Directors and the support of ABI members at large.  THANK YOU.

ABI Begins New Fiscal Year, Focus is on Value for Members

ABI begins a new fiscal year today.  As always, our focus is on providing high value for members.  The beginning of a new year brings opportunities to serve existing members, gain new ones, and build a better Iowa business climate.  As we start the year, all of us at ABI are thinking about how we can do things even better than they have been done in the past.  

You have heard me say often that I like things that can be measured, because they let us know how we are doing at achieving the agenda you set for us each year.  Well, the metrics on ABI’s balance sheet for FY 2024 show the association at perhaps its strongest point ever.  

In fact, it has been a fabulous year.  That is due to your support and the leadership of Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and the ABI Board of Directors.  We are always looking forward and building for growth.  If we aren't moving ahead, we are falling behind and that is not acceptable.  Thank you again for your support.