Final '19 Board Meeting Ahead - Monday Memo 10/28/19

October 28, 2019

Final ABI Board Meeting of 2019 Next Week

The final board meeting of the calendar year will be held a week from Wednesday.  The November meeting is an important one for ABI and it is typically one of the best-attended meetings of the year.  

The ABI Board of Directors, chaired by Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), will convene at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6.  The board will meet at ABI headquarters in Des Moines' East Village.  You can register for the board meeting by simply replying to this memo. 

As noted above, the November board meeting is an important one.  Members will work through a very full agenda of reports and action items.  Look for the usual packet of reports and materials to help you prepare for the meeting to arrive in your email in-basket later this week.  

NOTE: Because month-end occurs Thursday, the information necessary to compile the monthly financial report will not be available until then and will delay its preparation.  Thus, the board packet you receive Wednesday will not include the financial report, which will be sent when it is available.  Thank you for your consideration in the meantime. 

At the meeting held a couple of years ago in November, a board member mentioned that it was nice that the board meetings were enjoying strong participation.  He indicated that wasn't always the case.  

As I replied then to that comment, strong board participation is much more than nice.  In fact, your participation in board meetings is all-important.  Our association needs your leadership and it is board leadership that has made the difference in ABI's growth and return to prominence.  Thank you in advance for your attendance and participation in next week's meeting. 

IIPAC to Host New House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl at November 6 Event

The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC), chaired by former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines), is ABI’s political arm.  The PAC supports pro-business candidates regardless of party.  

IIPAC is hosting an important event at ABI on November 6.  In one of his very first events since being elected House Majority Leader, State Representative Matt Windschitl (R-Missouri Valley) will speak to IIPAC contributors about the upcoming legislative session.  This event is open to IIPAC investors only and more information will be coming your way soon. 

Not yet an IIPAC investor?  Correct that today by clicking on this link:  

Register for Manufacturing Best Practices Roadshow in Two Weeks

Last year, ABI and the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University (CIRAS) developed an event which exposed ABI members to the very latest in digital manufacturing technology and practices.  Over two-days, participants toured sites in Iowa and Illinois and saw some incredibly innovative things. 

That trip was such a success that the event is being produced again this year.  In just a couple of weeks, on November 12 and 13, 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:

ABI Foundation Board Meets Wednesday

ABI is very proud of the terrific work done through the programs of the ABI Foundation.  These programs, which are open to all Iowans (not just ABI members) benefit our state in many different ways. 

The Foundation is overseen by a terrific board of directors.  Foundation Board Chair Kim Butler-Hegedus (Community State Bank, Ankeny) and board members will convene for their regularly-scheduled quarterly meeting Wednesday at ABI.  Thanks to these great leaders for their service. 

Leadership Iowa to Hold Second 2019-2020 Session in Iowa Falls

Speaking of the Foundation, the ABI Foundation's 2019-2020 Leadership Iowa class is comprised of a terrific group of Iowans.  The class will meet for its second session beginning Wednesday of next week in Iowa Falls.  This session will focus on agriculture and renewable resources.  

Register Now for Connecting Statewide Leaders Event in Fort Dodge

As you know, the first 2019-2020 Connecting Statewide Leaders event will be held December 5 in Fort Dodge.  This forum is the next opportunity to participate in the popular series of events ABI has hosted around Iowa over the course of the past few years.  A luncheon follows the meeting and you will have a great opportunity to visit with fellow ABI members, meet the new Leadership Iowa class, and develop new customers.  

You can register for this event now at  The program will feature the Director of the Iowa Department of Education, Ryan Wise.  The Director will share news regarding Iowa education and training initiatives and related matters.  

Building Business Value Seminar in Fort Dodge on December 5

On that same day, December 5, ABI is producing a seminar focused on building business value.  You can register and find more information here:    

The Connecting Statewide Leaders program begins at 10:30 a.m. and is followed by lunch with the Leadership Iowa class.  Then, the business value seminar begins immediately following.  You can participate in all events and be headed back to your office by later that afternoon.  Or, you can attend just one of the events.  Don’t miss these high-value events in Fort Dodge.  

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Receives Praise for Scholarships

Several years ago, thanks to the leadership of former ABI Chairs Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), and Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) and ABI Board Member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), ABI created the Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative.  Go to to learn more. 

Over the years, Elevate has done much to connect Iowans with training and with manufacturing careers.  Earlier this month, at the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner, Elevate scholarship awardees (the initiative provides a $500 scholarship for worthy Iowans to attend one of the state’s 15 community colleges, for a total of $7,500 in scholarships annually) were recognized.  Last week, Elevate received a letter recognizing it for its scholarship work on behalf of Iowans. 

Congratulations to Elevate and especially to Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), who even while leading her business and continuing her service on the ABI Board of Directors, also continues to lead Elevate! 

IWD Invites ABI Participation in Employer and Reentry Roundtable

Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Corrections are co-hosting an Employer and Reentry Roundtable.  The event will be held the morning of November 6 at the Iowa Women’s Correctional Institute in Mitchellville.  IWD officials specifically invited ABI member companies to participate. 

Employers and HR managers are encouraged to attend the roundtable.  It will feature information about recruiting returning citizens and about incentives available to employers that do.  To find more information, go here:

Nearly a Hundred Already Registered for 2020 ABI Legislative Reception

ABI’s second most popular event each year is the annual Legislative Briefing and Reception.  Well over 500 people attend this event, many more than attend any other similar event. 

Related to that, nearly a hundred people are already registered for the 2020 event to be held in Des Moines on January 15.  You, too, can get registered by clicking on this link:  

The 2020 Legislative Reception will again be held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.  Make plans now to attend. 

Foreign Trade Zone Seminar November 20

Because so many ABI member companies do business in foreign markets, some years ago, ABI sponsored a seminar related to Foreign Trade Zones.  The Greater Des Moines Partnership is hosting a similar seminar next month.  

The FTZ seminar will be held November 20 in Des Moines.  Please reply to this message and I’ll get more information to you at once.  In the meantime, thank you to ABI Board Member Rand Fisher (Iowa Area Development Group, Des Moines) for alerting me to the seminar. 

By the way, another thing Rand has mentioned is the terrific work being done related to the Future Ready Iowa/Empower Rural Iowa initiatives well underway in our state.  ABI members across Iowa have hosted Future Ready Iowa Seminars and supported the work of both initiatives in a number of ways.  Thank you to Rand, to ABI representative Kathy Anderson, and to others who serve as members of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Rural Development Council. 

Governor Headlines Terrific Celebration at Agri-Industrial Plastics

Last Thursday afternoon, at the Fairfield campus of longtime ABI member Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, a terrific celebration was held.  On hand to mark the culmination of a joint energy project involving Agri and ABI member Ideal Energy, Governor Kim Reynolds lauded those involved.  A third partner, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, was represented by Director Debi Durham.  For more information about the project, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

A highlight of the event was seeing the genuine respect and admiration that exists between Governor Reynolds and Agri President/former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield).  Congratulations to all involved! 

On a related matter, one of these attending the event was of course Lori’s husband, former ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield).  Nate had to skip football practice to attend. 

That’s right, in addition to leading a successful company and its manufacturing subsidiaries, Nate is also the Head Football Coach of the Fairfield High School Trojans!  Read more about that here:  Congratulations, Nate… and Go, Trojans! 

Check out Vermeer Corporation’s Cool Manufacturing Day Webpage

Dozens of ABI member companies sponsor a wide range of activities related to Manufacturing Day.  All of them are important in sharing the story of Iowa manufacturing and in making sure all Iowans know about the terrific careers and opportunities available in manufacturing in our state. 

Longtime ABI member Vermeer Corporation has been a steady promoter of Manufacturing Day over the years.  In that time, Vermeer has done some cool things to help share its exciting story with students, parents, and others.  The company even has a website devoted to chronicling tis Manufacturing Day story.  Check out this cool website here:  Well done, Vermeer Corporation, and thank you to Vermeer Board Chair and former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) for sharing the website with us! 

Pray, White, Lande Celebrate Birthdays

As always seems to happen about this time each year, several ABI leaders are marking birthdays.  Former ABI Chair Dick White (John Deere, Ankeny) and ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines) are celebrating this week.  Former ABI Chair Roger Lande (Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Muscatine) will celebrate his birthday later in November.  ABI sends happy birthday wishes to Jack, Dick, and Roger! 

The Business of ABI: Moving Forward

You know that from time to time in these memos I like to provide information about ABI's internal operations, what I call the business of ABI.  As you know, I believe ABI needs to operate as a business and provide value to its customers. (ABI has customers, we just happen to call them members.)

Over the course of the past month or so, I have driven literally thousands of miles across Iowa (and so have many other ABI staff members), from river to river and all over.  That's great, because visiting ABI members is the best part of any ABI staff member's job.  

One thing that is clear from those visits is that one part of what you all do in leading your companies is always move forward.  You are always innovating, always meeting new demands, always providing value.  ABI sure needs to do that as well.  

Over the years, you have allowed us to try new things.  Some have worked very well and grown (Elevate Advanced Manufacturing and BizWize and Leadership Iowa University and the Iowans for Jobs Initiative and many others).  Some have grown and we have spun them off to flourish on their own (VentureNet Iowa and others).  Some have not worked as well, or others are doing them better, so we stopped doing them (ABI Jobs Fair).  The point is that by following your example and with your leadership, ABI continues to enjoy growth and increase.  THANK YOU.