Final Policy Committee Meetings Today, Tomorrow - Monday Memo 8/23/21

August 23, 2021

ABI Economic Growth Committee Meets Today; Tax Committee Tomorrow

ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC, West Des Moines) is the Chair of the ABI Economic Growth Committee.  That committee will meet later today at ABI and will have Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham as its keynote speaker.  If you plan to attend and haven’t yet registered, please reply to this memo and I’ll ensure you are registered. 

Then, tomorrow, the fifth and final policy committee, the Tax Committee, will hold its annual meeting.  That committee is chaired by ABI member Ryan Loecher (EFCO, Des Moines)

Literally hundreds of ABI members from all across Iowa and beyond participated in the 2021 series of meetings.  The process next shifts to the ABI Legislative Committee and then will conclude with the meeting of the ABI Board of Directors on September 9.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines), who this year leads this process for ABI, thank you for your participation in this important work. 

2021 ABI Executive Open (Central) a Week from Today; Open (East) in 5 Weeks

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2021 Open will be held a week from today at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines. 

The event is a way for members to connect with each other in a fun way and I have been told frequently that a lot of business is conducted at the outing every year.  Whether you come for golf or not, join your ABI colleagues for the reception at 4:30 this afternoon.  

There is still time to register and play.  Click here to do so: Summary - Executive Open - Central (  See you next week. 

And remember, ABI has added a golf outing in the eastern part of the state.  The ABI Executive Open (East) will be held in five weeks, on September 27th.  It will be played at Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids, the home club of PGA champion Zach Johnson.  Register now at Summary - Executive Open - East ( and we’ll see you in CR! 

Receive Timely Member and Legislative News

Each Friday morning before 7:30, the ABI Voice of Iowa Business e-newsletter is sent to you.  This has the most up-to-date information about what is happening with ABI, the ABI Foundation, and the advocacy work being done by the ABI public policy team.  

If you do not receive this email each week and would like to, please reply to this memorandum and let me know.  You will be added at once. 

If you do receive it, what are we missing?  Are we giving you too much or not enough information?  We know you are busy and we have worked to streamline our communications, but we want to ensure we are doing what YOU, our customers, want us to do.  Please let us hear from you and thank you. 

Board to Meet September 9 in Maquoketa

As you know, ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 9th for the first meeting of the fiscal year.  This is an important meeting and the board will be asked to consider and act on several issues.  

The board will meet in Maquoketa and will tour Jackson Mfg. following the meeting.  The agenda is a full one, with several issues to be considered.  Be on the lookout for a board packet to arrive in your email in-basket around September 2.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2022 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  

Many of you have already registered for the board meeting.  If you have not already done so, you can register by simply replying to this memorandum.  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of Jack and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

New Board Members to Attend First Meeting

This September meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will mark the first for newly-elected directors.  While it is not possible for all the new board members to attend, you will meet all the board members at one of the upcoming meetings.  In the meantime, it will be great to welcome some of the new members next month. 

Joining the board this year are Heather Bruce (Osmundson Mfg. Co., Perry), Josh Byers (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan), Jerry Krantz (SSAB, Muscatine), Claudia Schabel (Schabel Solutions, Des Moines), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board representative, Eric Moerman (Interstates, Sioux Center).  Congratulations again to these incoming leaders. 

Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner September 28th, ABI Advanced Manufacturing Conference Next Day

The Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner is a great event.  The program was created by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and it honors Iowa's great manufacturing leaders.  The 2021 dinner will be held at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona on the evening of September 28. 

You do not want to miss this event!  Register now by clicking on the following link: Summary - Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner (and/or) Advanced Manufacturing Conference (  Sponsorship opportunities also remain and if you wish to see information about them, please reply to this message. 

And of course the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference will be held the next day.  You can use the link above to register for the conference as well as the dinner.  Contact Prairie Meadows to make a hotel reservation.  You can do that here:  See more information below about the conference. 

ABI Members Create Build Iowa's Future Design Challenge

Several ABI member companies are supporting a new initiative entitled Build Iowa’s Future Design Challenge.  The challenge provides the opportunity for students participating in their local high school work-based learning program to qualify for cash awards for their design work. 

Special credit goes to ABI member the Home Builders Association of Iowa for its leadership of the program.  And, special thanks to ABI members IACCT, Kreg Tool Company, and Pella Corporation for their support for this creative new program.  If you would like more information, please reply to this memorandum. 

NAM Report: Growth in Prices, Inflation, Supply Chain are Manufacturing Concerns

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, led with a story about concerns facing manufacturers.  Chief among them were price (of inputs) growth, inflation, and supply chain.  None of that is news to ABI members, of course.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you. 

Bruntz, Fisher, Phelan Celebrate

Three ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week and next.  Former ABI Chair John Bruntz (The Boulder Company, Des Moines) and longtime ABI Board Member/Officer Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) both celebrate today.  ABI Board Member Rand Fisher(Iowa Area Development Group, West Des Moines) will celebrate his birthday Wednesday.  Happy birthday to John, Rich, and Rand! 

The Business of ABI

Editor's Note: I have been including this item at the end of August for the past couple of years, because I am told that it is useful for newly-elected board members to see.  In case that is accurate, here it is once again.

As those of you have been reading these memos for years know, from time to time, I include an item called "the Business of ABI," in which I discuss a data point, or a metric, or some other issue related to how ABI itself runs its business.  I haven't done that for a while and because so many of the association's new board members asked about ABI's operating business, I thought I would share some comments about that this week.  Here are some things I know: 

First, I never forget that ABI really IS a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't providing value to you, we aren't doing our job and there is no reason for you to invest in ABI.  The good news is that, thanks to you, ABI does provide value. 

Second, I know there are three reasons for ABI's success.  The first is because of terrific support from businesses literally in every corner of this state.  ABI is Iowa's oldest and largest statewide business organization and that support makes possible everything we do.  The second reason for success is great leadership from the ABI Board of Directors.  That is not simple rhetoric; your leadership has resulted in tangible and measurable improvements in ABI.  The third factor in ABI's success is due to great work by a staff focused on implementing the vision you set for us each year.  

Finally, I have been asked about my focus at ABI when I started 16 years ago.  I was excited then to get to work for and with some terrific people.  I am still excited about that today and each day I commute to Des Moines thinking about what can be done THIS day to make ABI better. 

Many of you already know the story; it seemed to me back in 2005 there were so many things that needed addressing, I had to find a way to focus.  So, I came up with a plan called "It's as Simple as ABC."  "A" stood for accountability in decision-making and results.  It seemed like that had been lacking and we needed to instill it from the top (the board of directors) down (the staff). 

"B" stood for balance sheet.  ABI's balance sheet was a mess.  We were spending more than we were bringing in and there was no focus on our cash position or on program metrics.  "C" stood for communication.  There was not a lot of communication between board members, between the board and the staff, or between staff.  

The data shows that all of these areas have been addressed.  And again, that is due to great leadership from you and hard work on the part of the board and members and staff.  I am eager for ABI's new board members to have the opportunity to see this first-hand and to work with you who have been on the board for some years.  

The strength of ABI is its members.  If ABI can continue to build an association as great as those members, another 118 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.