First FY20 Board Meeting in Cedar Rapids - Monday Memo 8/19/19

August 19, 2019

First ABI Board Meeting of Fiscal Year on September 11 in Cedar Rapids

Finalize your plans now to join ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and members of the ABI Board of Directors for the September board meeting.  The board will meet at the Cedar Rapids Marriott on September 11.  As usual, a detailed meeting packet and map will be sent to all board members and former chairs a week prior to the meeting. 

A special feature of the meeting will be comments by Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart.  Other highlights will include welcoming newly-elected board members to their first meeting and adoption of 2020 ABI public policy positions.  As for new board members, they are Tom Bosch (Shive-Hattery, West Des Moines), Scott Folkers (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Eric Lohmeier (NCP, Des Moines), Gary Nordquist (LMC Insurance and Risk Management, West Des Moines), Todd Robinson (Renewable Energy Group, Ames), Taylor Teepell (CenturyLink, Des Moines), Dennis Van Zanten (Pella Corporation, Sioux Center), Julie Vande Hoef (Alliant Energy, Des Moines), Josh Wilford (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown), Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board member, Jenae Jenison (Central College, Pella).  Be sure to join your ABI colleagues, meet these new directors, and participate in this important meeting.  

A final highlight of the day is the opportunity to tour Collins Aerospace following the board meeting.  Believe me when I say this will be a very cool tour. 

As I noted in last week’s Memo, the September board meeting is typically well-attended and many of you have told me you already have this meeting on your calendar.  I hope the rest do as well.  On behalf of Cindy and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you in Cedar Rapids. 

Annual ABI Executive Open One Week from Today

Some years ago, ABI created an event to provide an opportunity for members (and prospective members) to have fun and network with each other.  It was a huge success, with members saying they greatly appreciated the informal, relaxed nature of the event. 

The event has become part of ABI’s yearly schedule and the annual ABI Executive Open Best Ball Event will be held Monday, August 26.  This year's Open will be again played at one of Iowa's most beautiful private clubs, Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines.  As has become the norm for this event, golf is nearly sold-out.  You can register for golf and/or the social event that follows golf at  Don't miss this chance to join your ABI colleagues for a great afternoon. 

ABI Manufacturing Technology Road Show in November

ABI is always looking for new ways to add value for members.  An event held for the first time last year (and being held again this year) certainly fits that description. 

ABI is partnering with longtime member CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University) on a manufacturing technology road show.  The event is scheduled to take place on November 12 and 13th.  A chartered coach will take participants to Ames, Mason City, and Minneapolis.  Go to to find more information.     

The latest manufacturing technology will be on display and the tour will include live presentations by manufacturers who will share the latest in digital technology, process improvement, and best practices.  Watch for registration information to be available soon. 

Leadership Iowa NEXT on September 5 and 6 in Perry

The ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa program is a nationally-recognized initiative.  In keeping with that, the Leadership Iowa Alumni Society (I’m a member, as should be all LI alums) is stepping up its programming to provide greater value.  The Leadership Iowa NEXT program will really deliver!  In fact, terrific ABI board members, Jason Gross (EMC Insurance, Des Moines) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt) are just two of the great speakers slated to make presentations. 

On September 5 and 6, Leadership Iowa alums are invited to gather in Perry.  Dinner on the evening of the 5th and an outstanding program on the 6th at the Hotel Patee will make for a terrific event.  Find more information and register at  

Faegre Bakers Daniel M&A Conference in September: ABI Members Invited

Longtime ABI member Faegre Bakers Daniel is well-known for producing a high-value conference each year.  Focused on mergers and acquisitions, the conference consistently delivers a program that is informative and substantive. 

The firm has invited ABI members to attend this year’s conference at NO CHARGE.  It will be held at the new Des Moines Hilton Downtown on September 10.  To access a code that will allow you to register free as an ABI member, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once.  In the meantime, here is a link to more information:  

Policy Meetings Concluded; Record Participation Marks Meetings

ABI Board Member Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City) is the longtime Chair of the ABI Tax Committee.  That committee met last Thursday at ABI and marked the final meeting in a series of five policy committees that met over the course of two weeks. 

This is the fourth consecutive year that ABI members have set a record for participation in the policy meetings.  Literally hundreds of ABI members from all across Iowa and beyond participated in the 2019 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 11.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), who this year leads this process for ABI, thank you for your participation in this important work. 

YPIowa Conference September 20 in Ottumwa

The ABI Foundation provides administrative support to Young Professionals of Iowa, our state's leading organization for young professionals.  And as you know, YPIowa's biggest annual event is the YPIowa Conference.  The 2019 edition of that event will be held September 20 in Ottumwa. 

You and your employees are also invited and you can register at  Please click on the link for more information. 

Mike Espeset is Story County United Way Chair

ABI members tend be very involved in their communities, always working to make them better for all who live in them.  Another example of that is ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames).  Last week, it was announced that Mike has been name to Chair the United Way Campaign in Story County.  Congratulations and thank you for your leadership, Mike! 

Bruntz and Fisher Celebrate

Two ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair John Bruntz (The Boulder Company, Des Moines) will celebrate his birthday on Friday (the 23rd).  ABI Board Member Rand Fisher(Iowa Area Development Group, West Des Moines) will celebrate his birthday this Sunday (the 25th).  Happy birthday to John and Rand! 

Latest Message from Hank Evans Arrives

Many of you well recall Hank Evans (A.F. Johnson Millworks, West Des Moines).  Hank is a former longtime ABI board member and Iowa business leader.  He sold his company some years ago and his been sailing the world’s waterways in his retirement. 

As are many of you, I am on a list of folks that Hank blesses with terrific messages from time to time.  His latest message provides details of visits to his alma mater, Colgate University, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Ohio, to visits with friends, and to more sailing adventures.  It is more good reading from Hank.  Hank, thanks for keeping the missives coming and best wishes as your travels continue!