Golf and Networking on Tap - Monday Memo 8/29/16

August 29, 2016

Today:  The 2016 ABI Executive Open

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2016 Open will begin with a shotgun start later today at the 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.  Golf is sold-out, but there is still plenty of room to participate in the reception following golf.   Join your ABI colleagues for the reception at 5:00 this afternoon.  

IIPAC Lieutenant Governor Reynolds/Female Legislators Event September 9

As you know, IIPAC, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, is ABI's political arm. ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) and others are hosting an event to recognize Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and female members of the Iowa General Assembly who have been endorsed by IIPAC. The event is being held at the offices of ABI member Saxton in downtown Des Moines.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) for making this possible. 

Join us at Saxton from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on September 9. Please attend this event to support those women who support pro-business policies at the legislature. You may contribute directly to Lt. Governor Reynolds or IIPAC. If you’re interested in attending, click here to view the invitation:  If you have not yet given to IIPAC this year, this is a great opportunity to do so! 

Board to Meet September 14

As you know, ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 14 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 at ABI in Des Moines' East Village.  The agenda is a full one, with several important issues to be considered.  Be on the lookout for a board packet and map to arrive in your email in-basket around September 7.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2017 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  

Many of you have already registered for the board meeting, at which lunch will be served. If you have not already done so, please register now for the meeting by clicking on this link:  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of Lori and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner October 3, Manufacturing Conference Next Day

The first ever Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner was a huge event.  The program was created by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and it honors Iowa's great manufacturing leaders.  The second annual dinner will be held at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona on the evening of October 3. 

You do not want to miss this event!  Register now by clicking on the following link:  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. 

High-Value Program at Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference October 4

ABI, along with the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State, and Des Moines Area Community College, is pleased to present the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2016.  The conference will be held in Altoona on October 4.  

The speakers for this event are terrific.  Click on the link above go to "Agenda" to see the detailed line-up of keynote speakers and breakouts that will come your way at the conference.  This event will provide terrific value for conference attendees. See you there. 

Legislative Committee to Meet

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) will meet in just a couple of hours.  The meeting will mark the second-to-last step in the annual policy development process. 

Following on the many meetings held in Des Moines and around Iowa before it, the meeting today will result in a final set of polices being developed for action by you and your fellow board members later this month.  Look for the final policy draft in your September board packet. 

Nominate Women for Manufacturing STEP Awards

ABI Board Member Dick Davidson (Thombert, Newton) is a thoughtful, innovative leader.  ABI is fortunate to be among those organizations to which Dick lends his expertise. 

Dick and his team are leaders in attracting talent to their company. Many women serve in leadership positions there and the company understands the importance of promoting talented individuals regardless of gender.  In that regard, Dick told me about the Manufacturing Institute's STEP Ahead initiative.  

STEP (Science, technology, Engineering, Production) Ahead is all about increasing the profile and number of women in manufacturing. The STEP Awards program is a key part of the program.  Click here to learn more and to nominate your deserving employees:  

Congratulations to Mo Lockwood (Thombert, Newton), one of the most recent Iowans to be honored with a STEP award.  ABI intends to be a part of making sure many other Iowa women are also honored.  Thank you to Dick for bringing this initiative to our attention! 

YPIowa Conference September 22 in  Ankeny

As you have read in the last couple of Monday Memos, Young Professionals of Iowa (our state's leading organization for young professionals) will hold its annual conference in a couple of weeks.  The 2016 YPIowa conference will be held on September 22 in Ankeny.  Find more information and register at   

Saturday is Anniversary for the Sukups

Former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) and his wife, Mary Sukup, will celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary this Saturday, September 3.  Something tells me that Charles and Mary will celebrate at Jack Trice Stadium as their beloved Cyclones open the football season.  It is a pleasure to send very best wishes and congratulations to Charles and Mary!  

Hubbell Highlighted for Innovation

Each year, the Des Moines Business Record publishes an edition devoted to innovative approaches to solving problems and highlights Iowa companies that are innovation leaders.  In the current edition of the newspaper, which is the annual innovation edition, one of the companies highlighted is Hubbell Realty Company

Hubbell is recognized for its innovative approach to commercial and residential development and property management. It's a great article and you can click here to read it for yourself:  Congratulations to everyone at Hubbell on the great coverage, especially company President and ABI Board Member Rick Tollakson (Hubbell Realty Company, West Des Moines)

Bill Bywater Begins 56th Year with Economy Advertising

One of ABI's founding members was Economy Advertising Company.  This successful 120 year old company operates from a state of the art plant in Iowa City and was founded by former ABI Chair S.W. Mercer (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City).  Of course in 1907, ABI was known as the Iowa Manufacturers Association and Mr. Mercer was President of the IMA Board of Directors. 

In addition to being a terrific businessman and Iowa leader, Mr. Mercer had another claim to fame. He was the great grandfather of another former ABI Chair, Willis (Bill) Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City).  On his first day on the job, which was 55 years and one week ago, Bill Bywater ended the day with dinner in Washington, Iowa with another then-ABI member couple, Carl and Helen Dahlmeyer.  Bill and his wife, Linda Bywater, celebrated 55 years the same way they did then, with dinner with the Dahlmeyers.  

In the dictionary, next to the phrase "distinguished gentleman" is a photo of Bill Bywater. Everyone knows Bill as a truly wonderful businessman and leader and it's a pleasure to be among those wishing he and Linda and their family all the best... CONGRATULATIONS on 55  GREAT YEARS at your family's company, Bill!  And by the way, Mr. Mercer is also the great-great-grandfather of ABI Treasurer David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City).  If things move according to plan, David will Chair ABI in FY 2018-2019, marking the first three-generation family in ABI's century-plus history.  

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 almost eleven 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.  

While things are never perfect; I believe 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 113 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.