Great Board Meeting Held - Monday Memo 5/13/24

May 13, 2024

ABI Board Holds Terrific May Meeting

ABI Immediate Past Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines-ret.) and the women and men of the ABI Board of Directors held a great May meeting last Wednesday.  The meeting served as the final gathering of the board in advance of next month’s 121st ABI annual Taking care of Business Conference. 

The meeting was marked by strong participation and featured an address by Iowa Adjutant General Stephen Osborn.  The highlight of the meeting was a presentation by ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and former ABI Chair Kirk TylerAtlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines).  Rob and Kirk shared the story of Atlantic Bottling, its origins, its incredible growth, and its operations.  The meeting was capped by a tour of the company’s new automated palletizing system.  It was a great day and thank you to all who participated last week.  We look forward to seeing you at the annual conference. 

Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Bracket Narrows to Top 8

As you read last week, ABI’s newest initiative, the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa, is drawing a ton of attention.  Voting for the third round, in which the bracket now consists of the Top 8 Coolest Things as determined by the voters, began Friday.  Don’t miss out on all the excitement!  Click here for more information and to vote: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (!  Thank you to longtime ABI member MidWestOne Bank for partnering to make Coolest Thing possible. 

ABI Regional Public Policy Meetings Convene TODAY in Waterloo

As you know, adjournment of the Iowa General Assembly’s 2024 session means that many of us on the ABI team will be hitting the road for regional public policy meetings.  In fact, the first regional meeting will be held today at the University of Northern Iowa’s Business Services office at the TechWorks campus (which is a repurposed John Deere manufacturing plant) on the edge of downtown Waterloo.  

Other meetings will be held in Council Bluffs, Le Mars, Ames, and at the annual conference in Davenport.  Go now to Events Calendar | Iowa Association of Business and Industry ( and register for the meeting nearest you.  Thank you to ABI members hosting/sponsoring the meetings: Alliant Energy, Arconic, Chevron/REG, CIPCO, Grow Cedar Valley, Hawkeye Community College, UNI Office of Business Services, and Wells Enterprises

2024 Taking Care of Business Conference Just Three Weeks Away

In the first item above, I mentioned ABI’s annual Taking Care of Business Conference.  The conference will be held in Davenport beginning just three weeks from tomorrow.  A huge crowd, world-class speakers, gorgeous brand new venues, fabulous food, great golf, a fantastic silent ABI Foundation Auction, and the very best business networking in Iowa will all be a part of this terrific event. 

Almost 400 of you have already registered and more registrations are coming in each day. Register NOW by clicking on Taking Care of Business Conference | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  This will be a spectacular event – don’t miss it! 

Latest Edition of Business Monthly Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the member Corridor Business Journal/Quad Cities Business Journal, ABI publishes the ABI Business Monthly.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  The May edition should now be in your mailbox, inside the Corridor Business Journal.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you at once.  Or, click here to read it now:  

CIRAS Board Meets a Week from Thursday at ABI

A valued ABI member-partner is Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service.  CIRAS is a fabulous resource for Iowa manufacturers and businesses of all kinds.  Over the years, many ABI leaders have also been involved in CIRAS and several are current members of the CIRAS Industry Advisory Board.  The board will meet a week from Thursday, on May 23rd, right here at ABI.  Watch for news of any developments in future editions of the ABI Monday Memo

NAM Report Focuses on Costly and Burdensome Regulatory Environment

A recent survey report published by the National Association of Manufacturers is an interesting one.  It highlights the cost of burdensome federal regulations and misguided tax policy on manufacturers’ ability to operate efficiently.  You can read the report for yourself by clicking here: 2024 First Quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey - NAM.  

KENT Corporation Honored for Unprecedented Fifth Time

For the fifth consecutive year, a longtime ABI member has been recognized.  KENT Corporation has been named a 2024 US Best Managed Company by Deloitte and The Wall Street Journal, the program recognizes outstanding U.S. private companies and the achievements of their management teams.  Read more here: KENT Achieves Unprecedented Milestone as a Five-Time US Best Managed Company (  Congratulations to KENT Chairman and CEO Gage Kent (KENT Corporation, Muscatine), ABI Board Member Rich Dwyer (KENT Corporation, Muscatine), and everyone at this great Iowa company! 

Dave Zrostlik Celebrates

Happy birthday to a great guy and a great ABI leader.  Former ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) celebrates Wednesday.  Congratulations, Dave, and best birthday wishes! 

Pella Corporation a Finalist for Excellence Award

We learned last week that longtime ABI member Pella Corporation is a finalist for a prestigious national award.  The National Association of Manufacturers’ Operational Excellence Award will be presented in June at a NAM event in Florida. 

This recognition is the result of the Carroll team transforming one of Pella’s largest sites into a Smart Factory environment. The Intelligent Operations initiative provides team members with real-time performance data, reduces complexity and enables a multi-lingual workforce. 

The outcome supported the team’s continuous improvement efforts and accelerated productivity. This ultimately helped deliver breakthrough results, including $2 million in labor productivity, $3 million in material productivity, and an improvement in schedule attainment from 75% to 95%. Additionally, the team saw improved training quality and cost, as well as increased team member engagement through digital start-up meetings, team member suggestions and faster implementation of those suggestions. 

Congratulations to everyone at Pella, including ABI Board Member Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll).  Dustin has led Pella’s plant for a number of years, including during the time this project was completed.  As I reported in last week’s Memo, Dustin will be moving to the Pella HQ in June to lead a new division.  Congratulations again! 

Mia Andringa is Tulip Queen

It was fun to learn via former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) that her granddaughter, Mia Andringa, had been named Pella’s Tulip Queen.  That means that Mia reined over the recently-held Tulip Time Festival, one of Iowa’s iconic springtime celebrations.  Congratulations, Mia!