Last Memo of the Year - Monday Memo 12/19/22

December 19, 2022

First ABI Board Meeting of 2023 on January 11; Legislative Reception Same Day

January 11 is the date for the first meeting of the ABI Board of Directors in the new year.  ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) will convene the meeting at the Iowa Events Center (Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center) in downtown Des Moines.  

This is the same day as the 2023 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception and those events immediately follow the board meeting.  Over 200 ABI members have already registered for the event and a crowd of well over 400 is expected.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg are invited to appear at the reception, along with hundreds of legislators and state officials.  Your participation and interaction with legislators is what makes this event a must for Iowa policy-makers.  

Go to the ABI website at Summary - Legislative Briefing and Reception (  You’ll find all the information you need and can follow the easy instructions to register right now.  Thank you in advance for participating in this very important event.  On behalf of Kim and our other ABI officers, I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines on January 11. 

Editor’s Note: I am grateful to ABI Board Member Stephen Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake) for his message last week.  Steve reminded me that we need to highlight the briefing that precedes the reception.  Every year, following the ABI board meeting and prior to the reception, ABI hosts a briefing for members only.  During that briefing, ABI staff provide specific information about legislative leadership, ABI issues of interest, and other information that will prepare you to make the most of your legislative visits during the reception.  Steve participates in similar functions for other organizations in which he is involved and knows the importance of being prepared.  So, for those of you attending your first reception, know that you will have an opportunity to get the information you need to make the most of you experience.  Thanks for the reminder, Steve! 

Business Record Again Names ABI Board One of “Most Influential”

The Des Moines Business Record is a great member/partner and is one of Greater Des Moines’ most-read publications.  In past years, the Business Record has honored the ABI Board of Directors.  I am pleased to report that for another year, readers of the Business Record have again named the ABI Board of Directors as one of the top-25 most influential boards in the Des Moines metro area.  This honor will be officially recognized at an event open to the public on January 5.  Go here for more information: Book of Lists - Business Record.  In the meantime, thank you to the Business Record and its readers and congratulations to you, the members of the ABI Board of Directors! 

JD Davis to Represent ABI at Business Record Forum

ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis will represent the association at an upcoming legislative forum.  The forum, which will be hosted by the Business Record, will be held Tuesday, January 10.  JD and a panel of others will preview the 2023 session of the Iowa General Assembly and discuss other issues important to business. 

Click here to register for this free virtual event: 2023 Legislative Forecast Registration, Tue, Jan 10, 2023 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite.  Congratulations to JD for being selected for the panel and thank you for representing ABI members and Iowa business.

Leadership Iowa Class to Meet, LI Alumni Dinner Coming January 11

The 2022-2023 Leadership Iowa Class will hold its fourth session January 11-13.  As is usual, the January session will focus on state government.  Class members will tour the Statehouse, hear from some terrific speakers, and join you for the ABI Briefing and Reception on January 11. 

Following the reception on Wednesday the 11th, the ABI Foundation and will again host the Leadership Iowa Alumni Society Dinner and Celebration.  This event will take place at The River Center in Downtown Des Moines.  The event provides a fun and unique dinner networking opportunity for LI alumni.  LI will be celebrated and other special things will make the night a lot of fun.  Click here Summary - Leadership Iowa Alumni Dinner & Celebration ( for more information and to register.  

Three Fantastic Keynotes at ABI Annual Conference

Watch for a more formal announcement down the road, but excitement is building for three fabulous speakers to appear at next June’s ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  Already confirmed keynote speakers are terrific.  They include well-known international speaker and consultant Cy Wakeman, decorated fighter-pilot and consultant Brandon Williams, and Ryan Anderson, a leader in global research and insights at MillerKnoll. 

You do not want to miss this conference!  Finalize your plans now to join ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and hundreds of your fellow ABI members next June.  Click here for more information about the speakers and the conference: Taking Care of Business Conference | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Quarterly ABI Iowa Business Survey Results Indicate Investments in the Form of Capital Expenditures Ahead

The latest ABI Quarterly Iowa Economic Survey has now closed and the results show 67 percent of ABI leaders plan to make a capital expenditure in Q1 of 2023.  That is a remarkable testament to ABI member businesses and their commitment to Iowa.  Ongoing supply chain and workforce concerns were also a big part of survey responses.  Read the survey here: Iowa Manufacturers Look to Innovation and Technology in the First Quarter of 2023 | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  Watch your January meeting packet for more specific information and THANK YOU for your participation in the survey.  

NAM Reports Good News in Economic Data

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, carried conflicting news regarding manufacturing data.  Several economic data points are trending upward and growth in 2023 is hoped for.  As the year winds down, this is good news indeed.  As always, if you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Collins Aerospace to Develop Next Generation of Spacesuits

There was a fun article published by the Corridor Business Journal last week related to a great ABI member.  Collins Aerospace has been selected to build the next generation of spacesuits.

NASA selected Collins and its partners to build the new spacesuit, which will be developed “by astronauts for astronauts.”  Collins is no stranger to space exploration, of course, as its equipment has been a part of American space travel since its inception.  You can read the article from yourself here: Collins Aerospace to deliver next-generation spacesuits to NASA (  Congratulations to everyone at Collins, including Former ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids)

HNI Named Number Six on List of Most Responsible Companies

Longtime ABI member HNI Corporation achieved some lofty recognition last week, as it was named Number Six on the Newsweek magazine’s List of the 500 Most Responsible Companies.  You can read more about this designation here: HNI Corporation - HNI Corporation Ranks Number Six in Newsweek's List of America's 500 Most Responsible Companies For 2023.  This is a high honor and speaks to HNI’s leadership, employees, and company culture.  Congratulations to Former ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and everyone at HNI! 

International Paper Highlighted by The New York TimesMagazine

Thank you to ABI Board Member Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids) for sharing a very cool article published in a recent edition of The New York Times Magazine.  The article highlights International Paper and the industry.  Read it for yourself here: Where Does All the Cardboard Come From? I Had to Know. - The New York Times (  By the way, if you can’t get that link to work, let me know and I’ll send a different one.  Very cool coverage and congratulations to Gretchen and everyone at International Paper on the great press – and thank you for sharing, Gretchen! 

Vermeer Corporation Expands to Des Moines

By now, you have all likely read the news of a longtime ABI member’s plans to expand to Des Moines.  Vermeer Corporation announced last week that it is opening a Des Moines plant.  This is just the latest growth in this iconic Iowa company’s history of success.  Read the news here:  In the meantime, congratulations to everyone at Vermeer, including President and CEO Jason Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), Vice President of Operations and ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), and company Chair Emeritus and Former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella)

Mike Espeset Celebrates

It was fun to learn at the annual meeting of the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission that a member of the ABI Board of Directors was celebrating a birthday that very day (December 14).  So, ABI sends belated happy birthday wishes to ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames)

Steffi Lee Dwyer: Law School Graduate

It was fun to learn that Steffi Lee Dwyer graduated from the Drake University School of Law last Saturday.  You will recall Steffi, of course, as an ABI intern last spring.  Steffi was an incredible help with ABI’s communications and policy work.  Steffi received several honors over the course of her time in law school, and she is simply a wonderful person.  ABI sends congratulations and very best wishes to Steffi Lee Dwyer! 

Rand Fisher’s Mother Passes

Former ABI board Member Rand Fisher (Iowa Area Development Group, Des Moines-Ret.) shared the news last week that his mother had recently passed away.  Rand shared many wonderful comments about his mother, who certainly seems to have been a grand lady.  Read the obituary here: Norma Fisher Obituary - West Des Moines, IA (  Our thoughts and prayers are with Rand and his family. 

ABI Office Closed Friday, Monday, and January 2; Last Memo of the Year

Due to the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the ABI office will be closed Friday (December 23) and Monday (December 26) and again on the following Monday (January 2).  Many ABI staff members, myself included, will be taking some vacation at various times over the next two weeks.  Staff members have worked hard and I hope you will join me in thanking them for their work.  As always, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the one time all year that the ABI Monday Memo is not published.   Your next Memo will arrive in your email in-basket on the 3rd of January. 

As I noted in the final memo each of the last few years, at this time of year it is natural to reflect on the past 12 months.  Much has been accomplished; so much more lies ahead.  On a personal level, I know how fortunate I am that you have given me the opportunity to work for you and with some great colleagues.  I never, ever take that for granted.  I am deeply grateful and I thank you.  Very best wishes to you, your family, and your company for the coming year.