LIU Now Underway - Monday Memo 8/7/23

August 7, 2023

LIU Opens Annual Session

The annual class of Leadership Iowa University kicked-off its 2023 session yesterday at ABI in Des Moines.  The program seeks to educate, inspire, and develop college students as a foundation for Iowa’s economic growth and to encourage their on-going involvement in community and state initiatives.  Go to to learn more. 

The students are an intelligent and enthusiastic group.  It is clear they are focused on business and advancing their careers in a way that brings value to them, their future employers, and to Iowa.  As I mentioned last week, class members come from public, private, and community colleges all across Iowa and beyond.  Editor’s Note:  One of the LIU students is former ABI summer intern Abby Schaefer, daughter of former ABI Chair Lori-Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield).  Congratulations all around! 

Many other ABI leaders will participate in LIU events throughout the week and that support is deeply appreciated as well.  Finally, thanks, too, to ABI team members Jessi Steward, Kendall Antle, Jane Galloway, and Michele Farrell for their work makes which LIU possible. 

Executive Committee Meets Wednesday; First ABI Board Meeting of Fiscal Year September 13th in West Des Moines

Later this week, ABI Chair ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will hold their August meeting.  The committee will meet via Zoom on Wednesday morning.  

The ABI Board of Directors will meet September 13th at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines.  The board meeting will follow an Economic Forecast Luncheon (presented by ABI member Security National Bank) that will provide the latest information and analysis regarding the state of the economy.  You can find more information and register for the luncheon here: Summary - What is the Future of the Economy? Presented by Security National Bank of Iowa (  And of course a week prior, you will receive an email link to much more information, including a detailed meeting packet.  

The September board meeting is typically well-attended and is important for several reasons.  It marks the first board meeting of the ABI fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Because it also marks the first meeting of the board in three months, the agenda is typically full and involves action on a number of issues, including action on ABI's public policy agenda for the next year.  On behalf of Kim and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you. 

Goal: 100 Percent ABI Board Member Participation in IIPAC

ABI’s award-winning public policy work encompasses many elements.  One of those elements is the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee.  IIPAC is ABI’s political arm and it exists to support pro-business candidates, regardless of party.  As I often say, IIPAC will support a Democrat, a Republican, a Whig, or a Tory… as long as they support business. 

The IIPAC Board of Directors is chaired by former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and it consists of ABI members and IIPAC contributors who are focused on pro-business policies.  This is the time of year that the IIPAC Board and all of us at ABI are focused on raising funds for the PAC.  

One key component in IIPAC support has always been the ABI Board of Directors, as there is a goal every year to have ALL board members make an IIPAC contribution.  Several of us on staff contribute as well (for a list of IIPAC contributors, reply to this message).  If you aren’t an IIPAC contributor already, you should be (I am).  Click here now to make your donation:  Thank you and thank you to ALL IIPAC supporters! 

Annual Policy Development Committee Meetings Underway

Some of the most important work done by ABI each year relates to public policy advocacy.  And the most important part of that process is the active involvement and leadership of ABI members themselves.  In order to ensure that ABI members have every opportunity to lead and guide this critical task, ABI hosted several meetings around the state earlier this summer.  Starting last week, ABI began a series of meetings in Des Moines to develop public policy positions for 2024. 

It is the ABI Vice Chair who leads this process each year and thus Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) is chairing the process for 2024.  The meetings always enjoy strong participation and it is clear that will continue this week.  However, there is still time for you and your employees to participate in the policy committee meetings.  

As I noted in last week’s memorandum, members of the ABI Environment Committee, chaired by Kelly Jorgensen (AGP/Ag Processing, Eagle Grove), held their meeting Tuesday.  This week, the ABI Employment and Workforce and ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committees will hold their annual policy meetings tomorrow and Wednesday.  These committees will meet at ABI and thank you to Committee Chairs Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston) and Rex Butler (CIPCO, Cedar Rapids) for their leadership this week.  The ABI Economic Growth Committee and ABI Tax Committee meet later in the month. Please go to to register for these free meetings.  As you know, this process will conclude next month when you (the ABI Board of Directors and Past Chairs) meet to adopt final policies.  Thank you in advance for your involvement in this critical work. 

Wanted: Your Input Regarding ABI Okoboji Event

As you read in last week’s ABI e-newsletter, the association recently held another edition of the Okoboji Executive Forum.  ABI executives from around the state gathered in the Iowa Great Lakes Area to hear terrific presentations and connect with each other.  It was a great event.  As we look to future Executive Forums, we want your feedback.  If you have feedback about programs, location, timing, I would appreciate hearing from you.  And, to learn more about how to be a part of this event in the future, contact Holly Mueggenberg

I’m typing away trying to get this memo to you in a hurry this morning, but I have to say a special thank you to those ABI board members who played a key role in the forum; they were spectacular in their remarks: Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel), Casey Cason (Wells Fargo, Des Moines), Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), Mary Landhuis, (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, Des Moines), Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer), Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer), and Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield).  And other ABI members and Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg also shared comments at the forum.  If you missed the forum, I can say without reservation that you missed a lot.  

2024 Convention Planning Well Underway

The 121st ABI Annual Convention (the 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference) will be held in the Quad Cities next June.  Community leaders there are pulling out all the stops to welcome ABI and you will see some absolutely terrific new venues.  Planning for the convention is well underway and is being ably led by a great committee.  Believe me when I say the 2024 conference is shaping up to be another spectacular meeting and you won’t want to miss it.  See you in the Quad Cities June 4-6! 

ABI Executive Open Coming Up

The annual ABI Executive Open best ball golf outing is always a fun event.  The open will be held on Monday, August 28.  Something close to 100 ABI members have already registered!  The event will be held at Glen Oaks Country Club, a fabulous private golf course in West Des Moines.  Register now to play golf.  By participating, you’ll have fun and have an opportunity to network with great ABI members.  To find more information or to register, please go to the ABI webpage at and click on the events tab. 

Schaefer-Weaton Part of Envision Iowa Series

Former ABI Chair Lori-Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) is a featured panelist for the upcoming Envision Iowa program sponsored by the Des Moines Business Record.  Lori will represent manufacturers across Iowa in a discussion focused on Iowa’s business climate.  Find more information and register here for this virtual event: Envision Iowa - Think Tank #2 Tickets, Tue, Aug 22, 2023 at 11:30 AM | Eventbrite.  In the meantime, congratulations and thank you to Lori for her leadership as a part of the event! 

New Board Member Orientations Continue Next Week

This is the time of year for meetings with newly-elected ABI Board Members.   During next month’s meeting, you will have an opportunity to meet the new board members. 

In the meantime, thank you in advance for your service to the new directors: Katie Hall (Cargill, Clive), Sarah James (Principal, Des Moines), Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll), Kelly McGriff (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Casey Mills (Mills-Shellhammer-Puetz & Associates, Sioux City), Brad Nielsen (Iowa America Water Company, Davenport), Kelli O’Brien (Union Pacific, Omaha), Chip Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City), and Andrew Schriner (Lumen, Des Moines.    The honorary Leadership Iowa board representative this year is Dustin Watters (Keen Project Solutions, Ankeny).  

Newton ABI Automation Summits August 31st

The series of Automation Summits that ABI is hosting this year have proven incredibly popular.  The next summit will be held on the Newton Campus of Des Moines Area Community College on August 31st.  Please note, that is again August 31st, not the 1st, as I erroneously typed in a headline last week.  Register now for this high-value event.  You will find information about cobots (and be able to see them in action), other automation solutions to workforce and process issues, and talk to experts about cost/savings and other issues.  Click here to find more information and to register: Summary - Automation Summit (

Happy Birthday Kellan Longenecker

Longtime ABI Board Member Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon) is a great leader.  She also is a former University of Iowa Homecoming Queen.  And this week, Kellan is also a celebrating a birthday.  She’ll do that on Friday (the 11th).  Happy birthday, Kellan, and best wishes for great day! 

Buies to Celebrate Anniversary

A great ABI leader and his wife are celebrating a wedding anniversary this month.  Former ABI Chair Frederick V. Buie (Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company, Des Moines) and his wife, Valeska Buie, will celebrate later in August.  ABI salutes and congratulates Fred and Valeska!  Best wishes for many more happy years together!