LIU Now Underway! - Monday Memo 8/8/22

August 8, 2022

LIU Opens Annual Week-Long Session

The annual class of Leadership Iowa University kicked-off its 2022 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.  Editor’s Note:  One of the LIU students is Jace Vollstedt, son of ABI team member Michelle Vollstedt and her husband Dan Vollstedt.  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 Foundation team members Jessi Steward, Becky Coady, Kendall Antle, and Jane Galloway for their work makes which LIU possible. 

Executive Committee Meets Wednesday; First ABI Board Meeting of Fiscal Year September 14th in Johnston

Later this week, ABI Chair ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) 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 14th at the new Iowa Bankers Association Headquarters Conference Center in Johnston.  The Bankers Association is a longtime ABI member and their new space was designed/outfitted by Kim and her team.  You will receive much more information, including a detailed meeting packet, a week prior to the meeting.  

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 Policy Committee Meetings Start Tomorrow

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 today, ABI will begin a series of meetings in Des Moines to develop public policy positions for 2023. 

It is the ABI Vice Chair who leads this process each year and thus Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) is chairing the process for 2023.  The meetings always involve strong participation and it is likely 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 Employment and Workforce, Workplace and Product Safety, and Environment Committees will hold their annual policy meetings tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday.  These committees will meet by Zoom or at ABI and thank you to Committee Chairs Rex Butler (CIPCO, Cedar Rapids), Amy Larsen (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), and Kelly Jorgensen (AGP/Ag Processing, Eagle Grove).  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. 

Take Survey Regarding ABI Okoboji Event: We Need Your Input!

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 a geopolitical update, take notes on mergers and acquisitions; listen to business leaders share their greatest challenges and successes and learn about the "Ridiculously High Standards" of Anderson Erickson from Chair and CEO, Miriam Erickson Brown (Anderson Erickson Dairy, Des Moines). The event concluded with an excellent tour of ABI-member Spencer Municipal Utilities' top-of-the-line water treatment plant before attendees departed for home. 

As we look to future Executive Forums, we want your feedback. Please take this brief survey to let us know what you are looking for in this event. To learn more about how to be a part of this event, contact Holly Mueggenberg

2023 Convention Planning Well Underway

The 120th ABI Annual Meeting (Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2023) will be held in Cedar Rapids 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 2023 conference is shaping up to be another spectacular meeting and you won’t want to miss it.  See you in Cedar Rapids June 13-15! 

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 29.  Over 90 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. 

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: Steve Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake), Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars), Ken Feldmann (Employee Owned Brands, Fairfield), Liz Hobart (GROWMARK, Waterloo), Eric Moerman (Interstates Companies, Sioux Center), Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines), Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), and Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield).  The honorary Leadership Iowa board representative this year is Nick Glew (Marion Economic Development Corporation, Marion).  

NAM Reports Economic Slowing

The latest Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, carried a pragmatic headline, “Recession or Not, the U.S. Economy Has Slowed Notably.”  The point was that people can debate the definition of a recession, but the fact is that the economy has slowed.  It shrank 2.5 percent in the first two quarters of the year. 

A usual, the Report noted other factors impacting manufacturing and the economy in general.  If you would like to see the publication for yourself, please reply to this message and I will send it to you at once. 

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 Thursday (the 11th).  Happy birthday, Kellan, and best wishes for great day! 

Steve Jacobs Featured in Business Record Article

Association Board Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) has been an ABI leader for many years.  He also a leader within the mergers and acquisitions industry.  As such, Steve is featured in the current edition of the Des Moines Business Record.  Steve talks about current and past M&A activity and provides great information about the industry.  Check it for yourself here: Business Record 8-05-22 - Business Record.  Congratulations on the great coverage, Steve, and thank you for your insights! 

Hometown Development by Pella Corporation Cited by Wall Street Journal

In a fascinating front page article last Tuesday, longtime ABI member Pella Corporation was cited for its investment in the company’s hometown of Pella, Iowa.  The article touts Pella’s investment in the community and its efforts to help make it destination for employees and their families.  Read more about the article here: Pella Corporation, Community Featured in The Wall Street Journal | KNIA KRLS Radio - The One to Count On.  A very cool article about a bold, dynamic strategy – congratulations to everyone at Pella Corporation (and in the community of Pella), including ABI Board Member Denny Van Zanten (Pella Corporation, Sioux Center)

Mark Hanawalt Moves to Chairman Role

Former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) shared with me last week that he has retired and is now the full-time Chair of UEA Board of Directors.  This is the end of an important era in UEA’s longtime success.  Mark’s day-to-day operation of the company saw incredible growth in sales, new products, facility expansions, and employment.  Congratulations to Mark on this transition!  ABI salutes Mark and UEA. 

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!