LOTS of News This Week - Monday Memo 6/26/23

June 26, 2023

Newly-Elected Board Members Take Office July 1

At the annual business meeting held during ABI’s very successful Taking Care of Business Conference in Cedar Rapids two weeks ago, several new members were elected to the association’s board of directors.  These great women and men, all affiliated with companies doing business in Iowa, will provide terrific leadership for ABI.  You will meet them at the board’s first meeting of the new fiscal year, which will be held September 13 in Greater Des Moines.  

In the meantime, please join me in congratulating the following newly-elected board members: Sarah James (Principal, Des Moines), Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll), Katie Hall (Cargill, Clive), 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), Charles Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City), and Andrew Schriner (Lumen, Des Moines)

And, at the same time, we thank the following outgoing board members for their service and leadership: Matt Ahmann (Principal, Des Moines), Tom Bosch (Shive-Hattery, West Des Moines), Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa), John Krogman (Elkhart Plastics, Atlantic), Eric Lohmeier (NCP, Des Moines), Randy Moore (Iowa American Water Company, Davenport), Taylor Teepell (Lumen, Des Moines), and Denny Van Zanten (Pella Corporation, Sioux Center).  Jack, of course, remains on the board for life by virtue of serving as ABI Chair in FY 22.  Thanks once more to all of these leaders. 

Executive Committee to Meet by Zoom in Three Weeks

The Executive Committee/Board of Directors meeting schedule for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 was provided to you in a message sent the week prior to the annual conference.  Board members, mark your calendars for the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  As you read above, the board will next meet on September 13. 

In the meantime, members of the newly-constituted ABI Executive Committee will hold their first Zoom meeting of the new fiscal year in two weeks.  The July Executive Committee Zoom meeting will take place at 10:00 a.m. on July 19.  As is typical for July, the meeting is expected to be brief, but will provide an opportunity to review financial and membership data and receive program reports. 

Incoming ABI Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) will be joined on the coming year’s Executive Committee by Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Treasurer Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), Secretary Kathryn Kunert (MidAmerican Energy Company, Des Moines), and Immediate Past Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines).  Also on the committee are District Vice Chairs Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield), Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, West Des Moines), Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring Manufacturing Company, Adel), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City). Look for a full report on any developments at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Still Time (Just) to Register for Second ABI Cobot Automation Summit

On a cold and windy day last winter in north Iowa, ABI hosted the first cobot automation summit.  We wondered if anyone would show up.  In fact there was a huge crowd, with some folks driving three hours to attend.  When we set the date for the second summit, which will be held tomorrow in Waterloo, we wondered again, would people show up.  Once again a HUGE crowd has registered.  You can find more information here: Summary - Cobot Automation Summit (cvent.com).  ABI is pleased to produce the summit with the cooperation of members Kinetic Technologies and Hawkeye Community College

If you try to access the website and the link doesn’t work, simply reply to this message and we’ll get you registered.  In the meantime look for a terrific program tomorrow, and for more editions of this event in the future. 

Brad Hartkopf Participates in ATRA Meeting

You will recall that one of ABI’s federal partners is the American Tort Reform Association.  ATRA has been a key resource to ABI members regarding tort reform and related issues.  ABI Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf has represented ABI at ATRA meetings the last several years. 

Brad was invited by ATRA officials to participate in an ATRA event in Chicago two weeks ago.  The agenda was a full one and Brad brought back lots of information to further ABI’s tort reform work.  Good work, Brad, and thank you to ATRA for the expertise it provides to enhance the legal system across the nations. 

Abby Schaefer, ABI Summer Intern, Joins Team

ABI typically has an intern on staff during the summer months and the intern is typically a college student.  This year is no exception, as a certain co-ed from the University of Indiana joined ABI last week as our summer intern. 

Abby Schaefer, daughter of former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), has just completed her sophomore year at Indiana, majoring in Business Management.  She will be with ABI through late July (though we hope to also see her in this summer’s Leadership Iowa University program as well).  Upon graduation, Abby plans to pursue an MBA or other graduate degree in finance, accounting, and data analytics and hopes to lead in a not-for-profit organization or private company where she can lead change.  

Like her four siblings, Abby is smart and personable and has already become a great addition to the ABI team.  Please say hello when you see her this summer! 

ABI Okoboji Executive Forum August 3, 4

We have already had great deal of interest in the annual ABI Executive Forum.  The event, held at Okoboji, focuses on high-value programming for Iowa executives.  It has been a huge success and it is ABI’s fastest-growing event. 

The forum will be held the 3rd and 4th of August in Okoboji.  We’ll be at a few different sites in the Lakes Area, but the main program location is the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center.  It will be fun to be back at this location, home of the ABI annual convention for so many years.  

Click here for more information: Summary - https://web.cvent.com/event/2f91e4a3-a0d7-45da-ab88-9f23cfc93f31/summary.  CEO Ben McLean (Ruan Corporation, Des Moines) will serve as the keynote speaker.  Great ABI panels, a terrific ABI dinner speaker, and fabulous venues, such as former ABI Chair Toby Shine’s (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) amazing Okoboji Classic Cars, will round out the event.  Watch for more information and we’ll look forward to seeing you there! 

Plan Now for Regional Policy Meetings, August Policy Committee Meetings

With a session in Des Moines Friday, the ABI Public Policy Team has completed the annual regional policy meetings tour.  Preparing ABI for 2024 now moves to the annual policy committee stage.  Through the annual policy meetings, literally hundreds of ABI members will come together to shape the public policy agenda for the association for 2024.  You and your employees are key to the success of these meetings and it is not too early to get the meeting dates on your calendar.  Click here for more information or to register: http://www.iowaabi.org/events/

As always, you as board members will have the final say on ABI policies for 2024.  Final action will occur at the September meeting of the board.  

IIPAC Fundraising Ongoing

Related to public policy, ABI’s political arm, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, supports candidates for statewide and legislative office who support pro-business policies.  I always say IIPAC will support a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig, or a Tory, as long as that candidate supports business. 

In order for others to know a positive business climate is important for Iowa, IIPAC needs a strong financial report.  If you are an ABI board member who has not yet contributed, please consider a personal contribution today.  You can donate here: https://www.iowaabi.org/public-policy/iipac/.  Your investment is used to maximize support of candidates who support economic growth polices around Iowa.  In the last election, the IIPAC-endorsed candidate won in 95% of the races.  

For more information about the PAC or why you should continue, please contact us at ABI by replying to this message.  In the meantime, thank you to former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and our other IIPAC board members for their leadership.  And thank you to all IIPAC contributors for your support! 

2023 Conference Photos Being Posted; 2024 ABI Convention in the Quad Cities

Many of you have shared great comments about the just-completed 2023 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; thank you.  Many of you have also remarked that you wished to see photos from the conference.  Photos will soon be posted (please click here: http://www.iowaabi.org/events/photos/, but more will be posted in the coming days.  Please check back often, as you might see yourself in one of the photos. 

The 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in the Quad Cities.  Plans are already underway to make the event truly spectacular.  Each year, conference committee members work hard to develop world-class experiences and next year, they will be able to do that with terrific facilities and with the use of some other fabulous surprises.  Mark your calendars now for June 4-6 of next year and make plans to join your ABI colleagues in Davenport! 

Convention Survey Coming to Your In-Box

Thanks again for your good words about the recently-held 120th Annual ABI Convention.  It was indeed a fantastic meeting, with great speakers, exciting venues, and terrific numbers of ABI members from all over Iowa and beyond.  

While ABI produces the conference, your feedback is what matters and it is encouraged and desired.  You will soon see in your email in-basket a convention survey.  Please take a few moments (that’s all it takes, I promise) to complete the survey and provide your counsel about how to make a great event even better.  We want to hear from you. 

Nominate Students for Business Horizons, BH 2023 to be held July 16-20

Business Horizons, produced by the ABI Foundation, is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students.  The 2023 session of the program is fast-approaching.  It will be held July 16-20 at Drake University in Des Moines.  Click here to get your students registered: Business Horizons | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org)

If you have questions or wish to be involved, please don’t hesitate to contact ABI Foundation Programs Director Jessi McQuerry.  In the meantime, thanks to the many of you who have already nominated Iowa high school students for selection to BH. 

Annual Leadership Iowa University Program August 6-10

Some years ago, the ABI Foundation created the Leadership Iowa University program.  The program, open to all Iowa College students (community college and four-year colleges alike), provides leadership and career development training and other opportunities to students in a week-long course.  The 2023 program will be held August 6-10 in Des Moines.  Go here for more information: https://www.iowaabi.org/leadership-iowa-university/about/

Participation in LIU is a perfect experience for your interns, or a great resource to gain future employees.  

Mark Your Calendars for Annual ABI Executive Open August 28

ABI holds an annual golf event to promote member programs and to thank members for their support and participation.  The event has proven incredibly popular.  The 2023 event will be held Monday, August 28.  Join us for golf and for an afternoon of fun and networking. 

The ABI Executive Open will again be held at the beautiful Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines (https://www.glenoakscc.com/).  This is a fabulous course and registration is now open for this always-great event.  Please click on https://www.iowaabi.org/events/detail/350-executive-open-golf-outing/ to register now.  See you at Glen Oaks in August! 

NAM Conference Room Named for Mary Andringa

It was fun to see that the National Association of Manufacturers has named a conference room in its beautiful Washington, DC headquarters for former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella).  Mary, who is chair emeritus of the Vermeer Board of Directors, was ABI’s first female chair and many years later, also the first female board chair for the NAM. 

In the announcement about naming the conference room, NAM President Jay Timmons (NAM, Washington) noted the conference rooms at NAM HQ are named for pioneers such as Carnegie, Edison, the Wright Brothers, and more.  Jay said, “As a champion for manufacturers, Mary has more than earned her place among those giants of our industry.”  Jay is right about that and it will be fun to see the room named for Mary when ABI makes its biennial trip to DC this fall.  In the meantime, congratulations to Mary on this latest honor! 

Stacey Pellett Celebrates

Happy belated best birthday wishes to longtime ABI Board member Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston).  Stacey’s birthday was last Friday (June 23rd).  Hope it was a great one, Stacey!  Again, happy birthday! 

Claudia Schabel Named Woman Business Owner of the Year

ABI Board Member Claudia Schabel (Schabel Solutions, Des Moines) has been named Woman Business Owner of the Year by the Business Record and Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business.  Claudia will be honored in a ceremony in Des Moines in August. The award is part of the 2023 Women of Influence Awards.  Congratulations, Claudia Schabel! 

Mike O’Donnell Leads CIRAS

In other news involving Iowa State, ISU’s Center for Industrial Research and Service has a new leader.  Longtime CIRAS official Mike O’Donnell had been named to take over as CIRAS Director upon the retirement of Dr. Ron Cox.  Mike is an engineer who spent part of his career with a manufacturer.  He is no stranger to ABI and we value our partnership with Mike and CIRAS.  You can read more about Mike’s appointment here: https://newswire.ciras.iastate.edu/2023/06/14/new-director-named-for-the-center-for-industrial-research-and-service-at-iowa-state-university/.  Best wishes and congratulations to Mike! 

Nicole Crain Receives IWF Honor

It was fun to learn some weeks again that ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain was being honored by the Iowa Women’s Foundation.  Nicole was honored as part of IWF’s latest Ovation Tributes in a ceremony in Des Moines last week.  The honor recognizes women for incredible leadership and that CERTAINLY is appropriate for Nicole.  If you wish to see the tribute page, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you.  Congratulations to Nicole Crain! 

Peter Ralston Named Supply Chain Forum Director

Please allow a bit of Ralston Family news this week.  Dr. Peter Ralston has been named Director of the Ivy Supply Chain Forum at Iowa State University.  Many ABI member companies participate in the forum, which provides resources to support student success and allows members to exchange ideas and insights to improve supply chain operations.  Learn more here: Supply Chain Forum - Ivy College of Business (iastate.edu).  Peter, who was awarded tenure last fall, will be working hard to ensure the forum adds value for Iowa companies.  In the meantime, congratulations, Dr. Ralston! 

ABI Begins New Fiscal Year, Focus is on Value for Members

ABI begins a new fiscal year Saturday.  As always, ABI's focus is on providing high value for members.  The beginning of a new year brings opportunities to serve existing members, gain new ones, and build a better Iowa business climate.  As we start the year, all of us at ABI are thinking about how we can do things even better than they have been done in the past.  

You have heard me say often that I like things that can be measured, because they let us know how we are doing at achieving the agenda you set for us each year.  Well, the metrics on ABI’s balance sheet for FY 2023 show the association at perhaps its strongest point ever.  

In fact, it has been a fabulous year.  That is due to your support and the leadership of Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and the ABI Board of Directors.  We are always looking forward and building for growth.  If we aren't moving ahead, we are falling behind and that is not acceptable.  Thank you again for your support.