Manufacturing Conference, Legends Event Wednesday - Monday Memo 10/2/23

October 2, 2023

Big Week: ABI Manufacturing Conference/Legends Luncheon Wednesday

As you have read about in the last few editions of this memorandum, two of ABI’s most popular annual events are being combined and will be held this week.  The 2023 ABI Iowa Manufacturing Conference will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny on Wednesday (October 4th).  Register now for this important event at Summary - Iowa Manufacturing Conference & Legends In Manufacturing Awards (  New this year, the conference will include a luncheon focusing on the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards. 

Well over 200 people have already registered for the event, but you can still register and participate by clicking on link above.  A fabulous lineup of speakers has been developed for the manufacturing conference.  Two great keynote addresses by Director of Corporate Economics Dr.Kanlaya Barr (John Deere, Moline) and retired naval commander Dr. Mary Kelly will highlight the program.  Throw in terrific workshops, great information, cool manufacturing tours, and high-value networking and you have a fabulous event.  Click on the link above and finalize your plans now to participate. 

Four Key Iowa Manufacturing Statistics

Regarding the manufacturing conference, ABI takes enormous pride in being the number one advocate for Iowa manufacturers.  ABI Board Member Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines) recently shared four key statistics that highlight why manufacturing is so important to our state (the stats come from a presentation made by Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham and we have seen them before; they are impactful).  

Here are the stats: 1) $33.6 billion (or 19 percent) of Iowa’s gross state product is generated by manufacturing.  2) Manufacturing employs 14.5 percent of Iowa’s total workforce.  3) 60 Percent of Iowa’s exports come from manufacturing. 4) Manufacturing jobs pay 20 percent MORE than the average private sector jobs.  Thank you to Hank (and Debi) for reminding us of something we know to be true… manufacturing is vital to Iowa!  

Biennial ABI DC Fly-In Two Weeks from Tomorrow

Two weeks from tomorrow, the 2023 edition of the Biennial ABI DC Fly-In will take off for Washington, DC.  The Fly-In was created because you asked for it and we are always pleased to take ABI leaders to our nation’s capital. 

This high-value trip is packed with substantive meetings.  There will be meetings with every single member of the Iowa Congressional delegation (not simply with staff, with the senators and representatives themselves) and briefings at the National Association of Manufacturers and BIPAC.  Thank you to those ABI leaders participating in the 2021 edition of the Fly-In. 

2023-2024 Leadership Iowa Class to Hold Opening Session in Winterset This Week

The initial session of the 2023-2024 Leadership Iowa class will be held later this week in Winterset.   The 42nd annual class will hear from terrific speakers, such as ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC Bank, West Des Moines), and get to know each other.   The class will meet again in November.  As members of the board, you will have multiple opportunities to meet the LI class during the coming months.  In the meantime, thank you for your support of the LI program.  

Next Board Meeting November 15th (will be held at ABI); Executive Committee Meets Next Week

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) is inviting all former chairs and members of the board to participate in the final board meeting of 2023.  The board will meet at ABI headquarters in Des Moines' East Village on Wednesday, November 15.  You can expect a full agenda.  Again, this will be the final board meeting of the calendar year; I hope you can attend.  As for this month, the ABI Executive Committee will hold its monthly meeting by Zoom a week from Wednesday, on (October 11th).  

Iowa Events Center Again Location for Annual ABI Legislative Reception; Registration Available Soon

ABI’s award-winning public policy advocacy is successful for many reasons.  One is a terrific staff.  Another is a sophisticated array of tools and programs in place to support that work.  But the critical reason for our success is you.  Your personal relationship with your legislator is vital to ABI’s success. 

The association’s second largest event held each year is a great tool to use to help in maintaining that personal relationship.  The annual ABI Legislative Reception is always a terrific event.  Watch for registration information for this event to be available soon.  For now, please mark the date on your calendar.  The 2024 Reception will be held January 10th

In the meantime, the big news related to the event is that it will again be held at Des Moines’ Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.  The convention center is spacious and is connected by skywalk to the new Hilton Hotel.  And, parking is plentiful and convenient.  Please make plans now to attend. 

Ellis Golf Course Clubhouse Racks-Up Design Awards

ABI holds a golf tournament in conjunction with the annual Taking Care of Business Conference.  Typically, the events are held at some of the Midwest’s finest private golf clubs, places you can’t normally play.  Last June, due to a number of factors, the tournament was played at one of Cedar Rapids’ fine public courses, Ellis Golf Course (Cedar Rapids Golf (  Several of you told us you enjoyed the course very much, with many of you commenting on the beautiful new Ellis Clubhouse.  The previous clubhouse, and a great many stately, mature trees, had been destroyed in the derecho that hit Cedar Rapids in recent years.  The course has been brought back to superb condition and the clubhouse is striking in itself.  In fact, the Ellis Clubhouse has won several awards for its design.  Golfers may be interested in reading more and connecting to photos by clicking on this link from the Corridor Business Journal: Ellis Golf Course clubhouse wins more design awards (  By the way, stay tuned for an announcement about the fabulous course you will play next June in the Quad Cities! 

NAM Report: Spending, GDP Rise

This week’s Monday Economic Report, published by ABI partner the National Association of Manufacturers, was the most positive in weeks.  Headlines include a rise in personal spending and in the nation’s gross domestic product.  Good news to start this Monday.  As always, if you wish to tread the full report, simply reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

MidWestOne Makes Strategic Acquisition in Denver

ABI member MidWestOne Financial Group last week announced the strategic acquisition of Denver Bankshares, based in Denver, Colorado.  The acquisition continues the bank’s execution of its strategic plan to grow and expand in key markets.  Click here to read more about this exciting deal: MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc. Announces Strategic Acquisition in Denver | MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc..  In the meantime, congratulations to everyone at MidWestOne, including its CEO, ABI Board Member Chip Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City)

Keen Project Solutions Wins Important Safety Award

It was announced last week that ABI member Keen Project Solutions was honored with the International 2023 Groundbreaker Award for Excellence from Procore Technologies.  Keen officials said, “This award is a testament to Keen's dedication to safety, occupational health management, and risk control.”  Read more here: Keen's Modern Safety Strategy Earns International 'Groundbreaker' Award for Excellence - Keen Project Solutions (  Congratulations to everyone at Keen, including company leader and Honorary Leadership Iowa ABI Board Member Dustin Waters (Keen Project Solutions, Ankeny)

Charese Yanney Comments on DC Trip

In two weeks, ABI will make its biennial trip to Washington DC to meet with the Iowa Congressional Delegation and others.  Former ABI Chair Charese Yanney (Guarantee Roofing and Siding, Sioux City), just made a similar trip in her role as Chair of the Iowa Transportation Commission.  In a column in the Sioux City Journal, Charese lays out the reasons the trip was productive and why visits such as these are important.  Great reading from Charese!  Read the report from Charese here: CHARESE YANNEY: TA Productive Trip to Washington D.C. (  

Birthday Wishes to Kim Augspurger and John Krogman

ABI Board Member Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) recently celebrated her birthday and former ABI Board Member John Krogman (Elkhart Plastics, Atlantic) will celebrate his birthday this Friday, October 6.  Happy birthday and best wishes to Kim and John! 

News from the NAM Board Meeting; Jason Andringa Celebrates

It has been fun over the years to hear reports from ABI leaders who are also members of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.  That is a long list!  And it was fun Friday morning to get a report from ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) from the meeting AS IT WAS TAKING PLACE.  Chad gave the roll call of ABI members attending the meeting: CEO Jason Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), CEO Mike Happe (Winnebago Industries, Eden Prairie), and former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield).  Chad also noted that it was announced that Friday was Jason’s birthday.  Jason, of course, is the son of former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) and the brother of ABI Board Member Mindi Vanden Bosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella).  Happy belated birthday to Jason and thank you, Chad, for the timely report! 

Dennis Murdock Marks Birthday

Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) celebrated his birthday September 27th.  ABI sends belated best birthday wishes to Dennis Murdock! 

The Business of ABI: Artificial Intelligence

During last week’s CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University) board meeting, there was a lengthy discussion of artificial intelligence and related topics such as Open AI, ChatGPT, and more.  Here’s what I learned:  1) Artificial intelligence tools can be a huge benefit to employees if used in the right settings and in the right way.  2) Companies must be careful when using AI. 3) Many ABI members are already using AI. 4) I am woefully behind in my understanding and use of AI.  As to number 4, I plan to rectify that soon.  In the meantime, if you have specific counsel about AI pro or con, I would be interested in hearing from you.