March Board Meeting Ahead - Monday Memo 1/23/23

January 23, 2023

ABI Board to Meet March 7

ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and members of the ABI Board of Directors will next meet on March 7th.  That day will see a full day of ABI meetings and events, as ABI's brand new Business Day in Des Moines program will be held for the first time (see next item).  

More information will come your way soon, but please mark your calendars now to join your ABI colleagues in Des Moines on March 7.  In the meantime, the ABI Executive Committee will hold its regular February teleconference in a little over two weeks. 

Brand New ABI Business Day in Des Moines on March 7

For dozens and dozens of years, ABI has hosted a program in March at which members were taken to the Statehouse to meet with their legislators.  The event has been subject to the whims of the legislative calendar, meaning sometimes the visits conflicted with committee or caucus meetings when legislators were not available.  Other issues also arose to impact the success of the event from year to year.  

For 2023, ABI is creating a brand new event, modeled on the success of a meeting hosted two years ago following the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At that event, a luncheon for ABI board members, IIPAC contributors, advisory council members, and other leading members, the association’s public policy work was advanced through appearances by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, House Speaker Pat Grassley, and Senate Majority leader Jack Whitver.  All attendees declared the event a rousing success.  In effect, instead of taking ABI members to the statehouse, statehouse leaders came to ABI. 

That’s what Business Day in Des Moines is all about.  You’ll hear from invited guests Governor Reynolds, legislative leaders of both chambers and both parties, you’ll hear a geopolitical update from popular ABI speaker/member Kavi Chawla (Baton Global, Des Moines), and more.  You’ll have the opportunity to interact with these leaders, with fellow ABI members, and you’ll hear the latest about ABI issues and programs.  You don’t want to miss it!  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Business Day in Des Moines (  

In the meantime, watch for program updates and other information.  See you in March for ABI’s newest event! 

New ABI Monthly Business Journal Hits Newsstands

Speaking of brand new, ABI’s brand new monthly newsprint journal was published for the first time last week.  Called ABI Business Monthly, the journal is published in partnership with longtime ABI member Corridor Media Group of Coralville.  The publication is included once a month in the Corridor Business Journal and the Quad Cities Business Journal

ABI is excited about this new partnership, as it doubles exposure for our monthly journal and it is terrific being a part of the quality business news which is the sole focus of the CBJ and QCBJ.  The journal should come to your desk, no matter where you are in Iowa, as a part of the CBJ/QCBJ.  If you didn’t receive it, let me know and we’ll get one to you.  Or, you can read it online by clicking here: Business Monthly | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  Thank you to ABI member and company President John Lohman (Corridor Media Group, Coralville) and his team for this new partnership! 

ABI Biennial DC Fly-In in October

As you read in last week’s memorandum, the dates for the 2023 edition of ABI’s Biennial Washington, DC Fly-In have been established.  Those dates of ABI’s are October 17-19.  Meetings with both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, all four members of Congress (the senators and members themselves, not just staff), meetings with partners (such as the National Association of Manufacturers, BIPAC, and others), great food, and terrific fellowship are hallmarks of the trip.  Watch for more information coming your way in the weeks ahead, or contact ABI Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf at now to get on the list to have information sent directly to you when it is available. 

2023 ABI Conference Committee Members to Meet on Program

The upcoming annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, which will be held in Cedar Rapids June 13-15, is shaping up to be a fabulous event.  If you haven't already done so, you really need to plan now to attend this great meeting.  Over two days later this week, conference committee members will be conducting interviews and working with potential speakers.  It will all lead to an awesome convention in Cedar Rapids.  Thank you to these ABI leaders for developing a fabulous program. 

Bi-Weekly ABI Legislative Zoom Conferences Begin; First ’23 Zoom Friday

ABI’s public policy team is very busy this time of year.  This Friday, the team will hold the first ABI Members-Only Legislative Teleconference of the 2023 Session of the Iowa General Assembly.  Register for that event here: Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  And remember, these conferences are free and open to ABI members only.  Thank you in advance for your participation in these events. 

ABI to Host Child Care Webinar, Cobot Summit in February

As you read last week, two high-value events have been added to ABI’s program calendar in February.  On the 7th, ABI will host a free webinar with information about solutions related to challenges involving child care.  You know that investing in child care provides a return for your employees, your business, and for all of us.  Iowa Women’s Foundation Employ Engagement Director Sherry Penney will lead this informative webinar.  Register now at Meeting Registration - Zoom

We are very excited about another event taking place on February 23rd.  ABI is partnering with members Kinetic Technologies and Iowa Lakes Community College on a high-value cobot automation seminar.  The session will provide an informative and interactive program about brining automation to your company and it will be held on Iowa Lakes’ Algona campus on February 23rd.  Lunch will be served.  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Cobot Automation Summit (

CIRAS Board Meets Thursday

A valued ABI member-partner is Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service.  CIRAS is a fabulous resource for Iowa manufacturers and businesses of all kinds.  Over the years, many ABI leaders have also been involved in CIRAS and several are current members of the CIRAS Industry Advisory Board.  The board will meet Thursday in Ames.  Watch for news of any developments in next week's ABI Monday Memo. 

Biennial ABI Workers Compensation Program March 28 in Des Moines

Every other year, ABI presents a program on workers compensation issues.  This year’s program will be held March 28th at ABI in Des Moines.  Focused on issues, challenges, and best-practice sharing, this year’s event will provide high-value information to you and your HR team.  Find more information coming your way soon on the ABI events page. 

NAM Report Documents Tough EOY for American Manufacturing

Today’s edition of the weekly Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, is a rough one.  End of Year statistics indicate that the last quarter of 2022 was a down period for manufacturing, housing, and retail sales in the U.S.  Buried deep in the report, however, are signs of positivity for 2023.  As always, if you wish to read the report for yourself, please contact me and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Toby Shine Celebrates a Major Milestone Today

A great ABI leader celebrates a BIG birthday today.  Former ABI Chair Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) turns 80.  In addition to leading his multi-generational family business to incredible growth and success, Toby has been a wonderful leader for ABI and Iowa.  He has served on many state boards and commissions and during his time chairing ABI, the association continued to turn the corner and return to a position as one of Iowa’s leading organizations.  Toby’s mantra was to focus on doing what is right, helping each other, and doing business with each other.  He wanted all ABI members to succeed. 

ABI joins people all across the state and country in wishing Toby a fabulous birthday and a great day – happy birthday, Toby! 

Rick Tollakson to be inducted to Iowa Business Hall of Fame

The Greater Des Moines Committee has announced the latest inductees in to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame.  One of them is a terrific ABI board member and leader: Rick Tollakson (Hubbell Realty Company, West Des Moines).  Rick was recognized for his business success, his community leadership, volunteerism, and impact on the region.  Read more about Rick here: Iowa Business Hall Of Fame Honors Reynolds Cramer, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Garst, And Rick Tollakson (  ABI is just one of many organizations that have benefitted from Rick’s leadership and he is most deserving of this honor.  ABI salutes and congratulates Rick Tollakson! 

International Paper to Make Million Dollar-Plus Investment in Cedar Rapids Plant

Last week, longtime ABI member International Paper announced it was making a $103 million investment in its Cedar River Containerboard Mill in Cedar Rapids.  This significant investment will fund the construction and operation of two new gas boilers to produce steam for the mill and will result in the creation of new jobs.  Upon completion of the project, the mill will employ nearly 250 Iowans.  The project will result in significant decreases in emissions from the plant.  

Read more about this exciting project here: International Paper To Invest $103 Million in Cedar River (  Congratulations to all involved, including ABI Board Member Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids)

Kelly Barrick/CIBC Shares Economic Outlook

If you are like me, you are interested in any and all data about the state of the economy and what might be ahead for business.  Related to that, I was pleased to receive the latest update from longtime ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (CIBC, West Des Moines).  Kelly and her CIBC colleagues are cautiously optimistic about the coming year and see several opportunities for businesses to grow.  If you are interested in seeing the update for yourself, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once.  In the meantime, thank you, Kelly, for the information. 

Todd McDonald Honored by Waukee Chamber

Last Thursday, longtime ABI board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) received a very special honor.  Todd was named Waukee Citizen of the Year.  Todd is very active in his community and in many other organizations (Including ABI) and he is well-deserving of this honor.  Congratulations, Todd! 

Anthologic Sells Shift

ABI Advisory Council Member Anthologic has been a terrific ABI resource for many of you.  The company recently announced the sale of its’ Shift software development company.  The sale involves current Shift staff and the two entities will continue to collaborate and partner on projects.  Read more here: Anthologic Sells Software and Technology Company Shift Interactive | News & Views, PM (  Congratulations to ABI Board Member Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, Des Moines) and everyone involved!