May Board Meeting, Coolest Thing Lead This Week's Memo - Monday Memo 4/15/24

April 15, 2024

Board to Meet in May; Final Meeting Prior to Annual Conference

The final ABI board meeting before the annual conference will be held in May.  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and the ABI Board of Directors will meet Wednesday, May 8, at the Des Moines facilities of longtime ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company.  

The meeting begins with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and several special features will make the meeting one you won’t want to miss.  For example, Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Stephen Osborn will address the board during the meeting.  Another highlight will be a tour of Atlantic Bottling’s new automated palletizing system.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) for hosting the board in May.  This will mark the board’s final meeting prior to the annual conference in June. 

If you haven’t already done so, please register your attendance now by replying to this message.  Look for your usual packet of meeting materials to arrive in your email in-basket about a week before the meeting.  On behalf of Chad and our ABI officers, I look forward to your participation.  

Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Garnering Lots of Attention

ABI’s newest initiative, a partnership with longtime member MidWestOne Bank, is a statewide competition in search of the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  The competition showcases the Iowa manufacturing industry’s best innovations, craftsmanship, and state of the art technologies.  This initiative is garnering a great deal of media coverage for ABI and its members.  For example of the kind of coverage, click here to see a piece featuring ABI Marketing and Communications Director Kelsey O’Connor that ran on WHO-TV in Des Moines: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Competition starts soon |  

Nominations for “Coolest Thing” closed a week ago and over 70 nominations were received!  Click here to see more: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (  The winner will be announced at the 2024 Taking care of Business Conference in Davenport in June.  Stay tuned! 

Latest Edition of ABI Business Monthly Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the Corridor Business Journal and the Quad Cities Business Journal, ABI publishes the ABI Business Monthly.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  

The April edition’s cover story focuses on the Quad Cities, the home of the 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  It is packed with interesting information about one of our state’s key economic regions.  The magazine should now be in your mailbox, inside the Corridor Business Journal.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you. 

Advisory Council Meeting Thursday in Des Moines

The members of the ABI Advisory Council will hold their monthly meeting on Thursday.   Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are AnthologicAssured PartnersBankers Trust, BCC AdvisersBrownWinick, CliftonLarsonAllenEideBailley, EMC InsuranceFredrikson, G&A PartnersHDH AdvisorsPrincipal Midwest Business CenterThe Iowa ClinicWellmark, and Wells Fargo.  These organizations can be terrific resources for you and your employees.  Don’t hesitate to contact them for information and assistance.  We are grateful for their premium support for ABI. 

ABI Legislative Update a Week from Friday

Things are coming down to the wire at the Statehouse!  ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf will hold another Legislative Update next Friday (April 26).  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  You and your employees are encouraged to join us for the update at 8:00 a.m. Thus members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Conference Registrations Pouring In; Final Site Visit Wednesday

As I write this memorandum on Sunday afternoon, there are nearly 300 people already registered for the 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  It is clear the crowd will be double that or more by the time the conference rolls around in June.  Over a hundred registrations were received last week alone!  If you haven’t already done so, register NOW by clicking on this link:  You don’t want to wait to register for this terrific event!  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), I look forward to seeing you in the Quad Cities in less than two months (June 4-6). 

Speaking of Chad, he a will lead a final site visit to Davenport on Wednesday.  Following that final check, all systems will be GO for the event in June! 

Nominating Committee to Meet April 30

As noted in last week’s Monday Memo, the ABI Nominating Committee will meet soon.  The committee, which is chaired by Immediate Past Chair of the ABI Board of Directors Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret.), will meet by Zoom on April 30. 

In addition to Kim, members of the Committee include ABI board members from each of the association's five state districts.  They are District 1 – Jenny Steffensmeier (Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing, Pilot Grove),  District 2 – Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), District 3 – Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Urbandale), District 4 – Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), and District 5 – Stephen Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake).  

If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact one of them, or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

Regional Public Policy Meetings Being Set; Look for One Near You in May

Speaking of the legislative session, it is hoped there are only a few weeks left.  Upon adjournment, the ABI public policy team will hit the road to meet with ABI members all over Iowa.  In those meetings, information about the session and its impact on your business are discussed. 

These post-session meetings, which will star ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf, will be held in person around Iowa.  Meetings will be held in locations around Iowa.  

LI CONNECT Wednesday

The latest in the LI CONNECT series of programs will be held this Wednesday (April 17).  It will focus on education in Iowa; these programs are geared to Leadership Iowa alumni.  To do so, click here: Meeting Registration - Zoom

Next ABI Automation Summit April 17

Another great ABI event also happens Wednesday.  The next in the popular series of ABI Automation Summits will take place this Wednesday, on the 17th.  It will be held at Scott Community College (part of Eastern Iowa Community College) in Davenport.  You may register for this high-value program here: Summary - Automation Summit (  These programs have been very well-received and are packed with information.  I hope to see you in Davenport. 

Foundation Program Nominations, Elevate Scholarship Nominations All Due Now; LI Board to Meet Thursday

As you have read in previous editions of this memorandum, now is an important time for programs of the ABI Foundation.  Foundation programs such as Leadership Iowa University and Business Horizons are all accepting nominations for participants in the next session of each program.  And, ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative is accepting nominations for its annual community college scholarships. 

To nominate worthy individuals for the programs, please go here:  To nominate students for a scholarship, please go here:  Thank you for your nominations! 

In other ABI Foundation news, the Board of Directors will meet this week.  The board, which is chaired by former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer Weaton (Agri-Industrial –Plastics Company, Fairfield), will meet Thursday.  

Weatons Celebrate Their Anniversary

Two terrific ABI leaders are celebrating together Wednesday (April 17).  Former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and former longtime ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield) celebrate the anniversary of their wedding today.  Remind me to tell you a story involving my sons and the planning of Lori and Nate’s wedding reception.  In the meantime, on behalf of all ABI members, happy anniversary to Lori and Nate! 

David Bywater Celebrates Wednesday

Another ABI leader is also celebrating this week.  Former ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising Company/Tru Art, Iowa City) will celebrate his birthday on Saturday (April 20).  We all wish you a happy birthday, David! 

Bob Wersen Marks Birthday

Former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) celebrated his birthday on April 8, and I missed it.  I’m sorry, Bob!  ABI sends belated best birthday wishes! 

Kreg Tool Again Highlighted in iaarchitect Magazine

Last year, iaarchitect magazine, a publication of the Iowa Society of Architects, published a feature story on the stunning new headquarters of longtime ABI member Kreg Tool Company.  This month, the magazine again features the Kreg Building, as an article focused on the building’s grand staircase is included.  It’s a great read and if you wish to see it, please let me know.  In the meantime, Congratulations to everyone at Kreg, including its Board Chair, ABI Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool, Ankeny)

Bill Brown Elected to Town Council

Many of you know former ABI Chair Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines – ret.).  Bill retired from his long and successful legal career and he and wife Patti Brown moved to Estes Park, Colorado.  Bill’s family has spent a great deal of time there during his lifetime. 

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Bill was elected to the Estes Park City Council.  Read more about it here: Gary Hall elected mayor, four trustee candidates elected – Estes Park Trail-Gazette (  Congratulations, Bill!