May Board Meeting in Two Days - Monday Memo 5/6/24

May 6, 2024

Final Regular ABI Board Meeting of Fiscal Year Wednesday; Adjutant General to Speak

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) is managing an incredible travel schedule this week.  In his place, Immediate past Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret.) will convene the May meeting of the association’s board of directors at 11:30 a.m. this Wednesday (May 8).  This will mark the board’s final regular meeting of Fiscal Year 2024 and it will be held at ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s Des Moines facility. 

The meeting will begin with lunch, a welcome by Atlantic Bottling CEO/ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines), and then an address by Iowa Adjutant General Stephen E. Osborn.  General Osborn will provide an update regarding the Iowa National Guard and how the Guard and business can work together.  

Other highlights include a very strong financial report, the latest news regarding the just-completed session of the Iowa General Assembly, a final update on the 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference, and your business updates.   There are great registration numbers for this meeting.  On behalf of Chad and Kim and our other officers, thank you for in advance for making plans to participate. 

Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Bracket of 16 Voting Underway

ABI’s newest initiative, the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa, is drawing a ton of attention.  Voting for the first round closed last Wednesday.  The top 16 vote getters have now been bracketed and voting began last Thursday, May 2nd.  Don’t miss out on all the excitement!  Click here for more information and to vote: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (!  For now, thank you to longtime ABI member MidWestOne Bank for partnering to make Coolest Thing possible. 

2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be a SMASH

As you read in last week’s Monday Memo, the ABI team made a final site visit to Davenport about 3 weeks ago.  What we saw confirms what we already knew… ladies and gentlemen, the 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be a smash event and you really do not want to miss it. 

The Quad Cities are looking better than ever.  The Hotel Black Hawk, the site of the Welcome Reception on June 4, is fabulous.  Golf earlier in the day will take place at the PGA-certified TPC Deere Run, one of the Midwest’s most beautiful private golf clubs. 

A full day of programming will take place on Wednesday (June 5) at the River Center Convention Complex.  Nationally known, fantastic keynote speakers will lead the program.  High value breakout sessions will further enhance your day and all speakers have conveyed a strong desire to provide you with the greatest of presentations. 

The Chair’s Dinner Wednesday evening will be truly special, as ABI will take over Davenport’s nationally recognized Figge Art Museum.  Conference attendees may stop for a beverage at a giant tent in front of the museum.  Or, you can head right into the building and enjoy fabulous food and drink.  Networking with your fellow attendees on the terrace overlooking the Mighty Mississippi will be a fun way to end the event. Believe me when I say you will enjoy yourselves! 

Throw in a great online ABI Foundation auction, Leadership Iowa graduation, and the very best business networking in Iowa, and you are certain to have an absolutely fabulous experience.  Register now and don’t be left out.  Go here for more information and to register: Taking Care of Business Conference | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Leadership Iowa Journey Nearly Complete

As I noted in last week’s memo, the 2023-2024 Leadership Iowa class is nearing the end of its journey.  The class met last week in Forest City for its final regular session.  The class has enjoyed strong participation and will graduate from the program in June at the annual conference.  Watch for more news as it develops. 

ABI Executive Forum Registration Opens Soon

The 2024 ABI Executive Forum may be the best one yet.  A spectacular program is on tap and you’ll soon be able to register for the event.  Terrific speakers and brand new North Iowa venues are combining to make this event one you don’t want to miss.  See you in Mason City in August! 

ABI Advisory Council Members are Great Resources for Your Business

The ABI Advisory Council includes valued member companies that provide terrific programming assistance, as well as key financial support for ABI.  Thank you to the members of the council!  Those companies are Anthologic, Assured Partners, Bankers Trust, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CLA, EideBailly, EMC Insurance, Fredrickson, G&A Partners, HDH Advisors, Principal Midwest Business Center, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo

ABI Regional Public Policy Meetings Ahead; Waterloo Meeting in One Week

With adjournment of the Iowa General Assembly’s 2024 session two weeks ago, ABI Regional Public Policy meetings are on the horizon.  The first regional meeting will be held at the UNI Business and Community Services Office in Waterloo (which is housed in the same former John Deere manufacturing plant as the well-known Tech Works campus) a week from today.  Other meetings will be held in Ames or Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Davenport, and Le Mars.  Go now to Events Calendar | Iowa Association of Business and Industry ( and register for the meeting nearest you.  Please stay tuned for more news as it develops. 

Lt. Governor Tours Standard Golf

Once again, I’ll say that one of the single most important things you can do to advance ABI public policy work is to host elected officials in your plant or office.  By seeing your facilities and meeting your employees, public officials will learn the impact of their decisions on ABI members.  And I always note that many of you do often host visits.

 One of those ABI members that has been particularly involved in this practice over the years is ABI member Standard Golf Company in Cedar Falls.  The company did it again, by hosting Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg in Cedar Falls last Tuesday.  Thank you to everyone at Standard Golf, including company Chairman and ABI Board Member Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf Company, Cedar Falls)

Mary Andringa Named to HDDA Hall of Fame

Longtime ABI member Vermeer Corporation announced last week that former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) has received a special honor.  Mary, of course, is Chair Emerita of Vermeer Corporation, and she has now been inducted in the Horizontal Directional Drilling Association Hall of Fame.  Mary is being honored for her long and successful career and for all the innovations she led at Vermeer that resulted in advances for the drilling industry.  Read more here: Mary Andringa of Vermeer named to HDDA hall of fame 2024 class.  ABI salutes Mary Andringa; congratulations, Mary! 

Dustin Katje to Lead Pella Portfolio

In other news out of Pella last week, ABI Board Member Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Pella) has been selected for an exciting new post.  After leading Pella’s Carroll, Iowa plant for many years, Dustin is transitioning to a new role in June.  He will be the Brand Product Manager for the Pella Door portfolio.  That’s great news, and more great news is that Dustin will continue to represent the company on the ABI Board of Directors.  Congratulations, Dustin! 

Story Construction Celebrates 90 Years

It was fun to read the latest edition of StoryLine, the company newsletter from longtime ABI member Story Construction.  The current newsletter is actually a collection of past editions of StoryLine that illustrate various company highlights.  The biggest highlight:  Story is celebrating 90 years of success in 2024!  Congratulations to everyone at the company, including its president, ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames)!  

Big Week for Yeoman Family

Longtime ABI Board Member Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello) won’t make it to this week’s board meeting, but he has a good excuse.  Tom and his family will be in France (in Cannes, specifically) for his son’s wedding.  What a fabulous trip and congratulations on the trip AND the wedding, Tom!  Best wishes all around! 

Jack McFarland to Attend Pilots Reunion

ABI Board Member Jack McFarland (Miller Products Co. – Ret) will also miss next week’s meeting and he, too, has a good excuse.  He will be attending the Viet Nam Helicopter Pilots Reunion in Reno, Nevada.  I can’t imagine what is like to fly helicopters in an active combat zone and I suggested to Jack that there might be some stories told at the reunion.  Jack will be with us in Davenport in June and perhaps he might share some of those stories.  Have a great time at the reunion, Jack, and thank you for your service! 

For 121 Years, ABI Members have Grown Iowa Communities

Around this time last year, I wrote about capitalism as it related to a New York Times essay (I’m an avid Wall Street Journal reader myself).  I wrote this: I have often said that you can’t be involved in ABI, meet ABI members, see ABI businesses, and not be a proponent of the American system of free enterprise and capitalism.  This dynamic economic system is what makes it possible for Iowans to have jobs, provide for their families, and build their communities.  I don’t understand those who do not see this simple truth.  Thank you to all of you who by your hard work, personally illustrate the power of capitalism each and every day. 

This time last year, I also noted something else.  I wrote it when ABI and Iowa were in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It seems worth sharing again now. 

ABI was founded in 1903 as the Iowa Manufacturers Association.  For the past (121) years, through good economies and bad, ABI member companies have been employing Iowans, supporting families, and building communities. 

ABI survived two world wars.  It survived the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and sometime in the future, it will survive its second global pandemic (its first pandemic was the 1918 Influenza Pandemic). 

That success doesn’t just happen.  It isn’t just luck, although good fortune is certainly a part of it. 

ABI has grown and succeeded in exactly the same way ABI member companies have succeeded.  By the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the women and men who are the backbone of these companies.  Their innovation, strong support, and leadership are the reasons for ABI’s success. 

In the face of COVID-19, all of that is more important than ever.  ABI members have retooled to manufacture personal protective equipment.  They have donated money to community pandemic assistance funds.  Their employees have given time, resources, and materials to fight the disease. 

ABI has supported all those efforts and the ABI staff has doubled down on providing meaningful assistance and service to ABI members… so that those members can remain safely in operation and help their employees and their communities.   

That’s the real legacy of ABI.  THANK YOU for making it so.