Monday Memo (Distributed on Tuesday this week due to the holiday) - 07/05/22

July 5, 2022

Executive Committee Meets Next Week

ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and the members of the ABI Executive Committee will hold their first meeting of the 2022-2023 fiscal year a week from tomorrow.  The meeting will take place by Zoom at 10:00 a.m.

Thank you to Kim and the other members of the committee: Vice Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBassell, Clinton), Treasurer Chad Reese Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Secretary Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), Immediate Past Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and District Vice Chairs John Riches (Arconic, Davenport), Tim Conlon (Conlon Construction, Dubuque), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, West Des Moines), Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring Manufacturing Company, Adel), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City).

Orientations with New Board Members Ahead

As I have mentioned in recent memos, you will have the opportunity to meet the new board members soon, as ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) and all of you will welcome them in September.  Orientation sessions with these new board members will take place in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, please welcome newly-elected board members Steve Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake), Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars), Ken Feldmann (Employee Owned Brands, Fairfield), Liz Hobart (GROWMARK, Waterloo), Eric Moerman (Interstates Companies, Sioux Center), Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines), Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), and Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield). We appreciate their service and leadership!

DON’T MISS This Month’s ABI Okoboji CEO Forum; Fantastic Program on Tap

Registrations are pouring in for 2022 ABI Okoboji CEO Forum.  This annual meeting, which is ABI’s fastest-growing event, is open to members only and focuses on high-value programming for top executives (though any ABI member is welcome to attend).  It was created at the request of members and this year’s program is terrific.  Click here for more information and to register:

The forum will be held the 28th and 29th of July in Okoboji.  Thursday afternoon’s events take place at the Waterfront Events Center in Arnolds Park.  On Friday morning, we’ll be at a great longtime ABI member, Spencer Municipal Utilities, in Spencer. 

Following lunch on Thursday, the program begins with a special treat: longtime ABI member company executive Kavi Chawla (Baton Global, Des Moines) will present a fascinating review of geopolitical issues that impact YOUR business.  The war in Ukraine, supply chain and China, rising materials costs, and more.  Don’t miss this presentation by an engaging global expert.

Next, attendees will see a new edition of the well-known business valuation panel of ABI Advisory Council members led by ABI Board Member Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines).  That panel will be followed by a fabulous panel of ABI member business owners; Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield), Katy Susong (Cardinal Construction, Waterloo), and Sheri Behrendt.  Sheri was recently named Deputy Director at Iowa Workforce Development, but she was a long time ABI member with her family’s business, Vantec, in Webster City.  With the recent sale of the business, she will have an interesting perspective to add to that of Charles and Katy.

Keynote Speaker Miriam Erickson Brown (Anderson Erickson Dairy Company, Des Moines) will speak next.  Miriam, of course, is the Chair and CEO of this third-generation family company headquartered right here in Iowa.  Her remarks will be followed by a reception and dinner next to beautiful East Lake Okoboji.

Friday morning, attendees will tour the brand new Spencer Municipal Utilities water treatment plant.  This multi-million dollar facility is at the cutting edge of the industry.  SMU CEO Steve Pick (Spencer Municipal Utilities, Spencer) will welcome the group.  SMU is a longtime ABI member that provides energy and other utility services to some terrific ABI members.

As you can see, this is an exceptional program.  Don’t miss this event!  See you at the Lakes later this month.

Staff News: Knowles Event Next Week; Lefebure, Antle to Join ABI Team

There is lots of news related to the ABI staff this week.  First, Dorothy Knowles will be retiring after a long and terrific career at ABI at the end of the month.  We will miss her greatly.  In the meantime, please remember – and consider this your personal invitation to attend – the reception in Dorothy’s honor to be held next week.  The reception will take place from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the ABI office at 400 East Court Avenue in Des Moines’ East Village.  Join us in celebrating Dorothy and all she has done for ABI members.

And this week and next will see the addition of two new team members. As you have read previously, Levi Lefebure will join us to take Dorothy’s position.  We also have some other things in mind and Levi will be terrific in seeing those new functions implemented.  And, Kendall Antle joins the ABI Foundation in a role that is somewhat similar to that filled previously by McKenzie Kielman.  Kendal’s experience will be a great benefit to Foundation programming.

Welcome, Levi and Kendall!  And very best wishes, Dorothy!

Still Time to Nominate Students for Business Horizons; Leadership Iowa University

The ABI Foundation’s Business Horizons program is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for high school students.  Each year, participants rave about their experience and learn about all the many career opportunities available to them right here in Iowa.  The 2022 session of the program will be held at Central College in Pella July 17-21.  There is still time to nominate students for the program and you can do so here: Nominate a Student | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Following just a couple of weeks later is the Foundation’s Leadership Iowa University program.  You can also make nominations to this 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 2022 program will be held August 7-11 in Des Moines.  Go here for more information:

And, if you have questions or wish to be involved in either program, please don’t hesitate to contact ABI Foundation Programs Director Jessi Steward McQuerry.  In the meantime, thanks to the many of you who have already nominated students for these terrific programs.

EPIC Meetings Continue

ABI coordinates a coalition of companies and organizations that seek to identify pro-business candidates for the Iowa General Assembly.  EPIC, which stands for Economic Progress for Iowa’s Citizens, has been holding interviews with candidates (all candidates of both parties are invited to participate) in open seats.  More interviews are ahead.  If you wish to sit-in on the interviews or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact JD Davis or Brad Hartkopf in the ABI office.

Public Policy Meetings, Foundation Events, Other Programs on Tap

This is a busy time for ABI and the ABI Foundation.  Regional policy meetings continue around Iowa, the ABI Foundation has several events coming up, and other association programs are also scheduled in the coming weeks.  Be sure you don’t miss the meetings and programs that are of interest to you by clicking frequently on the ABI events page: