New Board Members Will Take Office in July - Monday Memo 6/217/24

June 17, 2024

Newly-Elected Board Members Take Office July 1

At the annual business meeting held during ABI’s very successful Taking Care of Business Conference in Davenport two weeks ago, several new members were elected to the association’s board of directors.  These great women and men, all affiliated with companies doing business in Iowa, will provide terrific leadership for ABI.  You will meet them at the board’s first meeting of the new fiscal year, which will be held September 11 in Des Moines.  

In the meantime, please join me in congratulating the following newly-elected board members: Kathy Evert (Signarama, Ankeny), Brad Henningsen ( Henningsen Construction, Atlantic), Ed McGreen (Kreg Tool Company, Ankeny), Bethany Pautsch (Tyson Foods, Storm Lake), Chad Rubner (Express Logistics, Urbandale), and Andrew St. John (CIPCO, Des Moines).

And, at the same time, we thank the following outgoing board members for their service and leadership: Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret), Matt Bemrich (Bemrich Electric and Telephone, Fort Dodge), Garrett Burchett (Mississippi River Distilling Company, LeClaire), and Claudia Schabel (Schabel Solutions, Des Moines).  Kim, of course, remains on the board for life by virtue of serving as ABI Chair in FY 23.  Thanks once more to all of these leaders. 

Executive Committee to Meet by Zoom in Three Weeks

The Executive Committee/Board of Directors meeting schedule for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 was provided to you in a message sent the week prior to the annual conference.  Board members, mark your calendars for the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  As you read above, the board will next meet on September 11. 

In the meantime, members of the newly-constituted ABI Executive Committee will hold their first Zoom meeting of the new fiscal year in two weeks.  The July Executive Committee Zoom meeting will take place at 10:00 a.m. on July 17.  As is typical for July, the meeting is expected to be brief, but will provide an opportunity to review financial and membership data and receive program reports. 

Incoming ABI Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will be joined on the coming year’s Executive Committee by Vice Chair Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), Treasurer Kathryn Kunert (MidAmerican Energy Company, Des Moines), and Secretary Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel).  Also on the committee are District Vice Chairs Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield), Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello), Hank Norem (RAMCO Innovations, West Des Moines), Kelli O’Brien (Union Pacific, Council Bluffs), and Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars). Look for a full report on any developments at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

ABI Executive Forum August 8,9

We have already had great deal of interest in the annual ABI Executive Forum.  The event, held this year in Mason City, focuses on high-value programming for Iowa executives.  It has been a huge success and it is ABI’s fastest-growing event. 

The forum will be held the 8th and 9th of August in Mason City and Forest City.  We’ll be at several great venues, including the historic Park Inn Hotel.  We’ll also see the MacNider Art Museum, have dinner at the famous Music Man Square, and tour not one, but TWO great Iowa ABI member manufacturers, Stellar Industries and Winnebago Industries

Click here for more information: Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (    Company Chair Emeritus and former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella) will serve as the keynote speaker.  Great ABI panels, terrific luncheon speakers, and much more will round out the event.  Watch for more information and we’ll look forward to seeing you there! 

Plan Now for Regional Policy Meetings, August Policy Committee Meetings

With a session in Davenport on the 5th, the ABI Public Policy Team has completed the annual regional policy meetings tour.  Preparing ABI for 2025 now moves to the annual policy committee stage.  Through the annual policy meetings, literally hundreds of ABI members will come together to shape the public policy agenda for the association for 2025.  You and your employees are key to the success of these meetings and it is not too early to get the meeting dates on your calendar.  Click here for more information or to register:

As always, you as board members will have the final say on ABI policies for 2025.  Final action will occur at the September meeting of the board.  

IIPAC Fundraising Ongoing

Related to public policy, ABI’s political arm, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, supports candidates for statewide and legislative office who support pro-business policies.  I always say IIPAC will support a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig, or a Tory, as long as that candidate supports business. 

In order for others to know a positive business climate is important for Iowa, IIPAC needs a strong financial report.  If you are an ABI board member who has not yet contributed, please consider a personal contribution today.  I donate to IIPAC each year and so should you.  You can donate here:  Your investment is used to maximize support of candidates who support economic growth polices around Iowa.  In the last election, the IIPAC-endorsed candidate won in 95% of the races.  

For more information about the PAC or why you should continue, please contact us at ABI by replying to this message.  In the meantime, thank you to former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) and our other IIPAC board members for their leadership.  And thank you to all IIPAC contributors for your support! 

2024 Conference Photos Being Posted; 2025 ABI Convention in Council Bluffs

Many of you have shared great comments about the just-completed 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; thank you.  Many of you have also remarked that you wished to see photos from the conference.  Photos will soon be posted (please click here:, but more will be posted in the coming days.  Please check back often, as you might see yourself in one of the photos. 

The 2025 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in Council Bluffs.  This is a brand new host city for ABI and folks there are truly excited to host us.  In fact, Council Bluffs officials have been lobbying ABI heavily for years to bring our conference to town and I know they will help us put on a once-in-a-lifetime annual conference! 

Plans are already underway to make the event truly spectacular.  Each year, conference committee members work hard to develop world-class experiences and next year, they will be able to do that with terrific facilities and with the use of some other fabulous surprises.  Mark your calendars now for June 10-12 of next year and make plans to join your ABI colleagues in Council Bluffs!

Convention Survey Coming to Your In-Box

Thanks again for your good words about the recently-held 121st Annual ABI Convention.  It was indeed a fantastic meeting, with great speakers, exciting venues, and terrific numbers of ABI members from all over Iowa and beyond.  

While ABI produces the conference, your feedback is what matters and it is encouraged and desired.  You will soon see in your email in-basket a convention survey.  Please take a few moments (that’s all it takes, I promise) to complete the survey and provide your counsel about how to make a great event even better.  We want to hear from you. 

Nominate Students for Business Horizons, BH 2024 to be held July 14-18

Business Horizons, produced by the ABI Foundation, is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students.  The 2024 session of the program is fast-approaching.  It will be held July 14-18 at Drake University in Des Moines.  Click here to get your students registered: Business Horizons | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

If you have questions or wish to be involved, please don’t hesitate to contact ABI Foundation Programs Director Jessi McQuerry.  In the meantime, thanks to the many of you who have already nominated Iowa high school students for selection to BH. 

Annual Leadership Iowa University Program August 4-8

Some years ago, the ABI Foundation created the Leadership Iowa University 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 2024 program will be held August 4-8 in Des Moines.  Go here for more information: Participation in LIU is a perfect experience for your interns, or a great resource to gain future employees.  

Mark Your Calendars for Annual ABI Executive Open August 26

ABI holds an annual golf event to promote member programs and to thank members for their support and participation.  The event has proven incredibly popular.  The 2024 event will be held Monday, August 26.  Join us for golf and for an afternoon of fun and networking. 

The ABI Executive Open will again be held at the beautiful Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines (  This is a fabulous course and registration is now open for this always-great event.  Please click on Summary - Executive Open ( to register now.  See you at Glen Oaks in August! 

Lt. Governor Visits EZ Way, Yeoman & Company

I know I am a broken record on this issue, as you’ve heard me say often that the single biggest thing you can do to advance ABI public policy initiatives to host elected officials in your plant or office.  As I always say, so many of you do that on a regular basis and it is important.  Just last week, longtime ABI members EZ Way and Yeoman & Company hosted Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg at their company’s Clarinda and Monticello locations.  That’s terrific and thank you to everyone at each company, including their respective presidents (and ABI Board Members), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation/EZ Way, Clarinda) and Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello)

By the way, I happened to connect with the Lieutenant Governor about his visits to ABI member companies (he was also recently in Fairfield to visit Agri-Industrial Plastics Company).  He told me that he believed that this year’s tour was his best 99-county tour yet.  He also noted that was due “in no small part to prioritizing these great companies.”  Strong praise from a top state official related to ABI members; thank you to you for all you are doing! 

Stacey Pellett Celebrates

Best birthday wishes to longtime ABI Board member Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston).  Stacey’s birthday is next Sunday, June 23rd.  Hope it is a great one, Stacey!  Have a super day!