Newly-Elected Board Members Take Office July 1 - Monday Memo 06/27/22

June 27, 2022

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 Dubuque two weeks ago, several new members were elected to the association’s board of directors.  These great women and men, all affiliated with manufacturers 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 14 in the new Iowa Bankers Association Conference Center in the Des Moines’ suburb of Johnston. 

In the meantime, please join me in congratulating the following 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).

Executive Committee to Meet by Zoom in Two Weeks

The Executive Committee/Board of Directors meeting schedule for 2022-2023 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 14.

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 13.  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 Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines) will be joined on the coming year’s Executive Committee by Vice Chair Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), Treasurer Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Secretary Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Avon), and Immediate Past Chair Jack Hasken ( Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa).  Also on the committee are 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). Look for a full report on any developments at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.

Dorothy Knowles to be celebrated July 13; You’re Invited

ABI’s longest-serving employee is Dorothy Knowles, who joined ABI three months before me in 2005.  Dorothy has been a stalwart, arriving at the office every day before 7:00 a.m. and serving members with a smile.  She leads ABI’s database work and handles billing and deposits, among other things. She loves ABI members.

Dorothy will retire at the end of July and she will be greatly missed.  ABI is celebrating her long and successful career with a reception in Dorothy’s honor.  The reception will be held at the ABI office at 400 East Court Avenue in Des Moines’ East Village from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Cake (Dorothy’s favorite food) and other refreshments will be on hand.  We hope you join us in celebrating Dorothy.

ABI Okoboji Executive Forum July 28. 20

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

The forum will be held the 28th and 29th of July in Okoboji.  We’ll be at a few different sites in the Lakes Area, but the main program location is the Waterfront Conference Center.  Click here for more information: Summary - Okoboji CEO Forum (Members Only) (  Chair and CEO Miriam Erickson Brown (Anderson Erickson Dairy Company, Des Moines) will serve as the keynote speaker.  Two great panels and a terrific tour 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

While ABI is still celebrating the recent adjournment of another very successful Iowa legislative session, the association is already deep into planning for next year’s session.  Regional policy meetings and policy committee meetings are coming up this month and in July and August.  In fact, the first meeting has already been held in Dubuque.  Next stops are Des Moines (Thursday, June 30), Fort Dodge, Atlantic, and Fairfield.

Through the annual policy meetings, literally hundreds of ABI members will come together to shape the public policy agenda for the association for 2023.  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 2023.  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.  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!

2022 Conference Photos Being Posted; 2023 ABI Convention in Dubuque

Many of you have shared great comments about the just-completed 2022 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 2023 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in Cedar Rapids.  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 13-15 of next year and make plans to join your ABI colleagues in Cedar Rapids.

Convention Survey Coming to Your In-Box

Thanks again for your good words about the recently-held 119th 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 2022 to be held July 17-21

Business Horizons, produced by the ABI Foundation, is the week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students.  The 2022 session of the program is fast-approaching.  It will be held July 17-21 at Central College in Pella.  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 7-11; New Events Also Planned

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 2022 program will be held August 7-11 in Des Moines.  Go here for more information:

In other Leadership Iowa news, the program has created a new series of events focusing on important issues.  Please go to for more information and to register for these exciting new programs.

Mark Your Calendars for Annual ABI Executive Open August 29

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 2022 event will be held Monday, August 29.  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 Des Moines Golf in August!

ABI Begins New Fiscal Year, Focus is on Value for Members

ABI begins a new fiscal year Wednesday.  As always, ABI's focus is on providing high value for members.  The beginning of a new year brings new opportunities to serve existing members, gain new ones, and build a better Iowa business climate.  As we start the year, all of us at ABI are thinking about how we can do things even better than they have been done in the past. 

You have heard me say often that I like things that can be measured, because they let us know how we are doing at achieving the agenda you set for us each year.  Well, the metrics on ABI’s balance sheet for FY 2022 show the association at perhaps its strongest point ever. 

In fact, it has been a fabulous year.  That is due to your support and the leadership of Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) and the ABI Board of Directors.  We are always looking forward and building for growth.  If we aren't moving ahead, we are falling behind and that is not acceptable.  Thank you again for your support.

Editor’s Note

These memos are about you, ABI leaders, not me and I am loathe to talk about myself.  That said, some of you are aware that last Thursday, I had total hip replacement surgery and I prepared this message prior to that date.  As I write this, I expect my recovery to be well underway by the time you read it and I hope to be back in the office (at least on a part-time basis) by July 13.  While I will be checking email sporadically during this time, replies may be delayed.  There is no need to reply to this message, please just know that I am eager to get back to work.  In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes and for all you do for ABI.