State officials to Address ABI Board, Environment Committee - Monday Memo 10/30/23

October 30, 2023

Board, Executive Committee to Meet in Two Weeks; Senate Majority Leader to Speak

You may have realized that I got ahead of myself in last week’s Memo, when I said the board and Executive Committee would meet in two and a half weeks.  I should have said three and a half weeks… and NOW it is two and a half weeks.  Both the ABI Board of Directors and the ABI Executive Committee will meet two weeks from Wednesday, on November 15. ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will call to order the final board meeting of 2023 at 11:30 a.m. The board will meet at ABI and lunch will be served. The Executive Committee will meet immediately prior to the board meeting. 

Board elections, a review of the annual audit, an update regarding the conference, policy discussions, and your business reports are highlights of the agenda. In addition, the board will receive the usual operational reports.  A special guest will be in attendance, as Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver will address board members at the start of the meeting. 

If you haven't already done so, please register your attendance by simply replying to this message. A link to access the usual packet of reports and reference materials will come your way next week. In the meantime and on behalf of Chad and our ABI officers, I look forward to seeing you next week. 

Attorney General to Address ABI Environment Committee

The members of the ABI Environment Committee will meet in special session on November 2nd here at ABI.  Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird will address the committee regarding work she is conducting involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The committee will also attend to other items during the meeting.  For more information or to register, please click here: Environment Committee Meeting | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (

Leadership Iowa to Meet in Carroll

The ABI Foundation's 2023-2024 Leadership Iowa class will hold the second session of the 2023-2024 program year this week, starting Wednesday and going through Friday, in Carroll.  This session will focus on agriculture and renewable resources.  

Next Connecting Statewide Leaders Event in Ames in December

The first FY24 Connecting Statewide Leaders event will be held December 7 in Fairfield. This forum is the next opportunity to participate in the popular series of events ABI has hosted around Iowa over the course of the past few years. 

A luncheon follows the meeting and you will have a great opportunity to visit with fellow ABI members, meet the new Leadership Iowa class, and develop new customers. Register now for this program, which will focus on the future of manufacturing in Iowa: Summary - Connecting Statewide Leaders - Fairfield (  Make your plans now to join the LI class and ABI members in Fairfield in December. 

Dentons Davis Brown to Provide South Africa Business Resources

Some of you may be considering doing business in South Africa, or perhaps you are already doing business there.  If so, ABI Board Member Tim Coonan (Dentons Davis Brown – Des Moines) may have just the resources necessary to help you grow that business.  On November 14th, three Dentons partners from Cape Town, South Africa will be in Des Moines and available to meet with you.  For more information, reply to this memo. 

2024 ABI Legislative Reception on January 10

One of the association's most popular events is the annual legislative reception. ABI members are proud that the reception has traditionally drawn more Iowa legislators (of both parties) than similar events hosted by any other organization. All 150 legislators and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor will again be invited to join you at the 2023 reception, which will be held January 10 (the same day as the January ABI Board Meeting) at the Hy-Vee Hall at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines. 

Mark your calendars now. Your attendance at this important event is vital for ABI to advance its pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda. 

Check Photos from Manufacturing Conference and Legends Luncheon; You May be in Them

There was a great crowd for the annual ABI Iowa Manufacturing Conference and Legends Luncheon held earlier this month.  The event brought ABI members (and soon to be members) together from across Iowa. ABI Marketing and Communications Director Kelsey Smith has now posted photos from the events to the ABI webpage. You may view them here: Photos | Iowa Association of Business and Industry ( Click to see if you are featured! 

Conference Breakout Proposals due December 1

The members of the ABI Conference Committee are putting together plans for a spectacular Taking Care of Business Conference. The 2024 conference will be held next June in Davenport. 

Speaking of the annual conference, now is the time for interested parties to submit their responses to the breakout session RFP. Conference attendees have given very high marks to the breakout sessions in recent years and much of that is due to the very competitive process related to those sessions. The deadline for proposals is December 1 and you can click here for more information: Taking Care of Business Conference | Iowa Association of Business and Industry ( The conference will be held in June 4-6 of next year. Mark your calendars now and watch for more information soon. 

ABI Staff Works Hard for You

These memos are about you, ABI leaders. In this instance, however, please allow me to share a note about our ABI staff. Recently, the association staff held a meeting at ABI member ABI member RAMCO Innovations in West Des Moines. Thank you to RAMCO and to ABI Board Member Hank Norem (RAMCO Innovations, West Des Moines), RAMCO’s CEO, for hosting us and addressing the staff about RAMCO and how the company operates.  It was a great morning. 

ABI is fortunate to have a staff full of dedicated professionals, talented, and good at what they do. They are simply good people. And they are focused on providing value for ABI members. When you next see them, please join me in thanking Nicole Crain, Kendall Antle, JD Davis, Michele Farrell, Jane Galloway, Brad Hartkopf, Levi Lefebure, Jessi McQuerrey, Holly Mueggenberg, Kelsey O’Connor, and Michelle Vollstedt. I am grateful every day to get to work with them. 

NAM Weekly: Mixed Housing Data, Nominal Manufacturing Growth

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, focused on housing data (it’s mixed) and on manufacturing (it is showing slow growth). There is a lot of other data in the report, of course, so reply to this memo if you would like to read the report and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Mike Espeset: Ask Better Questions

You know that we enjoy your company newsletters and I have often cited the newsletter from ABI member Story Construction, StoryLine, in these memos.  Another good edition of StoryLine came out last week and it was headlined by a column by Story President and ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames).  In it, Mike cites the need to ask the right questions to get to the heart of an issue or a project.  It’s a thoughtful column and you can read it for yourself here: President's Perspective: Ask Better Questions - Story Construction.  Thanks for sharing, Mike! 

ABI Sees a Huge October

This month has given me pause to think about this same period for ABI in 2005.  Our balance sheet was a mess; we had no revenue coming in the door and making payroll every two weeks was a dicey proposition.  We had no events scheduled and membership was shrinking.  It was very quiet and not a good period in ABI’s history. 

Contrast that with October 2023; a very busy month.  Hundreds of members attended the annual manufacturing conference and Legends Luncheon.  Leadership Iowa kicked-off its 42nd year.  Members participated in perhaps the best ABI DC Fly-In ever and many other events were held as well.  Our balance sheet is strong, in fact, it has never been stronger.  Membership is growing.  In addition to state officials, National and international officials are seeking out ABI (U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ramin Toloui and Canadian Consul General Beth Richardson both visited the ABI office this month). 

It is the support of ABI members and YOUR leadership that is responsible for that growth and success!  Thanks to you, ABI’s 120th year is its best year yet!