This Week: ABI Okoboji Executive Forum - Monday memo 7/31/23

July 31, 2023

This Thursday and Friday: Annual ABI Okoboji Executive Forum

A great crowd has already registered, but there is still time for you to register for this week’s 2023 ABI Okoboji Executive Forum.  Click here for more information and to register: Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (  The forum will be held Thursday and Friday (August 3rd and 4th) in the Okoboji area.  

Thursday afternoon’s events take place at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Okoboji.  Thursday evening, we’ll be at former ABI Chair Toby Shine’s (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) fabulous Okoboji Classic Cars facility.  Friday morning, we’ll be back at the Arrowwood.  The forum starts with lunch on Thursday and ends Friday morning. 

Starting with lunch this Thursday, the forum will produce a terrific program.  Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg will provide an opening address and then the well-known business valuation panel of ABI Advisory Council members led by ABI Board Member Casey Cason (Wells Fargo, Des Moines) and Kevin Lentz (Anthologic, West Des Moines) will present an interesting session on business succession.  Next, a terrific panel of ABI leaders will share comments about their businesses.  This great panel includes Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel), Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda).  Keynote Speaker Ben McLean (Ruan, Des Moines) will speak next.  At OCC that evening, ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield) will share compelling remarks.  Friday morning, attendees will be addressed by longtime ABI Board Member and Lakes-Area leader Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer).  As you can see, this is an exceptional program.  Join 70 other ABI leaders at the lakes later this month! 

Executive Committee Teleconference a Week from Wednesday; Board Will Meet in September; Register Now for Economic Forecast Luncheon Preceding the Meeting

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will hold their August meeting a week from Wednesday, on August 9.  Agenda items include discussions related to public policy, membership and events, and Foundation programs.  

Speaking of leadership meetings, the board will next meet on September 13.  The board will meet at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines at 1:00 that afternoon.    

The September meeting is an important one for several reasons.  First, it marks the first board meeting of the fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Second, it will involve board consideration and approval of the policies developed through the annual policy development process (by September 13, literally hundreds of ABI members will have participated in meetings to propose a slate of policies for 2024).  Please mark your calendars and make plans now to participate in this important meeting.  

As you read last week, the board meeting will be preceded by an Economic Forecast Luncheon (presented by ABI member Security National Bank) that will provide the latest information and analysis regarding the state of the economy.  You can find more information and register for the luncheon here: Summary - What is the Future of the Economy? Presented by Security National Bank of Iowa (  I hope you can attend the luncheon and then move across the hall for the ABI board meeting. 

ABI Environment Committee Meets Tomorrow; Employment and Workforce, Workplace and Product Safety to Meet Next Week

Speaking of the annual policy committee meetings, the meetings will be kicked-off in earnest tomorrow.  Members of the ABI Environment Committee will start the process with a meeting Tuesday.  Then, next week, the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee will meet (on Tuesday, August 8th) and the ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee will meet (on Wednesday, August 9th).  These committees will meet at ABI and thank you to Committee Chairs Kelly Jorgensen (AGP/Ag Processing, Eagle Grove), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston) and Rex Butler (CIPCO, Cedar Rapids)

The ABI Economic Growth Committee and ABI Tax Committee meet later in the month.  You can register for any of these meetings by clicking on them in the ABI Events Calendar at Events Calendar | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Brad Hartkopf Appointed to BIPAC Advisory Council

This news was shared with me earlier this year and I promptly forgot to include it in this memorandum.  ABI Senior Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf has been appointed to the Advisory Council for BIPAC, the Business and Industry Political Action Committee based in Washington, DC.  BIPAC (HOME – BIPAC) is well-respected as THE leader in employer-to-employee grassroots advocacy. It is focused on business, not partisanship. 

ABI is well-represented at BIPAC, as ABI Executive Vice President Nicole Crain was elected to BIPAC’s Board of Directors earlier this year as well.  Congratulations to Brad (and to Nicole, as shared previously) on this important appointment!

LIU Opens Session Next Week; See Invitations Below

The annual class of Leadership Iowa University will kick off its 2023 session a week from yesterday, on August 6.  The program seeks to educate, inspire, and develop college students as a foundation for Iowa’s economic growth and to encourage their on-going involvement in community and state initiatives.  

Go to to learn more.  As I mentioned last week, class members come from public, private, and community colleges all across Iowa.  These students will be tomorrow’s workforce and business owners; we look forward to their participation in LIU. 

Regarding LIU, here is a message from ABI Vice President Investor and Member Relations Michele Farrell:  We’re less than 10 days until the start of the 2023 LIU program. Thanks again in advance for your continued support of the Foundation programs!  You are invited to both events listed below. Please join us! 


You and your colleagues are invited to attend the ABI Foundation’s Wednesday Wind Down Networking Social. Join community and business leaders, Iowa ABI members, and Foundation programming alumni on Wednesday, August 9th from 5:00-6:30PM at the Betfred Sports Lounge at Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs. Light appetizers and beverages will be served. The LIU 2023 class will also be in attendance, so you’ll have an opportunity to meet and greet and offer advice as they prepare to bridge the gap between college and career. Light appetizers and beverages will be served. The event is free to attend. RSVPs are encouraged and can be made by letting me know you will be there (     


You and your colleagues are invited to attend the LIU Lunch with Leaders event. This event will be held at the Greater Des Moines Partnership (700 Locust St # 100, Des Moines, IA 50309) on Wednesday, August 9th from approximately 12:15-2:00PM. Join the LIU 2023 class and several members of the community for roundtable conversations on professional and personal development. 

Next in Series of ABI Automation Summits August 1st in Newton

ABI members have made it clear they find great value in the series of Automation Summits the association is sponsoring this year.  After events in Algona and Waterloo, the next summit will be held at the Newton Campus of Des Moines Area Community College on August 31st

Register now for this high-value event.  You will find information about cobots (and be able to see them in action), other automotive solutions to workforce and process issues, and talk to experts about cost/savings and other issues.  Click here to find more information and to register: Summary - Automation Summit (

New Board Member Orientations Continue

Meetings with new members of the ABI Board of Directors continue.  Thank you to these newly-elected ABI Board Members for their time and service: Katie Hall (Cargill, Clive), Sarah James (Principal, Des Moines), Dustin Katje (Pella Corporation, Carroll), Kelly McGriff (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Casey Mills (Mills-Shellhammer-Puetz & Associates, Sioux City), Brad Nielsen (Iowa America Water Company, Davenport), Kelli O’Brien (Union Pacific, Omaha), Chip Reeves (MidWestOne, Iowa City), and Andrew Schriner (Lumen, Des Moines.  You will have an opportunity to meet the new board members at a future meeting.  

Annual ABI Executive Open on the 28th

Many of you have commented to me that you are looking forward to the annual ABI Executive Open best ball-golf outing.  The open will be held on Monday, August 28.  As this memo goes to press, over 70 ABI members have already registered. The event will be held at the Glen Oaks Country Club, a fabulous private golf course in West Des Moines.  Register now to play golf. 

By participating, you’ll have fun and have an opportunity to network with great ABI members.  And, even you don’t golf, register now and join your fellow ABI members for the reception that closes out the day.  To find more information or to register, please go to Summary - Executive Open ( today. 

NAM Report Shares Positive Data

Today’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, shared a great deal of positive data.  That is good, because much of the data has been less than positive of late.  Solid gains in U.S. GDP is just one data point.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this memorandum and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Chip Reeves Featured in Business Record

There is a terrific feature included in the latest edition of the Des Moines Business Record about newly-elected ABI Board Member Chip Reeves (MidWestOne Bank, Iowa City).  Chip took over upon the retirement of former CEO Charlie Funk(MidWestOne Bank, Iowa City) and is leading the bank to continued growth and success.  Click here to read more about Chip: A Closer Look: Chip Reeves - Business Record.  You will be able to meet Chip at the upcoming ABI board meeting on September 13th.  In the meantime, congratulations to Chip on this great coverage! 

By the way, other individuals featured in this edition of the Business Record include former ABI Foundation Board Chair Kim Butler-Hegedus (Community State Bank, Ankeny) and member company CEO Melissa Ness (ConnectifyHR, West Des Moines); congratulations all around! 

Hanawalt to Mark 50th Wedding Anniversary Saturday

It is a big week this week, as former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) and Barb Hanawalt will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this coming Saturday, August 5th.  The celebration will actually take place at the family cottage in Okoboji, with 3 of the 4 Hanawalt sons being present to help celebrate.  In fact, one of those sons, someone we know well at ABI, Daniel Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), will also celebrate his birthday on Saturday! 

In typical humble fashion, Mark says, “It reminds me that I am truly blessed to have an individual put up with me for that long a period and our youngest son’s ability to tolerate his father and be involved in the 3rd generation of family leadership.”  ABI salutes Mark and Barb and Daniel.  Happy anniversary, happy birthday, and very best wishes to a great family! 

Jim Tyler Turns 99

Each year about now, because it coincides with his birthday, I note that former ABI Chair Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) is a terrific Iowa leader and a great guy. Jim turns 99 on Thursday (August 3rd) this year!  Happy birthday, Jim! 

Anniversary Tomorrow for Bill and Mary Zinkewich

Wednesday is the 54th wedding anniversary of former longtime ABI Board Member Bill Zinkewich (SSAB, Muscatine), and his wife, Mary Zinkewich.  Best wishes to Bill and to Mary and congratulations all around! 

The Business of ABI: Connections

For some reason, summer is a time when ABI members want to connect with each other (they do that all year long, but perhaps more so during the summer).  We receive these types of requests all the time and of course are pleased to do it.  This is an essential benefit you get as an ABI member, the opportunity to connect with others.  You certainly don’t need to pay anything additional for it. 

Want to add a customer?  Ask about a manufacturing process?  Seek information on a new location?  These topics and just about anything else you might want to discuss can be a part of a conversation with your fellow ABI members.  We want ABI members to do business with each other and will work hard to make it happen. Connecting folks is really what ABI is all about, so let us know how we can help you and thank you!