Three Weeks Until ABI Conference - Monday Memo 5/22/23

May 22, 2023

2023 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference Kicks-Off Three Weeks from Tomorrow

It is hard to believe that just three weeks from tomorrow, ABI members will convene in Cedar Rapids for the 2023 Taking Care of Business Conference.  The meeting, ABI’s 120th annual convention, will bring 600 people from Iowa and beyond to Cedar Rapids.  If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, you can do so NOW by clicking on:  

As I noted a few weeks ago, ABI Chair Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines), Conference Committee Chair Tami Anderson (Pigott, Des Moines), and the members of committee have developed a fabulous program.  The EASTBANK Venue, the site of the Welcome Reception on June 13, is terrific.  By the way, golf earlier in the day will take place at Ellis Golf Course, one of Iowa’s most beautiful public golf clubs.  Manufacturing and community tours are another highlight of Tuesday. 

A full day of programming will take place on Wednesday (June 14) at the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.  Nationally known, fantastic keynote speakers will lead the program.  High-value breakout sessions will further enhance your day and ALL speakers have conveyed a strong desire to provide you with the greatest of presentations.  

If you want fun, the Chair’s Dinner Wednesday evening will be another fabulous ABI celebration.  Held at the HarMac, this event will be fun, tasty, and high energy.  ABI has reserved the entire second floor and rooftop patio to ensure our attendees have the most fun possible.  And by the way, you’ll enter the HarMac through Pigott’s Cedar Rapids office, itself a fun and beautiful space, where you will receive a signature cocktail to begin the evening. 

Throw in Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a great ABI Foundation silent auction, Leadership Iowa graduation, and the very best business networking in Iowa, and you are certain to have an absolutely fabulous experienceOVER 420 ABI MEMBERS HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED.  See you in three weeks at the conference! 

Governor Reynolds to Address Conference at Lunch on Wednesday

As noted above, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will continue a decades-long tradition by governors of Iowa (regardless of party) by addressing the ABI Annual Conference.  Governor Reynolds will be the keynote speaker at lunch on Wednesday of the conference and will speak to conference attendees at around noon on June 14. 

Legislative Adjournment Means the Start of ABI Regional Meetings This Week

As you know, the Iowa General Assembly adjourned a couple of weeks ago.  That means it is time for the annual ABI Regional Policy Meetings, which always follow adjournment of the legislative session.  JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf will provide a read-out of the session and what legislative actions mean for your business.  And, we’ll gather your ideas and comments as we begin to prepare for the 2024 Iowa Legislative Session.  We look forward to visiting several ABI members in the coming weeks. 

The first regional meeting will be hosted by the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce this Wednesday (May 24).  The next meeting will take place May 30 at Cargill in Fort Dodge.  The following day (May 31) next day will bring the third meeting, hosted by Interstates in Sioux Center.  The fourth regional meeting will be hosted by Mississippi River Distilling in LeClaire on June 8.  The final meeting will be held at the ABI office in Des Moines on June 23.  Find more information and register at Events Calendar | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  In the meantime, thank you to the great ABI member companies that will host the regional meetings this year. 

Ruan’s Ben McLean to Keynote ABI Okoboji Executive Forum; Other Great CEOs to Speak

It seems that all Iowans know well the story of John Ruan, the Founder of Ruan Transportation Management Systems, and how he started his company with one truck.  Now, of course, the company has tens of thousands of trucks, thousands of employees, and moves freight all over the continent.  The company is also still led by a family member, 3rd generation CEO Ben McLean (Ruan, Des Moines).  Ben is a dynamic executive who will keynote this year’s ABI Okoboji Executive Forum.  Ben is a terrific speaker and the Ruan story is compelling, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear his remarks. 

Ladies and gentlemen, another fabulous agenda has been developed for the CEO forum.  There will be great, high-value programming on Thursday, August 3rd, including a panel of ABI Advisory Council members.  That will be followed by a terrific panel of ABI company board members, such as Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel), Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda).  That night, at a dinner hosted at former ABI Chair Toby Shine’s (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer) fabulous Okoboji Classic Cars, ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Companies, Fairfield) will share compelling remarks about his personal story.  And a terrific opportunity to hear from another great ABI member awaits attendees on Friday morning (August 4th).  ABI Board Member Bruce Tamisiea (Tecton Industries, Spencer) will speak about his company and other matters. 

Registration is now available at this link: Summary - Executive Forum (Members Only) (  This page also includes links to the program, and you can click on program links to find more information about the speakers and agenda.  Make plans now to join your ABI colleagues in August at the Iowa Great Lakes! 

CIRAS Board Meets Thursday at ISU

A valued ABI member-partner is Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service.  CIRAS is a fabulous resource for Iowa manufacturers and businesses of all kinds.  Over the years, many ABI leaders have also been involved in CIRAS and several are current members of the CIRAS Industry Advisory Board. 

The CIRAS Advisory Board will meet Thursday in Ames.  The current Chair of the CIRAS Board is ABI Board Member Phil Jones (Rada Mfg., Waverly).  Phil is also a member of the current Leadership Iowa class.  Watch for news of CIRAS developments in next week's ABI Monday Memo

NAM Report: Manufacturing Economy Shows Strength in North America, Cautious Optimism

Thursday’s edition of the National Association of ManufacturersGlobal Manufacturing Economic Update is another good one.  There is a lot of interesting data in the report, but the theme is something that we already know: manufacturers are a resilient bunch and they are cautiously optimistic about the coming months.  NAM also documents strength in the manufacturing sector in North America and cities other information.   If you wish to see the report for yourself, simply reply to this memorandum and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Sukup Marks 60 Big Years

In last week’s Memo, it was fun to report on several members that announced important anniversaries in 2023.  Well, there is another longtime ABI member celebrating.  Sukup Manufacturing Co. turns 60 years old in 2023.  That is a big deal and ABI sends best wishes and big congratulations to everyone at Sukup, including former ABI Chair and company Chairman Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield), and company President Steve Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield)

New Kreg Tool HQ is Cover Model for AIA Iowa Magazine

You have read in previous editions of this memorandum about the beautiful new headquarters and manufacturing plant for longtime ABI member Kreg Tool Company.  Located in south Ankeny and plainly visible from Interstate 35, the plant and attached administrative office building are simply gorgeous.  The latest proof of that can be found in the Spring 2023 edition of iaarchitect, the official magazine of AIA Iowa (AIA Iowa is the Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects).  Don’t take my word for it, click here and see the fabulous photos for yourself: Iowa Architect Magazine - American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter (  In the meantime, congratulations on the great spread to everyone at Kreg, including company Chairman and ABI Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool, Ankeny)

Latest Edition of Atlantic Bottling Newsletter focused on Growth; Special Anniversary Noted

It is always fun to read The Fizz, the newsletter from longtime ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company.  The May 2023 edition is another great read.  A highlight is always the front page column from company President and CEO (and ABI Board Member) Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines).  Rob’s message this month was focused on the terrific growth the company is seeing, with more planned for the coming months.  Rob expressed thanks to the employees for their hard work amid much change at the company.  Further inside, it was great to see Former ABI Chair Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) included in a photo.  And further back still, it was fun to read news of company employees celebrating service anniversaries.  One employee is celebrating his 45th year with the company this very month… that would be company Chairman (and Former ABI Chair) Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines).  Congratulations to Rob, Jim, and Kirk, and to everyone at Atlantic Bottling! 

The Business of ABI: Fiscal Year-End

Every year about this time (when there is just about a month remaining in ABI’s fiscal year), you read a similar message from me.  That is that while I never lose sight of where our organization stands as it pursues the objectives you set for us each year, I pay particular attention at this time of the year. 

With just over five weeks left in ABI’s fiscal year, metrics across the board are strong.  Thanks to YOUR leadership and support, ABI continues to be a thriving organization, with a solid and sound financial condition.  Be assured that is never taken for granted. THANK YOU.