Two Months to Annual Conference - Monday memo 4/12/21

April 12, 2021

Conference Less than Two Months Away; Conference Committee Meets Tomorrow

A year ago, in the Monday Memo of April 13, 2020, the lead item was news that the annual ABI conference for 2020 had been cancelled due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.  That was a tough decision and a tough time. 

Cut to today and the news is much more positive.  The 2021 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference WILL be held and it will take place less than two months from today.  The conference will be held in Coralville-Iowa City June 8-10.  Two hundred people have already registered, with many more than that already reserving rooms at the conference flagship hotel, the Coralville Marriott.  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on  Using that same link, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at the newly renovated Finkbine Golf Course (, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  

ABI is closely monitoring things related to the conference.  Guidance from the CDC, Iowa state government, and other sources indicates that holding the conference in person is safe and appropriate.  In that regard, a number of health and safety protocols will be in place.  For example, a much larger convention arena that allows for social distancing and many other measures will all be in place for your protection.  Register NOW; you don’t want to miss this event! 

Related to this, the ABI Conference Committee meets tomorrow.  ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) and committee chair Janice Konchar (HNI Corporation, Cedar Rapids) and members have developed a fabulous event and again, you don’t want to miss it! 

May Board Meeting in Four Weeks

The final pre-conference meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held May 13.  The board will meet at the Embassy Suites on the River Hotel in downtown Des Moines.  Watch for more information soon. 

ABI to Join US Chamber for Congressman Feenstra Event; You Are Also Invited

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of ABI’s key national partners.  The Chamber is hosting a virtual event with Iowa Congressman Randy Feenstra this Thursday, April 15.  During the event, Congressman Feenstra will share the latest news from Washington, DC and respond to questions from the Chamber and ABI. 

You are also invited to participate in the event.  If you wish to do so, simply reply to this message and I’ll make sure you receive the necessary information. 

During his time in the Iowa General Assembly, Congressman Feenstra was a strong ABI supporter.  We continue to appreciate his support for business now that his service has moved to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Watch for Annual ABI CEO Survey

Each year, ABI surveys member CEOs regarding issues important to them and their businesses.  The survey differs from the quarterly business survey, in that the annual CEO survey is distributed to ALL member company CEOs and it surveys general issues; not what is expected in the coming quarter.  It is anticipated that the survey will be ready for your attention very soon.

When it is, please complete the survey (it should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes).  You will be able to read the results in the June edition of Business Record Iowa

Nominating Committee Work to Begin

As you read in last week’s memo, the ABI Nominating Committee will meet in a few weeks.  The committee is chaired by Immediate Past ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and will meet by Zoom on May 5th.  Other members include Andy Bramstedt (SSAB, Muscatine), Tim Conlon (Conlon Construction, Dubuque), Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola), and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).  

If you have someone you believe would make a great ABI board member, the committee wants to know about her or him.  Simply contact one of them, or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

Advisory Council Meeting Thursday

The members of the ABI Advisory Council will hold their monthly meeting Thursday Please join me in thanking the members of the council.  They are ACS, Anthologic, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC Insurance, Focus OneSource, Fredrikson & Byron, HDH Advisors, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal Midwest Business Center, The Iowa Clinic, and Wells Fargo

These organizations can be terrific resources for you and your employees.  Don’t hesitate to contact them for information and assistance.  We are grateful for their premium support for ABI. 

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the Des Moines Business Record, ABI publishes Business Record Iowa.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  

The April edition focuses on bridging Iowa’s digital divide and ABI Board Member Taylor Teepell (Lumen, Des Moines) can be found on the cover.  The magazine should now be in your mailbox, inside the Des Moines Business Record.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you at once. 

2021 ABI Okoboji CEO Forum Will Knock Your Socks Off

Right now, we are focused on producing a fabulous annual Taking Care of Business Conference in June.  Thanks to terrific work by the Conference Committee and so many others, I assure you that you will not be disappointed.  It WILL be a fabulous conference.  However, planning for another event is also well underway and it, too, is shaping up to be truly spectacular. 

Some years ago in response to members, ABI created the ABI Okoboji CEO Forum.  Each year, the event gets better and better.  Last year’s event had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but wow, the event is coming back this year with a splash. 

Principal Chairman President, and CEO Dan Houston (Principal, Des Moines) will keynote the event.  A spectacular owner’s panel, including Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), Toby Shine (Shine Bros. Corp., Spencer), and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City) and one other person for which we are awaiting confirmation, is also a part of the program.  Also included is a high-value panel presented by the ABI Advisory Council.  And the event will be capped off with a tour and remarks by longtime ABI member Butch Parks (Parks Marina, Okoboji).  Everything kicks-off at the beautiful Waterfront Events Center on East Lake Okoboji on July 29.  Watch for more information soon, but for now, block your calendar for this terrific event.  Don’t miss it! 

ABI Hosts Terrific Connecting Statewide Leaders Event

Last Thursday in Mason City, ABI hosted the latest in the series of Connecting Statewide Leaders programs.  A great crowd was on hand for the event, which was held in conjunction with the April session of the Leadership Iowa Class. 

A panel of leaders addressed attendees on business-education partnerships and then continued the discussion over lunch.  Thanks to all who attended, especially former ABI Board Member David Underwood (CFO-On-Demand, Clear Lake), current ABI Board Members Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and Peter Voorhees (Standard Golf, Cedar Falls), and former ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner)

Foundation Board Meets THIS Wednesday

In last week’s Memo, I indicated that the board of directors of the ABI Foundation was to meet last Wednesday.  Well, I was off by a week.  The board will actually meet this week, on Wednesday, the 14th.  I apologize for the error. 

Raytheon, Collins Aerospace Celebrates Anniversary; Announce “Connect Up”

A year ago, Raytheon Technologies was created.  The largest of the four Raytheon business is longtime ABI member Collins Aerospace.  As you read about in last Thursday’s ABI newsletter, Raytheon is marking the anniversary not with cake and ice cream, but with a profound and massive corporate responsibility initiative that will transform itself and the people it serves. 

“Connect Up’ is a new 10-year, $500 million investment in programs that bring transformative, generational change and address present-day problems.  It combines philanthropic capital, non-profit partners, and employees to support communities across the world.  Click here for more information:  This is an incredible and breathtaking commitment.  Congratulations and thank you to Raytheon and to Immediate Past ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) on this fantastic announcement! 

Bankers Advertising/TruArt Wins Five-State Print Competition

One of ABI’s founding members was again in the news last week.  Bankers Advertising/TruArt received an award for outstanding achievement in W-2 Promotional Campaigns (Consumer Division).  The prize was a part of the annual Star Awards competition hosted by Printing Industries of the Midlands, a regional trade association.  Congratulations to everyone at the company, including its leaders, former ABI Chairs Bill Bywater (Bankers Advertising/TruArt, Iowa City) and David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/TruArt, Iowa City)

Diamond Vogel Again Honored for Paint Iowa Beautiful

Two ABI members were in the news last week.  Each year (for 18 years now), ABI members Keep Iowa Beautiful and Vogel Paint Company sponsor Paint Iowa Beautiful.  This quiet program has resulted in well over 1,000 Iowa communities bettering themselves.  Last week, announcement was made of the communities honored with Paint Iowa Beautiful awards for 2021.  

Click here to read more about this year’s awards:  Congratulations and thank you to everyone at KIB and at Vogel Paint, especially to ABI Board Member Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City)

Happy Belated Birthday to Connor Deering

It was brought to my attention that I missed the birthday of ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola).  Connor celebrated last week, on April 7.  Sorry I missed it, Connor, and best belated birthday wishes from ABI! 

Miller Products Featured in Iowa Business Report Radio Show

A great ABI member, Miller Products Company, was the subject of a feature in Friday’s edition of the Iowa Business Report radio broadcast.  The program, as you know, is produced by well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein.  In my view, Jeff is Iowa’s best business broadcaster and ABI was pleased and proud to play a supporting role in his program’s first year. 

As a part of his show, Jeff carries a profile on an Iowa business (many ABI members have been featured).  Friday, Miller was profiled.  Click here to listen for yourself:  Thank you to Jeff and congratulations to everyone at Miller, including company President and ABI board Member Jack McFarland (Miller Products Company, Osceola)

Ali Krogman Joins John Deere

Many of you will recall Alison Krogman.  Ali is the daughter of ABI Board Member John Krogman (Elkhart Plastics, Atlantic) and his wife, Lisa Krogman.  Ali served as the summer intern at ABI some years ago and did a terrific job.  She has been serving in leadership positions at the Ankeny Area Chamber of Commerce since she graduated from college four years ago. 

John reports that Ali is joining ABI-member John Deere in its Des Moines Works operations in Ankeny.  Ali will serve as Communications and Administrative Assistant.  It is always great to hear about what is happening with ABI people (and former ABI people) and congratulations to Ali!  Thanks for sharing, John. 

Des Moines Gaming Club Featured in Register; on WHO-TV

Forgive me if I include a little news about an ABI member that is not affiliated with the board of directors.  Des Moines Gaming Club is a dues-paying member of ABI and is owned by Daniel Ralston of Des Moines.  Yes, you know his father. 

For some unknown reason, the company received a great deal of news coverage last week.  First, it was a part of a feature article carried by The Des Moines Register.  If you wish to read it, reply to this message and I’ll forward it. 

Later in the week, Des Moines Gaming was the subject of a news feature on WHO television.  You can view that piece here:  Now… if the club can just start making money…