Two Weeks to Manufacturing Conference - Monday Memo 9/18/23

September 18, 2023

Manufacturing Conference with Legends Awards Luncheon in TWO WEEKS

One of ABI’s most popular annual events will be held two weeks from this Wednesday.  The 2023 ABI Iowa Manufacturing Conference will be held at the FFA Enrichment Center on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny on October 4th.  Register now for this important event at Summary - Iowa Manufacturing Conference & Legends In Manufacturing Awards (  

A terrific program has been developed for the event.  High-value workshops, manufacturing tours, and two great keynote addresses by Director of Corporate Economics Dr.Kanlaya Barr (John Deere, Moline) and retired naval commander Dr. Mary Kelly, and more are all on tap.  The conference is even more special this year, as the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards will be presented during the conference luncheon.  Click here to read more:  

Thank you to the leading sponsors for the event: ABI, Agri-Industrial Plastics, the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University (CIRAS), Community State Bank, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and RAMCO Innovations.  This event has become a must-attend for ABI members in recent years and the Legends Awards are always a fun celebration of Iowa manufacturing.  See you at DMACC in two weeks. 

November 15 Board Meeting to be Held at ABI

The ABI Board of Directors will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, November 15.  The board will meet at ABI Headquarters at 400 East Court Avenue in Des Moines' East Village.  Watch for more information soon. 

The board will also meet in Des Moines at ABI on January 10 and March 6 of next year.  A special meeting is on tap on May 8, as the board will meet at longtime ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Des Moines.  Finally, ABI will host a fabulous annual conference in Davenport next June. 

ABI Advisory Council Convenes Thursday

As you know, the members of the ABI Advisory Council provide important support to the association and to all ABI members.  Certainly the financial support provided is of value, but even more valuable are the resources and business solutions provided by the council. 

The advisory council will hold its monthly meeting this Thursday.  Thank you to ABI Advisory Council members Anthologic, AssuredPartners, Bankers Trust, BCC Advisers, BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Fredrikson & Byron, G&A Partners, HDH Advisors, Principal Financial Network of Central Iowa, The Iowa Clinic, Wellmark, and Wells Fargo

CIRAS Panel to Meet

The Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University is a key ABI partner and the CIRAS Industry Advisory Council will meet a week from Thursday at ISU.  Several ABI member companies are represented on the council and over the years, many members of the ABI Board of Directors have also played leadership roles on the CIRAS Council. 

Next week’s will focus on a data review and advanced manufacturing assistance programs.  Watch for news of CIRAS events and services to come your way in the near future. 

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference Next Week

As you know, ABI and a number of other organizations partner each year in producing the Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference.  The 2023 conference will be held next week (September 26 and 27) at the Overland Park Convention Center in suburban Kansas City.  The agenda for the conference is packed full of information and your team members who attend will receive the very latest in environmental regulatory information.  Find more information and register by clicking on    

ABI Board Holds Great Meeting; Watch the SNL Blue Bunny Sketch (Again)

This memorandum is meant to be a forward-looking report, but on behalf of our officers, THANK YOU to the many of you who made the September ABI board meeting so successful.  As it is the first meeting of the fiscal year, it is always important that the September meeting goes well.  Thanks to you, it did. 

The meeting was preceded by a great (and well-attended) economic forecast luncheon sponsored by ABI member Security National Bank.  The board meeting itself had great participation, it was substantive, and it was marked by strong engagement and good discussion.  That is not just rhetoric, as your participation in board meetings is critical to ABI's success.  So, again on behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and our officers, THANK YOU for your support.  

As always, the highlight of the board meeting was the business reports provided by all of you, the member of the ABI Board of Directors.  It is always of interesting to hear about what is happening in your business, your industry, and your part of the state.  

ABI Board Member Lesley Bartholomew (Wells Enterprises, Le Mars) shared comments about Wells’ recent acquisition by Ferrero Group.  She also mentioned something shared at the 2022 September board meeting.  That is a sketch featuring one of Wells’ best-known brands, Blue Bunny ice cream, on the hit NBC television show Saturday Night Live.  Wells officials had no idea the brand would be featured and had no control over the sketch, I linked to the sketch after last year’s September meeting.  After Lesley’s comments last week, I revisited it and it is still funny.  If you wish to see it, or see it again, here is a link to view it yourself:  

Stanton Technology Park Can Host Your SW Iowa Expansion

ABI members contacted us about a new development in the SW Iowa community of Stanton.  Community partners have developed a state-of-the-art technology campus.  If you are considering a SW Iowa expansion and are looking for land, incentives, and access to high-speed connections, this could be just right for you.  Click here for more information: Stanton-Technology-Park-Information.pdf (  

Report Provides Workforce Data

The Center for Manufacturing Research, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, publishes a monthly report with information about the manufacturing workforce.  This month’s report, which was released last Thursday, starts with a focus on the increase in the workforce involved in manufacturing.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

CemenTech Hosts Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley

You have heard me say often that the single biggest thing you can do to help advance ABI’s public policy agenda is to host candidates and elected officials in your plants and offices (everyone benefits by touring your facilities, interacting with your employees, and learning about the real-world impact of legislative activity).  Another great ABI member hosted a candidate last week, as CemenTech welcomed presidential candidate Nikki Haley at its Indianola plant.  Read more here:  

Thank you to CemenTech and its president and CEO, longtime ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola).  On another note, Connor let me know that the recent fundraiser CemenTech and others hosted to benefit the families of workers killed in the line of duty (see last week’s Monday Memo) netted over $122,000!  Congratulations to Connor and everyone involved! 

Hank Norem Featured by Simpson College

ABI Board Member Hank Norem (Ramco Innovations, West Des Moines) will be featured in an event involving his alma mater, Simpson College.  Hank will be interviewed by Simpson President Jay Byers.  The event will take place a week from Wednesday at Ramco.  For more information, reply to this memorandum and I’ll get it to you.  By the way, there is another person with ABI ties that will be featured in a similar event later this fall.  Watch for more information about that to come your way soon.  In the meantime, congratulations, Hank! 

Kelsey O’Connor Named to WIM Leadership Team

It was fun to learn last week that ABI Communications and Marketing Director Kelsey O’Connor has been named to the leadership team for the Iowa Chapter of Women in Manufacturing.  Kelsey co-chairs the chapter’s work with regard to social media, something with which she is quite skilled.  Kelsey is a terrific member of the ABI team and we are excited that she has been recognized in this way.  Congratulations, Kelsey!  

Levi Lefebure Featured by West Des Moines YP Organization

West YP is the young professionals organization created by the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.  This month, in its member spotlight, the organization highlights Levi Lefebure, ABI’s Member Services Coordinator.  Click this link (and then click the questions) to see the feature about Levi.  Levi has been a great addition to the team at ABI.  Congratulations on the great coverage, Levi!