Vote for Coolest Thing Made in Iowa - Monday Memo 4/22/24

April 22, 2024

Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Moves to Voting Phase Today

In last week’s memo, I noted that nominations (ABI received 85 nominations!) had closed related to ABI’s newest initiative, the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.  The competition, a partnership with longtime member MidWestOne Bank, showcases the Iowa manufacturing industry’s best innovations, craftsmanship, and state of the art technologies.  

For a variety of reasons, not all of the Coolest Thing nominations qualified for the competition, but for the sixty-plus that did, voting starts TODAY to begin to narrow down the list.  Stay tuned for more information… and start voting for your favorite to be named the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa! 

Legislature Adjourns; ABI Legislative Update Friday; Regional Public Policy Meetings

The Iowa General Assembly adjourned its 2024 session very early on Saturday morning.  That makes this week’s ABI Legislative Update of special importance, as the ABI policy team will summarize the results of the session (though I can tell you it was another very good session for ABI members).  ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf, who had many late hours during the final weeks of session, will hold the Update this Friday (April 26th).  You and your employees are encouraged to join us for the update at 8:00 a.m. This members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

In the meantime, ABI has established dates and locations for the annual regional public policy meetings.  The meetings will take place in May and will be held in Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Le Mars, and Waterloo.  Click here and scroll down for more information and to register:  

ABI Board of Directors Meets Wednesday, May 8; Adjutant General to Address Board

The ABI Board of Directors will meet Wednesday, May 8, at ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Des Moines. 

As you have read previously, the meeting begins with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and several special features will make the meeting one you won’t want to miss.  For example, Iowa Adjutant General Stephen E. Osborn will address the board during the meeting.  And, an optional tour of Atlantic Bottling new automated palletizing system will also be a highlight.  In that regard, thank you to ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) for hosting the board meeting.  

If you haven’t already done so, please register your attendance now by replying to this message.  Look for your usual packet of meeting materials to arrive in your email in-basket later next week.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you.  

Meg Schneider Joins ABI Tomorrow

You will recall that in the Monday Memo of April 1st, I shared the news that Meg Schneider would be joining ABI this month.  Meg’s first day will be tomorrow and we are excited to bring her on board as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Member Engagement (this is loosely the position previously held by Michele Farrell).  

Meg served as Senior Vice President at ABI-member the Greater Des Moines Partnership, where she had a long and very successful career.  She knows the association world, and she knows about serving members well.  She is smart, talented, dedicated, and professional.  Meg will make a terrific addition to the ABI team and you will be able to meet her at the May board meeting.  Welcome, Meg! 

Nominating Committee to Meet April 30

The ABI Nominating Committee will meet a week from tomorrow.  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 the committee members, or me, and we’ll make sure the names are considered by the committee.  

In the meantime, thank you to the committee, which is chaired by Immediate Past Chair of the ABI Board of Directors Kim Augspurger (Pigott, Des Moines – ret.), and includes the following ABI Board Members from each of the association's five state districts: District 1 – Jenny Steffensmeier (Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing, Pilot Grove),  District 2 – Gretchen Spear (International Paper, Cedar Rapids), District 3 – Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Urbandale), District 4 – Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), and District 5 – Stephen Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake).  

Don’t Miss ABI’s 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference; Final Site Visit Held Last Week

Finalize your plans now to attend the annual conference, which will be held June 4-6 in the Quad Cities.  You don’t want to wait to register for this terrific event!  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), thank you in advance for your attendance. 

Use this link to register, find hotel information, review the jam-packed agenda, and more: Summary - Taking Care of Business Conference (   Speaking of the annual conference, Chad led a delegation in a final site visit to Davenport last week.  The group confirmed that all necessary final preparations are underway to ensure a fabulous conference.  See you in Davenport! 

Mark Your Calendars for ABI Executive Open

One of ABI's most popular events each year is the annual Executive Open.  This year's open will again be held at the beautiful Glen Oaks Country Club (Glen Oaks Country Club ( in West Des Moines.  If you are not a member, it can be difficult to get the opportunity to play it.  Well, here's your chance.  Registration will soon be open for this event, which will be held on August 26th.  For now, please save the date on your calendar.  This event sells out every year, so make your plans now and look for registration information in an upcoming edition of this memorandum. 

Foundation Program Nominations, Elevate Scholarship Nominations All Due

As you have read in previous editions of this memorandum, now is an important time for programs of the ABI Foundation.  Programs such as Leadership Iowa (nomination period closed), Leadership Iowa University, and Business Horizons are all accepting nominations for participants in the next session of each program.  And, ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative is accepting nominations for its annual community college scholarships.  To nominate worthy individuals for the programs, please go here:  To nominate students for a scholarship, please go here:  Thank you for your nominations! 

Schaefer-Weaton Appointed to CIRAS Board

Over the years, some terrific ABI leaders have lent their talents to Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).  CIRAS is a fantastic ABI partner and a great resource for Iowa business. 

It was announced recently that former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) has been appointed to the CIRAS Advisory Board.  Congratulations, Lori! 

St. Martin Acquires Rada Cutlery

There was big news out of Waverly last week, as longtime ABI member Rada Cutlery was acquired by St. Martin Holdings of Cedar Rapids.  Click here for more information:  Best wishes to ABI Board Member Phil Jones (Rada Cutlery, Waverly) on this big news! 

Underwood’s Celebrate

Former Longtime ABI board Member David Underwood (CFO-on-Demand, Clear Lake) checked in recently and it was good to hear from him.  After letting me know that many of you read this memo each week solely looking for my typos, David responded to my comment about being in Seattle for our son’s wedding (David was stationed in Seattle during his service with the U.S. Navy).  David also let me know that he and his wife, Margo Underwood, were soon headed to Texas for the wedding of their third grandchild (he notes they have four more grandchildren to get married at some point).  Thanks for checking in, David!  Congratulations to you and the whole Underwood family! 

Vollstedt Family Celebrates First Grandchild

You all know ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt, who does so much at ABI.  She and her husband, Dan Vollstedt, are in suburban Chicago as they welcome their first grandchild, a boy, who was born Friday.  Hudson Daniel Hey, 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 inches long, was born to his mother Taylor (Vollstedt) Hey and father Josh Hey.  Mother and son – and the whole family – are all doing great.  ABI sends best wishes and congratulations all around!