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Monday Memo

EAB Advice for Employers - Monday Memo 8/19/13


EAB Member Kuester has Advice for ABI Members


ABI members know well Monique Kuester, the Employer Representative on the Iowa Employment Appeals Board (in fact, Board Member Kuester was one of the speakers at last week's meeting of the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee).  She has been a tireless advocate for Iowa employers and is a niece-in-law of former ABI Chair Joe Ryan (Delevan Corporation, West Des Moines).


Board Member Kuester frequently offers counsel for employers that is sound and practical.  Last week, she sent an email message to me related to hearsay evidence that provides information of value.  If you are interested in the message and information, please reply to this message and I will forward it to you at once. 


While employer representatives to the EAB are statutorily charged with representing employers, some members have not been as diligent with regard to that work.  Board Member Kuester takes the charge to heart and is aggressive in fulfilling her duties.  Those who underestimate her do so at their peril.  It is  a true pleasure to work with her and ABI members appreciate her service.


Executive Committee Meets; First ABI Board Meeting of the Program Year in Muscatine on September 25


Last Wednesday, ABI Chair Myron R. Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella) and members of the ABI Executive Committee held their monthly meeting.  The committee worked through a full agenda and will meet again immediately prior to the September board meeting.


The ABI Board of Directors will meet September 25 at HNI Corporation in Muscatine.  The meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the ABI Executive Committee that morning and by a series of events the day before for those who can participate.  You will receive much more information soon, including a detailed meeting packet  and map a week prior to the meeting.


The September board meeting is typically well-attended and is important for several reasons.  It marks the first board meeting of the ABI fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Because it also marks the first meeting of the board in three months, the agenda is typically full and involves action on a number of issues.  On behalf of Myron and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you in Muscatine for this important meeting.


Annual Policy Development in Full Swing


Some of the most important work done by ABI each year relates to public policy advocacy.  And the most important part of that process is the active involvement and leadership of ABI members themselves.  In order to ensure that ABI members have every opportunity to lead and guide this critical task, ABI hosted several meetings around the state and last week initiated a series of meetings in Des Moines to develop public policy positions for 2014.


It is the ABI Vice Chair who leads this process each year and thus Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly is chairing the 2013 process.  Last week's meetings included those of the ABI Environment Committee, chaired by Mick Durham (Grain Processing Corporation, Muscatine), the ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee, chaired by Rex Butler (CIPCO, Cedar Rapids), and the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee, chaired by Karen Miller (Manpower, Des Moines).  All three meetings enjoyed great crowds and terrific debate. 


There is still time for you and your employees to participate in the final two committee meetings.  The ABI Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Russ Cross (Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, West Des Moines), meets tomorrow and the ABI Tax Committee, chaired by Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City) meets Wednesday.  Please go to to register for these free meetings.  In the meantime and as you know, this process will conclude next month when you (the ABI Board of Directors and Past Chairs) meet to adopt final policies.  Thank you in advance for your involvement in this critical work.


2014 Convention Planning Well Underway


ABI members are still talking about the terrific 2013 ABI Convention held in June in Okoboji and throughout the Iowa Great Lakes region.  The hospitality and exciting venues made a lasting impression on all who attended. 


As you know,  the 111th Annual ABI Convention (Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2014) will be held in Cedar Rapids.  City leaders there are pulling out all the stops to welcome ABI and you will see some absolutely beautiful brand new venues.  Planning for the convention is well underway and is being ably led by ABI member company executive Kelly Barrick (GE Capital, Johnston).  Believe me when I say the 2014 conference is shaping up to be another spectacular meeting.  Venue and site visits continue in the coming weeks. 


ABI Executive Open September 16


The fifth annual ABI Executive Open best ball golf outing will be held Monday, September 16 at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines, one of Iowa's most exclusive and beautiful private clubs.  Register now to play golf and have dinner with your ABI colleagues (or just join us for dinner).  To find more information or to register, please go to the ABI webpage at and click on the big Executive Open icon or on the Events Calendar tab on the left.  Over 100 ABI members have already registered!


YPIowa Conference Friday in Ames


As you know, the ABI Foundation provides administrative support to Young Professionals of Iowa, our state's leading organization for young professionals.  YPIowa's biggest annual event is the yearly YPIowa Conference.  The 2013 edition of that event will be held Friday at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames (the Gateway was the site of the 2010 ABI Convention).


A terrific program is in store and the YPs on your staff will want to attend.  You are also invited and you can register at  Other events related to the conference will be held the night before, also in Ames.  Click on the above link for more information.


Elevate Website Getting Views


In recent weeks and months, you have learned more about ABI's new Elevate Advanced Manufacturing campaign.  Elevate is all about raising the profile of manufacturing in Iowa and connecting workers with employers.  It is being led by ABI board members Paul Gregoire (Emerson-Fisher, Marshalltown) and Lori Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield).


The campaign received a lot of press over the last 10 days and that press in turn has generated a lot of traffic to the campaign website.  Check it out at:


You'll receive a campaign status report at next month's meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  In the meantime, please contact me if you have questions or comments.


Today's Journal Headline Welcome


The front page of today's Wall Street Journal carries a welcome headline: "Manufacturers Gain Ground."  The article discusses the state of American manufacturing and the fact that after more than a decade of bad news, the U.S. trade deficit fell by over $2 billion last year.


The article reviews several statistics and data points but confirms what ABI manufacturers have known for some time.  Focusing on quality and innovation is a path to growth.  An increase in exports is good for manufacturers and for the U.S. in general.


August Birthdays Celebrated


Two longtime ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays.   ABI Board Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisors, Des Moines) celebrated his birthday Saturday (August 17) and former ABI Chair Sarah McDonald Hasken (A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co., Dubuque) celebrates her birthday tomorrow.  Happy birthday from ABI, Steve and Sarah!


BrownWinick Named "Leading Law Firm"


Chambers USA named ABI member BrownWinick a "Leading Law Firm" in its 2013 list of firms.  The list is published annually to recognize leaders in the field of law.  Congratulations to BrownWinick and to two of its partners, former ABI Chair Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines) and ABI Board Member Chris Sackett (BrownWinick, Des Moines)!


Vermeer Receives DOE Grant


Longtime ABI member Vermeer Corporation last week received a grant totaling almost $6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.  The grant will fund work related to reducing costs involved in harvesting, handling, and processing biomass feedstocks.  Congratulations to everyone at Vermeer, including company President and CEO, former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella)!


Michael Sadler's Mother Undergoes Surgery


Longtime ABI Board Member Michael Sadler (CenturyLink, Des Moines) is known as a great leader; he is also a devoted son.  He spent much of the past week at Iowa Methodist Hospital, where his mother underwent cardiac stent-placement surgery.  The surgery went well, but complications arose.  Mrs. Sadler is now doing better and is on the way to recovery.


ABI is keeping Mrs. Sadler, Michael and his wife, Eleena Sadler, and their daughter, Mykal, in our thoughts and prayers.  We send best wishes to Mrs. Sadler for a speedy recovery.



08/19/2013 7:17 AM