The Best Weeks of Summer

September 9, 2022 | Iowa Manufacturing Kendall Antle, ABI Foundation,

And just like that, summer has come and gone. Students find themselves either returning to classrooms or moving back to campuses across the state to further their education. As they adjust to new schedules and daily routines, students won’t be the only ones reminiscing on summer.

This summer, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation hosted its 39th Business Horizons program (July 17-21) and 13th Leadership Iowa University program (August 7-11). Both these annual programs immersed students in what we define as “opportunities-awareness” curriculum. Students not only learned about themselves and developed key connections and skills to enhance their future, but also gained insight into opportunities they never knew existed in Iowa.


This action-packed week brought together 51 high school students from all four corners of the state (even a few beyond Iowa’s borders) to Central College in Pella. Students identified real-world problems to collaboratively tackle together while simultaneously attending breakout sessions, interacting with industry professionals, and touring local businesses. Amelia Bowen, junior at Oskaloosa High School, served as the class speaker. In her remarks, Amelia highlighted (1) what she took away from Business Horizons and (2) why it’s important for future students to attend Business Horizons.

“During Business Horizons, I was reminded that teamwork really does make the dream work. Minds spoke their opinions and something magical came of it – all because we gave teamwork its time to shine. Future students should attend because you acquire new insights on not only the world of business, but the real world in general. Take new opportunities, meet new people, be OK not being the one to call all the shots, and listen to everyone around you.” – Amelia Bowen, junior student at Oskaloosa High School


This fast-paced week brought together 21 emerging professionals representing eight different higher education institutions to the Des Moines metropolitan area. By way of networking events, engaging round-table discussions, and business visits, these student leaders discovered why Iowa is the ideal place to both live and work.

“Leadership Iowa University taught me that being vulnerable is not a weakness, it is courageous. Future students should attend because the relationships you form, the knowledge you gain, and the skills you develop during this program are anything but temporary. Growth only comes when you stretch outside of your comfort zone. Just like rubber bands, the more you stretch them the greater they grow in size.” – Jordan Rios, sophomore at Iowa State University.

The passing of summer is also a time for the ABI Foundation Team to breathe a sigh of relief. It is in that same breath, though, that we extend our sincerest heartfelt thank you to each of our sponsors, volunteers, speakers, and local businesses for empowering students along their pathway to professional success. Your contributions undoubtedly solidified these programs as the best weeks of summer!

The ABI Foundation cordially invites your business to join its growing list of community sponsors. Your involvement is integral to the development of Iowa’s emerging business and civic leaders. There are multiple sponsorship levels available to choose from. To learn more about how to become a sponsor, please contact