ABI Executive Open Today - Monday Memo 8/26/19

August 26, 2019

Today:  The 2019 ABI Executive Open

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2019 Open will begin with a shotgun start later today at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines. 

The event is a way for members to connect with each other in a fun way and I have been told frequently that a lot of business is conducted at the outing every year.  Whether you come for golf or not, join your ABI colleagues for the reception at 4:00 this afternoon.  

It rained on me during my commute in this morning and more rain is predicted.  However, it appears that dry weather will be around just long enough this afternoon for golfers to enjoy a day on the course.  See you at Des Moines Golf later today! 

Board to Meet September 11, Collins Aerospace Tours Follow Meeting

As you know, ABI Chair Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 11 for the first meeting of the fiscal year.  This is an important meeting and the board will be asked to consider and act on several issues.  

The board will meet at the Marriott Hotel in Cedar Rapids.  The agenda is a full one, with several issues to be considered.  Be on the lookout for a board packet and map to arrive in your email in-basket around September 4.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2020 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  The board will be welcomed to town by Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart.  

Many of you have already registered for the board meeting, at which lunch will be served.  If you have not already done so, you can register by simply replying to this memorandum.  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of Cindy and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

New Board Members to Attend First Meeting

This September meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will mark the first for newly-elected directors.  Thus, you will have the opportunity to meet the new board members and welcome them to the board.  

Joining in the board this year are Tom Bosch (Shive-Hattery, West Des Moines), Scott Folkers (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), Eric Lohmeier (NCP, Des Moines), Gary Nordquist (LMC Insurance and Risk Management, West Des Moines), Todd Robinson (Renewable Energy Group, Ames), Taylor Teepell (CenturyLink, Des Moines), Dennis Van Zanten (Pella Corporation, Sioux Center), Julie Vande Hoef (Alliant Energy, Des Moines), Josh Wilford (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown), Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board member, Jenae Jenison (Central College, Pella).  Congratulations again to these incoming leaders. 

Future Ready Iowa Regional Summits Coming Near You

As you may know, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa General Assembly have created the Future Ready Iowa Program.  One initiative of the program is the holding of regional meetings to help provide Iowa businesses with the tools, resources, and opportunities available to help grow their workforce and their business.  Many ABI members are hosting a regional meeting, or summit, in their area. 

Participation in the 90-mintue regional summits is free.  I encourage you to access this link https://www.futurereadyiowa.gov/registration to find out more and to register you or your staff for one of the summits nearest you.  Should you have questions or comments, please contact me.  Thank you very much.

Legislative Committee to Meet Next Week

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), will meet a week from Friday in Des Moines.  The meeting will mark the second-to-last step in the annual policy development process. 

Following on the many meetings held in Des Moines and around Iowa before it, the meeting next week will result in a final set of polices being developed for action by you and your fellow board members later this month.  Look for the final policy draft in your September board packet. 

Don’t Miss Leadership Iowa NEXT

In last week’s memorandum, I noted that the ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa program is holding the first-ever Leadership Iowa NEXT program.  This is a high-value program featuring terrific presenters.  Two of the presenters are your colleagues on the ABI Board of Directors, Jason Gross (EMC Insurance, Des Moines) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt)

The program will take place on September 5 and 6 in Perry.  Dinner on the evening of the 5th and the outstanding program on the 6th at the Hotel Patee will make for a terrific event.  Find more information and register at http://www.cvent.com/events/li-next/event-summary-fb934856fbe248ebb5a8a72729e44e56.aspx.  

Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner October 1st, Manufacturing Conference Next Day

The Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner is a great event.  The program was created by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and it honors Iowa's great manufacturing leaders.  The fifth annual dinner will be held at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona on the evening of October 1st. 

You do not want to miss this event!  Register now by clicking on the following link: http://www.cvent.com/events/legends-in-manufacturing-awards-dinner-and-or-advanced-manufacturing-conference/event-summary-a71b0b32353f4c90b7f43f517d599eb4.aspx.  Sponsorship opportunities also remain and if you wish to see information about them, please reply to this message. 

And of course the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference will be held the next day.  You can use the link above to register for the conference as well as the dinner.  Contact Prairie Meadows to make a hotel reservation.  You can do that here: http://www.prairiemeadows.com/.  See more information below about the conference. 

Winnebago CEO Mike Happe to Headline High-Value Program at Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference

ABI is pleased to present the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2019.  The conference will be held in Altoona on October 2nd.  

The speakers for this event are terrific.  The keynote speaker for the event is President Michael Happe (Winnebago Industries, Forest City).  This iconic manufacturing company CEO will have a fabulous message and you do not want to miss it.  Other terrific speakers are also on tap.  You can find out more by clicking on the link in the item above and then going to "Agenda" to see the detailed line-up of keynote speakers and breakouts that will come your way at the conference.  This event will provide terrific value for conference attendees.  See you there. 

ABI Members Invited to Faegre Baker Daniel M&A Conference September 10

ABI member Faegre Baker Daniel is well-known for producing a mergers and acquisitions conference each year.  The event consistently delivers a substantive program. 

As you read in last week’s Memo, the firm has invited ABI members to attend this year’s conference at NO CHARGE.  It will be held at the new Des Moines Hilton Downtown on September 10.  To access a code that will allow you to register free as an ABI member, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once.  In the meantime, here is a link to more information: http://www.cvent.com/events/2019-m-a-conference-des-moines/agenda-f079a72f02e84989b56bee87b28cffb4.aspx?i=8edd599e-e2aa-41bb-8cf0-73322605e3d5.  

YPIowa Conference September 20 in Ottumwa

As you have read in the last couple of Monday Memos, Young Professionals of Iowa (our state's leading organization for young professionals) will hold its annual conference in a couple of weeks.  The 2019 YPIowa conference will be held on September 20th in Ottumwa.  Find more information and register at http://ypiowa.com/events/yp-iowa-conference/.   

Michelle Farrell to Swim with the Sharks

Longtime ABI Board Member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale) has been an ABI leader for many years.  She also is a leader with regard to ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative.

A third thing Michele leads at is cool vacations.  Late last week, Michele left Iowa for a sea-faring vacation in which she will swim, well, dive, with sharks.  She’ll spend days on board a boat – and hours actually in the Pacific Ocean, face-to-face with sharks and other sea creatures.  Click on this link to see more information about what Michele is up to this week: https://www.dresseldivers.com/liveaboard-diving/white-shark-diving-guadalupe-liveaboard/.  Best wishes to Michele on this fabulous vacation and we can’t wait to hear all about it when she returns! 

EFCO Donates Books for ABI Library; Legacy Chronicled

It was a wonderful surprise last Wednesday when former ABI Chair Al Jennings (EFCO, Des Moines) showed up at the ABI office.  He brought with him the latest edition of the EFCO magazine, FORM MARKS, and three books.  Published by EFCO, the books offer a fascinating insight in to some of the company’s most complex business decisions and to its culture.  

One book, entitled “The Legacy of EFCO: From One Generation to the Next,” tells the compelling story of the company’s founding amidst the Great Depression and the many decades of hard work and success that have followed.  A quote from Mr. Jennings aptly tells the story of American business.  He said that one legacy of EFCO employees was “Being part of a business organization that helps deliver jobs for people so that they can deliver value for themselves, our society, and our country.”  That is a fabulous statement about what it means to have a successful business and about the good a company does.  

The books also outline EFCO’s work to partner with companies and organizations (such as ABI and the National Association of Manufacturers) that can help each other grow and succeed.  Thank you to EFCO and to Mr. Jennings for the books (which are now part of the ABI library) and congratulations on eight decades of growth and success! 

Happy Birthday, Rich Phelan

Last Friday (August 23rd) was a special day for longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), as it was his birthday.  Happy birthday from everyone at ABI, Rich!

Jack Pray Back at Work and Getting Stronger Every Day; Will Celebrate Anniversary

You know ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines).  You may also know that Jack has been fighting cancer for the past several months.  Well, it was great to see Jack recently.  He has completed chemotherapy and is putting on weight.  Jack reports he is feeling much better, getting stronger every day, and is back at work full time.  That’s great to know and everyone at ABI sends you our very best wishes, Jack! 

It is also worth noting that Jack and his wife, Marsha Pray, are marking their 51st wedding anniversary on August 31.  That is another thing to celebrate!  Congratulations, Jack and Marsha!

The Business of ABI

Editor's Note: I have been including this item at the end of August for the past couple of years, because I am told that it is useful for newly-elected board members to see.  In case that is accurate, here it is once again.

As those of you have been reading these memos for years know, from time to time, I include an item called "the Business of ABI," in which I discuss a data point, or a metric, or some other issue related to how ABI itself runs its business.  I haven't done that for a while and because so many of the association's new board members asked about ABI's operating business, I thought I would share some comments about that this week.  Here are some things I know: 

First, I never forget that ABI really IS a business.  We have customers, we just happen to call them members.  If we aren't providing value to you, we aren't doing our job and there is no reason for you to invest in ABI.  The good news is that, thanks to you, ABI does provide value. 

Second, I know there are three reasons for ABI's success.  The first is because of terrific support from businesses literally in every corner of this state.  ABI is Iowa's oldest and largest statewide business organization and that support makes possible everything we do.  The second reason for success is great leadership from the ABI Board of Directors.  That is not simple rhetoric; your leadership has resulted in tangible and measurable improvements in ABI.  The third factor in ABI's success is due to great work by a staff focused on implementing the vision you set for us each year.  

Finally, I have been asked about my focus at ABI when I started almost 15 years ago.  I was excited then to get to work for and with some terrific people.  I am still excited about that today and each day I commute to Des Moines thinking about what can be done THIS day to make ABI better. 

Many of you already know the story; it seemed to me back in 2005 there were so many things that needed addressing, I had to find a way to focus.  So, I came up with a plan called "It's as Simple as ABC."  "A" stood for accountability in decision-making and results.  It seemed like that had been lacking and we needed to instill it from the top (the board of directors) down (the staff). 

"B" stood for balance sheet.  ABI's balance sheet was a mess.  We were spending more than we were bringing in and there was no focus on our cash position or on program metrics.  "C" stood for communication.  There was not a lot of communication between board members, between the board and the staff, or between staff.  

The data shows that all of these areas have been addressed.  And again, that is due to great leadership from you and hard work on the part of the board and members and staff.  I am eager for ABI's new board members to have the opportunity to see this first-hand and to work with you who have been on the board for some years.  

The strength of ABI is its members.  If ABI can continue to build an association as great as those members, another 116 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.