Annual ABI Advanced Manufacturing Conference Wednesday - Monday Memo 9/28/20

September 28, 2020

Advanced Manufacturing Conference Wednesday, Governor to Speak

As you have read about in the last few editions of this memorandum, one of ABI’s most popular annual events will be held this week.  The 2020 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference will take place virtually on Wednesday.  A strong crowd of around 150 has already registered for the event, but you can still register and participate by clicking on the following link:  

A terrific lineup of speakers has been developed for the conference.  The keynote presentation by nationally-known author Matthew Lamons will kick things off.  Another highlight will be the concluding session, which will feature great ABI leaders Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt).  And, you will not want to miss Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and strong breakout sessions.  Click on the link above and finalize your plans now to participate. 

ABI Members Revise Inventory Management Strategies

Over the years, one of ABI’s strongest member/partners has been the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University.  CIRAS is a terrific resource for Iowa businesses. 

And, many ABI member company executives have served on the CIRAS Industry Advisory Board over the years, too, helping make the organization even better.  Click here to see several members involved currently:  ABI Board Member Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) currently chairs the CIRAS board.  The board held its regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday by WebEx. 

One interesting discussion centered on inventory management.  The discussion reflected what I have heard from other ABI members.  That is that inventory management has changed with the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues.  Whereas folks used to manage closely (if not just-in-time, close to it), now, inventory seems to be expanding on both ends.  Manufacturers are working with their vendors to buy more inputs and keep them on hand.  That way, if the supply chain dries up, they will still be able to make product and fill orders. 

At the same time, folks seem to be expanding their stores of finished product.  That way, they can serve their customers and fill orders more quickly (when perhaps some others can’t).  Again, I have heard of this change in inventory management from other ABI members as well.  It is always interesting to learn from you how best to operate, especially during this extraordinary time. 

ABI Directory Updates Due Next Week

As you know, this is the time of year that ABI's member database is being updated.  Information from the database will be checked, formatted, and put into hard copy form for inclusion in the 2021 ABI Resource Guide.  The guide, in addition to including member data, includes information on the association's people, programs, and events. 

If there are no changes in your personnel or company information, you need do nothing.  If you have updates, simply send an email to Dorothy Knowles at  The deadline to receive updates is the end of next week (Friday, October 9).  Thank you in advance for helping us make sure your information is accurate. 

ABI to Host Childcare Event October 13

ABI members more often cite availability of quality, affordable childcare as an issue of concern.  In response, the association over a year ago became much more active in this area.  

The latest example of work with regard to childcare comes in October.  ABI will host an event entitled “Childcare Best Practices for Business.”  The virtual event will start at 10:00 a.m. on October 13th.  The program features businesses that have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide childcare solutions for employees.  To find more information and to register for this free event, click here:  

January Meeting at Convention Center; November Meeting Online

On January 13, 2021, the board will convene at the Veterans Memorial/Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines.  This is the same location as the annual ABI Legislative Reception (our organization’s second-largest event of the year).  By meeting at the convention center, you will not need to change locations or move your car between events. 

All this presupposes that in-person meetings will be taking place in January.  While we earnestly hope that is the case, we are also making alternative plans should a change need to be made.  Please stay tuned for further details. 

In the meantime, the board’s next meeting will be a virtual one, to be held November 12.  Look for meeting information to arrive in your email in-basket about a week in advance of that meeting. 

ABI Environment Committee to Meet October 20, DNR Officials to Speak

One of ABI’s largest policy committees is the Environment Committee.  Dozens and dozens of association members from inside and outside Iowa participate in the work of this committee, which has achieved important results on behalf of members. 

The committee will hold its next meeting on October 20.  Featured in the program are Ed Tormey and other officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The latest information about DNR regulatory practices will be a focus.  Learn more and register at  

ABI Kicks-Off Webinar Series in October

Members have asked for it and ABI is delivering it: more quality programming.  ABI will kick-off a six-part webinar series on October 29.  Between then and early December, ABI will present a series of programs on a variety of business-related topics. 

The first webinar focuses on e-commerce and association member Michael Bird (Spindsutry, Clive), a digital and e-commerce expert, will be the keynoter.  Go here for more information:  Check the ABI Events page for more info. 

Episode 39 of Iowa Business Report Radio Program Broadcast

The Iowa Business Report broadcast its 39th episode over the weekend and it was another in a series of terrific shows.  As you know, the show is the result of a great a partnership between well-known Iowa broadcaster Jeff Stein and ABI.  If you missed it, you can click here to listen for yourself:  Links can also be found on the ABI website at  

Taiwan Trade Official Reaches Out to ABI; Trade Restrictions Lifted, New Bilateral Trade Agreement in the Works

It was a pleasure last week to connect with Chin-Sung Cheng, the Director of the Economic Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.  Chin-Sung wanted to make sure that ABI members knew about the lifting of trade restrictions between Taiwan and the United States.  Further, Chin-Sung notes that Taiwan hopes this leads to a new bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan (our nation’s 7th largest trading partner) and the United States.  

We appreciate the information and value the prospect of even greater trade.  Thank you to Chin-Sung for the information. 

NAM Report: Increases for Real Median Income, Manufacturing Production

Last week’s National Association of Manufacturers’ Monday Economic Report led with information about positive moves in two key data points.  In fact, one was a record. 

Real median income was at almost $69,000 (a record).  And manufacturing productivity rose by a full percentage point.  Good news during this time of a global pandemic. 

Should you wish to read it for yourself, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Birthday Wishes to Kim Augspurger and John Krogman

ABI Board Member Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) recently celebrated her birthday and ABI Board Member John Krogman (Elkhart Plastics, Atlantic) will celebrate his birthday on October 6.  Happy birthday to Kim and John.