Annual ABI Conference a Smash - Monday Memo 6/15/15

June 15, 2015

Wow!  What a Conference!!

You are used to reading that exclamation in the first Monday Memo after the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; that’s because every year it is appropriate.  ABI members from across Iowa and from other parts of the nation converged on the Quad Cities last week for the association’s 112th Annual Convention.  As has each conference for the past several years, last week's event set an attendance record.  That and the great local hospitality, exciting venues, nationally-known speakers, and terrific events made the 2015 ABI Taking care of Business Conference something very special. 

Many of you called it absolutely ABI’s best convention ever. 

As you know, the annual convention is important to ABI for several reasons.  While the revenue raised by the convention is one of those, even more important is the event’s value as a source of programming and information for members.  And even more important than that, the annual convention helps continue ABI’s momentum and provides members and sponsors with the very best business networking in Iowa.  It is abundantly clear that this annual meeting achieved the convention committee’s goals related to revenue, programming, and networking.

On behalf of the ABI Board of Directors, THANK YOU to all members, sponsors, and convention attendees for your time and support last week.  Special thanks go ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), a terrific conference committee chaired by Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale), and to staff leader Holly Mueggenberg.  Nicole Crain, Kay Neumann-Thomas, Dorothy Knowles , Chrissy Blake, Michelle Vollstedt, Emily Schettler, Mary Mendenhall-Core, Jessi Steward, Zach Dalluge, and Rachel Geilenfeld also deserve special thanks.  Finally key on-site help also came from staff assistants Barbara Vos and Ali Krogman.

ABI members are off to a convention in another great city for the 2016 conference.  See you in Sioux City next June!

Board Elections Held; Paul Gregoire New ABI Chair

At the Annual Business Meeting held last Wednesday in the Quad Cities, ABI members elected new officers and directors for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.   Paul Gregoire (Emerson-Fisher, Marshalltown) was elected Chair, Lori Schaefer Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) was elected Vice Chair, David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) was elected Treasurer, and David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) was electedSecretary.  Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) is Immediate Past Chair. 

Executive Committee members were also elected, including returning members Roger Hargens (Accumold, Ankeny)and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City).  New members are Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Richard Phelan (LyondellBassell, Clinton), and Charles Richardson (AKS Precision Ball, Clarinda).

New board members from across the state were also elected and they will take office (along with the new officers and Executive Committee) on July 1.  Retiring board members have provided important leadership for ABI and they will soon be officially recognized for their service.

Paul Gregoire is a longtime ABI board member and a well-known Iowa business leader.  He is Global Vice President for Human Resources for Fisher, one of the leading subsidiaries of Emerson Corporation, one of the world's leading and most innovative manufacturers.  Paul is active on several boards and initiatives, including the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Marshalltown Regional Partnership, Marshalltown Business Education Alliance, and others.  He and his wife, Karn Gregoire, are proud parents and grandparents and well-known throughout Iowa.  Congratulations to Paul and to our other officers and directors.

Conference, Other Issues Draw Media Coverage

Last week's annual ABI conference drew members of the media, who covered the event itself, the appearance by our keynote speakers, and other issues.  You can see some of the coverage in this week's ABI newsletter, which, as always, will be published Thursday.

Lieutenant Governor Addresses Convention by Video

Inviting the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa to the annual convention is an honored ABI tradition.  Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds was scheduled to address the conference, but had to decline, due to the birth of her new granddaughter (her seventh grandchild).  She did address the convention by video.  It is always a treat to have the Governor and/or  Lieutenant Governor with us; congratulations to Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and her family upon this happy occasion! 

Leadership Iowa Class Graduates, Tom McMahon Named 2015 Leadership for Iowa Award Winner; 2015 Business Horizons Session Fast Approaching; Auction Successful

At a ceremony held Thursday, members of the 2014-2015 Leadership Iowa Class graduated.  Class members have demonstrated a real commitment to continuing their leadership activities and it is clear that our state will benefit from these committed young leaders.  Congratulations to everyone, including class member and ABI staff member Nicole Crain!

Also last week, the 2015 Leadership for Iowa Award was presented to longtime Iowa business leader Tom McMahon (Barker Company, Keosauqua).  Tom has been an incredible leader for ABI and the ABI Foundation for many years.   ABI congratulates and sends best wishes to Tom! 

The focus of the ABI Foundation now shifts to the upcoming session of Business Horizons.  As you know, BH is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students and this year’s session will take place later this month on the campus of Central College in Pella.  Please go to for more information.

In other Foundation news and thanks to all of you, last Tuesday evening's Foundation Auction was a huge success.  Several thousand dollars was raised and every penny of it will go to support programs for Iowans.

A special thank you goes to ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Hill-Phoenix Barker Specialty Products - Keosauqua) and his able assistant Chad Christensen (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield).  Nate's talent and support has become a big part of the conference and the Foundation.  Thank you, Nate and Chad!

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Published Last Week

ABI members around Iowa have shared with us that they enjoy the new Business Record Iowa publication that ABI produces in conjunction with the Des Moines Business Record.  This newsprint product is produced monthly (as opposed to quarterly with the ABI's previous publication) and goes to a much wider distribution list.

The June edition of Business Record Iowa should have hit your mailbox last week.  It is inside the Business Record - look for the cover photo of ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly).   If you did not receive a copy of the latest BR Iowa, we'll get a copy to you. 

Kendig Kneen Celebrates 30 Years at Al-Jon

Former ABI Chair Kendig Kneen (Al-Jon, Ottumwa) this month marks his 30th anniversary of service at his family's company in Ottumwa.  ABI sends congratulations and good wishes to Kendig!

ABI Staff Deserves Your Thanks

At the end of this month, ABI will complete the association’s 2014-2015 fiscal year.  Thanks to strong leadership by all of you, the past year has been filled with success.  ABI completes its year in a position of great strength.

Another factor in ABI’s success is strong staff work.  Nicole Crain, Kay Neumann-Thomas,  Holly Mueggenberg, Chrissy Blake, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Emily Schettler, Mary Mendenhall-Core, and Jessi Steward are doing simply great work.  At ABI, we never forget that it is all about the members and these staffers ensure that is the case.  Please join me in thanking them for their efforts.

The Business of ABI: Convention Edition

As you know, the metrics associated with ABI’s annual convention have been steadily growing over the past several years.  There is a very real momentum at ABI that ensures the association’s long and proud history is leading to an even stronger and more successful future.  Members tell me they can hardly wait until next year’s 113th Annual ABI Convention to see what will happen.  On behalf of Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly)and soon-to-be Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) and our other officers, THANK YOU for making the convention – and our association – so successful.