Annual ABI Executive Open Tees Off - Monday Memo 8/27/18

August 27, 2018

Today:  The 2018 ABI Executive Open

One of the most popular of events hosted by the association each year is the annual ABI Executive Open.  The 2018 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.  While it rained on me all the way in from Story County this morning, weather radar shows that it should be dry by tee-off. Whether you come for golf or not, join your ABI colleagues for the reception at 5:00 this afternoon.  

Board to Meet September 12, Business Court Judges to Address ABI Board

As you know, ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) and members of the association’s Board of Directors will convene September 12 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 Reiman Gardens in Ames.  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 5.  The agenda will include action on the association’s 2019 policy recommendations, program reports, and other important issues.  

Two special guests will be present at the board meeting.  Iowa Business Specialty Court Judges Michael Huppert and Lawrence McLellan will update the board on the business court and its proceedings. Click here for more information about the court:  

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 simply by replying to this memorandum.  Your participation in this meeting is important and on behalf of David and our other officers, thank you in advance for attending. 

New Board Member Orientations Completed This Week

This week marks completion of orientation sessions with newly-elected members of the ABI Board of Directors. Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be meeting with new ABI Board Member Rich Dwyer (Kent Corporation, Muscatine).  Rich has long been active in ABI (and was a member of the 2017-2018 Leadership Iowa Class) and it is exciting to see him now join the board. 

You will have a chance to meet Rich and fellow new board members Matt Ahmann (Principal, Des Moines), Brett Bosworth (R&R Equity Partners, West Des Moines), Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola), Phil Jones (Rada Manufacturing, Waverly), Nick Gerhart (FBL Financial Group, West Des Moines), Randy Moore (Iowa American Water, Davenport), Mindi VandenBosch (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board member, Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt) at the meeting in Ames next month.  Congratulations again to these incoming leaders. 

Legislative Committee to Meet Thursday

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair John Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic) will meet this Thursday 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 Thursday 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. 

Three Weeks Until Manufacturing Road Show, Register Now

As you know, ABI is always looking for new events that can add value for you and your company. The newest event is a manufacturing road show produced by ABI and longtime member CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University). 

The best practices road show will take place in a little over three weeks, on September 18 and 19. A chartered coach will pick up participants in various locations throughout Iowa.  Then, they will be taken to manufacturing operations in the Quad Cities and suburban Chicago.  To find more information and to register, please click on  The latest manufacturing technology will be on display and the tour will include live presentations by manufacturers who will share the latest in digital technology, process improvement, and best practices.  

Join in Russell Summer Celebration Wednesday

Longtime ABI member Russell Construction is hosting a summer celebration at its’ headquarters in Davenport this coming Wednesday (August 29th).  ABI is pleased to support the event and all of you – all members of the ABI Board of Directors and former Chairs of the Board – are invited to attend and there is no charge for doing so.  To attend, simply reply to this message and then show up at 4600 East 53rd Street in Davenport on the 29th.  Great food, great beverages, and great company are all on the agenda.  I’ll see you there! 

Elevate Ambassador Training to be Held in Davenport September 11

ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Ambassadors are critical to Elevate’s work to inform parents, students, and mentors about the terrific careers available in Iowa manufacturing companies. The next Ambassador Training Session will be held on September 11 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the John T. Blong Technology Center in Davenport.  You and your employees who participate (there is no charge to do so) will receive information about ABI and Elevate and be trained in delivering presentations.  In fact, a personalized presentation will be created for all participants.  To register for the session, contact Elevate Coordinator Alexandra Monaghan at  

Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner October 2nd, 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 fourth annual dinner will be held at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona on the evening of October 2nd. 

You do not want to miss this event!  Register now by clicking on the following link:  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:  See more information below about the conference. 

High-Value Program at Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference October 3rd

ABI is pleased to present the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2018.  The conference will be held in Altoona on October 3rd.  

The speakers for this event are terrific.  Click on the link above go 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. 

Iowans Seeking to Develop Information about El Salvadorans

A small group of people happened to stop by the ABI office last Tuesday (referred by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller) to raise an issue involving natives of El Salvador working in Iowa. The group is seeking information from Iowa employers who might be employing El Salvadorans. The information may be helpful in their goal to reverse the termination of Temporary Protected Status for the workers. If you fit this category and are interested in discussing this issue with this group, please reply to this memorandum and I will connect you. 

YPIowa Conference September 21 in Spencer

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 2018 YPIowa conference will be held on September 21st in Spencer.  Find more information and register at   

Happy Birthday, Rich Phelan

Last Thursday 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!

It is 50 Years for Jack and Marsha Pray

It was nice to hear from ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines) last week.  I knew it already, but Jack reminded me that he and his wife, Marsha Pray, will celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on August 31.  That is a wonderful milestone and ABI sends very best wishes to Jack and Marsha! 

Jane Galloway’s Sister Passes

Most of you know Jane Galloway, who joined ABI a few ago as the administrative support leader for the ABI Foundation. Jane is terrific and we are fortunate to have her as a member of the team.

I learned this morning that one of Jane’s sisters passed away unexpectedly in Ankeny over the weekend. Funeral arrangements are pending.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Jane, her husband, Paul Galloway, their two daughters, and Jane’s extended family.  We are so very sorry for their loss. 

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 twelve 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 115 years of success is in the bag.  THANK YOU for your support of ABI.