Annual Conference A Month Away - Monday Memo 5/11//15

May 11, 2015

Flyer in Your Mailbox; 112th Annual ABI Convention Kicks-Off in Four Weeks

Registrations are running ahead of previous years for next month’s Taking Care of Business Conference, which is ABI’s 112th Annual Convention, with 350 already received.  Past history tells us that the busiest time for convention registrations is right now.  Thus, it is clear that another great crowd of 600 or so attendees will be on hand in the Quad Cities  next month.  There will be even more folks on hand for the Thursday appearance by keynote speakers Ken Blanchard and Patrick Lencioni.

The 2015 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be held June 10, 11, and 12.  You should have recently received a flyer with convention information.  Many of you have commented to me that you liked the flyer and, more importantly, were excited about the program developed for the convention.  If you have misplaced your flyer, please go to the association’s website at to find program and lodging information.  You will want to make your reservations now!

I say it every year, because every year it is true… terrific speakers, exciting venues, great golf, new events, and the very best business networking in Iowa make the annual ABI convention a must-see event.  I know you will get a tremendous return on investment by attending this year’s convention. 

Board Invades Cedar Valley, Holds Terrific Meetings; Read Saxton Blog

Many of you have taken the time to comment, call, or send an email message related to last week's events held in Iowa's Cedar Valley Region.  Many of us were in town for meetings on Tuesday, followed by dinner with the ABI Board in Cedar Falls that evening.  Thank you to ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) for leading the events.

Wednesday included meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors in Waverly and a terrific tour of the TechWorks Campus in Waterloo following those meetings.  A final meeting with Congressman Rod Blum ended the day.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo) for making the final events possible.  And a special thank you to all of you who attended.  The meetings provided great energy as we now focus on the annual conference.

By the way, if you want to read about the TechWorks tour, read a very interesting blog post written by ABI Board Member Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines).  Click on this link to do so:

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Out

ABI's monthly publication, published in conjunction with the Des Moines Business Record, is Business Record Iowa.  The monthly journal replaced the quarterly magazine and is distributed to a much-wider audience.  It has been well-received by ABI members, prospects, and the general public,

And, speaking of Business Record Iowa, the latest edition came out Friday and you will find ABI Board MemberJohnne Syverson (Transition Point Business Advisors, West Des Moines) on the cover.  BR Iowa should be hitting your mailbox today (if it hasn't already).  Be sure and let us know what you think about this publication and share your ideas about future content.

Holly Mueggenberg Now Member Programs Director

You know Holly Mueggenberg of the ABI staff.  Holly has led a terrific surge in the quantity, quality, and arrangements related to ABI meetings and events.  Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) even calls her ABI's "Events Ninja."

Because of the transition in other staff members, Holly has assumed more responsibility and is doing even more great work.  In recognition of that, Holly has been promoted and is now Member Programs Director.  Please take a moment to congratulate Holly and to thank her for all she does for ABI members.  Congratulations, Holly!

Nominating Committee Meets Thursday

Immediate Past Chair Myron R. Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella) also chairs the 2015 ABI Nominating Committee, which will meet Thursday at ABI.  Thank you to Myron and to the other members of the committee:  Kirk Trede (Eastern Iowa Light & Power, Wilton), Dee Baird (Metro Economic Alliance, Cedar Rapids), Jason Gross (Nationwide, Des Moines), Mary Landhuis, EZ Way, Clarinda), and Kirk McCollough, Seneca Foundry, Webster City). 

You and other members will vote on the slate of officers and directors nominated by the committee.  That will take place during the association's annual business meeting, which will be held at lunchtime on the second day of the annual conference (Thursday, June 11).  By the way, if you wish to nominate someone for board service (and self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged), please contact one of the committee members or me.

New Foundation Intern Ali Krogman Joins ABI

The ABI Foundation has benefited from great interns of late and another terrific young person is coming board.  Ali Krogman, a SW Iowa native, joins ABI and the ABI Foundation next week.

Ali is a student a student at the University of Iowa and is the daughter of ABI Board Member john Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic).  She is a wonderful young person.  She will assist with various Foundation programs and with general tasks

Look for Ali around ABI this summer and please welcome her to our organization.

ABI Manufacturers Featured on Elevate Iowa Website

Elevate Iowa is ABI's program to raise the profile of manufacturing jobs in our state and to connect Iowans with those jobs.  Board leadership for Elevate has been well-provided by ABI officers Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) and Paul Gregoire (Fisher -Emerson, Marshalltown).

You may not know that Elevate features ABI/Iowa manufacturing companies on its website under its “Made in Iowa” section.  This page educates Iowans about the many exciting opportunities available at Iowa’s advanced manufacturing companies.  The goal is to ultimately connect these Iowans with companies like yours. 

Please follow this link: and click on the link to the "Made in Iowa form" under "Share your Company Story".  We can also provide examples of other company profiles if you wish. 

Search Progressing

The search for a new member programs and development director is progressing well.  A group of ten semifinalists was selected from the 40-plus applications received.  Preliminary interviews are now being conducted and then officers will be meeting with three finalists.  Watch for more news soon.

ABI Staff Members and Twitter

Whether it is during a legislative committee hearing, a manufacturing meeting, an association conference, or at some other event, you might see ABI staffers busily typing away on their mobile devices.  They aren't ignoring the proceedings, they're tweeting.  Every time you are at an ABI event of any kind, you can expect that someone is tweeting about it.

As you know, ABI was one of the first organizations to embrace Twitter and other social media and our members say they want more of it.  Just like your business, we want our customers (our members) to have access to the very latest information about what is happening at a given meeting.  Twitter and other social media allow that to occur. 

If you want to follow ABI, go to and lick on the "t" that is the Twitter logo in the lower left-hand corner of the page (just above the ABI logo).  It will take you to the ABI Twitter homepage, where you can see that ABI has almost 3,500 followers.  You can follow ABI's general account and the accounts of several ABI staffers (including me).  If you need help, reply to this email and I'll ask a staffer to get in touch with you.

NAM Report Provides Good News

if you have been reading these memos for any length of time, you know that I am fan of the publications produced by the National Association of Manufacturers.  The NAM does great work and is a key ABI partner.  Its publications are top-notch, with some of the very latest and best information you will find available anywhere.

Last Monday's NAM Manufacturing Economy Daily was another example of excellent reporting.  Much information was summarized related to trade, manufacturing in particular, and the American economy in general.  It is good reading.  If you would like to see the report, please reply to this message and I will get it to you at once.

CIRAS News Highlights ABI Members and Programs

Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service is a valued ABI member and partner.  CIRAS works with manufactures and other business to make them stronger and more successful.  Over the years, many ABI member company executives have served on the CIRAS Advisory Council.

In the latest edition of the organization's CIRAS News, several features are included about ABI member companies, like Iowa Spring and Stellar Industries -- in fact there is a great photo included of ABI Executive Committee Member Dave Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) --  and about ABI programs, such as BizWise, MarketWise, and others.  If you would like a copy of the magazine for yourself, please reply to this message and we'll see that one is sent to you right away.  In the meantime, thank you to Dr. Ron Cox, Mike O'Donnell, and other CIRAS leaders for the coverage and for their support for Iowa business.

Ski-U-Mah!  Dr. Linn  Graduates from University of Minnesota Vet School

Former ABI Chair Myron R. Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella), and his wife, Leanne Linn, are the proud parents of two daughters, wonderful young women named Alexandra and Jacci.  The family is celebrating the Saturday graduation of Alexandra from the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine.  Congratulations all around, especially to the new Dr. Alexandra R. Linn!

Sarah McDonald-HaskenHasken elected to lead Iowa Innovation Corporation Board

Former ABI Chair Sarah McDonald-Hasken (A.Y. McDonald, Dubuque) has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Innovation Corporation.  Sarah was appointed to the board when the corporation formed in 2011.  She is past vice president and corporate secretary for A.Y. McDonald Industries Inc. and its subsidiaries.  Sarah is a great business leader and her leadership is important to the Iowa Innovation Corporation.  Congratulations to Sarah!

Former Chairs Butler, Ryan Celebrate Birthdays

Two former board chairs of the association are celebrating.  Both John Butler (Cottingham & Butler, Dubuque) andJoe Ryan (Delavan, West Des Moines) are celebrating birthdays; ABI sends happy birthday wishes to both of these great leaders!