Annual Conference is a SMASH - Monday Memo 6/12/17

June 12, 2017

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 Dubuque last week for the association’s 114th Annual Convention.  A fabulous crowd, local hospitality, exciting venues, nationally-known speakers, and terrific events made the 2017 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference something very special.  

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 Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), a terrific conference committee chaired by Amy Jones (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), and to staff leaders Holly Mueggenberg and Kathy Anderson.  Nicole Crain, Kay Neumann-Thomas, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Emily Schettler, Jessi Steward, Jane Galloway, Amanda Nuzum, Jessica Harder, Chrissy Viers, Brad Hartkopf, and intern Madison Galloway also deserve special thanks.  

ABI members are off to a convention in another great city for the 2018 conference.  See you in Greater Iowa City next June! 

David Zrostlik Elected New Chair of ABI

At the Annual Business Meeting held last Wednesday in Dubuque, ABI members elected new officers and directors for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) was elected Chair, David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) was elected Vice Chair, John Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic) was elected Treasurer, and Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) was elected Secretary.  Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) is Immediate Past Chair.  

Executive Committee members were also elected, including returning members Michael Sadler (CenturyLink, Des Moines), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation/EZ Lift, Clarinda), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City.  New members are Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) and John Riches (Arconic, Davenport)

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. 

Dave Zrostlik is a longtime ABI board member and a well-known Iowa business leader.  He is President of Stellar Industries in Garner and the second generation leader of his family's company.  Stellar is well-known as an innovative industry leader and manufacturer.  Dave is active on several boards and initiatives, both in the North Iowa Region and throughout the state.  Congratulations to Dave and to our other officers and directors! 

Governor, Lieutenant Governor Address Convention

Inviting the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa to the annual convention is an honored ABI tradition.  Governor Kim Reynolds addressed the convention and paid tribute to ABI member companies throughout Iowa. Governor Reynolds was followed at the podium by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.  

It is always a treat to have the Governor and Lieutenant Governor with us.  Thank you to Governor Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Gregg for joining us in Dubuque.  

ABI to Host U.S. Chamber Event for Congressman David Young a Week from Today

In one week, on June 19, ABI will host a special event by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber will be presenting the Free Enterprise Award, its highest honor, to Iowa Congressman David Young.  Congratulations to Congressman Young for the award! 

Leadership Iowa Class Graduates, Sarah Hasken Named 2017 Leadership for Iowa Award Winner; 2017 Business Horizons Session Fast Approaching; Auction Breaks Record

At a ceremony held Thursday, members of the 2016-2017 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! 

Also last week, the 2017 Leadership for Iowa Award was presented to longtime Iowa business leader Sarah Hasken.  Sarah has been a great leader for ABI and for Iowa for many years.   ABI congratulates and sends best wishes to Sarah and to her husband, ABI Board Member Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa)

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 (June 25-29) 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 Wednesday evening's Foundation Auction was a huge success.  In fact, it was a record-breaker! $40,000 was raised and every penny of it will go to support the ABI Foundation’s programs for Iowans

A special thank you goes to former ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Weaton Capital, Fairfield) and his able assistant Chad Christensen (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), who led the auction.  Thank you, Nate and Chad! 

You Asked for It: Watch for Connecting Statewide Leaders Event in Okoboji This Summer

Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) used to say that an official ABI conference had to be held in Okoboji.  I believe Dennis has relented in recent years (he told me he very much enjoyed last week’s annual conference in Dubuque, for instance), but ABI members still love the Iowa Great lakes. 

In response to the great many of you who have asked for a Lakes-area event, watch for more news soon about an upcoming event in the ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders series of events. It will be held the first week of August in Okoboji.  See you there! 

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 Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield). If you did not receive a copy of the latest BR Iowa, we'll get a copy to you.  

ABI Staff Deserves Your Thanks

At the end of this month, ABI will complete the association’s 2016-2017 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, Kathy Anderson, Kay Neumann-Thomas, Holly Mueggenberg, Chrissy Viers, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Emily Schettler, Jessi Steward, Jessica Harder, Jane Galloway, Amanda Nuzum, and Brad Hartkopf (and intern Madison Galloway) 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 115th Annual ABI Convention to see what will happen.  On behalf of Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and soon-to-be Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and our other officers, THANK YOU for making the convention – and our association – so successful.