Annual Conference Starts Tomorrow - Monday Memo 6/3/19

June 3, 2019

It's Here; 116th Annual ABI Convention Starts Tomorrow!

The 116th Annual ABI Convention, also known as the 219 Taking Care of Business Conference, kicks-off tomorrow.  The conference begins with industry tours, golf at Ames Golf and Country Club, and other activities around Ames.  The annual Gala Welcome Reception will be held tomorrow evening at the beautiful Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. 

As I type this, something approaching 600 people (we know that many, many more will register on-site) are set for the conference; but if you haven’t registered, it's not a problem.  Email me now or just show up and we’ll take care of you.  On behalf of ABI Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City), I look forward to seeing you in Ames! 

Governor Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Gregg to Address ABI Conference-Goers Wednesday

ABI was among the very first organizations Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds addressed two years ago after becoming governor.  Governor Reynolds will again address ABI members at the annual conference this year, during Wednesday’s annual meeting.  The Governor is a great friend to ABI in her role as the state’s chief executive. 

Governor Reynolds will be joined by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, also no stranger to ABI.  We look forward to both leaders being with us in Ames. 

Association Headquarters Closing for the Week Later Today

Due to the annual conference, the ABI headquarters in Des Moines will be closed later today through Friday.  Please don’t hesitate to contact staff members by cell phone and please never hesitate to contact me on my cell phone if you need assistance of any kind.  We look forward to being back in the office – and celebrating the completion of a great convention – bright and early a week from today.

Annual ABI Policy Tour Concludes; Policy Committees to Meet

With a meeting last week in Pella, the association's public policy team hosted the final ABI public policy regional meeting of the spring.  ABI’s policy work now moves to the next phase.  Each of ABI's five policy committees, plus the Legislative Committee, will meet in August.  You and your employees are invited to participate in those meetings at no charge.  You can find more information or register for the meetings using this link:

Special thanks to former ABI Chairs Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) and Myron Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella) and ABI Board Member Steve Dust (Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Ottumwa) who all attended the Pella meeting.  Following the work of the committees, the ABI Board of Directors will consider and adopt 2020 policy statements at the September meeting.  Watch for more information in the coming months. 

Board to Elect Officers for FY20

Last week, all board members and former board chairs should have received an email message that included several documents related to the annual conference.  That message also highlighted the fact that the ABI Board of Directors will hold its final meeting of the association’s 2018-2019 fiscal year during the annual business meeting at the conference on Wednesday.  The board will hold the traditional 60-second meeting to elect officers. 

The previously-mentioned message shared the FY20 meeting schedule, budget and the 2019 Nominating Committee report.  Thank you to Nominating Committee Chair (and Immediate Past ABI Chair) David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and committee members John Riches (Arconic, Davenport), Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello), Chris Sackett (BrownWinick, Des Moines), John Krogman (Elkhart Plastics, Atlantic), and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City).      

The budget projects another year in the black and continues a string of successful years.  I take very seriously your charge to me related to strong financial performance and I am very proud of ABI’s record in that regard.  Thank you for your leadership, which is responsible for that success. 

Rick Tollakson Honored with Leadership for Iowa Award

The ABI Foundation's highest honor is the Leadership for Iowa Award.  The award is presented periodically to an alumnus of the Leadership Iowa program who is a leader among leaders and who has demonstrated a commitment to serve Iowa. 

As you read recently in the ABI’s weekly newsletter, the award will be presented to longtime Iowa leader and ABI Board Member Rick Tollakson (Hubbell Realty Company, West Des Moines).  Rick is well-known as a terrific leader and is well-deserving of the award.  Congratulations, Rick! 

Leadership Iowa to Celebrate; Current Class Will Graduate

The ABI Foundation's Leadership Iowa program marks another successful year with activities coinciding with the annual conference.  Go now to for more information. 

The LI graduation ceremony will take place on the Main Stage during Thursday morning’s conference session.  It will be a highlight of the annual conference for attendees to honor the LI Class, which has been noted by some as the best ever.  I know you join me in congratulating all class members. 

Terrific Foundation Auction Items

Each year, the ABI Foundation holds an auction in conjunction with the Taking Care of Business Conference.  There are always many terrific items available and as I have noted the post couple of weeks, this year is no exception.  Everything takes place on Wednesday night at the Sukup End Zone Club at Jack Trice Stadium.  

Don’t miss it and please click here for more information:  All the proceeds from the auction go to benefit the programs of the ABI Foundation and Iowans who participate in them.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Your support for the Foundation is important, appreciated, and it is never taken for granted.  Leadership Iowa, Leadership Iowa University, and Business Horizons have made our state a better place and impacted the lives of thousands of Iowans.  Thank you again! 

Calling All Students: Register for Business Horizons Now

The ABI Foundation's Business Horizons program has been phenomenally successful, literally changing the lives of Iowa's young people over the years.  The 2019 edition of this terrific program will be held next month at Central College in Pella.  

There are still slots left for students and I hope you will consider nominating the high school-age sons and daughters of your employees.  It's free and it won't take long to do it.  Please click here:  Thank you for your help! 

NelsonCorp Secures Naming Rights for Clinton Baseball Stadium

NelsonCorp is a well-known business in eastern Iowa and a great ABI member.  Longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBassel, Clinton) also represents Clinton-based NelsonCorp within ABI. 

Last week, Rich shared a news article about NelsonCorp securing the rights to the professional baseball stadium in Clinton, which will now be known as NelsonCorp Field.  The stadium is an iconic American ballpark and the home of the Clinton Lumber Kings minor league baseball club (an affiliate of the Miami Marlins major league club).  Congratulations to NelsonCorp and Clinton on this exciting news and thanks for sharing, Rich!  

Cassabaum-Ralston Nuptials Held

These memos are about you, not me, but I will share that our family celebrated a joyous occasion Saturday.  Our youngest son, Daniel Ralston (Ruan Corporation, Des Moines), married Elli Cassabaum in a ceremony held at her parents’ farm near Nevada.  Steve and Michelle Cassabaum (21st Century Rehab, Nevada) are great ABI members and they and their whole family are even better people.  It was a great event; now on to conference!