April Executive Committee Meeting Next week - Monday Memo 4/1/24

April 1, 2024

Executive Committee Meets Next Week, Board in May

The monthly meeting of the ABI Executive Committee will take place a week from this Wednesday, on April 10th.  The committee will meet by Zoom at 10:00 that morning.  

The next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will take place next month.  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will lead the board in its May meeting, which will be held at ABI-member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Des Moines on May 8.  

As noted previously, we have some special elements in the works for the meeting and I hope you will be able to participate in the board meeting in May.  It will mark the board’s final meeting in advance of the annual conference.  Watch for more information soon. 

Nominations are Open for Coolest Thing

As you read last week and have heard a lot about, ABI is partnering with longtime member MidWestOne Bank to host our brand-new statewide competition in search of the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  The competition will showcase the Iowa manufacturing industry’s best innovations, craftsmanship, and state of the art technologies.  ABI received a ton of media coverage already about this initiative and we anticipate a great deal more. 

Nominations for “Coolest Thing” opened last Monday and many nominations have already been received.  After products are nominated, they will compete in a popular vote that sets the field for a tournament-style bracket.  The top 16 Iowa-made products will compete in head-to-head matchups to be named the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  Click here to see more: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (coolestthingia.com).  The winner will be announced at the 2024 Taking care of Business Conference in Davenport in June.  As I noted last week, get your product nominated today and be a part of this exciting competition!

Next ABI Legislative Update a Week from Friday

Periodically throughout the legislative session, ABI lobbyists host a Zoom conference to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed.  The next update will be held a week from this Friday, on April 12, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  

Believe it or not, legislators are entering what they say will be the final weeks of the session, so there could be a lot to cover.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org)

ABI Members See Stable to Shifting Conditions Ahead in Q2

As you will recall and as directed by the ABI Board of Directors a few years ago, ABI created the “ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey.”  The goal of the initiative is to collect very basic information about board members’ projections for the coming quarter.  ABI then releases the aggregate data to the media and the public.  

The survey completed last week pertains to the second quarter of calendar year 2024.  Half of those responding to the survey see growth ahead.  However, mostly stable sales, employment, and capital expenditures are projected.  That is a shift from past surveys, in which all of those factors were projected to increase.  To read the media release about the survey, click here: ABI’s Latest Quarterly Survey Unveils Shifting Landscape in Q2 2024 | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (iowaabi.org).  

Leadership Iowa to Hold April Session; LI Connect on April 17

The ABI Foundation’s flagship program, Leadership Iowa, will hold the April session of the 2023-2024 class later this week.   The class will meet in Grinnell Wednesday through Friday.  The session will focus on education and as usual, a terrific agenda has been developed.  Watch for more news about LI at next month’s ABI board meeting. 

In other Leadership Iowa news, the next edition of the LI Connect series of programs will take place on April 17th.  It, too, will focus on education.  The session will be held by Zoom at 8:30 a.m. and it will focus on education.  Click here to register and for more information: Meeting Registration - Zoom

Register NOW for Annual Conference; Flyer in the Mail

The annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference gets bigger and better every year.  What does that mean to you?  It means don’t wait, register now!  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on https://www.iowaabi.org/events/annual-conference/.  People often wait for the colorful tri-fold flyer to arrive in their mailbox before registering.  Well, that flyer has arrived or will be in the mail this week, so again, now is the time to register.  

By the way, using that same link above, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at the fabulous PGA course known as TPC Deere Run, make your lodging reservations, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  

Based on those already registered and on room reservations already made, we expect a huge crowd in the Quad Cities June 4-6.  Register for the conference now.  You don’t want to miss it! 

Final Quad Cities Site Visit This Month

Speaking of the annual conference, ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) will lead the final pre-conference visit to the conference host location, the Quad Cities, later this month.  Following on the 2023 conference, which was spectacular, don’t miss being with your ABI colleagues in Davenport in June for another truly fabulous conference! 

Next ABI Automation Summit April 17

The next in the popular series of ABI Automation Summits will take place two weeks from this Wednesday, on the 17th.  It will be held at Scott Community College (part of Eastern Iowa Community College) in Davenport.  You may register for this high-value program here: Summary - Automation Summit (cvent.com).  This programs have been very well-received and are packed with information.  I hope to see you in Davenport. 

Remember the Buy ABI Program

Two years ago, ABI conducted a review and revitalization of the Buy ABI program.  The result was a new and improved program that can add real value for your company.  You may not even be aware of it, but ABI has several relationships with member companies that can result in major savings for you (and added revenue for ABI).  Click here for more information: https://www.iowaabi.org/membership/buy-abi/.  

Chad Reece Honored by RVIA

One of the most prestigious honors in the recreational vehicle industry is the RV Business Industry Leadership Award.  Last Thursday it was announced that the person honored with the 2024 RV Business Industry leadership Award was none other than ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City)!  This is a terrific honor and congratulations, Chad!  While researching the RVIA and the award, I came across a neat profile of Chad’s career.  Click here to read it for yourself: Chad Reece Celebrates Career Milestone At Winnebago Industries | RVIA.  In the meantime, on behalf of all of you, ABI salutes Chad Reece!  

Congresswoman Miller-Meeks Tours HNI

It seems like every week we receive news of another elected official touring an ABI member facility.  That’s good – there is no better way to advocate for ABI polices than to welcome elected official into your plants and offices.  Last week, U.S. Representative Marianette Miller-Meeks toured longtime ABI member HNI Corporation’s Hearth and Home Technologies fireplace plant in Mount Pleasant.  ABI Board Member Kelly McGriff (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) reports that the Congresswoman “is an HNI champion and appreciates the importance of the manufacturing sector.”  That’s terrific, and a big part of that is work done by HNI.  Thank you and congratulations, Kelly! 

Lori-Schaefer-Weaton and Connor Deering will Celebrate

A former Chair of the association and a member of the board of directors are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) marks her birthday Saturday, on the 6th.  ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola) celebrates Sunday, the 7th.  Happy birthday, Lori and Connor! 

The Business of ABI: A Great Team

It hit me last week that these are great times at ABI.  Strong results, strong revenue, strong programs, strong member engagement, and terrific board leadership… all of these factors are making FY24 one of ABI’s best years ever. 

There is something else responsible for that success, however, and I don’t call it to your attention often enough.  That is that the staff members at ABI are GREAT at what they do.  Most importantly, everyone on this team knows it is all about the members. 

Last week, Nicole Crain and Kelsey O’Connor were again on the road promoting Coolest Thing and obtained great media coverage for ABI.  JD Davis and Brad Hartkopf were at the Statehouse every day (and into the night) leading ABI to strong public policy success.  Holly Mueggenberg was leading development of a fabulous ABI annual conference (and many other events).  Levi Lefebure and Kendall Antle were at the iJAG Conference promoting ABI and ABI Foundation programs and successfully getting participants for those programs.  Michelle Vollstedt and Jane Galloway were providing key support that made all these things possible.  And Thursday night, Jessi McQuerrey was honored by the Business Record for her accomplishments.  It was not possible to see Jessi onstage and to hear her remarks and not be impressed, motivated, and proud.  Click here to read more about Jessi: Jessi McQuerrey — Business Record | Forty Under 40 (businessrecord40.com).  Congratulations again, Jessi!  And congratulations again to each of ABI’s terrific staff members! 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a fortunate guy indeed… I get to work with this team and for all of you.  THANK YOU to all of you for your support and leadership.