BH 2019 in the Books - Monday Memo 7/22/19

July 22, 2019

Business Horizons 2019 Huge Success

As you read about in last week's edition of this memorandum, the 2019 session of the ABI Foundation's Business Horizons high school experience was held last week.  Around 85 students from all over Iowa converged on the campus of Central College in Pella to participate in this terrific program.  

The week provided a fabulous experience for all involved. Making it so was another great group of students, terrific ABI members, and leaders.  BH 2019 was a huge success, with students and parents sharing praise for the curriculum and the connections made during the week.  This program is simply a terrific event each year and it is possible only through the support of you, your company, and your employees.  

Next Week: ABI Okoboji CEO Forum

In response to popular demand, ABI will return to the Iowa Great Lakes for a member event next week.  Register NOW for August 1st and 2nd for great programming, great networking, and great venues.  Do so here:  

Things start with lunch on Thursday August 1 at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Okoboji.  Then, you will hear terrific presentations by just recently-retired CEO Terry Handley (Casey’s General Stores, Ankeny), Iowa National Gard General Tim Orr, trauma surgeon James Swegle (The Iowa Clinic, West Des Moines), and your fellow ABI Board Member Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corporation, Clarinda).  The afternoon closes with a terrific panel featuring Kevin Lentz (Performance Marketing, West Des Moines), Jim Nalley (BCC Advisers, Des Moines), and Brian Crotty (HDH Advisors, West Des Moines)

The Lakes Area’s newest venue, the Parks Marina Boat Club, is the location for a fabulous dinner to close the day.  On Friday, an industry tour is being developed to wrap-up the event. 

Due to the terrific program each year, the Forum is ABI’s fastest-growing event.  Don’t miss it!  See you in Okoboji next week.

Leadership Iowa University to Begin in Two Weeks; ABI Leaders Can Interact with Class

Two weeks from yesterday, on August 4, talented Iowa college students will assemble for the annual session of the ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa University program.  Students come from Iowa’s public universities, private colleges, and from community colleges and all will learn about our state and ways they can impact its future.  LIU class programs have received rave remarks from students, college officials, ABI leaders, and others.  

A part of the LIU program is the Recruiting and Retaining Your Talent workshop, the latest in the Connecting Statewide Leaders series of events.  This program will be held immediately prior to a networking reception with the Leadership Iowa University group.  Find more information and register here:  The event will be held on August 7 at ABI member company Shive-Hattery in West Des Moines. 

Great supporters and donors and terrific volunteers make LIU possible.  ABI Foundation Vice President Becky Coady, Programs Director Jessi Steward, Foundation Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway, Foundation Marketing and Engagement Coordinator McKenzie Kielman, and Alumni Engagement Manager Kay Neumann-Thomas provide excellent staff leadership.  Thanks, too, to ABI bookkeeper Chrissy Viers, who handles the finances for both ABI and the ABI Foundation.  Look for a full report at September's board meeting. 

Policy Development Meetings Start Next Month

Along with other changes made to ABI's award-winning public policy advocacy work, our association has advanced the annual policy development process.  This extra time allows ABI members and staff to further engage legislators and other state officials in issues important to Iowa employers.  In keeping with that change, the annual policy development meetings will be held next month.  The ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee will kick things off on August 6.  

Regarding each of the committees, well over 100 members have already registered for these important meetings.  If you haven't already done so, there is still plenty of time for you and your employees to register.  Simply go to to register for the committee meetings of interest to you.  

Thank you to ABI Vice Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), and to ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf, Coordinator Public Policy Drew Wynes, and Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt for leading this process.  Thanks, too, to ABI Communications Director David Hildahl, who handles communications and media relations related to public policy and other ABI matters. The ABI Board of Directors will act on the policy recommendations at the September board meeting. 

Nominate Manufacturing Legends Now

ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative seeks to lift manufacturing and manufacturers in our state.  One way the program does that is through the Legends in Manufacturing Awards.  Nominations are now being accepted for honorees to be recognized at this year’s Legends Dinner to be held October 1st.  To make a nomination (there is no charge to do so), go here:  

Special thanks to ABI Board Member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale) for leading this process!  Please see the end of this memo for one more look at the list of those who have already been honored as a Legend -- and thanks once more to former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) for suggesting the list be included! 

New Board Member Orientations Continue This Week

Ask any ABI staff member about one of the best perks of their job and they will cite the opportunity to tour so many Iowa manufacturing and business operations.  That is typically one of the best things about the annual orientation sessions with newly-elected board members and it is so again this year.  

The process continues this week with a session involving new board members Denny Van Zanten (Pella Corporation, Sioux Center) and Tom Bosch (Shive-Hattery, West Des Moines). Thank you to Denny, Tom, and our other newly-elected board members, whom you will have an opportunity to meet at the September meeting.  

Registration Now Open for ABI Executive Open; Foursomes Adding Up Quickly

Registrations are pouring in for the annual ABI Executive Open, one of ABI's most popular annual events.  Dozens of foursomes have already signed-up for the August 26 event.  

Go to and click on the Executive Open link to register.  The event will be again held at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines. 

Thank you to Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, ABI Member Programs Director Holly Mueggenberg, and Membership Coordinator Dorothy Knowles for their management related to this event.  Remember, if you haven't yet done so, go now to the link above and complete your registration for this always-fun ABI event. 

ABI Members Encouraged to Participate in Workforce Workshop at Drake University

As you have read the last couple of weeks, a new workshop is being held at Drake University August 13-15.  Everyone at Work, an organization focused on placing differently-abled persons in jobs, is hosting the workshop.  That organization is led by Kyle Duarte, who is associated with longtime ABI member Deaf Services Unlimited.  The August workshop focuses on how deaf persons can be great employees. 

Please share this information with your HR teams, as ABI members are especially encouraged to participate in the workshop, both as attendees and to have a booth for potential workers.  Click here for more information and to register:

Sixteenth Annual YPIowa Conference in September in Ottumwa

The fifteenth annual YPIowa Conference will be held in September in Ottumwa.   The conference will be held on September 20.  

The conference is always a terrific event and is a great way to connect with leading young professionals.  I have heard that some companies actually do some staff recruiting at the conference.  I can tell you that it will be a great time to network with YPs from throughout Iowa.  Register today at  

Vice President to Tour Accumold

Vice President Mike Pence will tour ABI member Accumold on Tuesday.  Accumold is a leading manufacturer of micro-molded parts for high-tech uses.  Congratulations and best wishes for the visit to company President/longtime ABI Board Member Roger Hargens (Accumold, Ankeny)

Four ABI Leaders to Celebrate Birthdays

Two ABI leaders are celebrating tomorrow.  Former ABI Chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Waukee) and ABI Board Member Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) celebrate their birthdays.  ABI Board member Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City) celebrates his birthday Wednesday.  And, ABI Board Member Tom Determann (CRDC, Clinton) also recently celebrated his birthday.  Happy birthday, to Jack, both Kirks and to Tom! 

Jenn Bliel to Assume New Post

Former ABI board Member Jenn Bleil (Van Meter, Cedar Rapids) is moving to a new post.  Starting in August, Jenn will be Vice President of Human Resources at MediRevv, an organization in Coralville that provides revenue cycle management for healthcare organizations.  Congratulations and best wishes, Jenn!

Meeks Celebrate 60 Years

Many of you well remember Jan Meek, who was a key ABI staffer for decades.  Jan checked in last week to report that she and husband Bob Meek celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on July 14.  Family joined them for worship that Sunday and then Jan and Bob served coffee and cake to their church family (serving others… that sounds like Jan Meek to me).  Later that day, 65 or so guests joined Jan and Bob at an open house and helped them celebrate the big day. 

I know you all join me in congratulating Jan and Bob.  Very best wishes on this terrific anniversary, Jan! 

Elevate Legends in Manufacturing Honorees

Above, I noted that information about honorees in ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Initiative’s Legends in Manufacturing program would be included.  Please see the list below – and congratulations to all of these terrific honorees! 

2015 Honorees:

  1. Under 100: Robert Wersen of Interpower
  2. 100-300 Employees: Dick Smith of Agri-Industrial Plastics
  3. 300 Plus Employees: Drew Vogel of Vogel Paint, Inc.

                                Charles Sukup of Sukup Manufacturing Co.

  1. Posthumous Award: Jack McMahon of Barker Company (Hill Phoenix)
  2. Manufacturing Champion Award: Iowa Association of Community Colleges & Iowa’s 15 Community Colleges

2016 Honorees:

  1. Under 100 Employees: Bruce Tamisiea of Tecton Industries
  2. 100-300 Employees: Roger Hargens of Accumold
  3. 300 Plus Employees: Paul Gregoire of Emerson Process Management
  4. Posthumous Award: John Norris of Lennox Industries, INC.
  5. Manufacturing Champion Award: Mark Hanawalt of UEA
  6. Ambassador of the Year Award: Sarah Dvorak

2017 Honorees:

  1. Under 100 Employees: Fred Buie, Keystone Electrical Company. 
  2. 100 - 300 Employees: Todd Somerfield, Kreg Tool Company.
  3. 300 Plus Employees: David Zrostlik, Stellar Industries, Inc.  
  4. Champion Award: Dr. Ron Cox & Michael O’Donnell, Central Industrial Research and Services (CIRAS).
  5. Posthumous Award: Gary Vermeer, Vermeer Corporation
  6. Ambassador of the Year: Kelly Barrick, The Private Bank
  7. Honorary Ambassador of the Year Award: Dennis Murdock, CIPCO 

2018 Honorees:

  1. Under 100 Employees: Tim Greene, Quality Machine
  2. 100-300 Employees: Dick Davidson, Thombert, Inc.
  3. 300 Plus Employees: Jim Tyler and Kirk Tyler, Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling
  4. Manufacturer Export Award: Roger Brown, Precision Pulley and idler
  5. Manufacturing Champion: West Delaware Community Schools
  6. Posthumous Legend: Eugene Sukup, Sukup Manufacturing Co.