Board Meeting Next Month - Monday Memo 8/17/15

August 17, 2015

Executive Committee Meets; First ABI Board Meeting of the Program Year in Des Moines on September 23

Last Wednesday, ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) and members of the ABI Executive Committee held their monthly meeting.  The committee worked through a full agenda and will meet again immediately prior to the September board meeting.

The ABI Board of Directors will meet September 23 at ABI headquarters in Des Moines.  The meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the ABI Executive Committee that morning and lunch will be served for all board members and former chairs in attendance.  You will receive much more information, including a detailed meeting packet and map, a week prior to the meeting.

The September board meeting is typically well-attended and is important for several reasons.  It marks the first board meeting of the ABI fiscal year and the first meeting for newly-elected board members.  Because it also marks the first meeting of the board in three months, the agenda is typically full and involves action on a number of issues, including ABI's public policy agenda for the next year.  On behalf of Paul and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines for this important meeting.

Annual Policy Development in Full Swing

Some of the most important work done by ABI each year relates to public policy advocacy.  And the most important part of that process is the active involvement and leadership of ABI members themselves.  In order to ensure that ABI members have every opportunity to lead and guide this critical task, ABI hosted several meetings around the state and last week initiated a series of meetings in Des Moines to develop public policy positions for 2016.

It is the ABI Vice Chair who leads this process each year and thus Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) is chairing the 2015 process.  Last week's meetings included those of the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee, chaired by Karen Miller (Manpower, Des Moines), the ABI Workplace and Product Safety Committee, chaired by Rex Butler (CIPCO, Cedar Rapids), and the ABI Environment Committee, chaired by Mick Durham (Grain Processing Corporation, Muscatine).  All three meetings enjoyed great crowds and terrific debate. 

There is still time for you and your employees to participate in the final two committee meetings.  The ABI Economic Growth Committee, chaired by Russ Cross (Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, West Des Moines), meets today and the ABI Tax Committee, chaired by Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City) meets Thursday.  Please go to to register for these free meetings.  In the meantime and as you know, this process will conclude next month when you (the ABI Board of Directors and Past Chairs) meet to adopt final policies.  Thank you in advance for your involvement in this critical work.

Senator Grassley's Tax Counsel to Visit ABI

Chris Conlin, Tax Counsel to U.S. Senator Charles E. Grassley, will visit with ABI members prior to the Tax Committee meeting on Thursday (August 20).  The meeting will take place at ABI that day at 10:30 a.m.  The purpose of the meeting is to have a roundtable discussion about federal tax policy issues.  If you would like to attend, please PSVP to ABI Senior Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt at

2016 Convention Planning Well Underway

ABI members are still talking about the terrific 2015 ABI Convention held in June in the Quad Cities.  The hospitality, speakers, and exciting venues made a lasting impression on all who attended. 

As you know,  the 113th Annual ABI Convention (Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2015) will be held in Sioux City.  City leaders there are pulling out all the stops to welcome ABI and you will see some absolutely beautiful brand new venues.  Planning for the convention is well underway and is being ably led by a leading ABI member executive, Kim Didier (Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny). 

In fact, Kim, ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown), and several of us on staff are headed to Sioux City tomorrow for another site visit.  Believe me when I say the 2016 conference is shaping up to be another spectacular meeting. 

ABI Executive Open August 31

The seventh annual ABI Executive Open best ball golf outing will be held Monday, August 31 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, one of Iowa's most exclusive and beautiful private clubs.  Register now to play golf and have dinner with your ABI colleagues (or just join us for the reception following golf).  To find more information or to register, please go to the ABI webpage at and click on the big Executive Open icon or on the Events Calendar tab on the left.  Nearly 100 ABI members have already registered.

Don't Miss out on IIPAC Auction

Speaking of the 2015 ABI Executive Open, another highlight of the day will be an auction benefitting ABI's PAC, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee.  There will be some wonderful packages on which to bid and all proceeds go to support our political work.  I hope you will bid early and often!  In the meantime, please find more information in last Thursday's ABI eNewsletter:

YPIowa Conference Next Month in Carroll

As you know, the ABI Foundation provides administrative support to Young Professionals of Iowa, our state's leading organization for young professionals.  YPIowa's biggest annual event is the YPIowa Conference.  The 2015 edition of that event will be held next month in Carroll.

A terrific program is in store and the YPs on your staff will want to attend.  You are also invited and you can register at  Other events related to the conference will be held the night before, also in Carroll.  Click on the above link for more information.

LIU Completes Opening Session

Last Thursday, the annual class of Leadership Iowa University students completed its opening session (the class will meet again in the coming months).  The program seeks to educate, inspire, and develop college students as a foundation for Iowa’s economic growth and to encourage their on-going involvement in community and state initiatives. 

The students are an intelligent and enthusiastic group and made the most of their time last week.  It is clear they are focused on business and advancing their careers in a way that brings value to them, their future employers, and to Iowa.  As I mentioned last week, class members come from public, private, and community colleges all across Iowa.

Elevate Website Getting Views; Visit Elevate at the State Fair

You know about ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing campaign.  Elevate is all about raising the profile of manufacturing in Iowa and connecting workers with employers.  It is being led by ABI leaders Paul Gregoire (Emerson-Fisher, Marshalltown), Lori Schafer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), and Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale).  Many folks are visiting the campaign website and you can, too, at:

You can also visit the Elevate booth at the State Fair.  Look for it in the Varied Industries Building.  In the meantime, please contact me if you have questions or comments.

NAM Report Confirms Growth in Manufacturing Jobs

Sometimes it seems that manufacturing is the only part of the economy that is creating jobs.  Manufacturing job growth was confirmed in last week's Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers.  TheReport's lead story noted that 15,000 jobs were added by manufacturers in July.

The Report is always good reading.  If you would like to see it for your shelf, please reply to this message and I will send it to you at once.

Mary Andringa, Jay Byers, ABI Author Ex-Im Op-Ed in Register

Yesterday's Des Moines Register carried an essay co-signed by former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), longtime ABI member Jay Byers (Greater Des Moines Partnership, Des Moines), and myself.  It focuses on the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the reasons it should be reauthorized by Congress.  Read the essay here:  In the meantime, thank you to Mary and Jay for their leadership, along with many ABI members, on this important issue.

LyondellBasell to Host Senator Ernst; Vogel Paint to Host Lt. Governor Reynolds, Senator Grassley; Stellar Hosts Fiorina

One of the best things ABI members can do to advance business interests is to host public officials in your plants and facilities.  Two ABI leaders are again doing just that this month.

Next week, LyondellBasell will host U.S. Senator Joni Ernst at its Clinton plant.  Later this month Vogel Paint Company will host Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa State Public Defender Adam Gregg at its Powder Coatings plant in Orange City.  Vogel officials are also co-hosting U.S. Senator Charles Grassley at an Orange City event this month.

Thank you to ABI Board Members Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton) and Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City) for their leadership!

In the same vein Friday, Stellar Industries hosted presidential candidate and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at its Garner plant.  The event is one in a series of events ABI is seeking to host with ALL presidential candidates, both Democrats and Republicans (and some candidates from both parties have accepted our invitation; we working hard to get the rest to do so).  Thank you to Stellar CEO and ABI Board Member Dave Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) for hosting a terrific event.  And thank you again to the aforementioned Drew Vogel, who also attended Friday's event in Garner.

Steve and Dawn Roberts Celebrate 50 Years of Marriage

Prominent Des Moines attorney Steve Roberts (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines) has been an ABI board member for decades.  Something else Steve has done for a long time is to be married to his wonderful wife, Dawn Roberts, for 50 years.  Steve and Dawn are well-known in Des Moines and throughout Iowa as a terrific couple and a true team. 

In a wonderful celebration held yesterday, Steve and Dawn marked the special occasion with their three children, their families and many, many friends..  It is a true pleasure to congratulate Steve and Dawn and to wish them many more years of happiness!