Board to Meet in May in Fairfield - Monday Memo 4/10/17

April 10, 2017

Register Now for May Board Meeting in Fairfield; Dinner Night before

With last week's meeting of the Executive Committee, ABI leadership meetings are complete until next month.  ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) will host the ABI Board of Directors in Fairfield on Wednesday, May 3.  Following on the success of other board meetings held outside Greater Des Moines, the May board meeting will be held at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center (, a fabulous facility in downtown Fairfield.  

You have last week received a message with a link to allow you to register for the meeting. If you have not yet done so and wish to do so now, simply reply to this message and we’ll take care of getting you registered.  Nearly 40 of you have already registered for the meeting, which will be the final meeting of the board until the annual convention in June. 

For overnight stays, the AmericInn Hotel and Suites ( on the south edge of town is great place.  By the way, the board meeting will begin at 11:00 a.m. on the 3rd and lunch will be served.  

The night before, on May 2nd, those members in Fairfield are invited to join ABI for dinner, hosted by Lori and Nate Weaton.  We'll dine at the beautiful Fairfield Golf and Country Club (  Detailed information will be included in the board packet that you will receive about a week in advance of the meeting.  There is no fee for dinner or for the meeting, but please register for both by replying to this message. 

The Fairfield events will conclude with tours of the Agri-Industrial Plastics Company ( plant, which is situated on a 20-acre campus in west Fairfield.  This state-of-the-art manufacturing facility recently underwent a major expansion and you will enjoy seeing the results.  I look forward to seeing you in Fairfield! 

ABI Publishes IIPAC Annual Report for 2015-16

Earlier this week, IIPAC donors got a first look at ABI's IIPAC Annual Report for 2015-16. The report is available to everyone here. This new digital report is part of ABI's ongoing efforts to increase PAC participation. If you would like to learn more about IIPAC, contact ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain,

We need your help in our efforts to grow and sustain support for pro-jobs, pro-business policies in the Iowa Legislature. Historically, opponents to these policies contribute to their PACs in significantly higher numbers. ABI and IIPAC were very successful during the 2016 Election and that success has led to significant accomplishments on behalf of employers during this legislative session. We hope you can add your name to next year's IIPAC Annual Report. We strengthen the voice of Iowa business with each new name. Click here to make your personal contribution now. 

ATTENTION ABI BOARD MEMBERS AND FORMER BOARD CHAIRS - Easy Convention Registration Option Available – Two Hotels Sold-Out, More Lodging Options Available

The 114th Annual ABI Convention, the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference, is just two months away.  The annual conference flyer, which seems to be something everyone waits for every year, should have been in your mailbox last week.  Now is the time to make sure YOU are registered for the convention.  Doing so is easier than ever. 

Simply reply to this message and type “convention” or “register me” or just about anything… and then we’ll take care of it for you.  The ABI staff will ensure you are registered, send you a personal statement related to any fees involved, and send you information about your lodging choices.  All you need do is show up in Dubuque June 6-8.    

Speaking of the annual conference (access the conference website here:, it is clear there will be a terrific crowd of ABI members attending this year's event.  TWO conference hotels have already been sold-out, but many more lodging options remain.  Use the link above to access lodging information.  The point is, please make your lodging reservations now! 

Planning for 2019 Well Underway

While we are crazy excited for the 2017 annual conference, planning never really stops to make sure that EACH conference is a terrific event for you and your employees. In that regard, ABI officer David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) has led a delegation to research sites and venues related to the 2019 Taking Care of Business Conference. 

Trips were held recently to Council Bluffs, which has never hosted an annual conference, and to Cedar Rapids. A trip to Ames is on tap this week.  What is exciting is that each community is eager to host ABI and working hard to make their city the pick.  Stay-tuned for more news ahead. 

Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference Wednesday

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Hawkeye Community College are partnering to produce the Seventh Annual Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference.  It will be held this Wednesday, April 12, on the Hawkeye campus.  

At a registration fee of $20, the conference is a great value.  The program will feature ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and information from another great partner, Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service.   

Click on this link for more information and to register:  In the meantime, thank you to ABI Board Member Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo) for another great event. 

Elevate Ambassador Training Wednesday in Waterloo

As you have been reading past editions of this memorandum, Hawkeye Community College is hosting an Elevate Ambassador training session at its Waterloo campus. The training will be held Wednesday from half-past noon until 3:30 p.m.  ABI members in the area will want to participate in this training.  Please RSVP by replying to this message and I will make sure you receive more information and are registered for the event.

Foundation Program Boards to Meet; Nominations due This Month

Speaking of the ABI Foundation, this is a busy time for all of its programs.  Tomorrow, the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors meets. Tuesday, the Board of Directors for the Leadership Iowa University program meets.  And Thursday, the board for Business Horizons meets in Des Moines. 

Now is also the time to make your nominations for all Foundation programs. Doing so is easy and doesn’t cost a thing.  Simply go to and click on the links for each program.  Nominations are due by May 1 and your support by nominating worthy individuals is appreciated.  A full report regarding Foundation programs will be provided at the May meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

ABI Board Members Sought for Iowa Sector Partnership Leadership Council

Officials with the Iowa Department of Education are seeking ABI members to serve on the department’s Sector Partnership Leadership Council. The SPLC Meets four times per year and oversees efforts to ensure state programs are truly serving students and others searching for jobs.  Click here for more:

IDOEd staff want to ensure strong business representation. In the words of the state, business representatives are meant to far outweigh the public and education members on the council to ensure it is truly business and industry driven.   

Contact me if you would like more information. In the meantime, thank you to former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), who already serves on the panel. 

CLA Releases Annual Survey; Manufacturing Challenges, Solutions Identified

Each year, ABI Advisory Council member CliftonLarsonAllen conducts a comprehensive national survey of trends in manufacturing and distribution and publishes the results.  It is always fascinating reading and this year’s survey is no different.  Please reply to this memorandum and I will forward the survey link to you at once. 

Charles and Mary Sukup Endow ISU Professorships

If there are stronger supporters of Iowa State University than the Sukup Family of north Iowa, I do not know them.  It was a pleasure to be in attendance least Wednesday when a ceremony was held on the ISU campus to recognize the inaugural Charles and Mary Sukup Endowed Artist in Organ, Dr. Miriam Zach.  The ceremony included a wonderful organ solo by none other than former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield)!  It was great to see Charles and his wife, Mary Sukup, and to also see another former ABI Chair, Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City), and his wife, Linda Bywater!  And as always, it was also truly wonderful to see the founding couple of the Sukup Company, Eugene and Mary Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Company, Sheffield)

This is the second professorship endowed by Charles and Mary, as last year, a similar ceremony was held. On that occasion, it honored the inaugural Charles and Mary Sukup Endowed Global Professor in Food Security, Dr. Thomas Brumm.  Congratulations and thank you to Charles and Mary Sukup! 

Company newsletters from Atlantic Bottling, Story Construction Again Winners

ABI members’ company newsletters are some of the best reading we receive in the ABI office. What comes through is the value you place on your employees and your customers.  The insights you share about running a successful business are terrific.  Two more winning newsletters arrived in the mail last week. 

The Fizz, the new newsletter published by longtime ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, is great.  Lots of photos and a great layout mark the newsletter.  This edition included some neat stories of giving back (and saving lives!) and also illustrated the commitment to safety that is exhibited by this company and so many ABI members.  Congratulations to everyone at the company on the new publication, including two former Chairs of ABI, Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) and Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Waukee)

The front page column in StoryLine, the newsletter of Story Construction Company, is written by company President and ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames).  Mike’s column is always strong and this one was particularly so.  Thanks for sharing, Mike!  

As always, if you wish to see the newsletters for yourself, please let me know. And please keep your company newsletters coming! 

Rich Phelan’s Wife to Have Surgery

Many of you know longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton).  Rich is a great guy and a great leader.  Many of you also know Carolyn Phelan, Rich’s wife, who has attended many ABI events over the years and is also a great person.

Rich shared that Carolyn will be having surgery this week in Davenport. Doctors will work to remove a cardiac blockage and stay ahead of any potential further damage.  The surgery is serious, but expected to go well.  ABI is keeping both Carolyn and Rich in our thoughts and prayers.

Birthdays for Wersen, Roberts Celebrated this Week

Two longtime ABI leaders are celebrating birthdays this week.  Former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) celebrated yesterday and former longtime ABI Board Member Steve Roberts (Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines) celebrates today.  ABI sends best birthday wishes to Bob and Steve!