Board to Meet in North Iowa - Monday Memo 4/30/18

April 30, 2018

ABI Events Tomorrow and Wednesday in Garner; Stellar Tours Conclude Activities

As you know, ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) will convene the May meeting of the ABI Board of Directors the day after tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 2.  The meeting will begin with lunch at noon and will follow the May meeting of the ABI Executive Committee and the first in a series of Regional ABI Policy Meetings.  All three meetings will be held at the Garner Golf Club in Garner.  

All board members and past chairs of the board should have received the usual link to a packet of meeting materials in your email in-basket last Wednesday.  If you did not, please reply to this message and I will re-send the packet at once.  Should you have questions or comments about anything related to the packet or the meeting, please contact me.  

The May board session actually begins with dinner tomorrow night, compliments of ABI, for those of you who are already in North Iowa.  If you plan to attend and haven't yet registered, simply reply to this email and let me know.  Then, we'll see you tomorrow evening at the Surf District Grill in Clear Lake.  The Grill is located next to the legendary Surf Ballroom, the final concert venue for Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens.  The men were famously killed in a plane crash as they flew to their next concert destination. 

Following the meeting, all board members are invited to tour Stellar Industries’ newly expanded manufacturing campus in Garner.  You won’t want to miss this tour, which should begin around 2:00 (and participants can expect to be on the road around 3:00) that afternoon.  Many thanks to Dave for making the tour possible. 

Wednesday's meeting marks the last ABI board meeting prior to June’s annual convention.  This has been a very busy spring for the association and on behalf of Dave and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you in Garner. 

ABI Regional Policy Meetings Being Held Around Iowa Throughout May; In Garner Wednesday

With adjournment of the 2018 session of the Iowa General Assembly (surely) coming sometime in the near future, ABI's focus turns to 1) letting you know how the actions of the legislature impacted your business and 2) the 2019 session of the Assembly.  ABI will be traveling the state throughout the month of May to meet with members about these topics. 

Given the uncertain adjournment date, the sessions have not yet been scheduled. Once they are, you will be able to register for one or more of the sessions by going to the Events Page on the ABI website.  You will find that site here:  The ABI public policy staff and I look forward to seeing you and your employees at the upcoming meetings. 

Things start Wednesday in North Iowa with the first regional meeting.  A meeting in Garner prior to the beginning of the board meeting will kick-off the series. Watch for more information soon.  

Little Over a Month to Go Until 2018 Convention

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, the 115th Annual ABI Convention, begins in a little over month.  The event will be held in Coralville/Iowa City June 5, 6, and 7.  Make your reservations NOW for the convention by going to  Nearly 350 people have already registered! 

This conference will be an ABI convention you do NOT want to miss.  High-Value breakout sessions, dynamic speakers, and the very best business networking in Iowa will again make the conference something not to be missed. 

Don’t wait; register NOW!  If you don't want to click on the link above, reply to this message and let us take care of it for you.  Don't miss this conference! 

Underwood to Represent ABI on New Rural Equity Steering Committee

Iowa officials have created the Iowa Rural Equity Project Initiative. A three-year, $300,000 grant with additional local match was approved to create 1) a network of community seed funds, 2) a rural angel investor network, and 3) a charitable endowment-related investment program. 

ABI was asked to participate in a steering committee which will guide the work of the initiative and assist in ensuring the intuitive helps Iowa’s rural areas grow. Former longtime ABI Board Member David Underwood (CFO-On-Demand, Clear Lake) has agreed to represent ABI on the steering committee.  With his decades-long background as a manufacturing company CFO, as a leader in the north Iowa investment community, and as an economic development champion, Dave is the perfect person to represent ABI.  Thank you, Dave!  We look forward to news of the new initiative’s success in the coming months. 

Search Update

An exceptionally strong field of candidates has made competition for the vacant ABI Foundation position quite fierce. The field was narrowed to eleven candidates and a team of ABI and Foundation staff members completed preliminary interviews last week.  

Second-round interviews with four candidates will be completed today. It is possible that a final candidate will be selected and, after consultation with ABI Foundation Board Chair (and former ABI Chair) Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines), an offer could be extended later this week. 

While the identity is not yet known, what is clear is that we will have a terrific new team member soon. Watch for more search news as it develops. 

Nominating Committee to Meet Next Week

As Immediate past Chair of ABI, Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) also serves as Chair of the 2018 ABI Nominating Committee.  The committee will meet one week from tomorrow. 

The committee includes representatives of each of ABI’s five Iowa districts.  Thank you to Lori and to these ABI leaders for serving on the association's 2018 Nominating Committee: Andy Kretz (Dexter-Apache, Fairfield), Tom Determann (CRDC, Clinton), Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines), Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan), and Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City).  

If you wish to nominate someone for board service (and self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged), please contact one of the committee members or me.  ABI members will vote on the slate of nominees at the 2018 Annual Convention in Coralville/Iowa City in June. 

Leadership Iowa Class Heads to Clinton; Nominate Someone for LI TODAY

There are two sessions left for the 2017-2018 Leadership Iowa Class.  One will be held later this week in Clinton and then the class will graduate at a ceremony held in conjunction with next month's ABI annual conference. 

Beginning with some voluntary activities Wednesday and continuing through Thursday and Friday, the class will meet for a session focused on Iowa’s changing demographics and workforce issues.  As usual, a terrific program has been developed for LI members and you will learn more at the May board meeting. 

In other news, please remember that today is the deadline to make your Leadership Iowa nominations for the 2018-2019 class.  Please know your nominations will still be accepted.  Go to

ABI Members Invited to Participate in Iowa-China Business Forum Thursday

Over 50 Chinese business owners, executives, and investors will host an Iowa-China Business Forum in Des Moines on Thursday, May 3. Starting with a breakfast event that morning and concluding with dinner that evening, the day will be filled with meetings and events. 

If you company isn’t doing business in China and you want to explore that prospect, you may wish to participate. There is a fee and you can get more information by contacting Swallow Yan at  Swallow, a frequent visitor to the ABI office, has worked hard to develop trade opportunities between his native China and his new home (Iowa) for many years. 

ABI to Add Third Roundtable: Business Development

You will receive more information at Wednesday’s board meeting and I am told that a more formal announcement is scheduled for the annual conference, but for now please know that ABI is adding a third roundtable, a Business Development Roundtable, to its lineup. The association started three years ago with a CFO Roundtable, then added an Operations Excellence Roundtable, and the new roundtable will be added later this year.  

The roundtables have been excellent resources for members in the finance and operations fields. Get ready to have your business development and sales teams included in the new roundtable.  Again, look for a report Wednesday. 

Latest Elevate Newsletter Published

The latest edition of the newsletter published by ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative was recently distributed.  In this edition, you can read about the latest news about Elevate, including information about the winners of the 2018 Elevate scholarships.  

The newsletter also includes information and resources to help connect workers to training and to your business.  The newsletter was also included in the board packet for this week’s meeting. But if for some reason you can’t find it, reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Mark Your Calendars for ABI Executive Open

One of ABI's most popular events each year is the annual Executive Open.  This year's open will again be played at one of Iowa's truly fabulous private courses, Des Moines Golf and Country Club (  If you are not a member, it can be difficult to get the opportunity to play it.  Well, here's your chance. 

Registration will soon be open for this event, which will be held on August 27.  For now, please save the date on your calendar. This event sells out every year, so make your plans now and look for registration information in an upcoming edition of this memorandum. 

Governor Reynolds to help LyondellBasell Mark 50 Years of Success at Clinton Operations

A terrific ABI member, LyondellBasell, will mark the Golden Anniversary of its Clinton Operations tomorrow.  With 400 employees and a 240-acre plant, the Clinton Complex is perhaps the largest chemical plant in Iowa and is certainly one of the largest in the nation. 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will be on hand to help LyondellBasell commemorate this big event at a 50-year Celebration in Clinton Tuesday morning. It is hard to overestimate all that LyondellBasell has meant to Clinton, our state, and certainly to ABI.  Congratulations to everyone at the company, including longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton)

Van Meter Featured in “World’s Greatest!” Show

You may have heard of the “World’s Greatest!” television show. The program is a thirty-minute cable tv show that seeks to highlight great companies, products, places, and people.  Thanks to its extraordinary culture of service and employee empowerment, ABI member Van Meter was selected to be featured in a program segment shown this month. 

The episode features many Van Meter employee owners and it is a lot of fun. Click here to view it for yourself:  Congratulations to everyone at Van Meter, including company executive and ABI barod Member Jenn Bliel (Van Meter, Cedar Rapids)!