Conference is a Smash - Monday Memo 6/11/18

June 11, 2018

Wow!  What a Conference!!

You are used to reading that exclamation in the first Monday Memo after the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; that’s because every year it is appropriate.  ABI members from across Iowa and from other parts of the nation converged on Coralville-Iowa City last week for the association’s 115th Annual Convention.  A record-setting, fabulous crowd, local hospitality, exciting venues, nationally-known speakers, and terrific events made the 2018 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference something very special.  

As you know, the annual convention is important to ABI for several reasons.  While the revenue raised by the convention is one of those, even more important is the event’s value as a source of programming and information for members.  And even more important than that, the annual convention helps continue ABI’s momentum and provides members and sponsors with the very best business networking in Iowa.  It is abundantly clear that this annual meeting achieved the convention committee’s goals related to revenue, programming, and networking. 

On behalf of the ABI Board of Directors, THANK YOU to all members, sponsors, and convention attendees for your time and support last week.  Special thanks go ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), a terrific conference committee chaired by Donna Popp-Bruesewitz (Stellar Industries, Garner), and to staff leaders Holly Mueggenberg and Kathy Anderson.  Nicole Crain, Kay Neumann-Thomas, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Jessi Steward, Jane Galloway, David Hildahl, Chrissy Viers, Brad Hartkopf, Becky Coady, and Jessica Hyland also deserve special thanks.  

ABI members are off to a convention in another great city for the 2019 conference.  See you in Ames next June! 

David Bywater Elected New Chair of ABI

At the Annual Business Meeting held last Wednesday in Coralville, ABI members elected new officers and directors for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.  David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) was elected Chair, John Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic) was elected Vice Chair, Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) was elected Treasurer, and Michael Sadler (CenturyLink, Des Moines) was elected Secretary.  David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) is Immediate Past Chair.  

Executive Committee members were also elected, including returning members Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) and John Riches (Arconic, Davenport).  New committee members are J.D. Davis (MidAmerican Energy Company, Des Moines), Brent Kjellberg (Pella Corporation, Carroll), and Jack McFarland (Miller Products Company, Osceola.  

New board members from across the state were also elected and they will take office (along with the new officers and Executive Committee) on July 1.  Retiring board members have provided important leadership for ABI and they will soon be officially recognized for their service. 

David Bywater is a longtime ABI board member and a well-known Iowa business leader.  He is President of Bankers Advertising and Tru Art in Iowa City, a company founded well over a century ago (122 years to be exact) as Economy Advertising Company. David’s great great grandfather, Samuel Wakefield Mercer, served as ABI’s (the organization was then known as the Iowa Manufacturer’s Association) Chair in 1907.  David’s father, Bill Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) served as Chair in FY 1995.  

David’s election marks the first time a third-generation family member will chair ABI. David is active on several boards and initiatives, both in the Iowa City area and throughout the state.  During the coming year, we look forward to actively “building on the best” as David outlined in his remarks at the conference.  Congratulations to David and to our other officers and directors! 

Governor, Lieutenant Governor Address Convention

Having the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa address the annual convention is an honored ABI tradition.  Governor Kim Reynolds addressed the convention and paid tribute to ABI member companies throughout Iowa.  Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg also addressed the convention and thanked ABI members for their work. It is always a treat to have the Governor and Lieutenant Governor with us.  Thank you to Governor Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Gregg for joining us in Coralville.  

Jack Lashier Named 2018 Leadership for Iowa Award Winner; 2018 Business Horizons Session Fast Approaching; Watch for “Pop-Up” Foundation Auction soon

At a ceremony held Thursday, members of the 2017-2018 Leadership Iowa Class graduated.  Class members have demonstrated a real commitment to continuing their leadership activities and it is clear that our state will benefit from these committed young leaders.  Congratulations to everyone! 

Also last week, the 2018 Leadership for Iowa Award was presented to longtime Iowa leader Jack Lashier.  Jack has been a great leader for many years and ABI congratulates and sends best wishes to Jack and his family. 

The focus of the ABI Foundation now shifts to the upcoming session of Business Horizons.  As you know, BH is a week-long entrepreneurial experience for Iowa high school students and this year’s session will take place next month on the campus of Central College in Pella.  Please go to for more information. 

In other Foundation news and thanks to all of you, last Wednesday evening's Foundation Auction was a huge success.  A special thank you goes to ABI Board Member Jason Gross (EMC Insurance Company, Des Moines), who led the auction.  Thank you, Jason! 

Related to the foundation auction, one of ABI’s famous “Pop-Up” online auctions will be coming your way soon. There are some absolutely fabulous Allsteel furniture items that will be the focus of the auction (all proceeds go to benefit the ABI Foundation).  Thank you to Allsteel and to all who donated the terrific auction items!  Watch for more news soon! 

Second Annual” Bringing ‘Boji Back” Event This Summer

Former ABI Chair Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) used to say that an official ABI conference had to be held in Okoboji.  I believe Dennis has relented in recent years, because he tells me he has enjoyed the ever-growing ABI conferences, but ABI members still love the Iowa Great lakes. 

In response to the great many of you who asked for a Lakes-area event, ABI last year created an event entitled “Bringing ‘Boji Back,” which focused on high-value programming for top executives. The second annual event of this type will be held the first week of August in Okoboji.  Watch for more information and we’ll look forward to seeing you there! 

Latest Edition of Business Record Iowa Published Last Week

ABI members around Iowa have shared with us that they enjoy the new Business Record Iowa publication that ABI produces in conjunction with the Des Moines Business Record.  This newsprint product is produced monthly (as opposed to quarterly with the ABI's previous publication) and goes to a much wider distribution list. 

The June edition of Business Record Iowa should have hit your mailbox last week (or been at your hotel room door at the conference).  It is inside the Business Record - look for the cover photo of ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), Conference Committee Chair Donna Popp-Bruesewitz (Stellar Industries, Garner), Sponsorship Chair Kelly Barrick (CIBC Bank, West Des Moines) and ABI Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson. If you did not receive a copy of the latest BR Iowa, we'll get a copy to you.  

Newsflash: Manufacturers are Seeing a Tight Labor Market

Job openings in the manufacturing sector have soared to the highest level since 2001. That is not news to ABI members, who face this tough labor market every day, but it is the focus of the lead story in this week’s edition of the National Association of Manufacturers Monday Economic report.  Today’s edition is another informative one.  Please reply to this message if you would like to see a copy for yourself. 

Don’t Forget: You Are Invited to ATW Training Solutions Open House Thursday

As you will recall, in last week’s Memo, I noted that ABI member company ATW Training Solutions has moved to a new location in Urbandale.  And, to mark the occasion, ATW is hosting an Open House this Thursday (June 14) afternoon.  The open house will be held at the new and expanded training facility from 4:00 to 7:00.  Company President (and ABI Board Member) Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) invites all ABI board members and your staffs to stop by from some barbeque, beverages, and ice cream.  For more information, please click here: ATW Training Open House.  And again, congratulations to Todd and everyone at ATW!  

ABI Staff Deserves Your Thanks

At the end of this month, ABI will complete the association’s 2017-2018 fiscal year.  Thanks to strong leadership by all of you, the past year has been filled with success.  ABI completes its year in a position of great strength. 

Another factor in ABI’s success is strong staff work.  Nicole Crain, Kathy Anderson, Kay Neumann-Thomas, Holly Mueggenberg, Chrissy Viers, Dorothy Knowles, Michelle Vollstedt, Jessi Steward, Jane Galloway, Brad Hartkopf, Jessica Hyland, David Hildahl, and Becky Coady are doing simply great work.  At ABI, we never forget that it is all about the members and these staffers ensure that is the case.  Please join me in thanking them for their efforts. 

The Business of ABI: Convention Edition

As you know, the metrics associated with ABI’s annual convention have been steadily growing over the past several years.  There is a very real momentum at ABI that ensures the association’s long and proud history is leading to an even stronger and more successful future.  Members tell me they can hardly wait until next year’s 116th Annual ABI Convention to see what will happen.  On behalf of Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and soon-to-be Chair David Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) and our other officers, THANK YOU for making the convention – and our association – so successful.