Coolest Thing Ramps Up - Monday Memo 3/25/24

March 25, 2024

Nominations Open TODAY for Coolest Thing

As you know, ABI is partnering with longtime member MidWestOne Bank to host our brand-new statewide competition in search of the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  The competition will showcase the Iowa manufacturing industry’s best innovations, craftsmanship, and state of the art technologies. 

Nominations for “Coolest Thing” open this morning at 8:30.  Nominations and voting are open to the public.  After products are nominated, they will compete in a popular vote that sets the field for a tournament-style bracket.  The top 16 Iowa-made products will compete in head-to-head matchups to be named the “Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.”  Click here to see more: Coolest Thing Made in Iowa (  The winner will be announced at the 2024 Taking care of Business Conference in Davenport in June.  Get your product nominated today and be a part of this exciting competition! 

Next ABI Legislative Update Friday

This Friday (March 29), ABI will hold the next edition of the biweekly ABI legislative updates.  As you read about in the latest ABI e-newsletter, there was a great deal of activity at the Statehouse on ABI priorities last week.  Friday’s update will provide the most up-to-date information from the Capitol.  Information about bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

ABI Executive Committee Meets by Zoom in Two Weeks; Board Meets May 8

The April meeting of the ABI Executive Committee will be held by Zoom the week after next.  ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will meet the morning of April 10 and committee members can expect to see the usual packet of meeting materials in their email in-basket next week. 

The ABI Board of Directors will next meet on May 8.  As for the ABI Board of Directors, that body will meet again on May 8.  The meeting will be held at the Des Moines facilities of ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company just south of the Des Moines International Airport.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) for hosting the ABI Board that day. 

Terrific 2024 Taking Care of Business Conference Ahead

ABI’s 121st Annual Convention will be held in the Quad Cities in just over two months.  The convention, the 2024 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference, is scheduled for June 4-6.  

Almost two hundred people have already registered, with many more than that already reserving rooms at the two conference flagship hotels.  If you haven’t done so, you can register now by clicking on  

Using that same link, you can access information about the terrific speaker lineup, see the fabulous venues, register for golf at one of the Midwest’s finest private golf clubs, make your lodging reservations, and make plans to participate in the very best business networking in Iowa.  You don’t want to miss it! 

Automation Summit, LI Connect Event in April

A couple of important ABI events are coming your way in the next few weeks, both occurring on April 17th. 

On that day, another in the series of LI Connect events will be held.  The session will be held by Zoom at 8:30 a.m. and it will focus on education.  Click here to register and for more information: Meeting Registration - Zoom

The next in the popular series of ABI Automation Summits will also take place on the 17th.  It will be held at Scott Community College (part of Eastern Iowa Community College) in Davenport.  You may register for this high-value program here: Summary - Automation Summit (  

Weekly NAM Report: Good News for Manufacturers

This week’s edition of the Monday Economic Report (published by the National Association of Manufacturers), published today, is fascinating.  Not for any one thing, but because of the variety of positive data that was highlighted.  Here’s hoping it rings true.  As always, if you wish to read the report, please reply to this memo and I’ll get it to you at once. 

Dubuque Celebrates Grand Opening of Bright Minds Campus

Former ABI Chair Jack Hasken (Jackson Mfg., Maquoketa) has been telling us for a while about an exciting project in Dubuque.  The project, a new comprehensive childcare campus, is a partnership of business, local government, the school district, and other entities.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was on had Thursday (along with Jack and others) to mark the facility’s grand opening.  Jack played a big role in development of the facility.  ABI member Greater Dubuque Development Corporation led the project.  Read more here: Dubuque leaders celebrate child care funding, welcome governor to new facility | Tri-state News |  Congratulations, Jack, and everyone! 

Jack McFarland Checks-In from Arizona

It was fun last week to hear from ABI Board Member Jack McFarland (Miller Products Company, Osceola – Ret.).  I note that Jack is retired from Miller… that’s because he sold it, but he is most definitely NOT retired.  Jack owns P4Swiss/Lindel CNC Machining in Tucson, Arizona.  The company was originally Lindel Precision CNC Machining and it merged with Precision4 Swiss in 2019.  See more here: CNC Machining | The Best Tucson Machine Shop (  

Jack reports business is good and growing.  All of us who know Jack are not surprised in the least.  Congratulations and best wishes, Jack! 

Congresswoman Miller-Meeks Tours CemenTech

You know how important it is that ABI members host elected officials in their plants and offices.  That is the very best thing you can do to advance ABI’s public policy agenda.  Another member did just that recently.  A week ago, officials with longtime member CemenTech hosted U.S. Representative Marinette Miller-Meeks in their Indianola plant.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Connor Deering (CemenTech, Indianola) and the team there for doing so!