End of Fiscal Year Approaching - Monday Memo 6/27/16

June 27, 2016

Executive Committee to Hold Final Meeting of 2015-2016 Fiscal Year

Members of the ABI Executive Committee will hold their final discussion of the 2015-2016 fiscal year Wednesday.  ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) and committee members will, among other business, review the association’s performance in finance and program areas.  

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to your leadership, the association will celebrate another successful year.  For example, ABI will end the year in the black for the tenth consecutive year, the association achieved strong success during the legislative session, the annual conference and other events held throughout the year were terrific, and the ABI Foundation programs saw increased participation and popularity.  

Believe me, it is not simply rhetoric, but absolutely true to say that it is the investment in dollars, time, and other resources by ABI members all over Iowa that provide for ABI's success.  And it is most certainly your leadership and support that lead the way in making it all possible; thank you

First Executive Committee Meeting of New Fiscal Year in Two Weeks

The Executive Committee/Board of Directors meeting schedule for 2016-2017 was finalized last week.  It will be sent your way soon, but in the meantime, please mark your calendars for the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  The board will next meet on September 14. 

In the meantime, members of the newly-constituted ABI Executive Committee will hold their first teleconference of the 2016-2017 fiscal year in two weeks.  The July Executive Committee teleconference will take place at 9:30 a.m. on July 13.  As is typical for July, the call is expected to be brief, but will provide an opportunity to review financial and membership data and receive program reports. 

ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) will be joined on this year’s Executive Committee by Vice Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), Treasurer David Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City), Secretary John Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic), and Immediate Past Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown).  Also on the committee are District Vice Chairs Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), Richard Phelan (LyondellBassell, Clinton), Michael Sadler (CenturyLink, Des Moines), Mary Landhuis (Lisle Corp./EZ Way, Clarinda), and Kirk McCollough (Seneca Foundry, Webster City). Look for a full report on any developments at the next meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Leaders to Retire from ABI Board; New Board Members will Begin Terms Friday

In addition to officers, also elected at the 113th Annual Convention were new members of the ABI Board of Directors.  These individuals and/or their companies have long been active in ABI and like all of you, will make terrific board members.  They take the place of members who are completing their terms or otherwise leaving the ABI Board of Directors. 

Ending service on the board are Dee Baird (Metro Economic Alliance, Cedar Rapids), Jared Graening (GMT Corporation, Waverly), Steve Brody (DuPont Pioneer, Johnston), Charles Richardson (NSK-AKS Precision Ball, Clarinda), Kurt Rouse (Nestle Purina, Davenport), Lori Thielen (East Dubuque Savings Bank, Dubuque), and Nate Weaton (Hillphoenix Specialty Products, Keosauqua) Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), of course, leaves his board slot as Immediate Past Chair, but remains a board member for life as do all other former Chairs.  Please join me in congratulating these individuals for their service and leadership and THANK YOU to these Iowa business leaders. 

Elected to the board  for terms beginning July 1 were Christine Carlson (Hillphoenix Specialty Products, Keosauqua), Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Clive), Alan Johnson (Norplex Micarta, Postville), Drew Larson (RAM Pattern, LeClaire), Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Carlisle), Vince Newendorp (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), David Nicholl (Grip Tite Mfg Co., Winterset), and Kim Pang (Diamond Jo Worth, Northwood), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board member, Kelli Barrick (The Private Bank, West Des Moines). Congratulations to these incoming leaders. 

Round Two EPIC Interviews This Week

As you know, ABI coordinates a group of business organizations called Economic Progress for Iowa's Citizens.  EPIC seeks to educate Iowans about the business stances of candidates and the business impacts of public policy issues. 

One key EPIC function each election cycle is a program of interviews with candidates.  Both Democrat and Republican candidates are invited.  A series of interviews prior to the primary election was held earlier this spring. 

This week, a second round of interviews will be held with candidates who won primaries in open legislative races.  Thank you to those who participate and please watch for more information in the future. 

NAM; CLA, Syverson Strege Provide Brexit Impact Information

On the heels of Thursday's vote by citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (often called Brexit), the National Association of Manufacturers Friday sent information about what American manufacturers can expect to see happen now.  The message seems to be that we should expect to see challenges, but it is too early to know for certain all that could happen.  (Editor's Note: Our family's portfolio has already experienced some "challenges.") 

Later Friday afternoon, I received a commentary from ABI members (and ABI Advisory Council members) Clifton Larsen Allen and Syverson Strege and Company.  It, too, is useful and a succinct review of the situation as it stands right now. 

If you are interested in seeing the information for yourself, please let me know and I will get it to you at once.  And, read further to see some prescient comments by former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) made prior to the vote. 

Foundation Auction Raises Nearly $20K

Thanks to auctioneer ABI Board Member Jason Gross (Nationwide, Des Moines), who was ably assisted by Chad Christensen (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), and most especially thanks to all of the generous conference attendees/bidders, the auction benefitting the ABI Foundation held at the conference was a big success.  Nearly $20,000 was raised for Foundation programs.  THANK YOU! 

2016 Conference Presentations Soon Available Online; 2017 ABI Convention in Dubuque

Many of you have shared great comments about the just-completed 2016 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference; thank you.  Many of you have also remarked that you wish you could revisit some of the presentations that made the conference of such great value for your company. 

The presentations will soon be available through the ABI website at http://www.iowaabi.org/.  Watch for further news soon.  You'll also be able to access conference photos through the website. 

The 2017 ABI Convention/Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference will be held in Dubuque.  Plans are already underway to make the event truly spectacular.  Each year, conference committee members work hard to develop world-class experiences and next year, they will be able to do that with a terrific convention center and with the use of some other fabulous surprises.  

ABI members love the water, and next year's conference will take place by one of America's great rivers, the Mighty Mississippi.  Mark your calendars now for June 6-8 and make plans to join your ABI colleagues in Dubuque! 

Watch for Convention Survey in Your In-Box Soon; 2017 Planning Well Underway

As I noted above, many of you have been kind to offer good words about the recently-held 113th Annual ABI Convention.  It was indeed a fantastic meeting, with great speakers, exciting venues, and terrific numbers of ABI members from all over Iowa and beyond.  

While Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, Member Programs Director Holly Mueggenberg, Membership Coordinator Dorothy Knowles, Communications Coordinator Emily Schettler, and Bookkeeper Chrissy Viers put the finishing touches on convention, your feedback is encouraged and desired.  Watch your email in-basket for a convention survey that will arrive soon, or may have already arrived.  Please take a few moments (that’s all it takes, I promise) to complete the survey and provide your counsel about how to make a great event even better.  

ABI Publishes Iowa HR Library

One of ABI’s popular services over the years has been to provide a library of reference books related to Human Resources and other issues.  The reference set is periodically updated and highlighted for those companies seeking such a resource and it is offered at a very nominal rate for ABI members.  For more information or to obtain a set of manuals, please contact the ABI office.  

IIPAC Fundraising Now Underway

The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee is ABI’s political arm and it is not pro-Republican or pro-Democrat; it is pro-business.  IIPAC is an important resource for pro-business candidates. 

Fundraising for IIPAC really never stops, but it occurs in earnest during the summer and fall.  ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, Policy and Director Public Policy Jessica Harder, with the help of Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt, are now actively recruiting contributions.  I hope you will join your fellow ABI board and staff members by becoming an IIPAC contributor today.  Please click on this link for more information or to make a donation: https://www.iowaabi.org/public-policy/iipac/

Leadership Iowa University Seeking New Class

Leadership Iowa University is the exciting program that provides a Leadership Iowa experience for Iowa college students.  The seventh-ever session of the program is fast-approaching and class members are now being sought. 

If you have questions or wish to be involved, please don’t hesitate to contact ABI Foundation Vice President for Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, Development Director Amanda Nuzum, or Foundation Marketing Coordinator Jessi Steward.  By the way, our thanks to all these staff members and to Foundation Assistant Jane Galloway for their work in making LIU and all Foundation programs a success.  In the meantime, thanks to many of you who have already nominated Iowa college students for selection to LIU. 

Register Now for 2016 ABI Executive Open at Des Moines Golf and Country Club

Each year I like to remind you that I am the fellow that predicted there wouldn't be much demand for participation in a new event created a few years ago, the ABI Executive Open.  Well, I was spectacularly wrong (again).  The event has become one of the association's most popular annual outings and it sells-out every year. 

The 2016 Open will be held Monday, August 29, at one of Iowa's most beautiful private courses, the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines.  Click on this link to learn more about the club: http://www.dmgcc.org/.  It will make a fabulous location for the 2016 Executive Open.  Because spots fill so quickly, you may wish to register now.  If so, go here now: http://www.cvent.com/events/abi-executive-open-2016/event-summary-78ef26d7ecd4489696463f1d84494bd2.aspx.  See you in West Des Moines in August! 

Vogel Paint Company Marks 90 Years of Success

In keeping with the recommendation of conference speaker Katherine Button Bell of Emerson Corporation, one ABI member company is not waiting to celebrate an anniversary.  Longtime member Vogel Paint Company is marking 90 years of growth and success.  

Nine decades ago, Andrew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City) started making and selling paint from a small shop in town.  Now, hundreds of employees in hundreds of locations around the nation manufacture and sell paint, coatings, and other solution, for customers.  

The company has published a beautiful commemorative brochure, provided tasty imported Dutch Wilhelmina Peppermints, and produced a bunch of interesting and fun videos.  The best ones involve longtime ABI leader Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City) interviewing his namesake and grandfather, Andrew.  They are wonderful!  You can watch the videos for yourself here: https://www.diamondvogel.com/history/.  Congratulations to Drew and everyone at Vogel Paint Company on this terrific milestone! 

Bob Wersen Quoted in Story about "Brexit"

Former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) has a facility in England.  That is just one of the reasons Bob was a perfect source for a Des Moines Register story about the so-called Brexit - the vote by citizens of the United Kingdom as to whether or not that country should remain a part of the European Union.  As you know, the vote was held last Thursday and Britain will indeed be exiting the EU. 

Bob's quote was insightful and interesting.  Read the story for yourself here: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/business/2016/06/21/what-brexit-would-mean-for-iowans/86175694/ .  Congratulations to Bob on the great coverage! 

ABI Begins New Fiscal Year; Revenue Tight, Focus is on Value for Members

Each July, I note the passing of the fiscal year, more for what opportunities lie ahead than for anything having to do with the past.  And Friday, ABI begins a new fiscal year. 

As always, ABI's focus is on providing high value for members.  The beginning of a new year brings new opportunities to serve existing members, gain new ones, and build a better Iowa business climate.  As we start the year, all of us at ABI are thinking about how we can do things even better than they have been done in the past. 

You have heard me say often that I like things that can be measured, because they let us know how we are doing at achieving the agenda you set for us each year.  Revenue at ABI has increased over the course of the past several years, thanks to new members, new sponsors, and (we hope) more value for your company.  Still, the budget for the year is tight and we have to be careful with every dollar.  We take seriously our charge to not waste your investment.

At ABI, it's all about the members!  We are always looking forward and building for growth.  If we aren't moving ahead, we are falling behind and that is not acceptable.  Thanks to your leadership and a great staff, we are achieving that goal.  It is not just rhetoric to say that your leadership has ensured that ABI continues its resurgence and growth as one of our state’s leading organizations.  Thank you.