Final 2015 Board Meeting Next Week - Monday Memo 11/2/15

November 2, 2015

Final ABI Board Meeting of 2015 Next Week

The final board meeting of the calendar year will be held a week from Wednesday.  The November meeting is an important one for ABI and it is typically one of the best-attended meetings of the year. 

The ABI Board of Directors, chaired by Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown), will convene at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11.  The board will meet at ABI headquarters in Des Moines' East Village.  You can register for the board meeting at

As noted above, the November board meeting is an important one.  Members will work through a very full agenda of reports and action items.  Guest speakers will share remarks and the annual audit will be received.  Important policy issues will also be considered at the meeting. 

Look for the usual packet of reports and materials to help you prepare for the meeting to arrive in your email in-basket later this week.  Thank you for making plans to attend this important session.

Jessica Harder to Join ABI as Director, Public Policy

It is a pleasure to announce that Jessica Harder will join ABI as Director, Public Policy.  Along with ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, she will be a key member of ABI's lobbying team.

Jessica, an attorney, has extensive lobbying and governmental affairs experience.  She has most recently headed her own multi-client lobbying firm, was a part of ABI-member Davis Brown Law Firm prior to that, and was on the staff at the Iowa League of Cities previously.  Jessica has a strong background in environmental policy and law and a large network of legislative relationships.

Jessica is a Nebraska native.  She and her husband now reside in Des Moines with their (soon to be) two children.  She is personable and enthusiastic and ABI is pleased to have her join us.  Jessica will begin her work with ABI soon and I believe you will have the opportunity to meet her at the board meeting on the 11th.  Welcome, Jessica!

Leadership Iowa to Hold Second 2015-16 Session in Washington

The ABI Foundation's 2015-2016 Leadership Iowa class is comprised of a terrific group of Iowans.  The class will meet for its second session beginning Wednesday in Washington, Iowa.

This session will focus on agriculture and renewable energy.  Look for a full report at next week's board meeting.

Conference Committee Meets Thursday

You can believe me when I tell you that the committee planning the 2016 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference is working hard and putting together a fabulous event.  In fact, the committee will meet again this coming Thursday at ABI.

Chaired by Kim Didier (DMACC, Des Moines), and with the leadership of ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown), the committee has developed a truly spectacular gala opening reception.  The entire conference will be filled with events, speakers, and venues that will blow you away. 

Make your plans now to attend the conference.  It will be held in Sioux City on June 14, 15, and 16 and you do NOT want to miss it!

Elevate Ambassadors Session Two Next Week

A second session of training for Elevate ambassadors, featuring ABI Vice Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), will be held next week.  The training will take place on November 12th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at ABI. Contact Robyn Denson for more information at

Iowa Student Internship Program is a Resource for Small to Mid-Sized Companies

As you read last week, the Iowa Student Internship Program has been utilized by many small to mid-sized ABI members across the state.

The program is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and it provides grants to qualifying businesses in targeted industries (manufacturing is one).  The grants must be used as a part of payments by a company to a summer intern (a company is eligible for up to three internships under the program).  It is a terrific way to stretch your company's internship dollars. 

Click on for more information.

Business Horizons Featured in Dekko Foundation Publication

The Dekko Foundation is a well-known philanthropic organization that supports economic freedom through education.  The foundation has been a supporter of the ABI Foundation's Business Horizons program.

This year, the Dekko Foundation Annual Report carries a wonderful feature about BH.  With lots of photos and an informative narrative, the feature illustrates the profound impact BH has had on the lives of Iowa students over the past 30 years.  Longtime BH volunteer and ABI Foundation Board Member Joseph Jones (Greater Des Moines Partnership, Des Moines) is a prominent part of the feature.

It is terrific to see such a deserving program like BH receive this attention.  Please contact the ABI office if you would like to see the report for yourself.

SBDC Board Will Meet

ABI has long supported the work of Iowa's Small Business Development Centers and the assistance those centers provide to Iowa business.  Part of that support has been through being represented on the Iowa SBDC Board of Directors.

That panel will meet Wednesday at Iowa State University in Ames.  As always, watch future editions of this bulletin for news of any developments.

Cybersecurity Roundtables Postponed

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa recently invited ABI board members and other leaders to two cybersecurity roundtables.  The roundtables were to be held tomorrow at Iowa State University in Ames and Drake University in Des Moines.

Last week, it was announced that the roundtables had to be postponed.  if they are rescheduled, I will notify you at once.

ABI Board Invited to Consulate General of Canada Reception

As you have read in previous editions of this memorandum, Canadian Consul General Jamshed Merchant has invited you to a reception to be held to welcome new Canadian Senior Trade Commissioner Susan Cormie to Iowa.  As I noted last week, Ms. Cormie takes the post previously held by Mike Flaherty, with whom many of you worked.

The reception will be held the evening of November 10, the evening prior to the November meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  All ABI board members and former board chairs are invited to attend the reception free of charge as the guest of the Consulate.  The reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Des Moines Embassy Club in downtown Des Moines.  To register for this free event and for more information, please reply to this message and I will send it to you.

Register now for Connecting Statewide Leaders Event in Waverly

As you know, the first 2015-2016 Connecting Statewide Leaders event will be held December 10 in Waverly.  This forum is the next opportunity to participate in the popular series of events ABI has hosted around Iowa over the course of the past few years.  A luncheon follows the meeting and you will have a great opportunity to visit with fellow ABI members, meet the new Leadership Iowa class, and develop new customers.  Please mark your calendar now and watch for more details to come your way soon.

Big Events for Bywater Family

This is a busy time for one of ABI's Founding Families, the Bywaters of Iowa City.  Last Saturday, at the Iowa State Cross Country Championships in Fort Dodge, Emily Bywater, daughter of ABI Executive Committee Member David Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City) and granddaughter of former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City), finished in a great time and did very well.

Speaking of Bill, this coming Thursday he will play a leading role in the centennial celebration of the Iowa City Rotary Club.  The club is marking its 100th anniversary this year.  Bill was President of the club in 1969-70.  About 10 years ago, daughter Ann served as President.  Congratulations to Bill, David, Ann, Emily, and  to the Iowa City Rotary Club!

Governor Tours Vogel Paint

Over his many years in office, Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad has strongly supported ABI members and has often toured their facilities.  Last week, the Governor again visited Vogel Paint Company in Orange City. 

While in Orange City last Wednesday to make announcements related to the Home Base Iowa program, Governor Branstad also toured some of the Vogel facilities.  Congratulations to all involved, including ABI Executive Committee Member Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City)!

Steve Jacobs featured on Business Record Cover

Longtime ABI Board Member and Advisory Council Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) serves as the cover star in this week's edition of the Des Moines Business Record.  Steve, whose firm is a national leader in business valuation and M&A counsel, is the key voice in an article about selling businesses.  It is great reading and you can check it for yourself here:

Also great reading is the latest edition of baton, the company newsletter for BCC Advisers.  Contact me and I will get you a copy at once.  In the meantime congratulations to Steve for the great coverage!

Jerry Hadenfeldt to Retire

For 38 years, ABI Board Member Jerry Hadenfeldt (Meredith Corporation, Des Moines) has been on the job.  After almost four decades, Jerry will retire from Meredith on December 31.

While he hasn't been on the board for quite his entire career at Meredith, Jerry has been an ABI board member for a long, long time.  We salute him on his wonderful career and we thank him for his leadership and support.  Congratulations, Jerry!

Pray, White, Lande Celebrate Birthdays

One current board member and two former chairs of ABI are celebrating birthdays.  ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines) celebrated his birthday Saturday.  Former ABI Chair Dick White (John Deere, Ankeny) and former ABI Chair Roger Lande (Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Muscatine) will celebrate later this month.  ABI sends best birthday wishes to Jack, Dick, and Roger!

More Lessons from ABI Leaders

The Iowa Lean Consortium held its annual conference in Des Moines last week.  ILC is an ABI member and we are pleased to help sponsor the organization's annual conference. 

This year, the conference again provided terrific programming about lean and about process improvement.  The keynote speaker was Paul Akers, a nationally-known lean expert and author. 

While I attended a breakfast at which Mr. Akers spoke, I did not arrange my calendar in such a way to allow my staying for the rest of the conference.  I felt I was too busy.

When I arrived at the conference breakfast, I saw these ABI board members and leaders: ABI Co-Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), ABI Board member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames), and former ABI Chairs Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) and Al Jennings (EFCO, Des Moines), among others.  Here is what I learned from these very successful ABI leaders, whom I know to be lean proponents already... if THEY can learn more about lean and how it can continue to improve their operations, I sure as heck can, too.  I won't make the mistake of missing the ILC conference again.