First FY20 Board Meeting Next Week - Monday Memo 9/3/19

September 3, 2019

First ABI Board Meeting of 2020 Fiscal Year One Week from Tomorrow

The ABI Board of Directors, chaired by Cindy Dietz (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids), will hold its first meeting of the new fiscal year on Wednesday, September 11.  The board will meet at the Marriott Hotel in Cedar Rapids.The meeting will be preceded by the monthly meeting of the ABI Executive Committee that morning.  You will soon receive the usual meeting packet with a map, an agenda, detailed reports, and other items to help you prepare for the meeting.  

A number of important issues will be reviewed and acted upon at the meeting.  One highlight, led by ABI Vice Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), will be consideration of recommendations related to the association's 2020 policy positions.  Another highlight will be comments by Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart.  A final highlight of the day is the opportunity to tour Collins Aerospace following the board meeting.  NOTE: All tour participants will need to indicate their intent to participate prior to the meeting.  Watch for more information in your board packet. 

If you haven’t already done so, please register now by replying to this memo.  All board members and Past Chairs are encouraged to join ABI for the board meeting.  Lunch will also be served.  On behalf of Cindy and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you on September 11. 

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference October 2, Keynote by Winnebago CEO Mike Happe; Legends Dinner Previous Evening

ABI, the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State University, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority are the lead sponsors for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2020.  The conference will be held in Altoona on October 2nd.  Great speakers, such as company president and CEO Michael Happe (Winnebago Industries, Forest City), and a high value program are on tap at the conference.  You can register now (many of you already have) and find more information at:    

By the way, remember that the annual Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner (hosted by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program) will be held the preceding night, also at Prairie Meadows in Altoona.  Don't miss this event.  To register or to find more information about this event, please click on the same link listed above.  Many participants will attend both the dinner and the conference the next day.  If you wish to make a hotel reservation, so that you can attend both events conveniently, go to:  

Deadline Approaching to Sign the USMCA Iowa Letter

As you read in last week’s ABI eNewsletter, there is still time to add your name to the Iowa USMCA coalition letter.  The letterwill show the diversity of Iowa businesses, associations and individuals who support free trade and encourage Congress to pass the agreement. The deadline for signing the letter is this Thursday, Sept. 5, at 5 p.m. Contact Daniel Heady with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation if you want to sign on.  ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain leads ABI’s work with regard to this initiative and can answer any questions you might have. 

Manufacturing-Centric Events Ahead in October and November

ABI has additional manufacturing-focused events ahead.  On October 1, ABI and CIRAS will host a matchmaking event to provide a structured opportunity for buyers and sellers of Iowa-produced industrial products to meet in a low-risk, high efficiency manner.  The matchmaking and networking event will represent “speed-dating” opportunities for ABI-member suppliers and buyers.  Learn more or register at:

The Manufacturing Technology Roadshow, which was such a success in its first year last year, returns in November.  On November 12 and 13, ABI and CIRAS are again partnering to show Iowa manufacturers firsthand how new digital technologies and automation can improve your manufacturing floor and processes today.  The second-annual manufacturing technology event highlights the best of manufacturing with exclusive access to outstanding manufacturing locations – all packed into two days. 

It is designed specifically for manufacturing leaders in the roles of CEO, operations, plant manager, engineers, or others considering manufacturing automation.  Register today to join us in seeing leader technologies in action.  Go here for more information and to register:

Future Ready Iowa Regional Summits Begin

This week marks the beginning of the Future Ready Iowa Regional Summits.  Each summit will include information about how Iowa businesses can use tools, resources, and opportunities available to help grow their workforce and their business.  Many ABI members are hosting a regional meeting, or summit, in their area. 

As previously noted, participation in the 90-mintue regional summits is free.  I encourage you to access this link to find out more and to register you or your staff for one of the summits nearest you.  Should you have question or comments, please contact me.  

In the meantime, ABI members United Equipment Accessories and Lisle Corporation are hosting summits this week.  UEA in Waverly tomorrow and Lisle in Clarinda on Thursday.  Thank you to UEA and to Lisle! 

ABI Operational Excellence Roundtable to Meet at Vermeer Thursday

In response to your comments, ABI some time ago created the CFO Roundtable and the Operational Excellence Roundtable.  These panels are terrific opportunities for peer learning, best-practice sharing, and problem-solving.  High-value programs are a hallmark of the new groups, which are open to any ABI member company. 

The ABI Operational Excellence Roundtable will meet Thursday for a special session at Vermeer Corporation in Pella.  The group will hear a special presentation from Vermeer officials.  It will focus on the incredible recovery from the devastating tornado that destroyed one of the company’s manufacturing facilities a little over a year ago. 

If you have questions or desire more information, please reply to this memo, or contact ABI Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, who leads ABI's work related to the roundtables. 

Conference Committee Meeting Next Week

You have heard us say that the 2020 ABI Conference is shaping up to be the best ever.  We say that every year… but every year it is true.  The committee planning the conference will hold its first official meeting a week from today in Des Moines.  I say “official,” because various members of the committee have been working for months now. 

The committee is working with some fabulous venues and speakers related to the conference.  Stay tuned for much more exciting news in the months and weeks ahead. 

Legislative Committee will Meet

The ABI Legislative Committee, chaired by ABI Vice Chair Steve Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), will meet Friday in Des Moines.  Following on the many meetings held in Des Moines and around Iowa before it, the meeting will result in a final set of polices being developed for action by you and your fellow board members later this month.  Look for the final policy draft in your September board packet. 

Leadership Iowa NEXT on September 5

The ABI Foundation’s Leadership Iowa program is holding the first-ever Leadership Iowa NEXT program.  This is a high-value program featuring terrific presenters.  Two of the presenters are your colleagues on the ABI Board of Directors, Jason Gross (EMC Insurance, Des Moines) and Molly Varangkounh (Hy-Capacity, Humboldt)

The program will take place on September 5 and 6 in Perry.  Dinner on the evening of the 5th and the outstanding program on the 6th at the Hotel Patee will make for a terrific event.  Find more information and register at  

YPIowa Conference in Two Weeks

Young Professionals of Iowa (our state's leading organization for young professionals) will hold its annual conference this month.  The 2019 YPIowa conference will be held on September 20 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.  If you haven’t been there, I can tell you it is a fabulous venue.  

The conference is a great way to get your company's YPs engaged and energized.  Go here: for more information and to register. The conference will include several keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and a great deal of information targeted to young professional who desire to grow their futures, their businesses, and their communities. 

Brown Retires from Foundation Board; Butler Hegedus New Chair

For the past six years, former ABI Chair Bill Brown (Brown Winick, Des Moines) has chaired the ABI Foundation Board of Directors.  At its regular quarterly meeting Friday, Bill chaired his last meeting.  His leadership helped the Foundation achieve record results in recent years. 

At the same meeting, Kim Butler Hegedus (Community State Bank, West Ankeny) was elected the Foundation Board Chair.  Kim has long been a leader in the activities of ABI and the ABI Foundation.  Thank you, Bill and Kim! 

Faegre Baker Daniel M&A Conference September 10; ABI Members Invited

ABI member Faegre Baker Daniel has invited ABI members to attend the firm’s 2019 M&A Conference and at NO CHARGE.  It will be held at the new Des Moines Hilton Downtown on September 10.  To access a code that will allow you to register free as an ABI member, please reply to this message and it’ll get it to you at once.  In the meantime, here is a link to more information:  

Annual David P. Lind Benchmark Study Results Released

Longtime ABI member David P. Lind Benchmark is well-known for its definitive annual survey of employer benefits.  This year’s survey is the 20th annual review of Iowa benefits. 

Some significant findings: annual health insurance premiums increased on average just over 7 percent.  From 2011 to 2019, employer contributions to health insurance premiums increased by almost 53 percent.  And, despite experiencing years of rate hikes, Iowa employers are not considering eliminating health insurance as an employee benefit.  Find out more here:  In the meantime, thank you to the firm and to its president, David Lind (David P. Lind Benchmark, Clive) for this important and valuable information. 

Sukups Celebrate Anniversary Today

Former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) and his wife, Mary Sukup, celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary today.  As I note every year, Charles and Mary are one of the all-time great couples.  It is a pleasure to send very best wishes and congratulations to Charles and Mary.  Happy anniversary to the Sukups! 

Bill and Mary Zinkewich Celebrate 50th

It dawned on me that I forgot to note another anniversary.  On August 2nd, former longtime ABI Board Member Bill Zinkewich (SSAB, Muscatine) and his wife, Mary Zinkewich, celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary; 50 years!  Belated congratulations on this big milestone to Bill and Mary!