First Memo of the Year - Monday Memo 1/3/17

January 3, 2017

Record Crowd for Next Week’s ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception, Governor and Lieutenant Governor to Attend; Policy Booklet Soon available

You will not want to miss one of the association’s premier 2017 events, the annual ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception.  Both the briefing and reception are being held at the Embassy Suites on the River Hotel in downtown Des Moines and will conveniently follow the ABI Board Meeting on January 11, which is Wednesday of next week.  

The briefing is your opportunity to hear the latest about legislative news and about ABI's pro-growth agenda.  ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain and Director Public Policy Jessica Harder have prepared a terrific program regarding the upcoming session.  

The annual legislative reception follows the briefing and a highlight will be the appearance of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.  And, you’ll recall that more Iowa legislators attend this event (the ABI Legislative Reception) than any similar event hosted by any organization.  This is because YOU attend.  Legislators tell ABI all the time that they want to meet you, they want to learn about your business, and they value this opportunity to visit with you about issues.  

To register for this event, please go NOW to – or SIMPLY REPLY to this email and I’ll make sure you are registered.  Make no mistake; your attendance at next week’s reception, briefing, and board meeting is absolutely critical to advancing ABI’s 2017 legislative agenda.  It is clear that over 500 ABI members, legislators, and others will attend.  On behalf of our officers, thank you in advance for participating in this very important event.  

In the way of a final note related to ABI's public policy work, be on the lookout for your personal copy of the 2017 ABI Policy booklet.  The handbook has become a valuable reference tool for ABI members and legislators alike and the latest edition will be available very soon.  Thanks to Nicole, Jessica, ABI Communications Director Emily Schettler, and ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt for their work with the handbook. 

Important ABI Board Meeting a Week from Wednesday

The first ABI leadership meeting of 2017 will be held next week, on Wednesday, January 11.  The ABI Board of Directors will meet at 2:00 that afternoon.   These meeting is an important one, with discussion of association programs and finances on tap, as well as vital information related to the 2017 Session of the Iowa General Assembly.  

The board meeting will feature several highlights and our regular business.  The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites on the River Hotel in downtown Des Moines.  That is also the site of the legislative briefing and reception, so you will not need to move your car or travel between meetings and events.  

All board members and Past Chairs are encouraged to attend the board meeting and stay for the annual legislative briefing and reception that follows.  ABI Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, Member Programs Director Holly Mueggenberg, Communications Director Emily Schettler, Membership Coordinator Dorothy Willson, and Bookkeeper Chrissy Viers have developed strong meeting arrangements.  Look for your usual meeting packet in your email in-basket later this week.  In the meantime, thank you in advance for attending this important afternoon of events. 

Staff Update: Hartkopf Joins ABI Team, Schettler Now Communications Director

A lot is happening with the ABI staff of late.  It is a pleasure to tell you that Bradley Hartkopf ("heart-cough") is joining the ABI public policy team.  Brad, as Coordinator Public Policy, will fill the third lobbyist position and will work with ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain and Director Public Policy Jessica Harder. 

Brad is a native of Atlantic and has worked at the statehouse, worked for an advocacy organization, and also worked on a statewide political campaign. I know Brad will do great work for ABI and when you meet him at next week's meeting, I hope you will join me in welcoming him to the association. 

You all know Emily Schettler, whom we recruited from the Des Moines Register two years ago. Emily has been a wonderful and strong part of the ABI team.  She has now been promoted from Communications Coordinator to Communications Director.  Congratulations, Emily! 

Elevate Ambassador Training Session Coming Up on January 17

You are all familiar with ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative (  Elevate seeks to raise the profile of manufacturing careers, connect Iowans with training and education, and then connect those Iowans with jobs.  

The Elevate Ambassadors are manufacturing staff members from all over Iowa who help spread the word about the initiative. The next session of ambassador training will be held January 17 at ABI.  Go to When you click that link, you can find out more about what is involved in being an Elevate ambassador and the rewards for doing so.  Please invite your employees to serve as ambassadors and we will see you on the 17th.  

Leadership Iowa Event a Part of Next Week's ABI Activities

The ABI Foundation does great things for Iowa. ABIF Vice President Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, Development Director Amanda Nuzum, Marketing and Programs Coordinator Jessi Steward, and Foundation Assistant Jane Galloway are leading the way for great ABIF programs. 

On January 11, the day of the ABI board meeting and legislative briefing and reception, the Foundation will host the annual Leadership Iowa Networking and Reunion Dinners.  These dinners, more popularly known as the LI Alumni Dine-Arounds, will take place at several Des Moines restaurants.  The event will provide a unique dinner networking opportunity for LI alumni following the annual ABI Legislative Reception.  The event is free to LI alumni - you simply pay for your own meal.  Find out more at 

Leadership Iowa Class to Hold January Session

Speaking of Leadership Iowa, members of the ABI Foundation’s 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa Class will convene next week for their January session.  The class will meet in Des Moines for a program that will focus on state government.  

Members of the class have been invited to join you and other ABI members for the annual legislative reception on Wednesday evening.  Should you come across LI class members at the reception, please greet them and make them feel welcome. 

US Manufacturing Economy Takes Slight Dip

According to last week's Monday Economic Report published by the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. manufacturing economic dipped 0.1 percent in November.  That's not awful, but it is troubling after a couple of months of solid growth.  If you wish to read the report, please contact me and I will forward it to you at once. 

ABI Members Recognized as Iowa Certified Sites

Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds recently announced additional development cites as Iowa certified sites. Two of the new sites are those managed by ABI members Clinton Regional Development Corporation and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Congratulations to these great organizations on this terrific achievement, including ABI Board Members Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), Tom Determann (CRDC, Clinton), and Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo)!  For a copy of the detailed news release further explaining these sites, simply reply to this message and I will get it to you at once.  Again, best wishes to Rich, Tom, and Steve! 

Jacobs, Fisher, Other ABI Leaders Featured in Business Record

The December 30 edition of the Des Moines Business Record carried a feature highlighting comments by several ABI leaders.  Included are ABI Board Member Steve Jacobs (BCC Advisers, Des Moines) and former ABI Chair David Fisher (Onthank Company, Des Moines), and member company chief executives Rowena Crosbie (Tero International, Clive), David Lind (David P. Lind Benchmark, Clive), Chris Nelson (Kemin Industries, Des Moines), Suku Radia (Bankers Trust, Des Moines), and Bob Riley (Feed Energy Corporation, Des Moines).  

Go to to read more.  In the meantime, congratulations to these great ABI leaders for their comments! 

Saxton Featured in Business Record

The December 23rd edition of the Des Moines Business Record carried a feature about exciting developments in office design.  ABI member Saxton was prominently featured in the article.  Congratulations to everyone at Saxton, including company President and ABI Board Member Kim Augspurger (Saxton, Des Moines) on the great coverage! 

Todd Sommerfeld Celebrates

Another great ABI leader is celebrating birthday. Board Member Todd Sommerfeld (Kreg Tool Company, Huxley) gets his new year off to a good start by celebrating his birthday, which is today.  Congratulations and happy birthday, Todd! 

Jackson Mores Engaged

All of us in the ABI office enjoy hearing from members at this time of year with company and family holiday cards. The Mores Family card from longtime ABI Board member Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan) is always fun and packed with great photos and information.  A special part of the card this year was the announcement that Jackson Mores is engaged to be married to Kaitlyn Aldrich.  Congratulations to the couple and to Jackson's parents, Alan and Donna, and younger sister Chandler!  

Alan Johnson Notes "Bridging Generations" Workshop Benefitting Big Brothers/Big Sisters to be Held in Quad Cities

New ABI Board Member Alan Johnson (Norplex Micarta, Postville) is a longtime leader and association advocate. Like many of you, Alan is involved in programs to help his business, his community, and our state.  Alan brought to our attention a workshop called "Bridging Generations" that will be held in the Quad Cities (specifically Jumer's Casino and Hotel in Rock Island) on March 9.  While the information will be of value, also of note is that ALL of the proceeds go to the mentoring program of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley (Quad Cites).  If you wish more information, reply to this message and I will get it to you.  In the meantime, thank you, Alan, for sharing this information. 

Merle Pederson Celebrates Wedding Anniversary and Birthday in January

Every January, former longtime ABI Board Member Merle Pederson (Principal, Des Moines) celebrates a couple of big days. Merle and his wife, Jan Pederson, are celebrating their wedding anniversary this month and Merle also celebrates his birthday this month.  Happy anniversary, Merle and Jan, and happy birthday, Merle!

Hank Evans Checks In

Many of you recall former longtime ABI Board Member Hank Evans (A.F. Johnson Millworks, West Des Moines) and his wife, Ann Evans.  Hank checked in prior to the holidays with his annual letter.  

Hank and Ann have made several changes related to Ann's illness, but are still maintaining their good spirits, Hank reports. if you wish to read Hank's letter, I know he would want me to make it available to you.  In the meantime, Hank, please know that ABI members are keeping you and Ann in our thoughts and prayers in the coming year. 

As Always, ABI has Aggressive Agenda for New Year 

Thanks to the leadership of ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and all of you on the ABI Board of Directors, lots of action on big goals are a part of  ABI's plans for 2017.  ABI has developed a strong record of success and we have big goals for 2017; goals which include continued growth in members and revenue, legislative success, and increases in Foundation activity, among many other things. 

For now, your participation in next week’s events is an important part of starting the year successfully.  We need your leadership to continue the aggressive and impactful record of the past years.  THANK YOU again for all you do for ABI and for Iowa business.