Great ABI Legislative Events Held - Monday Memo 1/16/17

January 16, 2017

ABI Holds Fantastic Legislative Briefing, Reception

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, the leadership of the Iowa General Assembly, legislators, state officials, and ABI members have shared great comments regarding the  2017 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception held last week.  Highlights of the evening were appearances by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, Senate President Jack Whitver, House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg, and dozens of legislators of both parties and chambers.  

Other state officials present included Auditor of State Mary Mosiman and Secretary of State Paul Pate.  Many state department heads and other officials, in addition to legislators and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, also attended. 

Prior to the reception, the annual legislative briefing was highlighted by remarks by ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, ABI Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, ABI Director Public Policy Jessica Harder (new ABI Coordinator, Public Policy Brad Hartkopf attended his first ABI briefing). The briefing included a terrific video preview of the 2017 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference to be held in Dubuque in June. 

The reception following the briefing seems to grow larger each year, with close to 600 ABI members and state officials participating.  ABI members from every corner of the state and from many states outside Iowa were on hand to connect with state officials.  It is that interaction with legislators that is so vital and that makes the event such a critical component to advancing ABI’s agenda each year.  

By the way, while we appreciate the huge crowd, what is more satisfying is the number of the attendees who say they conduct business and make important connections at the events.  Check the ABI website soon for photos from the event. 

In the meantime, many thanks for the good words you have shared about the event and for the work of ABI staff.  THANK YOU for making the 2017 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception exceptional events.  

Board Holds First Meeting of 2017

Members of the ABI Board of Directors met Wednesday.  ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) led the board through a fast-paced meeting, which was the board's first of 2017. 

Strong attendance and participation marked what was a great meeting of the board.  The meeting was followed by the annual legislative briefing and reception. Thank you to all of you who joined us in Des Moines last week. 

Latest Business Record Iowa Out; Jack Hasken on the Cover

As you know, over three years ago, ABI partnered with the Des Moines Business Record to publish the brand new Business Record Iowa magazine.  This newsprint magazine is published monthly (as opposed to six times per year for the previous ABI publication) and is distributed statewide to about four times the audience. 

We hear more and more frequently from members that they find value in BRIowa and that's good.  if you have questions or need additional copies, please contact me.  And if you have story ideas, we are always interest in those, too.  

In the meantime, congratulations and thank you to this month's BRIowa cover star, ABI Board Member Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa).  Jack is a big part of helping ensure a GREAT 2017 annual conference and he has been a great addition to the ABI Board.  Thanks, Jack! 

Former Chairs Meet

It was a pleasure to see many former chairs of the association's board of directors last week in Des Moines. A luncheon, hosted by the ABI Executive Committee, was held Wednesday in Des Moines and former chairs came from around the state.  

At the luncheon, ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) led the former chairs in an exercise related to the ongoing strategic planning process now underway by the board.  Thank you to all who participated. 

Annual Resource Guide Available Soon

ABI Communications Director Emily Schettler, Membership Coordinator Dorothy Knowles, Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt, and Bookkeeper Chrissy Viers have led the association's work with regard to a key publication. The annual ABI Business Resource Guide and membership directory is being finalized and will be printed and available soon. 

Look for your 2017 directory to arrive soon.  In the meantime, please join me in thanking these staff members for their work on this important project. 

First ABI Legislative Teleconference of 2017 Friday

ABI's Public Policy team will again hold monthly teleconferences related to the work of the Iowa General Assembly.  The first call of the 2017 session is this Friday (January 20) at 8:00 a.m.  

Members have told us they appreciate these calls, which offer the very latest in news from the Statehouse.  As I noted in last week's memo, the calls typically last about 30 minutes and you and your employees are invited to participate.  Please click here for more information about the call, free and open to ABI members only:

Elevate Ambassador Training Session Tomorrow at ABI

ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative ( has been having success in raising the profile of manufacturing careers, connecting Iowans with training and education, and then connecting 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 Tuesday, January 17 (tomorrow) at ABI. 

Go now 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 tomorrow.  

Conference Committee Meets; Hotel Julien Sold-Out

ABI's 114th Annual Meeting, Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2017, will be held June 6-8 in Dubuque. There will be many highlights to the conference, including terrific speakers and exciting, brand new venues.  Another highlight is golf at one of the Midwest's most beautiful golf clubs, Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena.  

The committee planning this fantastic conference, which is chaired by Amy Jones (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) met last week at ABI.  As always, terrific staff leadership is provided by ABI Member Programs Director Holly Mueggenberg and Vice president Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson. 

One issue discussed at the meeting was the fact that one of the conference hotels, the Hotel Julien, is already sold-out. Plenty of rooms are still available at the other conference hotel, the Grand Harbor Resort.  Use this link for more information and make your reservation now. 

ABI events have been breaking attendance records for the past several years, with each drawing a larger number than the previous events of the same kind.  On behalf of ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), please consider this your personal invitation to attend the ABI Conference.  We'll see you in Dubuque in June. 

Leadership Iowa Class Meets, Alumni Event Held

The ABI Foundation's Leadership Iowa program is one of the nation's oldest statewide leadership development programs.  As you know, LI enjoys a strong base of alumni. 

Those alumni met last week for the annual LI Alumni Networking Dinners, more popularly known as the Foundation Dine-Arounds.  The dinners, held at restaurants throughout Des Moines, enjoyed strong participation and much esprit de corps. 

In other LI news, the 2016-2017 class held its January session in Des Moines.  The session focused on government and terrific speakers marked the program. 

Thank you to the ABI Foundation staff for their great work with LI and other programs. Thank you to ABI Vice President Foundation Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, Foundation Development Director Amanda Nuzum, Foundation marketing and Programs Coordinator Jessi Steward, and Foundation Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway. 

ABI Advisory Council Continues Strong Support; Will Meet Thursday

Members of the ABI Advisory Council provide incredible value for the association's general membership.  Terrific information, technical programs, subject-matter expertise, and more are available to ABI members thanks to the Advisory Council. 

The council will hold its January meeting Thursday at ABI. Thank you to 21st Century Rehab, ATW Training Solutions, BCC Advisers, Brick Gentry P.C., BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Global Reach, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Manpower, Measured Intentions, Principal Financial Group, Spindustry Digital, Transition Point Business Advisors, and Wellmark

Annual Iowa Stem Summit June 21

Many ABI board members are active in initiatives to build science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in Iowa. Many of you also attend, or have members of your team attend, Iowa's annual STEM summit.  

the 2017 summit will be held in Des Moines son June 21. We'll share more information as it becomes available. 

David Bywater Featured in Corridor Business Journal

In last week's Memo, you read that the Corridor Business Journalcarried a nice photograph of former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) and his spouse,

Linda Bywater. Well, in this week's edition, it is company President/ABI officer David Bywater's (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City) turn. 

This week's Journal carries a nice photograph of David, another member of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, and that organization's new CEO, Kim Casko (Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, Iowa City).  David is a longtime leader in the Iowa City Chamber.  Congratulations on the great coverage, David! 

Brick Gentry Observing 50 Year Anniversary

ABI Board Member Paul Drey (Brick Gentry Law Firm, West Des Moines) shared last week that the firm is 50 years old in 2017.  The firm is a valued member and a member of the association's Advisory Committee.  ABI appreciates that support and leadership.  Congratulations and best wishes on such an important milestone to Paul and everyone at Brick Gentry!

Mary Landhuis, Nate Weaton Celebrate Birthdays

January is a busy time or ABI board members' birthdays.  In addition board members already noted in previous editions of the Monday Memo, two more ABI leaders are also celebrating.  Happy birthday to board members Mary Landhuis (EZ Way-Lisle Corporation, Clarinda) and Nate Weaton (Hill Phoenix, Keosauqua)!  

Bob Wersen and Team Also onInternational Committee

In the Monday Memo of August 22nd, it was fun to share information about new ABI Board Member Alan Johnson (Norplex Micarta, Postville) and his service as a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission.  The commission and its technical committees develop standards for industry.  You can learn more about the IEC here:  

I learned last week that former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) spent 20 years on the commission.  Some of Bob's team at Interpower have also served.  Congratulations to Bob, Alan, and everyone involved!