Great Board Meeting Held - Monday Memo 9/28/15

September 28, 2015

ABI Board Holds Great Meeting

This memorandum is meant to be a forward-looking report, but on behalf of our officers, THANK YOU to the many of you who made last week's ABI board meeting so successful.  As it is the first meeting of the fiscal year, it is always important that the September meeting goes well.  Thanks to all of you last week, it did.

The board meeting was well-attended, it was substantive, and it was marked by good discussion.  That is not just rhetoric.  Your participation in board meetings is critical to ABI's success.  So, again on behalf of ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) and our officers, THANK YOU for your support.

Executive Committee Will Hold Monthly Meeting Next Week

Given that ABI just held leadership meetings last week, it is hard to believe that the October Executive Committee meeting is coming up so fast.  ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) and members of the association's Executive Committee will hold their regular monthly meeting a week from Wednesday (October 7).  Financial reports and program updates are highlights of a full agenda.  Look for a full report at the next ABI Board Meeting.

ABI's Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference Wednesday

Each year, ABI hosts a conference highlighting Iowa manufacturing.  This year, ABI and the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State and Des Moines Area Community College are the lead sponsors for the 2015 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference. 

The conference will be held this Wednesday in Altoona.  Register now for this important conference at  Great speakers and high value panels will mark the event.  As always, the conference covers manufacturing and much more.  I hope to see you there.

Tomorrow Night: Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner

The first-ever Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner is turning in to a huge event.  The program was created by ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing program and it will be held at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona tomorrow evening.  Don't miss this event!  Go now to:/index.cfm/11274/68333/legends_in_manufacturing_awards_dinner).  There you can find more information and register to attend the dinner.  See you there!

EPIC Holds Annual Meeting, Rolls-Out Caucus Toolkit; Breakfast Event Wednesday

As you know, ABI leads a coalition of business organizations called Economic Progress for Iowa's Citizens.  As you also know, EPIC is not a political action committee, it is a venue by which nonpartisan information is developed and shared.  It is a terrific resource for ABI members and their employees.

Last Friday, the EPIC annual meeting of members was held at ABI.  While that is important by itself, it was made even more important by a program that featured EPIC's new caucus toolkit.  The toolkit can bring you and your company sophisticated resources to ensure your employees are informed and educated voters.  For more information about the toolkit, contact ABI and we'll get it to you at once.

Speaking of EPIC and of ABI's advocacy work, ABI Senior Vice President Government Relations Nicole Crain and others will host a breakfast in advance of the manufacturing conference Wednesday morning.  It will be held at the Prairie Meadows Events Center, so that you can leave the breakfast and attend the manufacturing conference next door.  I hope to see you there.

Remember: ABI Directory Updates Due by Friday

As you read in last week's memo, this is the time of year that ABI's member database is being updated.  Information from the database will be checked, formatted, and put in to hard copy form for inclusion in the 2016 ABI Resource Guide.  The guide, in addition to including member data, includes information on the association's people, programs, and events.

If there are no changes in your personnel or company information, you need do nothing.  If you have updates, simply send an email to Dorothy Knowles at  The deadline to receive updates is this Friday, October 2.  Thank you in advance for helping us make sure your information is accurate.

Zach Dalluge to Leave ABI; Will be Top Assistant to House Majority Leader

Ten months ago, Zach Dalluge joined ABI as Policy and Regulatory Affairs Coordinator.  In that brief time, Zach became an important part of the ABI staff and a valued team member.

Last week, Zach announced that he will be leaving ABI to join newly-elected Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow as his Chief of Staff.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Zach.  While the decision was a difficult one for him, because Zach tells me how much he enjoyed working for ABI members all across Iowa, joining Leader Hagenow was simply to good pass up.  We thank Zach and we wish him and the Leader all the very best in the months ahead.

Now, we look to the future.  Be assured ABI is already aggressively working to fill our staff vacancy and we'll have an announcement for you as soon as possible.

Weekly NAM Report Documents Manufacturing Strength

Last week's Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, carried a lead story that documented the strength of American manufacturing.  Though growth has not been as strong as predicted, it is well in advance of other sectors of the economy.  If you would like to see the report for yourself, please let me know and I'll get it to you at once.

Agri-Industrial Plastics to Host Presidential Candidate

Longtime ABI member Agri-Industrial Plastics Company will host republican presidential candidate Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at the plant tomorrow.  ABI members are frequent hosts of presidential candidates of both parties and Agri has a long record of policy education and of encouraging electoral involvement by its employees.  Congratulations to everyone there, including company President and current ABI Vice Chair, Lori Schaefer- Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield)!

Paul Gregoire Marks 10 years at Emerson/Fisher

September is always a busy time at Emerson/Fisher, one of ABI's founding members.  That is because 9/30 is the end of the fiscal year and because as a multi-billion dollar company and the world's leading valve company, Fisher is ALWAYS busy.

The month is special for another reason.  It marks the tenth service anniversary of the company's Global Vice Presided for Human Resources, ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown). Company President TerryBuzbee Emerson/Fisher, Marshalltown) recognized Paul in a ceremony held earlier this month.  ABI joins Terry and others in saluting Paul.  Congratulations, Paul!

New Board Member Krista Tanner Featured in Corridor Business Journal

Newly elected ABI Board Member Krista Tanner (ITC Midwest, Des Moines) is one of Iowa's most dynamic young executives.  It was fun to read about Krista in last week's Corridor Business  Journal, which focused on her in a feature article.  If you wish to read the article, let me know and we'll send it to you.  In the meantime, Congratulations Krista!

Thombert Wins DMACC Award

Longtime ABI member Thombert was honored by Des Moines Area Community College at its annual DMACC Business Awards ceremony last week.  Thombert, which is one of the world's largest manufacturers of polyethylene wheels and tires for lift trucks, was named the DMACC Small Business of the Year.  Congratulations to everyone at Thombert, including company President and ABI Board Member Dick Davidson (Thombert, Newton)!

INF Graduates Eight from Mores Institute

Some years ago, the Iowa newspaper Foundation created the Leo Mores Newspaper Leadership Institute.  The institute provides participants with a rigorous professional and personal leadership curriculum designed to prepare the next generation of leaders for the newspaper industry.

Eight graduates of the Class of 2015 were recognized by the Mores Institute.  The institute is made possible through the generous support of Leo Mores' sons, Steve and ABI Board Member Alan Mores (Harlan Newspapers, Harlan).  ABI salutes Steve and Alan!

Bob Bocken, Bob Myers Named to Grocers Hall of Fame

A longtime ABI board member and a longtime member-company CEO have both been named to the Iowa Grocery Industry Hall of Fame.  Board Member Bob Bocken (Farner-Bocken, Fort Dodge) was named Legislative Leader of the Year.  Bob Myers (Casey's General Stores, Ankeny) was named Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.  Both men will be honored at a dinner in Des Moines on November 5.  Congratulations to Bob and Bob!

Kathy Anderson Receives Award

Earlier this summer, Kathy Anderson joined ABI as Vice President, Member Development and Programs.  Kathy came to ABI from the Iowa Economic Development  Authority, where she ran the Home Base Iowa program.  She has been a great addition to the staff. 

Last Tuesday, Kathy was recognized by the Iowa National Guard for her work and leadership of Home Base Iowa.  She received the Commander's Award for Public Service, a terrific award, which was presented to her by Iowa's highest-ranking military official, Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Timothy Orr.  Kathy is well-deserving of the award and ABI joins so many others in saluting her!

ABI Members' Businesses and The Business of ABI

As is usual with the September meeting, last week's meeting of the ABI Board of Directors concluded with board members' reports about the state of their business.  There is nothing more interesting than listening to board members speak about their business; you all are so passionate about your employees and your business.

In the nearly ten years that I have been with ABI, last week's reports were the most mixed reports ever.  Many members are experiencing strong years, some of them marking incredible growth over last year.  On the other hand, many members are seeing a softening in their business.  While the reports were generally positive, challenges with workforce, the ag economy, and global conditions are of concern.

That means that ABI must be doubly committed to offering products and services of value to our customer-members.  ABI is well only when member businesses are well.  That said, another typical action item at the September meeting is a review of the association's monthly financial report.

Last week, that review documented that the association is off to a strong start in FY 2016.  Two months does not a year make, but being ahead of budget at this time of the year -- ABI's slowest revenue period - is a marked change from even a few years ago.

You have heard me say it often... I like things that can be measured, because they let us know how we are doing in advancing the aggressive agenda you set for ABI each year.  Whether the measure relates to finance, member growth and retention, company participation, program value, or something else, ABI is experiencing several consecutive quarters of growth and success.

Two things about that are worth repeating.  One is that it is important only because it helps ABI have the impact necessary to achieve our objectives.  The other is something we never forget.  That is that it is your investment in resources, time, and people that accounts for that success.  We never take that investment for granted and on behalf of our officers, THANK YOU.