Great Meeting for ABI Board of Directors - Monday Memo 9/26/16

September 26, 2016

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 the September 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, 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 Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and our officers, THANK YOU for your support. 

Executive Committee Will Hold Monthly Meeting Next Week

It is hard to believe that the October Executive Committee meeting is coming up so fast.  ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and members of the association's Executive Committee will hold their regular monthly meeting a week from Wednesday (October 5).  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 A Week from Tomorrow

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 2016 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference.  

The conference will be held a week from Tuesday 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. 

Next Monday: Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner

The second-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 a from this evening.  Don't miss this event!  

Click on this link to  and exciting video from last year's event and see what you missed!   Go now to:  There you can find more information and register to attend the dinner.  See you there! 

ABI Directory Updates Due by Friday, October 7

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 2017 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 Friday, October 7.  Thank you in advance for helping us make sure your information is accurate.

Monthly NAM Report Documents Exporting Strength

ABI member manufacturers increasingly talk about exports becoming a larger share of their business. Apparently, Iowa manufacturers are not alone in that regard. 

This month's Global Manufacturing Economic Update, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, carried a lead story that documented the strength of American manufacturing exports.  In fact, exports are cited as one of manufacturing's leading growth drivers.  If you would like to see the report for yourself, please let me know and I'll get it to you at once. 

ATW's Iowa Talent Trends Survey Cited

The Des Moines Business Record recently noted the annual survey of employers' training priorities conducted by ABI member company ATW Training and Consulting.  The survey found that leadership training is the leading priority of Iowa companies. 

The survey, titled the Iowa Talent Trends Survey, conducted by ATW annually, also found that a flattening in company's training budgets could lead to a lag in training. Congratulations to everyone at ATW for great press coverage, especially company President and ABI Board Member Tod McDonald (ATW Training and Consulting, Urbandale)

Congressman Loebsack visits Interpower

As you know, one of the most helpful things you can do to advance ABI's public policy agenda is to invite elected officials in to your plant. That way, they can learn how their work impacts you and your employees and your ability to grow jobs.   

One ABI leader who has consistently invited elected officials over the years is former ABI Chair BobWersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa).  The latest example of this was held last month, when Bob and his team welcomed U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack.  Thank you for your leadership, Bob!

Jason Andringa Focus of Business Record Feature

This week's Des Moines Business Record carries a great feature about Jason Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), the new Vermeer Corporation President.  It provides a wonderful review of Jason's career, his relationship with his grandfather, Gary Vermeer (Vermeer Corporation, Oskaloosa), the company's founder, and a great photo and comments about Jason's mother and former ABI Chair Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), who chairs the company.  Read more at  Congratulations to all involved on this terrific coverage!

Another Expansion at Stellar

It seems as if there is always an expansion underway at longtime ABI member Stellar Industries.  The company is nearing the end of a 40,000 square feet expansion to its plant in Garner.  The project also involves construction of a new laser cutting center.  Congratulations to everyone at Stellar, including company President and ABI Vice Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner)

Friday at Midnight Atlantic Bottling Will More Than Triple in Size

At the September meeting of the ABI board of Directors, former ABI Chair and company Executive Chairman Jim Tyler (Atlantic Bottling Company, Atlantic) updated attendees on the Tyler Family's business expansion.  The company will grow from 200 to 700 employees -- overnight!  The Radio Iowa website recently carried a story about the acquisition and you can read it here:  Congratulations to everyone at Atlantic Bottling, including Jim and company Chairman and former ABI chair Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Bottling Company, Waukee)

Jon Kneen's Life Will be Celebrated October 7

As you know, former ABI Chair Jon Kneen (Al-jon, Ottumwa) has passed way.  In keeping with Jon's wishes, no funeral was held.  However, his son Kendig -- that's former ABI Chair Kendig Kneen (Al-jon, Ottumwa) -- has invited ABI members to join his family and friends for a celebration of Jon's life. 

The event is being held Friday, October 7 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Ottumwa. No RSVP is necessary.  By the way, Jon would love the location -- the event is being held on the Ottumwa Country Club tennis courts.  ABI sends warm thoughts of Jon and good wishes to the Kneen Family. 

Reynolds & Reynolds, Interpower, Economy Advertising Mark Anniversaries

At least three great ABI members are marking significant anniversaries in 2016. Reynolds & Reynolds turns 40 this year. Interpower Corporation began its operations 41 years ago in California before moving to Iowa some years ago.  And Economy Advertising, one of ABI's founding members, turns a century plus a score (120 years old) this year.  Congratulations to these valued member companies and to ABI Board Member Jack Pray (Reynolds & Reynolds, Des Moines) and to former ABI and ABI Foundation Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) and to former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City) and ABI Treasurer David Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City)

Walt Smith, Dick Davidson Mark 38 Years Leading Thombert, Return from Trade Show

It is not really news that ABI leaders attend trade shows. I know that during any given week, many of you are doing just that.  And, last week, so did ABI leaders Walt Smith (Thombert, Newton) and Dick Davidson (Thombert, Newton).  

As I learned on a flight from Denver to Des Moines yesterday, what is perhaps more remarkable is that Walt and Dick are nearing four decades in working together to lead Thombert, Inc. to great success.  That is a terrific milestone and ABI salutes Walt Smith and Dick Davidson!