It's Time for the Annual Conference - Monday Memo 6/5/17

June 5, 2017

It's Here; 114th Annual ABI Convention Starts Tomorrow!

The 114th Annual ABI Convention, also known as the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference, kicks-off tomorrow.  The conference begins with golf at Eagle Ridge near Galena and other activities around Greater Dubuque.  The annual Gala Welcome Reception will be held tomorrow evening at the beautiful Hotel Julien in downtown Dubuque. 

As I type this, nearly 500 people (based on past experience, final numbers will exceed 600 attendees!) are set for the conference; but if you haven’t registered, it's not a problem.  Email me or just show up and we’ll take care of you.  On behalf of ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), I look forward to seeing you in Dubuque! 

Governor Reynolds, Acting Lieutenant Governor Gregg to Address ABI Conference-Goers Thursday

In her very first remarks to a statewide group since taking office, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will address ABI members at the annual conference.  The Governor will speak Thursday morning at the Grand River Center. A friend to ABI in her past roles as Lieutenant Governor and State Senator, ABI members from across Iowa will want to honor and thank the Governor as she begins her service as the state’s CEO. 

Governor Reynolds will be joined by Acting Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, also no stranger to ABI. We look forward to both leaders being with us in Dubuque. 

Association Headquarters Closing for the Week at Noon Today

Due to the annual conference, the ABI headquarters in Des Moines will be closed starting at noon today through Friday.  Please don’t hesitate to contact staff members by cell phone or leave messages on voicemail (which will be checked often).  We look forward to being back in the office – and celebrating the completion of a great convention – bright and early a week from today. 

Annual ABI Policy Tour Concludes Tomorrow; Policy Committees to Meet

Tomorrow morning at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, the association's public policy team will host the final ABI public policy regional meeting of the spring.  This event, following previous meetings in Muscatine, Fairfield, Des Moines, Atlantic, and Sioux City, will mark the conclusion of the annual policy tour. 

The meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, June 6) at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. In last week’s memo, I mistakenly sent folks to the Events page on the ABI website to register. I apologize for that error. To register, simply reply to this message and we will see you at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Golf attire, for those of you heading the conference golf outing following the policy meeting, is just fine, by the way. 

ABI’s policy work now moves to the next phase.  Each of ABI's five policy committees, plus the Legislative Committee, will meet in August.  You and your employees are invited to participate in those meetings at no charge.  You can find more information or register for the meetings using this link:

Following the work of the committees, the ABI Board of Directors will consider and adopt 2018 policy statements at the September meeting.  Watch for more information in the coming months. 

Board to Elect Officers for FY18; Will Meet Wednesday

Last week, all board members and former board chairs should have received an email message that included several documents related to the annual conference.  That message also highlighted the fact that the ABI Board of Directors will hold its final meeting of the association’s 2016-2017 fiscal year during the annual business meeting at the conference on Wednesday.  The board will hold the traditional 60-second meeting to elect officers. 

The previously-mentioned message shared the FY17 meeting schedule, budget and the 2017 Nominating Committee report.  Thank you to Nominating Committee Chair (and Immediate Past ABI Chair) Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) and committee members Drew Larson (RAM Pattern, Le Claire), Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), Paul Drey (Brick Gentry, West Des Moines), Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Carlisle), and Bob Bocken (Farner Bocken, Fort Dodge).  

The budget projects another year in the black and continues a string of successful years.  I take very seriously your charge to me related to strong financial performance and I am very proud of ABI’s record in that regard.  Thank you for your leadership, which is responsible for that success. 

Sarah McDonald Hasken Honored with Leadership for Iowa Award

The ABI Foundation's highest honor is the Leadership for Iowa Award.  The award is presented periodically to an alumnus of the Leadership Iowa program who is a leader among leaders and who has demonstrated a commitment to serve Iowa. 

As you read last week, the award will be presented to longtime Iowa leader and former ABI Chair Sarah McDonald Hasken.  Sarah is well-known as a terrific leader, not just for ABI, but for Iowa.  She is extremely well-deserving of the award and I know all ABI members salute her.  We join Sarah’s husband, ABI Board Member Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa), in applauding her.  Congratulations, Sarah! 

Leadership Iowa to Celebrate; Current Class Will Graduate

The ABI Foundation's Leadership Iowa program marks another successful year with activities coinciding with the annual conference.  Go now to for more information. 

For the first time in many years, the LI graduation ceremony will take place on the Main Stage during Wednesday morning’s conference session. It will be a highlight of the annual conference for attendees to honor the LI Class, which has been called by noted by some as the best ever.  I know you join me in congratulating all class members. 

Access Website to See Terrific Foundation Auction Items

Each year, the ABI Foundation holds an auction in conjunction with the Taking Care of Business Conference.  There are always many terrific items available and as I have noted the post couple of weeks, this year is no exception.  

Click on this link to see the live-auction items and to prepare bids for the Foundation Auction: Click here.  Of course there are many, many items available for bid during the silent auction as well.  Everything takes place on Wednesday night at the Diamond Jo Casino.  Don’t miss it! 

All the proceeds from the auction go to benefit the programs of the ABI Foundation and Iowans who participate in them.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Your support for the Foundation is important, appreciated, and it is never taken for granted.  Leadership Iowa, Leadership Iowa University, and Business Horizons have made our state a better place and impacted the lives of thousands of Iowans.  Thank you again! 

Calling All Students: Register for Business Horizons Now

The ABI Foundation's Business Horizons program has been phenomenally successful, literally changing the lives of Iowa's young people over the years.  The 2017 edition of this terrific program will be held June 25-29 at Central College in Pella.  

There are still slots left for students and I hope you will consider nominating the high school-age sons and daughters of your employees.  It's free and it won't take long to do it.  Please click here:  Thank you for your help! 

Correction: Iowa STEM Conference June 21 (Not the 29th)

It was clear to me, as I am sure it was to all of you, that I must not have been fully awake when I wrote last week’s memo. There were many errors and I apologize for all of them.  

ABI Board Member Steve Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine) caught several – thank you, Steven, for bringing them to my attention!  For instance, the annual Iowa STEM Conference will be held in Des Moines on June 21st, not on the 29th, as indicated in a headline in last week’s memo.  By the way, you can register for conference here

Carolyn Phelan Continues Strong Recovery

You will remember that Carolyn Phelan, wife of ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), underwent cardiac bypass surgery in April.  Rich reports the good news that Carolyn’s recuperation is on schedule and going well.  She has now completed the first round of therapy and underwent cardio rehab at the hospital in Clinton last week.  ABI sends continued best wishes to Carolyn and Rich! 

Atlantic Bottling to Move Des Moines-Area Operations to New Facility

Growth and positive change continue to be the bywords for 108-year old ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company.  The company last week announced the purchase of a new 408,000 square feet building on Army Post Road in Des Moines.  Waukee operations will soon move to the new facility, which includes about five times more space than the old facility. 

The purchase and move follow on the steps of recent expansions, which have seen Atlantic Bottling grow by many hundreds of employees. The company now handles Coca Cola products for nearly all of Iowa and parts of several other states.  You can read about coverage of the move here: and here:  

It is fun to see all the exciting things take place at this great Iowa company. Congratulations to everyone at Atlantic Bottling, including two former Chairs of ABI, Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) and Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca Cola Bottling Company, Waukee)

The Business of ABI: Financial Performance

As you know, I periodically and briefly review various association business/operational issues in these memos.  Last week, I mentioned that during the year almost over, ABI had achieved several records in such things as participation, event attendance, sponsorships, legislative accomplishment, etc. 

That success applied to financial performance. The association’s finances during the past year have been well over-seen by ABI Board Treasurer David Bywater (Economy Advertising Company, Iowa City)

I say it often, because it is true: thanks to terrific leadership by the Board of Directors and association members, ABI’s financial status is dramatically better than it was then.  Revenue is something like four times that of 12 years ago.  Of course, expenses are also much increased, but instead of running a deficit, ABI now generates funding in excess of expenses.  Program delivery is of course greatly expanded as well.  Cash on hand, members, staff, events, etc. are all increased.  

Providing value to members is what ABI is all about.  Thanks to YOU, we have the resources to get that done.  I promise you we never take your investment for granted and your support is always, always appreciated.  THANK YOU.