Last Week's Events Smash Records - Monday Memo 1/19/15

January 19, 2015

ABI Holds Record-Breaking Legislative Briefing, Reception

Legislators, state officials, and ABI members have shared great comments regarding the  2015 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception held last week.  A highlight of the evening was an appearance by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Senate President Pam Jochum, Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, and dozens of legislators of both parties and chambers. 

Other state officials present included Attorney General Tom Miller, 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 presentations by ABI Vice President Government Relations Nicole Crain, Policy and Political Affairs Counsel Rachel Geilenfeld, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Zach Dalluge, and by ABI Senior Vice President Revenue and Programs Leisa Fox.  The briefing ended with a terrific video preview of the 2015 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference to be held in the Quad Cities 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 even more satisfying is the number of the attendees who say they conduct business and make important connections at the events.  ABI Executive Committee MemberJohn Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic) is the latest example of this.  Watch for photos from the event to be posted soon at  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 2015 ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception exceptional events. 

Executive Committee, Board Hold first Meetings of 2015; Hansen, Kjellberg Elected to Board

Members of the ABI Executive Committee met Wednesday and that meeting was immediately followed by the first 2015 meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  Both meetings saw discussion of important issues and action on a number of items. 

The highlight of the board meeting was the election of two new directors.  Andy Hansen (John Deere, Ankeny)and Brent Kjellberg (Pella Corporation, Carroll) were elected to fill the unexpired terms of Stacey Johnson (John Deere, Johnston) and Myron Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella) respectively.  Andy, Plant Manager for John Deere's Des Moines Works, and Brent, Plant Manager for Pella Corporation's Carroll operations, are terrific business leaders.  They were elected unanimously and will make great additions to the board.

In other action from the meeting, the board heard a guest presentation about the Dakota Access Pipeline Project and about the creation of an organization called Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now.  Following the presentation and a strong debate in consideration of these issues, the board voted to both support the project and join the MAIN coalition.  Watch for more news as it develops.

Strong attendance and participation marked what was a great meeting of the board.  Thank you to all of you who joined us in Des Moines last week.

First ABI Legislative Teleconference of 2015 Friday

ABI's Government Relations team is again holding monthly teleconferences related to the work of the Iowa General Assembly.  The first call of the 2015 session will be this Friday (January 23) at 9:00 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.  Register for the free call here:

UI Breakfast, Manufacturing Council Meeting Also Held last Week

Other events taking place last Wednesday included a breakfast with the Executive Committee hosted by the University of Iowa.  University officials, including Provost P. Barry Butler, listened to members' concerns and counsel about the way the university works with businesses in the state.  The meeting was positive, productive, and appreciated by ABI

The ABI Manufacturing Council also met last Wednesday in Des Moines.  Council Chair and ABI Board Member Nate Weaton (Hillphoenix, Keosauqua) convened the meeting, which marked the resurgence of the council after a period years.  Much more will be coming from the group in the future.

ABI Business Record Iowa Continues to Grow in Popularity

As you know, over two years ago, ABI partnered with the Des Moines Business Record to publish the brand newBusiness 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 boy, ABI Board Member Mike Espeset (Story Construction, Ames)!

Save the Dates for the 2015 ABI Convention

ABI's 112th Annual Convention, Iowa's Taking Care of Business Conference 2015, will be held June 10-12 in the Quad Cities.  There will be many highlights to the conference, including terrific speakers and exciting, brand new venues.  Another highlight is golf at one of the nation's most beautiful golf clubs, TPC Deere Run.  The club is the site of the PGA's John Deere Classic Golf Tournament.

ABI events have been breaking attendance records for the past several years, with each drawing a larger number than the previous.  Watch for your opportunity to register soon and we'll see you in the Quad Cities 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 Future of The State Symposium at the Iowa Hall of Pride.  The half-day seminar was quite successful and followed an evening of alumni dinners held throughout the capital city.

In other LI news, the 2014-2015 class held its January session in Des Moines.  The session focused on government and terrific speakers marked the program.

ABI Advisory Council Holds January Meeting

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 held its January meeting last Thursday.  Thank you to ATW Training and Consulting, BCC Advisers,Bergan Paulsen, Brick Gentry P.C., BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Global Reach, Great Western Bank, LMC, Manpower, Measured Intentions, Principal Financial Group, QPS Employment Group, Spindustry, Transition Point Business Advisors, and Wellmark!

Mary Landhuis, Merle Pederson, Nate Weaton Celebrate Birthdays

This week has seen or will see the birthday of three important ABI board members (you are all important!).   Happy birthday to board members Mary Landhuis (EZ Way-Lisle Corporation, Clarinda), Merle Pederson (Principal Financial Group, Des Moines), and Nate Weaton (Hillphoenix, Keosauqua)!

Sadler Honored

Longtime ABI Board member Michael Sadler (CenturyLink, Des Moines) was honored last week.  Michael was named the 2015 MILK Drum Major of Service Honoree for Iowa.  The award, which is sponsored by several organizations, recognizes winners for their community service and leadership.  The award was presented to Michael at a ceremony at St. Paul AME Church in Des Moines last Thursday.  Michael is a worthy honoree and ABI salutes him!

Diamond Vogel, Yo-Ho Tools Again Partner with Keep Iowa Beautiful

ABI member Keep Iowa Beautiful has again partnered with two other ABI members to help Iowa communities.  KIB works to make Iowa better by helping communities all across the state excel at providing clean and attractive vistas.

Longtime ABI member Vogel Paint Company's Diamond Vogel brand has entered into its12th year of partnering with KIB to provide paint for community beautification projects.  And, this is the second year thatYeoman & Company's Yo-Ho Tools brand is partnering with KIB for community clean-up projects.  Congratulations to the companies and to their CEOs, ABI Executive Committee Member Drew Vogel (Vogel Paint Company, Orange City) and ABI Board Member Tom Yeoman (Yeoman & Company, Monticello)!