NAFTA Forum at ABI - Monday Memo 1/22/18

January 22, 2018

ABI to Host and Co-Sponsor NAFTA Event with U.S. Chamber, Partnership; Ernst to Speak

In conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, ABI is co-sponsoring a forum focused on the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trade is vital to Iowa and the trade zone covered by NAFTA involves Iowa’s largest trading partners. 

The forum will be held at ABI on February 9 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst will deliver keynote remarks.  In addition, former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield) and ABI member company executive Tony Hogan (Kreg Tool Company, Huxley) will be among a group of panelists addressing the impact of NAFTA and what could be lost if the agreement is not maintained. 

For more information, please click here:  To register, simply reply to this memorandum or send an email message to ABI Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt at  

May Board Meeting to be in Garner

More information will be coming your way soon, but please remember that the May meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held in Garner.  ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), will convene the meeting in Garner on May 2.  

Garner is a wonderful Iowa community with a strong business focus. The board meeting will be he held at the Garner Golf and Country Club:  A tour of the newly expanded Stellar Industries campus and other special features will be a part of the meeting. 

Please mark your calendars now for what is always a great meeting, as it is the final meeting in advance of the annual conference.  And watch for more information to come your way soon. 

2018 ABI Convention Generating Buzz; TWO Hotels Sold-Out

You know that the annual ABI Taking Care of Business Conference has been growing in terms of attendance and support for the past several years.  The upcoming meeting will be ABI's 115th Annual Meeting, and it will be held June 5-7 in Iowa City-Coralville.  

The 2018 conference is generating a lot of buzz, with people in the Greater Iowa City region especially excited to host ABI members from all over Iowa.  At the conference, you will hear from terrific speakers and get great information.  And of course you will see Iowa's best business networking occur at this event. 

Work continues to ensure the conference is a fabulous event.  ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner), Conference Committee Chair Donna Popp-Bruesewitz (Stellar Industries, Garner), and others are headed to Iowa City in the coming weeks.  Media events and other meetings are on tap, all designed to promote the conference and expand attendance.  

Two of the conference hotels, the Coralville Marriott and the Homewood Suites, are sold-out. But don’t worry; there are plenty of great rooms at the other conference hotel, the Radisson.  Click here for more information:  By the way, the conference registration website will go live a month from today.  

While the conference will take place at various locations around Greater Iowa City, the main conference sessions will be held at the Coralville Marriott Convention Center, which itself is part of the fabulous new entertainment district.  If you attended the ABI conference when it was last held here 10 years ago, you will be amazed at the growth and development that has occurred.  Don’t miss this conference! 

ABI Legislative Reception Photos Available Soon; Check Events Calendar

As you know, the 2018 ABI Legislative Reception was a record-breaker in terms of numbers of members, state officials, and legislators attending.  The event was incredibly successful and was an important part of advancing ABI’s public policy agenda for the year. 

Photographs will soon be posted to the ABI website (and more will be coming).  Please check them out here:  You might be in them!  

In the meantime, many of you have asked about upcoming events.  I encourage you to check the ABI events calendar often at to see the extensive list of ABI meetings and events coming up in the next few weeks.  There is always a lot happening at ABI. 

Des Moines City Staff Moving Out… Others Moving In

You will recall three years ago when the City of Des Moines began a major renovation project involving Des Moines City Hall. At the time, several departments of staff members in City Hall were relocated to Capital Center III, the building in which ABI is located.  That action had a major impact on parking and in other ways. 

The project, which was supposed to take 18 months, is nearing completion (almost three years later). Thus, city staff members will be vacating the Capital Center in late March. 

However, we have learned that other staff members will be moving in. Other city buildings are being renovated next, so those employees are being moved to the Capital Canter while that occurs.  Thus, parking and other issues remain.  When I know more, we will share it in future editions of this memorandum.  

Elevate Again Offering Community College Scholarships

Each year, ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative offers scholarships for Iowa high school students. In 2018, Elevate is again offering 15 $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related program of courses at one of Iowa’s community colleges.  One award is made per each of Iowa’s’ 15 community college regions.  

Go to the Elevate webpage at for more information.  Or simply reply to this message and I will get you more information at once.  

Annual Resource Guide Available Soon

As you read in last week's memo, the association's annual Business Resource Guide and membership directory is being finalized and will be printed and available soon.  Look for your 2018 directory to arrive in a few weeks.  

Iowa STEM Advisory Council Partners on Externships

Over the last few years, several ABI member companies have participated in the externship program administered by the Iowa Governor's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Advisory Council.  The externships are six-week terms for educators to get actual experience inside a business. 

The program helps educators by exposing them to practical experience in the business world.  It can help your company by gaining additional staff for a short period and by exposing educators to what their students will find when they graduate.  For more information, please go to this link:  

Next Connecting Statewide Leaders Event March 1 in Fairfield

Be sure to register now for the next ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders event. These sessions have proven quite popular. 

The next session will be held in Fairfield on March 1. A great program is on tap.  Go here for more information or to register.  See you in Fairfield on March 1.

LyondellBasell Marks 50 Years in Clinton

Longtime ABI member LyondellBasell has had a strong presence in Iowa for half a century.  Throughout 2018, the company is marking the 50th anniversary of tis Clinton plant. 

The plant is one of the largest chemical plants in Iowa and includes its own water and waste treatment facilities. The plant has well over 400 employees and generates an economic impact of $133 million in goods and services, a payroll of $47 million, and nearly $2 million in local taxes.  ABI salutes and congratulates everyone at LyondellBasell, including longtime ABI Board Member Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton)!

Terrific Register Article Focuses on Iowa Family Companies

The Des Moines Register carried a fantastic article that focused on succession planning on several Iowa companies.  It was terrific reading and you can find it by clicking on this link:  Congratulations to the Nelson, Sukup, and Vermeer families for the great coverage! 

Paul Gregoire and John Schreurs Mark Birthdays

Two more ABI Board Members are marking birthdays.  Celebrating this month are former ABI Chair Paul Gregoire (Fisher-Emerson, Marshalltown) and former Board Member John Schreurs (Strategic America, West Des Moines).  Happy birthday to Paul and John!