November Board Meeting on the 8th - Monday Memo 10/9/17

October 9, 2017

Next Board Meeting a Month Away

ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) is inviting all former chairs and members of the board to join him for the final board meeting of 2017.  The board will meet at ABI headquarters in Des Moines' East Village. 

The board will meet on Wednesday, November 8.  Find more information and register now at or simply reply to this message.  You can expect a very full agenda.  Again, this will be the final board meeting of the calendar year; I hope you can attend. 

Conference Site Visit Tomorrow

Believe me when I tell you that you do not want to miss the 2018 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.  Plans are shaping up to make this event truly spectacular. 

Making sure that is the case is a great conference planning committee, chaired by Donna Popp-Bruesewitz (Stellar Industries, Garner).  Donna, ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and ABI staff members are heading to Iowa City and Coralville tomorrow to inspect sites and venues.  Look for much more news in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, mark your calendars now for June 5-7 and we'll see you in Greater Iowa City for a fabulous conference! 

Innovation Road Show at Sukup Manufacturing Co. Tomorrow

There is still time for you to register for the Innovation Road Show being held at longtime ABI member Sukup Manufacturing Co. tomorrow.  The event, held in conjunction with North Iowa Community College and Brown Winick, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sukup’s fabulous new headquarters in Sheffield.  You can register and find more information at:  

Terrific speakers, best-practice sharing, and great networking will mark this event. See you in Sheffield tomorrow. 

ABI Operational Excellence Roundtable Wednesday at Interpower

After the success of the ABI CFO Roundtable, we created the Operational Excellence Roundtable, which is focused on manufacturing and process leadership. The Ops Roundtable has also been a hit with ABI members. 

The next meeting of the roundtable will take place this Wednesday (October 11) at Interpower’s main production plant in Oskaloosa. If you would like more information about this session or the roundtable in particular, simply reply to this memo.  In the meantime, thank you to company CEO and former ABI Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) and to company Vice President Manufacturing and Logistics Mike Boyle (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) for hosting the Ops Roundtable this week! 

First of 2016-2017 Connecting Statewide Leaders Events November 2nd in Jefferson

A few years ago, at the request of members looking for more association events in locations outside Des Moines, ABI created the Connecting Statewide Leaders Seminars.  The events have proven very popular and are held throughout the fall and winter around Iowa.  The first event in the 2017-2018 series will be held November 2nd in Jefferson.  

Each of the Connecting Leaders events has drawn a great crowd and the series has resulted in new association members.  The luncheon at the event on November 2 will feature Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham.  Industry tours follow American Athletic and Power Lift Corporation.  

The event will provide a great opportunity for information and to visit with fellow ABI members, meet the new Leadership Iowa class, and develop new customers.  Please mark your calendar now and watch for more details to come your way soon. 

Central Iowa Business Conference Wednesday

ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale) is a leader in the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the Central Iowa Business Conference.  Todd personally invites all ABI board members (and ABI members in general) to attend the conference, which will be held Wednesday at the downtown Des Moines Marriott.  Other great speakers will also be a part of the event.  For more information or to register, please go to  If you use the registration code “ABI,” you will receive a discount on the price of registration.  Thank you, Todd, for making this discount possible. 

Next Elevate Ambassador Training Session November 14; Parent’s Night Event October 26

ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative is always doing something new to attract Iowans to manufacturing careers.  The next Elevate Ambassador training Session will take place on November 14.  The Elevate Ambassadors are a group of business leaders and others who tour the state talking about manufacturing careers.  The group is a key part of ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative.  

The November training session will be held on the campus of Kirkwood Community College and you can find more information by clicking on  Thank you to the many of you who serve as ambassadors and help tell the Elevate and ABI story. 

While Elevate has also sponsored Parent’s Night events, where parents and students can learn about manufacturing careers, the group also support partners in the holding of such events.  A great ABI member, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is hosting parent’s night in Waterloo on October 26.  You can find more information and register for that event here:  Thank you to the Cedar Valley folks, including ABI Board Member Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo) for holding the event!

2017-2018 Leadership Iowa Class Meets

Speaking of the Leadership Iowa class, the initial session of the 2017-2018 LI class was held last week in Winterset.  The 36th annual class heard from terrific speakers, such ABI Board Member Todd McDonald (ATW Training Solutions, Urbandale), toured area companies, and got to know each other.   The class will meet again in November.  

As members of the board, you will have multiple opportunities to meet the LI class during the coming months.  In the meantime, thank you for your support of the LI program.  

Dynamic Location Change for 2018 ABI Legislative Reception; Registration Now Open

ABI’s award-winning public policy advocacy is successful for many reasons. One is a terrific staff.  Another is a sophisticated array of tools and programs in place to support that work.  But the critical reason for our success is you.  Your personal relationship with your legislator is vital to ABI’s success. 

The association’s second largest event held each year is a great tool to use to help in maintaining that personal relationship. The annual ABI Legislative Reception is always a terrific event.  You can register now for the 2018 Reception, which will be held January 10th.  Do so here:  By clicking on that link, you will see that the event is slated for an exciting new venue.  

The 2018 Legislative Reception will be held at the Iowa Taproom, literally steps away from the ABI office in Des Moines’ East Village. The Taproom is a popular destination for Capitol Hill folks and the entire venue will be closed to all except ABI members and state officials for the night.  Make plans now to attend. 

Secretary Pate Proposes Fee Increase to Pay for Business Service Technology Upgrade

For many months, ABI’s public policy staff has been interacting with staff members in the Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate about a proposed administrative rule. The rule would allow the Secretary to increase fees to create a technology fund.  In turn, the fund would allow the Secretary to address much-needed technology upgrades to provide better service, including online connectivity so that businesses can access the office around the clock. 

Secretary Pate addressed the fund when he spoke to the ABI Board of Directors at its November meeting. He laid-out the case for the upgrades and spoke about the need to make them happen.  He also discussed it with me in a meeting in his office Friday afternoon.  He personally asked me to share information with you about the project. 

The fee increases, while percentage-wise large, are not great in actuality and the Technology Fund will sunset in five years. The Secretary told me the fees will be used strictly for business services and upgrades.  They will not fund election efforts or general operations.  He also committed to me that the fees will sunset when the fund sunsets. 

The rule proposal will be considered by the Iowa General Assembly’s Administrative Rules Review Committee at a meeting at the Statehouse tomorrow. As do other organizations, ABI suggests the language confirming the Secretary’s sentiments be included in the rule and ABI will strongly support it.  I deeply appreciated Secretary Pate’s comments and the time and information he shared with me Friday.  

Hubbell Realty Constructs New Ronald McDonald House in Extreme Build

Longtime ABI member Hubbell Realty Company is well-known for its work on behalf of the Greater Des Moines Community.  The company was in the news recently for another example of that work. 

Hubbell recently completed construction of a new Ronald McDonald House adjacent to the campus of Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. The building provides a place for families to stay so they can be close to children who are receiving life-saving care. 

The new structure is markedly larger than the old one and the project is considered an Extreme Build… construction took just eleven days! Most of the labor and materials were donated by Hubbell and its’ sub-contractors.  

Read more about this incredible project here:  Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved, including Hubbell CEO and ABI Board Member Rick Tollakson (Hubbell realty Company, West Des Moines)

Owner Revolution Acquires Blue Wave Ultrasonics

Longtime ABI member Owner Revolution, the parent of Connect-A-Dock, recently announced the acquisition of Blue Wave Ultrasonics.  Blue Wave, the manufacturer of ultrasonic cleaning systems, is headquartered in Davenport.  

Then acquisition is the latest in Owner Revolution’s goal of acquiring manufacturing businesses that have attained a leadership position in niche markets. Congratulations to everyone at the companies involved, including ABI officer John Krogman (Connect-A-Dock, Atlantic)