Photos from ABI Legislative Reception Posted - Monday Memo 1/26/15

January 26, 2015

ABI Legislative Reception Photos Posted (More Available Soon); Check Events Calendar

As you know, the 2015 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 from the event have been posted to the ABI  website.  Please check them out here: .  You might be in them!  More photos will be coming soon, so please check back often.

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 something happening at ABI.

ABI Foundation Endowment Committee Meets Today

About three decades ago, the ABI Board of Directors created the ABI Foundation.  ABI board members tend to be very active in their communities and throughout Iowa and they believed that ABI needed to be involved as well. 

Ever since its creation, the ABI Foundation has focused on supporting education, developing leaders, and community development throughout Iowa.  Its programs are open all Iowans, not just ABI members.

The latest big news from the Foundation is that its leaders are in the process of creating a fund to endow Foundation programs and finances.  The single largest contributor to that fund, of course, is ABI itself.  But be assured a number of folks have stepped forward to make sizeable contributions and the endowment fund is well on its way.

The committee leading development of the fund is meeting later today at ABI (some will participate remotely).  Watch for more news about this exciting fund as it develops. 

May Board Meeting Moved to Cedar Valley

More information will be coming your way soon, but please know that the location of the May meeting of the ABI Board of Directors has been changed.  The board will meet in Waterloo-Cedar Falls on May 6. 

Final details are still being  made.  As is usual with such meetings, ABI will provide dinner the night before the meeting for any board members and former chairs who are in town,  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.

2015 ABI Convention Generating Buzz

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 112th Annual Meeting, and it will be held June 10-12 in the Quad Cities. 

The 2015 conference is generating a lot of buzz, with people in the Quad Cities especially excited to host ABI members from all over Iowa.  Most important, you will hear from terrific speakers and get great information.  As I mentioned last week, 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).  And of course you will see Iowa's best business networking occur at this event.

Finally, as was pointed out to me last week, the real reason that this conference is likely to be ABI's best ever is the appearance of some very top vocal talent.  Yes; it's true... ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) and Immediate Past Chair Myron R. Linn (Pella Corporation, Pella) will be singing at the conference.  Wow; you really don't want to miss it!

Elevate Gets Coverage

ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Campaign is raising the profile of manufacturing jobs in our state.  It is also connecting Iowa's with jobs.

The initiative received some great media coverage last Thursday from television station WHO in Des Moines.  See it for yourself here:  In the meantime, special thanks to Elevate Co-Chairs and ABI Board Members Paul Gregoire (Fisher-Emerson, Marshalltown) andLori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) for their leadership for the program. 

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:,

CIRAS Highlights Jack Hasken, Jackson Manufacturing

Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service is a terrific ABI partner and is a member of the ABI Advisory Council.  CIRAS does great work helping Iowa businesses grow.

The latest edition of the CIRAS magazine, CIRAS News, carries a wonderful feature about ABI member Jackson Manufacturing and its President, Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa).  Jack bought the company in 2013.

The story reviews Jack's purchase of the company and his decisions to leave it in Maquoketa and to maintains its special workforce.  Both decisions, while complex, have proven to be sound and Jack is leading the company to even greater success.  If you want to read the story for yourself, let me know and I'll get a copy to you at once.

The Hasken Family is important to ABI, of course.  Jack is a terrific member himself, and his wife is former ABI ChairSarah McDonald Hasken.  Congratulations to Jack on the great coverage!

Paul Gregoire and John Schreurs Celebrate

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

Kirk Tyler Latest Past Chair to be Heard on Van and Bonnie Show

When I drive to work in the morning, I usually listen to the Van and Bonnie In the Morning Show on WHO Radio.  Over the years, it just so happens that I have heard many former ABI Chairs on the show.

Former Chair Bob Wersen (Interpower Corporation, Oskaloosa) has been on many times, often talking about hisTassel Ridge Winery.  I've heard former Chairs Mary Andringa (Vermeer Corporation, Pella), Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines), David Fisher (Onthank Company, Des Moines), Roger Lande (Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Muscatine), Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield), and Bob Sturgeon (Barr-Nunn, Grimes).

The latest former ABI Chair to appear on the show was Kirk Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Waukee).  I don't know how I missed it, but Kirk served as a guest co-host when the usual co-host, Bonnie Lucas, was on vacation.  The show's other co-host, Van Harden, invites a celebrity to join him as the "Designated Bonnie" for a day.  Many famous Iowans, such as Simon Estes, Senator Chuck Grassley, and others have served as the "Designated Bonnie." 

This morning, Mr. Harden mentioned several notable Iowans that have joined him lately.  One was Kirk, who was the "Designated Bonnie"  earlier this winter.  Congratulations, Kirk!

Leisa Fox Doing Well After Surgery

ABI Senior Vice President Revenue and Programs Leisa Fox is well-known among association members.  She has been with ABI for over a decade and has filled many roles and has well-led ABI's membership and programming.  As you all know, Leisa is an active, high-energy person and is beloved.  We were all concerned when Leisa had  surgery last Thursday for a hip replacement (she will have the other hip replaced in March). 

Well, we needn't have worried. 

I made it to the hospital about 5 hours after Leisa came out of surgery and I expected to see her in bed, groggy, and perhaps in a lot of pain.  Of course that wasn't the case at all.  When I arrived, Leisa had just returned from a WALK AROUND THE POST-OP UNIT, was sitting up in a chair in her room, looked terrific, and was laughing and joking as usual.

Leisa spent only two nights in the hospital and was back in her home Saturday.  She has had a good weekend.  She has a period of recovery ahead, but we all know she will do well.  I know we will all keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers.  Before long, we hope to see her back in the office and going a million miles a minute as usual!