Read the Latest ABI Business Monthly - Monday Memo 3/18/24

March 18, 2024

Latest Edition of ABI Business Monthly Now Out

Each month, in partnership with the Corridor Business Journal and the Quad Cities Regional Business Journal, ABI publishes the ABI Business Monthly.  This newsprint publication reaches about 7,500 Iowa business leaders all across the state.  

The March edition provides a great deal of information about ABI programs and upcoming events.  There is also a cool article about a longtime ABI member, Miller Products Company of Osceola, on the cover.  The magazine should now be in your mailbox, inside one of the above-named magazines.  If you haven't yet received it, please let me know and another copy will be sent to you at once.  In the meantime, the magazine is always posted to the ABI website here: Business Monthly | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (    

ABI Executive Committee to Meet in Three Weeks; Board Will Meet in May

ABI Vice Chair Chad Reece (Winnebago Industries, Forest City) and members of the association’s Executive Committee will meet by Zoom in a little over three weeks.  The April Executive Committee Zoom meeting takes place the morning of April 10 and committee members can expect to see the usual packet of meeting materials in their email in-basket the week prior. 

As for the ABI Board of Directors, that body will meet again on May 8.  The meeting will be held at the Des Moines facilities of ABI member Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company just south of the Des Moines International Airport.  Thank you to ABI Board Member Rob Feeney (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Des Moines) for hosting the ABI Board that day. 

Next ABI Legislative Update a Week from Friday

Many of you have been participating in the biweekly legislative updates hosted by the ABI public policy team.  These updates give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Information about bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters are covered in each Zoom.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next update will be held a week from this Friday, on March 29, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  Crunch time at the Capitol is fast-approaching and there will be a lot to cover.  The members-only update is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at Legislative Update (Members Only) | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  

Quarterly ABI Iowa Business Survey to Close Wednesday

All board members and former Chairs of the Board should have received an email message from me last Tuesday related to the ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey. This survey applies to the second quarter of 2024.  The survey is now underway and it will close at the end of the day Wednesday.  If you haven’t already completed the survey, which takes just two minutes, please contgact ABI.  Survey results will be tabulated and shared with you, the public, and the media.  Thank you for your participation in this initiative. 

This Week: LI CONNECT Zoom Program

ABI’s Leadership Iowa program will hold the latest in the series of LI CONNECT programs this Wednesday, March 20.  It will focus on healthcare and you can register for this free Zoom program here LI Connect: Healthcare | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (  It will begin at 11:30 a.m.  By the way, another LI CONNECT program will be held by Zoom on April 17.  Register for that program, which will highlight education issues and begin at 8:30 a.m., here: LI Connect: Education | Iowa Association of Business and Industry (   

Next ABI Automation Summit in the Quad Cities in April

April 17 is the day that the latest edition of the very popular series of ABI Automation Summits will be held.  It will be held at Scott Community College (part of Eastern Iowa Community College) in Davenport.  You may register for this high-value program here: Summary - Automation Summit (  

ABI Can Serve as your Office/Meeting Place While in Des Moines

It has happened several times of late that ABI members have contacted us about needing an office for part of a morning or afternoon while they are in Des Moines on business.  ABI is pleased to be the place you can find that temporary office.  Please allow this reminder that one of your member benefits is just such a service.  Let us know if we can help. 

Nominate Students for Leadership Iowa and Business Horizons

The ABI Foundation will host Leadership Iowa University and Business Horizons this summer.  Your nominations for these two great programs (and for the 2022-2023 session of Leadership Iowa) are strongly desired.  It’s easy to nominate and you can do so by going to and clicking on the program links.  Thank you in advance for nominating participants for each of these important programs. 

NAM Report Cites Increased Jobs, Optimism of CEOs in Positive Outlook

Last week’s Monday Economic Report, published by the National Association of Manufacturers, had some interesting information in last week’s report.  The number of new employment positions were higher and CEO’s appear to be optimistic about the coming month’s production.  Much more information is included in the report and if you wish to read it, simply reply to this message and I’ll get it to you. 

Merrill Manufacturing Wins Multiple Awards

It was cool to see the weekly e-newsletter from the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation last week.  That is because it featured longtime ABI member Merrill Manufacturing.  Merrill won not just one, but several awards within the past few months.  That is terrific, but when you view the video that is headlined by ABI Board Member and company President Steven Anderson (Merrill Manufacturing, Storm Lake), you will learn many great things about Merrill.  I couldn’t help but note that like a lot of ABI member companies, Merrill has employees who have been with the company for periods approaching 50 years!  Click here to view the video for yourself:  When I mentioned the newsletter to Steve, he did something that is also typical of ABI members… he gave the credit to this employees for all their hard work.  Congratulations, Steve on the awards, the growth, and the success over the years! 

Bill Bywater, Dick Smith, and Kathryn Kunert to Celebrate

It is always fun to note several board member birthdays this time of year.  Former ABI Chair Bill Bywater (Bankers Advertising/Tru Art, Iowa City) and former ABI Board Member Dick Smith (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield) share a birthday.  Bill and Dick celebrate this Saturday, March 23rd.  Their birthday is followed on Sunday by the birthday of ABI Board Member Kathryn Kunert (MidAmerican Energy Company, Des Moines). Congratulations and happy birthday to Bill, Dick, and Kathryn! 

Hank Evans Receives Great News

It was a true pleasure to hear from former longtime ABI board Member Hank Evans (A.F. Johnson Millwork Company, West Des Moines-ret.) last week.  As you know by reading past editions of this memorandum, Hank had been receiving treatment for a cancer illness.  The treatment protocol was aggrieve, with both ration and chemotherapy involved. 

A recent CT scan has confirmed some fabulous news, which is that Hank’s cancer has “disappeared.”  Hank will have another scan in sixty days to further confirm this diagnosis and will have monthly immunotherapy injections for a year to ensure the cancer “stays gone.”  Hank, thank you for letting us know and all of us at ABI are so very pleased; very best wishes to you! 

Jim Tyler Passes

Last Thursday, at about half past noon, legendary former ABI Chair Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) passed away.  Jim was 99.  In case you didn't see the message to the ABI Board Friday morning, I shared this: 

Many of you knew Jim.  He was a passionate man.  He loved his late wife, Dorothy.  He loved his family and was extremely proud of his son and daughters and their spouses and extended family.  Jim loved his employees and his business.  It was Jim who led Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company to the expansion that brought the company to the Des Moines Region (and now of course the company spans nearly all of Iowa and parts of several states).  Jim loved his country and was a decorated combat fighter pilot in World War II.  Jim loved the Hawkeyes and football Saturdays were a big deal for the whole Tyler Family.  Jim loved his state, and was appointed by various Iowa governors to leadership roles on state boards and commissions. 

Finally, ABI is incredibly fortunate that Jim loved the association.  He served as chair in the mid-1980s and led ABI into a whole new era, taking what was then the Iowa Manufacturers Association into what is now the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.  Jim remained a strong ABI supporter all his life.  I always knew I better arrive at ABI meetings an hour before their scheduled start, or Jim would beat me to the meeting.  And we better start on time, or Jim would let me know we were late. 

There are many, but I’ll share two favorite stories involving Jim.  One evening, Jim was having dinner at a restaurant outside town and a car came crashing through the wall.  An ambulance was called and Jim was loaded in.  After a few minutes on the road, he took off the oxygen mask that the medical team had placed on him and asked where he was being taken.  The medical tech assumed he was confused and said, “We are taking you to the hospital.”  Jim said, “Of course, but in which town?”  He was told Harlan and he began protesting - LOUDLY - until the ambulance was turned around and he was taken to Atlantic.  Jim might have needed medical attention, but he darn sure was going  to get it in his hometown and nowhere else.  The second story involved a visit my wife, Karen Ralston, and I made to Palm Springs.  My parents wintered there for many years.  So did Jim.  During one visit with my parents, Karen and I met Jim at his hotel for dinner.  But we didn’t remain at the hotel.  Jim had a big night planned, with transportation around Palm Springs and dinner out.  It was a wonderful evening.  You might believe that some celebrity ruled Palm Springs, but that would be wrong.  Jim Tyler was the King of Palm Springs.  It was clear that everyone knew him, loved him, and wanted to help him. 

That is the kind of thing Jim engendered in everyone.  He genuinely cared about them and they loved him.  Rest in peace, Jim Tyler. 

Please click here for more information about Jim: Jim Tyler Obituary 2024 - Schmidt Family Funeral Home (  We celebrate Jim’s life and our thoughts and prayers are with the Tyler Family.