Regional Policy Meetings Underway - Monday Memo 5/8/17

May 8, 2017

Register Now for ABI Regional Policy Meetings; Atlantic, Des Moines Tomorrow

In the coming weeks, you will want to attend the ABI regional policy meeting nearest you. Process.  The annual policy tour began last week, with meetings held in Muscatine and Fairfield.  Tuesday, two more meetings will be held, in Des Moines tomorrow morning and in Atlantic at noon. 

At the meetings, you will hear how the actions of the legislature impacted your business, get the latest news from the Statehouse, and help craft ABI policy for the next year.  ABI will be traveling the state throughout the month to meet with members about these topics. 

You can register for one or more of the sessions by going to the Events Page on the ABI website.  You will find that site here:  The ABI public policy staff and I look forward to seeing you and your employees at the upcoming meetings. 

Flyer in Your Mailbox; 114th Annual ABI Convention Kicks-Off in Five Weeks

Registrations are flying in for next month’s Taking Care of Business Conference, which is ABI’s 114th Annual Convention.  Past history tells us that the busiest time for convention registrations is right now.  Thus, it is clear that another great crowd of 600 or so attendees will be on hand in Dubuque next month.  

The 2017 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference will be held June 6, 7, and 8.  You should have recently received a flyer with convention information.  Many of you have commented to me that you liked the flyer and, more importantly, were excited about the program developed for the convention.  If you have misplaced your flyer, please go to the association’s website at to find program and lodging information.  You will want to make your reservations now! 

I say it every year, because every year it is true… terrific speakers, exciting venues, great golf, new events, and the very best business networking in Iowa make the annual ABI convention a must-see event.  I know you will get a tremendous return on investment by attending this year’s convention.  

ABI and ABI Board Invades SE Iowa, Holds Terrific Meetings

Many of you have taken the time to comment, call, or send an email message related to last week's ABI board meeting held in Fairfield.  Many of us were in town for dinner with the ABI Board Tuesday evening at the Fairfield Golf and Country Club. Thank you to ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) and Nate Weaton for leading the dinner and to Lori for leading the meetings of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors on Wednesday. 

Following the board meeting, most members reconvened at Agri-Industrial Plastics Company on the west side of Fairfield to tour that company’s newly-expanded campus.  Company founder and former ABI Board Member Dick Smith(Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) was on hand to make the afternoon at Agri even more special. 

The meeting and tour were just two parts of the ABI invasion of southeast Iowa last week. A meeting of the ABI Environment Committee in Muscatine, regional policy meetings in Muscatine and Fairfield, and a Leadership Iowa session in Burlington were also held in the southeast part of the state last week.  A special thank you to all of you who attended.  The meetings provided great energy as we now focus on the annual conference. 

Nominating Committee Meets Today

Immediate Past Chair Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) also chairs the 2017 ABI Nominating Committee, which will meet later this morning at ABI.  Thank you to Paul and to the other members of the committee: Drew Larson (RAM Pattern, Le Claire), Rich Phelan (LyondellBasell, Clinton), Paul Drey (Brick Gentry, West Des Moines), Kellan Longenecker (General Mills, Carlisle), and Bob Bocken (Farner Bocken, Fort Dodge).  

You and other members will vote on the slate of officers and directors nominated by the committee.  That will take place during the association's annual business meeting, which will be during the annual Taking Care of Business Conference next month.  By the way, if you wish to nominate someone for board service (and self-nominations are welcomed and encouraged), please contact one of the committee members or me this morning. 

ABI Manufacturers Featured on Elevate Iowa Website

Elevate Iowa is ABI's program to raise the profile of manufacturing jobs in our state and to connect Iowans with training and with jobs.  Board leadership for Elevate has been well-provided by ABI officers Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics, Fairfield), Paul Gregoire (Fisher -Emerson, Marshalltown), Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly), and Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale)

You may not know that Elevate features ABI/Iowa manufacturing companies on its website under its “Made in Iowa” section.  This page educates Iowans about the many exciting opportunities available at Iowa’s advanced manufacturing companies.  The goal is to ultimately connect these Iowans with companies like yours.  

Please follow this link: and click on the link to the "Made in Iowa form" under "Share your Company Story".  We can also provide examples of other company profiles if you wish.  

ABI Sponsors Iowa Entrepreneur, Advanced Manufacturing Podcast

Nobody tells the story of Iowa business better than ABI and we are ALWAYS looking for ways to spread the news about all that business does for our state.  We have many forums for that important message, but here are two exciting ones. 

ABI and some ABI member organizations sponsor Iowa Public Television's Iowa Entrepreneur program.  This new program highlights great entrepreneurial stories found right here in Iowa and many focus on ABI member companies that have seen great success.  Find more information here:

ABI also sponsors the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast:  This new forum highlights manufacturing issues and you'll also hear news about ABI, about ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative, and about related items.  

Be sure and check out both of these new productions.  And remember to let us know about what it happening with your company so we can help spread the good news! 

ABI Staff Members and Twitter

Whether it is during a legislative committee hearing, a manufacturing meeting, an association conference, or at some other event, you might see ABI staffers busily typing away on their mobile devices.  They aren't ignoring the proceedings, they're tweeting.  Every time you are at an ABI event of any kind, you can expect that someone is tweeting about it. 

As you know, ABI was one of the first organizations to embrace Twitter and other social media and our members say they want more of it.  Just like your business, we want our customers (our members) to have access to the very latest information about what is happening at a given meeting.  Twitter and other social media allow that to occur.  

If you want to follow ABI, go to and click on the bird that is the Twitter logo in the upper right-hand corner of the page (you will also see logos for other social media resources).  It will take you to the ABI Twitter homepage, where you can see that ABI has well over 4,000 followers.  You can follow ABI's general account and the accounts of several ABI staffers (including me).  If you need help, reply to this email and I'll ask a staffer to get in touch with you. 

NAM Report: Economy Growing... Slowly

If you have been reading these memos for any length of time, you know that I am fan of the publications produced by the National Association of Manufacturers.  The NAM does great work and is a key ABI partner.  Its publications are top-notch, with some of the very latest and best information you will find available anywhere. 

Last Monday's NAM Manufacturing Economy Daily was another example of excellent reporting.  Much information was summarized related to trade, manufacturing in particular, and the American economy in general.  The bottom line is that the economy is growing incrementally, with soft growth in most sectors.  If you would like to see the report, please reply to this message and I will get it to you at once. 

Emerson-Fisher Closes Pentair Acquisition

Emerson-Fisher is one of ABI’s founding members. For well over a century, the company has grown and changed and it continues to do so today.  In fact, last Thursday evening at 1 minute past midnight, the company closed its biggest acquisition ever. 

Emerson-Fisher acquired Pentair, a Swiss company. Overnight, Emerson-Fisher grew from about 7,500 employees worldwide to over 17,500 in nearly 60 locations around the globe.  The company is now a nearly $4 billion company! 

Congratulations to everyone at Emerson-Fisher, especially to one of its top executives, the Immediate Past Chair of the ABI Board of Directors, Paul Gregoire (Emerson-Fisher, Marshalltown)

Senator Grassley Visits Jackson Manufacturing

You have heard me say often that the single best thing you can to help advance ABI’s public policy agenda is to develop a relationship with state and federal officials. Invite them in to your plant or office and show them what you do.  Have them meet your employees.  Discuss the impact of their decisions on your business.  Thankfully, ABI members are great about doing just that. 

The latest example of that is a visit U.S. Senator Charles Grassley made to ABI member company Jackson Manufacturing.  Company President (and ABI board Member) Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) hosted Senator Grassley recently and received great media coverage of the event.  Thank you for hosting the tour, Jack! 

Jim Tyler Honored in Fargo

Former ABI chair Jim Tyler (Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Atlantic) was honored last week in various events around Fargo, North Dakota.  Fargo is the site of one of the nation’s largest annual exhibitions of aircraft.  The event is called the Fargo Airsho. 

Friday evening, Jim was the Guest of Honor at the Airsho’s Celebrity Dinner and Auction, the biggest annual event hosted by the Fargo Air Museum (  Jim, of course, is well-known as a decorated combat veteran and P-38 Lightning pilot in World War II.  Jim was honored at the dinner, at the AirSho, and was interviewed by local media.  Congratulations, Jim!  

EFCO Story is an American Story

The latest edition of FORM MARKS, the company magazine published by longtime ABI member EFCO, carries a great feature about the history of the company.  The article notes the company’s founding during the Great Depression, its growth by tending to core principles, and its focus on American products, innovation, and hard work.  It is a great story!  Congratulations to everyone at EFCO, including its Chairman, former ABI Chair Al Jennings (EFCO, Des Moines)

Great Seeing Bill Trent, Roger Lande

At last week’s ABI Regional Policy meeting in Muscatine, two former Chairs of the association showed-up. It was great seeing Bill Trent (Kent Corporation, Muscatine) and Roger Lande (Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Muscatine).  In addition to being one of ABI’s youngest board chairs ever, Bill also chaired the board of directors of the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC) for many years.  There was a large crowd for the meeting and having Bill and Roger attend made it even better.  Thank you, fellows! 

John Butler Marks Birthday

Former ABI Chair John Butler (Cottingham & Butler, Dubuque) was a great leader for the association and he continues to be an important business leader for Iowa.  John is celebrating a birthday and ABI joins so many others in sending happy birthday wishes his way.  Happy birthday, John! 

Daniel Ralston Graduates

These memos are about YOU, ABI leaders, not me. But please allow me a point of personal privilege as I tell you that it was pleasure for our family to attend graduation ceremonies at Iowa State University in Ames over the weekend.  Daniel Ralston was awarded a BS in Supply Chain Management.  While I am excited that the diploma appears to be signed and valid, I am no less excited about full-time, gainful employment for Daniel in the very near future.  Editor’s Note: That last comment was (mostly) tongue-in-cheek.