Register Wednesday for the Annual Conference - Monday Memo 2/20/17

February 20, 2017

Registration for the Annual Conference Opens Wednesday

You have read previously about ABI's 114th annual convention, the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference.  It will be held in Dubuque June 6-8.  You do not want to miss this fantastic annual event. 

At the conference, you will find not one, but several headline speakers.  One is Robert Richman, the well-known author and co-creator of Zappos' amazing employee culture. Another acclaimed writer and speaker, Tommy Spaulding, is also speaking at the conference.  Throw in great Iowan Dr. Bill Withers talking about leadership, other terrific speakers and great panelists, and you will find no better business program than this one. 

Fabulous venues, entertainment in Dubuque's high-energy Ice Harbor District, great golf at the famed Eagle Ride championship course, and the best business networking anywhere combine with the fantastic programming to make this year's conference a must-see.  Please register for the conference starting Wednesday by going to  See you in Dubuque in June! 

Register NOW for 2017 Iowa Business Day on the Hill

Be sure to register now for another popular ABI event, the 2017 Business Day on the Hill. The event will be held Tuesday, March 14.  The day starts with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the ABI office in Des Moines' East Village (plenty of convenient free parking is available directly across the street).  

You will want to be there to hear the latest news from the Iowa General Assembly. Following that you will be taken by private coach to the Capitol for meetings with legislators and other leaders.  Register now at  See you in March. 

Elevate Ambassador Training Thursday at ABI

As you read in previous editions of this memorandum, ABI's Elevate Advanced Manufacturing initiative ( has been having success in raising the profile of manufacturing careers, connecting Iowans with training and education, and then connecting those Iowans with jobs.  An event that is a part of this initiative is coming up this Thursday at ABI.  It was rescheduled from last month due to bad weather at the time. 

The Elevate Ambassadors are manufacturing staff members from all over Iowa who help spread the word about the initiative.  The next session of ambassador training will be held February 23 at ABI.  Go to  When you click that link, you can find out more about what is involved in being an Elevate ambassador and the rewards for doing so.  Please invite your employees to serve as ambassadors and we will see you Thursday. 

ABI Board Will Meet March 14

Members of the ABI Board of Directors will meet at the ABI office on March 14.  ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) will call the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. 

The March meeting agenda will be a full one, with many important issues on tap.  In fact, there will be a full day of ABI events on March 14.  The day will start with the annual Day on the Hill program that morning and the IIPAC luncheon at noon, followed by the meeting of the ABI Board of Directors.  Plan now to join your fellow ABI board members and past chairs at ABI in March. 

Foundation Panels to Meet

This a busy time for ABI and the ABI Foundation.  The Foundation is preparing for the final session of the 2016/17 Class of Leadership Iowa University, is in the middle of the 2016/17 Leadership Iowa sessions, and is now finalizing planning for the 2017 session of Business Horizons. 

Thankfully, just like ABI, the Foundation benefits from strong board leadership. In that regard two Foundation boards will meet this week.  The Business Horizons board meets later today and the Foundation Board of Directors, chaired by former ABI Chair Bill Brown (BrownWinick, Des Moines) meets Thursday. 

May Board Meeting to be Held in Fairfield May 3

Speaking of the ABI Board of Directors, ABI Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield) will host the board's May meeting.  Following on the success of other recent meetings which were held outside the Des Moines area, Lori will host the May meeting in Fairfield.  if you haven't been to this Iowa manufacturing hub lately, you will be surprised by what you see.  Look for more information soon.  In the meantime, mark your calendars now and make plans to attend the May meeting. 

March 30: ABI Workers Compensation Seminar

As you know, the biennial ABI Workers Compensation Seminar will be held on March 30 at ABI. The program will include the latest information about work comp (which may be addressed by the Iowa General Assembly) and the latest information about best practices being utilized by other companies.  Click here for more information and to register:  

ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders Forum in Iowa City in Two Weeks

As you know, the next event in ABI's Connecting Statewide Leaders series will be held a week from Thursday (March 2) in Iowa City.  A high-value panel, networking, and a reception will all be a part of the program, which will be held at Kinnick Stadium.   

For more information and to register, click on  Join fellow ABI members, Leadership Iowa Class members, local business leaders, and others for this event.   

Cedar Valley Legislative Reception Tomorrow Evening

Another great ABI member/partner is coming town. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting its annual legislative reception tomorrow night at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Des Moines.  Welcome and congratulations to Alliance President and CEO (and ABI Board Member) Steve Dust (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo) and Alliance members for what is also always a great event!  

Sukups Celebrate 65th Anniversary

If you ever get to Sheffield, Iowa, you will want to visit a large manufacturing company there. If you enter that company's brand new headquarters building and go to the office of the founder, you will see behind his desk a portrait of a wonderful woman.  That portrait is testimony to a great love; one that has produced one of our state's great success stories.  

That love is celebrating 65 years of marriage this month. Congratulations and very best wishes to Eugene and Mary Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield)

UEA Unveils New Website

United Equipment Accessories is a longtime valued ABI member. The company has celebrated many big developments recently.  

Completion of construction of a brand new building to greatly expand its manufacturing campus and development of new products are just two of those. In addition, UEA has a brand new website.  The new website offers more functionality and has a new layout to help customers find information as easily as possible. 

Check out the new website for yourself at  When you do, be sure to check out the UEA-WAY on the "About Us" page.  Like so many ABI members, UEA lives its values.  Congratulations on the new website to everyone at UEA, including company President and former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly)

John Riches Celebrates

ABI Board Member John Riches (Arconic, Davenport) is a great guy and a great leader.  It is a pleasure to wish him a happy birthday.  John celebrates his birthday this month; happy birthday, John! 

ABI Staffers Mourning Loved Ones

Last week, I noted that ABI staff members have experienced the loss of beloved family members lately. I deeply regret that I did not include Michelle Vollstedt, who lost her step-grandmother, and Kathy Anderson, who lost her aunt.  Our thoughts and prayers have been with Michelle and her husband, Dan Vollstedt, and Kathy and her husband, Dale Anderson.