Thinking About the 2018 ABI Conference - Monday Memo 8/21/17

August 21, 2017

2018 Taking Care of Business Conference Not to be Missed; Book Your Room Now

Ladies and gentlemen, I begin this week's memo by saying that you truly do not wish to miss the 2018 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference. Though it is months away, plans are already shaping up to make it a spectacular event.  Some of you have already asked about making lodging arrangements. 

The conference will be held June 5-7 of next year and, as it was ten years ago, the flagship hotel will be the beautiful Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. The deadline for booking a room with the special conference rate (starting at $129 per night) is May 14.  The group code to obtain the rate is “ABI Taking Care of Business Conference” and you may book your reservation by using this link: Book your group rate for ABI Taking Care of Business Conference.

Even though it has been ten years since ABI held the annual conference in Iowa City-Coralville, there is a lot of new development there.  You will be amazed by the venues and hospitality you find next June.  As always, registration will open in January, but in the meantime, make your lodging arrangements now.  

Immigration Seminar at ABI in September

In response to your comments about managing immigration issues related to your employees, ABI is hosting an immigration seminar at the ABI office in Des Moines on September 7. Click here to register and for more information:  This will be a high-value event for a very, very nominal fee.  Your HR staff will not want to miss this event! 

First ABI Board Meeting of FY 17 on September 13

Finalize your plans now to join ABI Chair David Zrostlik (Stellar Industries, Garner) and members of the ABI Board of Directors for the September board meeting.  The board will meet at the ABI headquarters in Downtown Des Moines' East Village on September 13.  As usual, a detailed meeting packet and map will be sent to all board members and former chairs a week prior to the meeting. 

Special highlights of the meeting include welcoming newly-elected board members to their first meeting and adoption of 2018 ABI public policy positions.  As for new board members, they include Kelly Barrick (The Private Bank, West Des Moines), Tim Bianco (Iowa Spring, Adel), Jerry Patterson (Principal, Des Moines), Stacey Pellett (John Deere, Johnston), and the honorary Leadership Iowa board member, Jenn Bleil (Van Meter, Cedar Rapids).  Be sure to join your ABI colleagues, meet these new directors, and participate in this important meeting.  

As I noted in last week’s Memo, the September board meeting is typically well-attended and many of you have told me you already have this meeting on your calendar.  I hope the rest of you do as well.  On behalf of Dave and our other officers, I look forward to seeing you in Des Moines. 

Ninth Annual ABI Executive Open One Week from Today

Nine years ago, ABI created an event to provide an opportunity for members (and prospective members) to have fun and network with each other.  It was a huge success, with members saying they greatly appreciated the informal, relaxed nature of the event. 

The event has become part of ABI’s yearly schedule and the ninth annual ABI Executive Open Best Ball Event will be held Monday, August 28.  This year's Open will be again played at one of Iowa's most beautiful private clubs, Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines. The club was the site of the Solheim Cup (the biennial tournament won yesterday by golfers from the USA).  By participating in the ABI Executive Open, you can play the very same course played by the elite golfers from America and Europe that played for the Cup! 

As has become the norm for this event, golf is nearly sold-out.  You can register for golf and/or the social event that follows golf at  Don't miss this chance to join your ABI colleagues for a great afternoon. 

Foundation Big Part of Executive Open

The ABI Foundation will have a strong presence at next Monday's Executive Open.  As always, the foundation staff will add to your experience through fun and games at three different holes on the course.  They will do all of this while raising funds for the life-changing programs that better your business, your community, and the state of Iowa.  

Games like "the 181/2 Hole" and "The Gorilla Drive" and "the Wheel of Fun' are sure to help you beat your competition -- and you will also gain a chance to win the Grand Prize: a stay at the brand new Hotel Renovo in Urbandale (go to for a look at this exciting new hotel)! If you are interested, please contact me for more information.  In the meantime, please be on the lookout for the foundation staff and all the fun that will be a part of next week's Open. 

Policy Meetings Conclude Tomorrow; Record Participation Marks Meetings

ABI Board Member Larry Countryman (Wilson Trailer Company, Sioux City) is the longtime Chair of the ABI Tax Committee.  That committee meets later today at ABI. 

Dennis Ingle (Manpower, Des Moines) chairs the ABI Employment and Workforce Committee, which meets tomorrow at ABI. When Dennis adjourns that meeting, it will mark the completion of the annual policy meeting process.  

This is the second consecutive year that ABI members have set a record for participation in the policy meetings. Literally hundreds of ABI members from all across Iowa and beyond will have participated in the 2017 series of meetings.  The process next shifts to the ABI Legislative Committee and then will conclude with the meeting of the ABI Board of Directors on September 13.  On behalf of ABI Vice Chair David Bywater (Economy Advertising, Iowa City), who this year leads this process for ABI, thank you for your participation in this important work. 

Search Update

ABI has narrowed the search to fill the vacant communications coordinator position to two well-qualified finalists. Final interviews will be held this week, with an eye toward making an offer before Friday.  

The goal is to make an offer to the successful candidate before the end of the business day on Friday. Stay tuned for more information. 

YPIowa Conference September 22 in Ankeny

The ABI Foundation provides administrative support to Young Professionals of Iowa, our state's leading organization for young professionals.  And as you know, YPIowa's biggest annual event is the YPIowa Conference.  The 2017 edition of that event will be held September 22 in Ankeny. 

You and your employees are also invited and you can register Please click on the link for more information. 

Dennis Murdock Honored by CIPCO; Scholarship Fund Established

Last Thursday night at the State Historical Building in Des Moines, former ABI Chair and longtime company CEO Dennis Murdock (CIPCO, Des Moines) was honored.  Dennis will retire after over 49 years with CIPCO. 

Hundreds of people (including several ABI board members) gathered to honor Dennis and to see a program that included the presentation of a Venture Award to Dennis by ABI Board Member Rand Fisher (Iowa Area Development Group, Des Moines)

In typical fashion, Dennis did not ask for retirement gifts or any recognition. Instead, he has initiated a scholarship fund at Upper Iowa University, his alma mater.  Dennis also chairs the Board of Trustees at UIU.  Again as is typical, Dennis provided the lead gift for the fund.  Gifts may be made payable to Upper Iowa University in Fayette, or by going online to  Select the Dennis L. Murdock Endowed Scholarship from the drop-down “Choose Your Designation.”  My wife and I have done this and it is easy to do. 

Dennis has been a terrific leader for every organization with which he is involved and ABI is no exception. Congratulations and very best wishes to Dennis! 

Sukup to Open Office at ISU Research Park

Longtime ABI member Sukup Manufacturing Co. announced plans to open an office at the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames in September. The company hopes to utilize the facility as a way to capitalize on the engineering and technical expertise of both students at Iowa State University and professionals at the Iowa State University Research Park. Former ABI Public Policy Counsel Rachel Geilenfeld has joined Sukup and will work out of the office. Congratulations to Rachel and everyone at Sukup, especially company President and former ABI Chair Charles Sukup (Sukup Manufacturing Co., Sheffield)

United Equipment Accessories Celebrates 65 Great Years

Sixty-five years ago, United Equipment Accessories was started in Waverly, Iowa. UEA is a great ABI member and a great Iowa company and the latest company newsletter carries some wonderful information about the success the company, its leaders, and its employees have created over more than six decades. 

If you would like to read the newsletter for yourself, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. In the meantime, congratulations to everyone at UEA, especially to company President and former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly)

Roger Hargens Featured At STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair

Longtime ABI Board Member Roger Hargens (Accumold, Ankeny) was a featured speaker at STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair yesterday.  Roger is the new Vice Chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.  Congratulations, Roger! 

Kelly Barrick Featured in Business Record

ABI Board Member Kelly Barrick (The Private Bank, West Des Moines) is featured in an article in the current edition of the Des Moines Business Record.  Kelly is one of the business leaders asked to give advice for young professionals and she suggests YP’s find their personal board of directors; individuals who can give constructive, unbiased feedback.  Good advice and congratulations, Kelly! 

John Bruntz Celebrates Tomorrow, Rand Fisher Celebrates Thursday

Former ABI Chair John Bruntz (The Boulder Company, Des Moines) has a birthday this week.  John will celebrate Wednesday.  Longtime ABI Board Member Rand Fisher(Iowa Area Development Group, West Des Moines) will celebrate his birthday this Friday.  ABI sends best birthday wishes to John and Rand!