May 15, 2017

ABI Annual Conference Starts Just Three Weeks from Tomorrow!

ABI’s 114th annual meeting kicks off just three weeks from tomorrow.  All the indicators point to a terrific annual convention, with registrations continuing to run at a record pace.  The convention will be held June 6-8. 

You can check out the terrific convention program and you can register NOW by going to  On behalf of the conference committee and our ABI officers, I look forward to seeing you at the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference, for the first time in 6 years being held in Greater Dubuque. 

By the way, when you register for the conference, don't forget to make your lodging reservations.  Two of the official conference hotels have been sold-out, but plenty of other great options remain.  Find more information about another great lodging option at the link mentioned above. 

Discussing the conference provides an opportunity to again thank the conference planning committee, chaired by Amy Jones (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), and ABI staff members Member Programs Director Holly Mueggenberg, Vice President Member Development and Programs Kathy Anderson, Membership Coordinator Dorothy Knowles, Communications Director Emily Schettler, Bookkeeper Chrissy Viers, and Administrative Assistant Michelle Vollstedt. 

Patterson Elected to ABI Board

At the recent meeting of the ABI Board of Directors held in Fairfield, a new member was elected to the board. Jerry Patterson, Senior Vice President and a leading executive at Principal in Des Moines, was elected to the seat held for many years by Merle Pederson (Principal, Des Moines).  

Jerry’s election was unanimous and it ensures that one of Iowa’s leading employers will continue to be well-represented at ABI. Congratulations and welcome, Jerry Patterson (Principal, Des Moines)

ABI Regional Policy Meetings in Full Swing

Each year, following adjournment of the annual session of the Iowa General Assembly, the ABI public policy staff heads out on the road to meet with association members all over Iowa.  These regional meetings focus on information about the actions of the General Assembly in the session just completed, on the latest news from the Statehouse, and on gaining your counsel about ABI policies for the next year.  ABI has been and will be traveling the state throughout the month to meet with members about these topics. 

Meetings have already been held in Muscatine, Fairfield, Des Moines, and Atlantic. Other meetings will be held in Sioux City and waterloo.  Please register for these free meetings now at  

Thank you to ABI members for hosting ABI in your communities. And on behalf of ABI Senior Vice President Public Policy Nicole Crain, Director Public Policy Jessica Harder, and Coordinator Public Policy Brad Hartkopf, we look forward to seeing you at one of the remaining meetings. 

ABI”s Biennial DC Fly-In Coming Up This Fall; Make Sure You are Recognized at the Annual Conference

ABI’s public policy team is busy planning a packed agenda for the fall D.C. fly-in, a trip held exclusively for ABI members. The trip is planned for October 2-4 and will include congressional visits, networking, and important updates from our national affiliates on federal policies that affect your business. We already have a great group signed up, but we still have room for you to join. Contact Nicole Crain at by May 22 to sign up for this important trip. 

Speaking of public policy, many of you give generously year after year to ABI’s political action committee, the Iowa Industry Political Action Committee (IIPAC). Now is the time to do so again if you haven’t yet had a chance. With exclusive events planned for Gold and Platinum IIPAC investors at the ABI conference, we want to make sure you are recognized by your peers. The annual conference will be in Dubuque June 6-8 and we need your contribution by FRIDAY, MAY 26 in order to be recognized. 

Donate now to make sure your influence is not only felt through IIPAC’s support of pro-business candidates, but also recognized by hundreds of your fellow Iowa business colleagues. 

Nominating Committee Meets; Board Slate Being Finalized

ABI Nominating Committee Chair (and Immediate Past ABI Chair) Paul Gregoire (Emerson Fisher, Marshalltown) and members of the committee met by teleconference a week ago today.  The committee developed a full slate of nominations for the annual convention.  Contact is now being made with the nominees. 

In addition to Paul, committee members include ABI Board Members 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).  The committee will complete its work in the next couple of weeks and a full report will be a part of next month's annual business meeting. 

Foundation Board and BH Board to Meet This Week

In ABI Foundation-related news, several of the Foundation's program panels are holding meetings.  The Foundation's Business Horizons Board of Directors will meet tomorrow in Des Moines.  The group is putting final touches on the 2017 Session of BH, which will take place in late June at Central College in Pella.  

Two days later, on Thursday, the ABI Foundation, chaired by former ABI Chair Bill Brown (Brown Winick, Des Moines) will meet.  The Foundation’s programs are enjoying record numbers of participants at present and the board will work through a very full agenda.  All Foundation board members are encouraged to participate in this meeting. 

In the meantime, special thanks go to the ABI Foundation staff.  Thank you to Vice President Foundation Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, Development Director Amanda Nuzum, Marketing and Programs Coordinator Jessi Steward, and Administrative Assistant Jane Galloway. 

ABI Advisory Council to Hold May Meeting Thursday

The ABI Advisory Council includes valued member companies that provide terrific programming assistance, as well as key financial support for BAI. The council will hold its monthly meeting this Thursday at The Iowa Clinic in West Des Moines. 

THANK YOU to the members of the council! Those companies are 21st Century Rehab, BCC Advisers, Brick Gentry P.C., BrownWinick, CIRAS, CliftonLarsonAllen, EMC, Focus OneSource, Global Reach, LMC Insurance and Risk Management, Principal Financial Group, Tero International, The Iowa Clinic, Transition Point Business Advisors, and Wellmark

ABI Board Members Invited to Iowa STEM/Future Ready Iowa Conference

Members of the ABI Board of Directors have again been invited to participate in the annual Iowa STEM conference, this year a joint conference focused on STEM and on Future Ready Iowa. The event will be held June 21 in Des Moines. 

The conference will highlight best practices in STEM and provide attendees with information about Future Ready Iowa. For more information, go to

Des Moines City Hall Renovation Completion Moved Back to Spring of 2018

When Des Moines officials began a project to renovate the Des Moines City Hall, they indicated the project would take about 18 months and be completed by mid-to-late summer of this year. At the time, we at ABI predicted that would not hold true.  We were right. 

An announcement was made last week that completion is now expected to be delayed until next year. City officials now expect the project to be completed by the late spring of 2018.  That, too, appears too aggressive to me. 

Why does this matter to ABI? Because the city staff has temporarily moved in to the Capitol Center, the building in which ABI is located.  That move, as most of you know, dramatically increased issues related to parking, security, and maintenance.  In any event, we’ll continue to keep you posted about these issues and we’ll do all we can to make your visits to ABI convenient. 

Global Manufacturing Update Says Data Trending Upward

The latest edition of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Global Manufacturing Economic Update was published last Thursday and it carries a variety of information to document upward-trending data.  The manufacturing economy has seen solid gains in the past two quarters.  If you wish to see Update for yourself, please reply to this message and I will get it to you at once. 

Mark Hanawalt Named to Hall of Fame; Courier Publishes Op-Ed About Tax Reform

Former ABI Chair Mark Hanawalt (United Equipment Accessories, Waverly) was featured prominently in yesterday’s Waterloo Courier.  Not only did yesterday’s newspaper carry a terrific op-ed by Mark about the need for tax reform (which you can read here:, but it also carried a news story about Mark. 

Mark has been named to the Cedar Valley Business Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in to the hall at an event this October at the beautiful Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa.  Mark was recognized for five key standards of excellence he has exhibited in a fabulous business career.  ABI sends very best wishes and hearty congratulations to Mark Hanawalt! 

Big Happenings at Dexter Apache; Andy Kretz Named CEO, Pat Albregts Chairman

There are so many things happening at longtime ABI member company Dexter Apache Holdings, there are almost too many to mention!  You know longtime ABI Board Member Andy Kretz (Dexter Apache, Fairfield).  It was great to hear that Andy, who was President and COO, has now been named the company’s President and CEO; congratulations, Andy!  And, former ABI Board Member Patrick Albregts (Dexter Apache, Fairfield) continues as Chairman of the Board.  So, congratulations, too, to Pat!  You can read more about this here:

In other news, the company’s Dexter Laundry division just completed a 70,000 square feet expansion of its manufacturing campus in Fairfield and doubled the size of the Carroll facility. And, the company’s Chrystal Group division has completed an 11,000 square feet expansion of its Hiawatha campus.  Congratulations again to Andy, Pat, and everyone at Dexter Apache! 

Governor Appoints Roger Hargens to IPEP Board

Longtime ABI Board Member Roger Hargens (Accumold, Ankeny) is recognized statewide as a true Iowa business leader.  Governor Terry E. Branstad recognizes that, too, and has appointed Roger to the board of directors for the Iowa Partnership on Economic Progress.  Roger has frequently been appointed to state boards and commissions and we congratulate him on this latest appointment.  Thank you for your service to Iowa, Roger! 

Jack Hasken’s Father Comes Home to Dubuque

ABI Board member Jack Hasken (Jackson Manufacturing, Maquoketa) has been helping his father recover from a serious stroke suffered about six weeks ago.  The good news is that Jack will welcome Mr. Hasken back to Dubuque this week.  Mr. Hasken will be involved with Finley Home Care assisted living in Dubuque.  We are glad to hear that Mr. Hasken is recovering and we wish him, Jack, and everyone in the family all the best! 

Measured Intentions Team Joins Bubble Run

ABI member Measured Intentions had a large team participating in Saturday’s Des Moines Bubble Run.  You may be familiar with the bubble runs; they are held in various cities throughout the nation and they benefit a different local charity in each city.  

The Des Moines run benefitted the A-T Children‘s Project. You can find out more here:  In the meantime, congratulations to ABI Board member Michele Farrell (Measured Intentions, Urbandale) and the MI Team for having fun and working for children… you are welcome to use the ABI parking lot any time!