Two Weeks to Go - Monday Memo 5/21/18

May 21, 2018

Just Two Weeks Away: The 115th Annual ABI Convention

Following great annual meetings that have received rave reviews, the 2018 ABI Taking Care of Business Conference is sure to continue that strong success.  The convention is now only two weeks away and will kick off June 5th in Coralville.  Well over 450 people are already registered to attend the convention. 

Planners have put together an incredible event, which is well on its way to being one of the best annual meetings ever.  Fantastic venues, exciting speakers, terrific events, and Iowa’s best business networking will highlight the 115th Annual Convention. 

As I note every year at this time, the convention is important to ABI for several reasons.  While the revenue raised by the convention is one of those reasons, even more important is the event’s value as a source of programming and information for members.  And perhaps most importantly, the annual convention helps continue ABI’s momentum and provides members and sponsors with the very best business networking in Iowa.  If you haven’t already done so, register now at  See you June 5-7 in Coralville-Iowa City!

Fantastic Keynotes; Comments by Governor, Lt. Governor Among Conference Highlights

Speaking of the annual conference, you know that there will be terrific highlights. The fabulous Iowa River Landing location is one.  You will be amazed at the growth and development in this area since the last ABI convention there 10 years ago.  And the growth continues.  Last week, local officials held a groundbreaking in the area for a new arena.  You will see the project on the south side of the drive to the Marriott. 

Another highlight is terrific keynote speakers. Click here and scroll down for more information.  Best-selling authors, nationally known speakers, and great information are hallmarks of our keynotes.  Also appearing will be Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.  At a meeting in Des Moines last week, both officials told me they are looking forward to seeing you at the conference.  Be sure to be in attendance Wednesday to see them in person. 

Finally, fabulous golf, terrific venues (such as legendary Kinnick Stadium) and, as I already mentioned above, the very best business networking in Iowa, will make the annual conference something you simply can’t afford to miss.  

ABI Regional Policy Tour Heads to Council Bluffs

As you know, the ABI public policy staff has kicked-off the annual tour of meetings around Iowa to discuss the actions of the annual session of the Iowa General Assembly.  During these meetings, next year's legislative session is also discussed.  Your counsel about issues ABI should champion in 2019 are also a focus. 

The regional meetings tour began earlier this month, with a session in Garner already in the books.  The regional meetings continue with a session tomorrow in Council Bluffs.  Another session will be held early next month by teleconference.  There is still time to register for one of the remaining meetings by clicking on

CIRAS Board Meets Thursday at ISU

A valued ABI member-partner is Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service.  CIRAS is a fabulous resource for Iowa manufacturers and businesses of all kinds.  Over the years, many ABI leaders have also been involved in CIRAS and several are current members of the CIRAS Industry Advisory Board. 

The board will meet Thursday at Iowa State.  Watch for news of any developments in next week's ABI Monday Memo

Second Session of EPIC Interviews to be Held

Economic Progress for Iowa's Citizens (EPIC), the coalition of business organizations that seeks to identify and promote pro-business candidates for state office and that is administered by ABI, will hold its second session of interviews Thursday at ABI. The first session of interviews for the 2018 election cycle was held last week.  Watch for more information about this and upcoming EPIC sessions soon. 

FABULOUS Items for Foundation Auction

As you know, the ABI Foundation holds an auction in conjunction with ABI's annual Taking Care of Business Conference.  Each year, the auction items are more spectacular.  This year is no exception and there are truly terrific items included in this year's auction. 

Watch for a link to a silent auction to be available soon.  And, be ready for the live auction on Wednesday evening of the conference. 

The foundation is at an all-time high as far as quality programs that benefit not just ABI, but all Iowans.  Our state's young people, young professionals, companies, and communities all benefit from great ABIF programs.  Thank you in advance for your support.

Leadership Iowa Class will Graduate

As we continue speaking of the foundation, the ABI Foundation's flagship program, Leadership Iowa, is one of the nation's oldest leadership development programs.  Well over a thousand Iowans have graduated from LI over the past 30-plus years.  These individuals are now back in their communities, leading the way to a better Iowa. 

As for the current class, the 2017-2018 Class has been called the best ever.  Class members will graduate at a special ceremony to be held during the ABI conference.  Click here to view a list of LI class members:  Thank you to these emerging leaders for their participation in the program over the past year!

Executive Committee, Board to Receive Usual Pre-Meeting Information

It is the time of year for the usual operational details prior to the start of the next fiscal year.  As is ABI process for May, you and your fellow members of the ABI Executive Committee and Board of Directors will receive the proposed 2018-2019 ABI budget soon.  Watch for it in your email in-basket. 

By the way, you will also receive other information related to final preparations for the annual conference.  The report of the ABI Nominating Committee, chaired by ABI Past Chair Lori Schaefer-Weaton (Agri-Industrial Plastics Company, Fairfield), and any final details will be a part of the budget email message. 

EFCO Highlights Education for Employees, Customers

One thing I have learned about ABI members in the past 13 years is that they value their employees and their customers. They are always seeking to develop them. 

The latest example of that was brought home to me when I read the new edition of FORM MARKS, the company magazine for longtime ABI member EFCO.  In the magazine, the lead story is always an essay by company Chairman and CEO (and former ABI Chair) Al Jennings (EFCO, Des Moines). In this edition, Mr. Jennings relates the company’s history and its decades-long focus on education.  He notes that since opening EFCO’s Concrete Construction and Forming Institute just a few years ago, countless employee visits and over 840 customer contractor visits have led to greater understanding and learning and ultimately to greater success for both EFCO and its customers.  

If you wish to read the essay for yourself, please reply to this message and I’ll get it to you at once. In the meantime, thank you to everyone at EFCO, including Al Jennings, for sharing this story of the company’s focus on education and collaboration!