ABI Taking Care of Business Conference is June 8-10

Are you ready to gain valuable insights that can help your business? If so, CIRAS recommends that you plan to attend the annual Taking Care of Business Conference next month in Coralville.

The yearly conference, which is hosted by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, is a valuable way for Iowa manufacturers to invest in their teams.

  • Tarika Barrett, STEM Superstar and incoming CEO of Girls Who Code, an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. She oversees that organization’s free summer immersion program and after-school clubs program, which have reached 300,000 girls around the world.

Barrett also serves on the board of McGraw Hill, a leading learning science company creating world-class educational content and providing best-in-class digital platforms for learners and educators, and the board of Eskolta, a nonprofit dedicated to helping urban public schools re-engage at-risk teenagers.

  • Geoff Colvin, a bestselling author and Senior Editor-at-Large at Fortune. For four decades, he has covered the economic, political, technological, and competitive forces disrupting business and how top leaders and companies adapt and transform to win in spite of them.

The big takeaway, according to Colvin, is that winning companies and leaders summon the courage to act – they stop protecting the past and start inventing the future – and they confront this new reality faster than their competition.

  • Tom Bedell, co-owner of Two Old Hippies Guitars in Bend, Oregon, and a fourth-generation Okoboji Iowan. A born entrepreneur, Bedell started his own guitar importing/music retailing business as a freshman in high school. After selling Bedell Guitar Company to attend the University of Colorado, he continued on to graduate from Stanford University and attend law school at the University of Iowa. After managing his father’s successful campaign to represent Iowa’s 6th District in the U.S. Congress during the 1970s, Tom established his own political election campaign consulting company supporting campaigns for governors, senators, and congressional candidates.

In 1979, Tom returned to Spirit Lake to assume leadership of his father’s fishing tackle company – then named Berkley and Co. His team converted an almost-bankrupt company into Pure Fishing, the world’s largest fishing tackle company with manufacturing and distribution divisions in 22 countries, a 30 percent U.S. market share, and more than $300 million in revenue. What may be more significant, however, is the impact the company has made to the quality of life in the Iowa Great Lakes through his dedication to conservation and protecting our planet and the values and culture that may not have been possible outside of Iowa.

After an unsuccessful retirement, Tom recreated Bedell Guitars, acquiring Breedlove Guitars in Bend, Oregon, and Weber Mandolins in Bozeman, Montana.

The 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference will be an in-person event with a wide variety of activities breakout sessions June 8-10 at the Coralville Mariott Hotel & Conference Center. Social distancing protocols will be in place, and masks will be required except when you’re eating or drinking.

For more information on breakout sessions, visit this event page.