2015 Iowa Grocery Industry Association Convention Recap

Check out the highlights from IGIA Convention 2015 “Putting the U in Dubuque”

Iowa grocers converged on the banks of the mighty Mississippi this year as they held their Annual convention in Dubuque at the Grand River Center. This annual networking event for grocery industry members and their families provided countless opportunities to reunite with old friends and make new ones, as well as soak up knowledge and introduce young leaders to the industry.

New Schedule Finishes Earlier

The Convention Committee changed up the event this year with a revised schedule and new activities. Convention kicked off on Tuesday, July 7 with the Early Bird Golf Tournament present by Mueller Yurgae Associates. Later that evening, the Iowa Grocers Education Foundation Auction raised more than $33,000 to fund college scholarships for youth with ties to the grocery industry. Immediately following the auction, IGIA members tested their trivia knowledge as teams of grocers competed in a game show hosted by Scorpio Productions Game Show Mania. The show ended in a three-way tie, which was broken by the team that could build a three-person pyramid the fastest. Afterward a few brave individuals sang karaoke raising additional funds for the Foundation.

Educate to Regenerate

Wednesday, the day started with Curt Steinhorst from The Center for Generational Kinetics. Steinhorst shared valuable information about the fastest growing generation in the workforce and marketplace‑Millennials.

Dan Kramer of SHAZAM followed Steinhorst with his presentation Emerging Trends in the Payment Ecosystem: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. His discussion revealed the truth about data breaches, who the bad guys are and what you can do to protect yourself in the future.

The final presenter of the day, Nick Westergaard, talked to grocers about how to “get scrappy” with their social media efforts. Westergaard suggested that it doesn’t require deep pockets to reach people through social media. It has more to do with being smart, asking yourself the questions your customers are asking and then providing useful information to answer those questions.

Guests were invited to attend the Spouses Brunch, which was sponsored by Bimbo Bakeries USA. The brunch featured Laughter Yoga master Patrick Sterenchuk, who led the group through laughing exercises designed to bring joy, healing and a feeling of well-being.

Revelry on the River

Following a morning of speakers and an afternoon of golf during the Iowa Grocery Industry Association Golf Tournament, IGIA Convention attendees gathered on the patio of the Grand River Center for a mouth-watering BBQ masterpiece. Attendees munched and mingled to the musical stylings of IGIA member Jake Bender of Benders Foods. Longtime grocer and Benders Foods founder Randy Bender played the accordion as he joined his son for a song. The crowd sang along as Jake played requests from the audience The evening was sponsored by Coca-Cola, E. & J. Gallo Winery and MillerCoors Company.

A Second Day of Education and Enjoyment

The next morning, CEO Kyle Krause of Kum & Go, this year’s Successful Iowa Business owner, recounted the company’s story of growth, sharing how it grew from a single gas station in Hampton, Iowa into the thriving company with more than 430 stores in 11 states that it is today.

Afterward, IGIA Lobbyist Scott Sundstrom provided a recap of the past Iowa legislative session as well as insights into the issues facing our industry in the year ahead.

The last speaker to grace the podium, James Olson, kept the audience spellbound as he recalled living a lie for 31 years. Olson and his wife Meredith kept the truth from friends and family as they conducted clandestine operations overseas spying for the CIA. Professor Olson is a senior lecturer at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A & M University where he teaches courses on intelligence, national security and international crisis management.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Immediately following Olson’s presentation members attended the IGIA Annual Meeting and Awards luncheon where they watched a feature video of some of the exciting new endeavors the Association has undertaken this year, presented checks for the Iowa Grocers Education Foundation and honored the 2015 Leadership Institute graduates. The IGEF Auction Committee and Scholarship Golf Committee as well as Mueller Yurgae Associates presented checks to the Iowa Grocers Education Foundation Board of Trustees to provide scholarships for youth with ties to the grocery industry.

Check out 2014-15 Annual Meeting Video, Click Here.

IGIA Convention wrapped up by recognizing IGIA's outgoing Board Chairman Tom Watson, Hy-Vee Inc. and welcoming incoming Chairman Todd Keech, PepsiCo.

As in years past, Kids Convention kept anyone 14 and under entertained so adults could attend the events so important to their professional development and networking. The kids went bowling, painted their own canvases and slipped, slid and swam their way through an amazing waterpark adventure among many other fun activities spanning two and a half days of convention.

Looking Ahead

In 2016 and 2017, IGIA Convention will head to The Coralville Marriot as the Convention Planning Committee seeks to keep the event fresh. It will be held Tuesday, July 12 – Thursday, July 14, 2016. Compete the survey to help us make the next convention IGIA's best convention!

Check out lots of great photos from Convention on the IGIA Facebook page.



Curt Steinhorst
Nick Westergaard
Dan Kramer
Kyle Krause
James Olson
Scott Sundstrom