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Ambassadors for Metalcasting

Doug Kurkul

A recent conversation with a taxi driver brought a smile to my face. I was in my former home town, Washington, D.C., for the annual AFS Government Affairs Fly-In in May. The taxi driver asked what was bringing me to the nation’s capital. He became fascinated when I described metalcasting as a modern $33 billion industry that provides nearly 200,000 jobs, and the policy agenda that our large delegation of metalcasters was pursuing in meetings with 100 members of Congress. As I stepped out of the cab, he said he would be mentioning our industry as a potential employer to his 15-year-old son, who is beginning to consider industrial career options.

Students, educators and parents are part of the audience for AFS messaging, as are lawmakers and their staff, regulators, and the news media. This is a responsibility that AFS takes seriously. One of the six planks of the new AFS Strategic Plan adopted in April 2018 is Industry Stewardship, defined as “AFS will lead outreach activities to enhance the image of the metalcasting industry with target audiences.” This initiative is important because there are so many inaccurate myths concerning our industry, as Dan Oman noted in his 2018 Hoyt Memorial Lecture (see page 34). Working together, we have an opportunity to dispel these myths.

Throughout the entire metalcasting supply chain, we are all ambassadors for metalcasting. There is a role for everyone in our industry to play in projecting an accurate picture of modern metalcasting. Thank you for the role you already play.

How can you be effective as an ambassador for metalcasting? Here are some suggestions:
1.    Master your metalcasting “elevator pitch.” Have a 30-60 second message memorized that you can share at a moment’s notice. Key facts are available at www.afsinc.org/importance-metalcasting-0.

2.    It is vital that Congress and regulators understand the effect they are having on the livelihoods of the people who comprise our proud profession. We encourage you to invite your member of Congress or U.S. senator to your facility during an upcoming recess for a first-hand look. Learn more at www.afsinc.org/advocacy-efforts.

3.    AFS members at the local level have relationships with tech-ed teachers and career counselors. Beyond the valuable foundry-in-a-box presentations our chapters are doing, we are now asking chapter leaders and AFS members at large to go a step further and refer teachers and career counselors to the “Careers” and “We Love Metalcasting” sections of the brand new www.AFSinc.org website. AFS will soon produce a video on careers in metalcasting, again with students, parents and educators as the intended audience.

4.    We are also asking our members to open their doors to local schools on Manufacturing Day, which is Oct. 5. Community leaders, school board members, teachers and students will benefit from seeing your operations close up. Please contact Rich Jefferson of AFS at rjefferson@afsinc.org for information on Manufacturing Day, or to discuss the many other ways you can serve as an ambassador for metalcasting.

Communication is the key to understanding. Everyone, from the front office to the plant floor, can be an ambassador for metalcasting. When all of us engage in that role, we can communicate a clear and accurate message about our industry.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the June 2018 issue of Modern Casting