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AFS and FEF: A Close Partnership

Doug Kurkul, CEO of AFS

The American Foundry Society (AFS) and the Foundry Educational Foundation (FEF) are working together as closely as ever to advance their truly complementary missions. The mission of AFS is to “advance the success of its members and the metalcasting industry through advocacy, education, and innovation.”  FEF “strengthens the metalcasting industry by supporting unique partnerships among students, educators and industry, helping today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.”

No manufacturing industry can maximize its potential industrial output or economic impact without a steady flow of qualified new employees. AFS and FEF share a passion for working together to bring attention to the outstanding career opportunities in metalcasting, and to nurture relationships with students to help them find success with the great companies in our $44 billion industry. 

The two organizations partner in many ways, all for the good of the metalcasting industry. That close relationship starts with FEF being physically located in the AFS headquarters building in Schaumburg, Illinois, right next to the AFS Peters-Robison Metalcasting Library, and extends far beyond being 

FEF relies on close relationships with AFS regional chapters to support fundraising and the awarding of scholarships to worthy students. These AFS chapters extend the influence of the AFS membership throughout North America at the local level, and many chapters hold events dedicated specifically to raising scholarship funds.

Another way the two organizations collaborate is by encouraging young people to attend the annual Metalcasting Congress. The industry exhibits, coupled with technical and management sessions, make this an invaluable student learning experience. AFS provides free Education Passes to AFS student chapter members and their key professors, and FEF encourages those students and instructors to take advantage of this opportunity. In 2022, nearly 150 students and professors attended CastExpo, a contributed value from AFS of more than $110,000. 

To further support the FEF mission, AFS provides space in every issue of Modern Casting magazine for FEF to deliver its message to the metalcasting supply chain. You can find this month’s FEF content on page 48. 

AFS also provides half-price admission for FEF staff personnel at all AFS conferences and trade shows. Both provide complimentary exhibit space to one another at their respective industry events, and both collaborate with the SFSA on the Cast in Steel student competition. AFS also funds the Modern Casting scholarship and co-sponsors the Outstanding Professor Award with FEF. 

The organizations collaborate on the IJMC-FEF student research competition, where scholarship funding was doubled in 2022. This is the only casting-related competition in which winning students are published in an international journal in addition to receiving scholarship awards.

FEF Executive Director Brian Lewis and I are in frequent contact to discuss collaboration opportunities. Brian serves on the AFS Human Resources Committee, making valuable contributions in that role and providing input into periodic AFS workforce surveys. 

The metalcasting sector directly employs about 170,000 people. Retirements, coupled with employees moving on for other reasons, signal that metalcasters will need a steady supply of new employees at all levels of the organization for decades to come. The partnership between AFS and FEF is vital to meeting those human resources needs.      

Click here to view the column in the digital edition.