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The Impressive Names Behind the National Awards

Doug Kurkul, CEO of AFS

Every year, American Foundry Society members nominate worthy candidates for AFS national awards. This month’s column recalls the trailblazing leaders for whom these national awards are named. 

Doug Kurkul
Doug Kurkul

William J. Grede: An accomplished entrepreneur who operated several major foundries, Mr. Grede was a nationally respected business leader who served as president of the prestigious National Association of Manufacturers in 1952. An AFS award in his name honors contributions resulting in expanding the use of metal castings. 

C.E. Hoyt: The Charles E. Hoyt Lecture has been presented annually at the Metalcasting Congress since 1938. Mr. Hoyt was the first Secretary of AFS, beginning his service in 1916, and made memorable contributions to the Society. 

James Keating: The Keating Founders Freedom Award honors contributions in government affairs, human resources, safety/health, or education. Mr. Keating had a 53-year career with Neenah Foundry where he was an inventor, mentor, and visionary executive. He also was President of the National Foundry Society (an AFS predecessor) and FEF.  

William H. McFadden: This Mackintosh-Hemphill leader was AFS’s 10th President in 1907. He is remembered through a Gold Medal presented for outstanding achievements, contributions, and service to the industry as well as to AFS. He was an important figure in the Society’s formative years. 

Thomas Pangborn: AFS presents a Gold Medal in Mr. Pangborn’s honor for outstanding contributions in education and sharing of knowledge. The award has been presented both to executives and educators. Mr. Pangborn founded the company that bears his name in 1904 in Hagerstown, Maryland. 

John A. Penton: This Gold Medal honors outstanding technical, engineering, or managerial contributions to the nonferrous sector of our industry. Mr. Penton founded Penton Publishing in Cleveland in 1904, then comprised of three publications, including Foundry magazine. He was very active in AFS and in promoting the metalcasting industry.

Joseph S. Seaman: AFS presents the Joseph S. Seaman Gold Medal for outstanding contributions in research, process development, and inventions. Mr. Seaman operated Seaman-Sleeth Foundry and assisted George Westinghouse in the development of the air brake. He was AFS’s third president and generously contributed funds for technical research. 

Peter L. Simpson: The Peter L. Simpson Gold Medal (for outstanding contributions in promoting public esteem or service which reflects credit on the metalcasting industry) was established to honor Mr. Simpson, the founder of Simpson Technologies (formerly National Engineering Co.). It was first presented at the 50th anniversary Metalcasting Congress in 1946. The last four presidents of this company have served as President of AFS.  

Howard F. Taylor: This award honors the paper with the greatest long-range technical significance.  In 1946, he was the first recipient of the Peter L. Simpson Gold Medal and in 1948 received the Army-Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award. After serving at the Naval Research Lab, he then established the foundry lab at MIT and mentored some of metalcasting’s great technical leaders. 

John H. Whiting: An AFS Gold Medal is presented in Mr. Whiting’s memory for outstanding technical, engineering, or managerial contributions to the ferrous sector. He was the founder of the company that bears his name. 

Ray Witt: The Ray Witt Award recognizes excellence in marketing cast metal components and management of foundries. He was an influential metalcaster and 1992-1993 AFS President. Case Western Reserve’s Witt Metallurgical Modeling and Research Lab and WPI’s Ray H. Witt Metalcasting Center were named for him. 

There are numerous other AFS awards and scholarships presented at the Division or Shared Interest Group levels. We are grateful to all the volunteers whose collective efforts make our Society a dynamic metalcasting association.