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College Industry Conference Brings Students, Grads Face to Face with Foundries

Pam Lechner

On November 16 and 17, FEF held its annual College Industry Conference (CIC) in Chicago at the Westin Michigan Avenue. It was a great event that provided fun, wonderful food, information, and many opportunities to network with new friends and old acquaintances.

This year’s conference brought together 117 current students looking for internships, co-ops or full-time jobs in the metalcasting industry, along with professors representing 25 FEF schools and over 200 company representatives.

On Thursday the 16th, 45 companies and societies participated in the Career Information Session, an event akin to a job fair, where students visit tabletop exhibitors and talk with the different representatives, sharing their resumes and how they would like to contribute to the industry. The company reps discuss what job opportunities they have available and how the student might fit that opening. One of the biggest benefits of this event to both students and industry personnel is the fact that everyone is looking for a good match: Students are looking for entry positions in this industry, while companies are searching for the people who are experienced in and excited about this same industry.

On Friday the 17th, attendees enjoyed a panelist discussion––Liz Medina Balliet, Jason Gutierrez, and Jim Kundratic––representing different areas of responsibility and longevity at their respective employers. There was also time for attending students to ask the panelists questions regarding their journeys from student to employee. During the luncheon, 34 students were awarded scholarships valued at a total of $95,000. These scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000 and are provided by the generous individuals, chapters, and companies who have set up endowments with FEF.

Also during the lunch, the E.J. Walsh and the FEF/AFS Distinguished Professor Awards were presented. FEF Past President (2004) and President/COO of Simpson Technologies, Bruce Dienst, received the E.J. Walsh Award. This award is FEF’s highest award and is presented to someone who, over the years, has been steadfast in their service to FEF’s goals and ideals. Dienst has been involved with and contributing to FEF for over 20 years. Trent True, FEF key professor at Kent State University, was presented the Distinguished Professor award. He has been part of the FEF family for nearly 20 years beginning with his involvement as a student at Kent State, then as an industry rep at the CIC, and now as the key professor (since 2015). Congratulations to both Dienst and True!
To conclude the conference, everyone enjoyed a reception on Friday evening followed by the Wrap Party, a new addition this year that featured games, food, dancing, and karaoke. What a fun way to wrap up the 2023 College Industry Conference.

We’d like to thank all of the companies that continue to be a part of the College Industry Conference each year––with your attendance at the event and your financial partnership support of the special CIC events. Your involvement is of utmost importance as we continue to influence the next generation of metalcasters. We also thank all of our contributors for your continued support––without you, scholarships and program funding wouldn’t make as much of an impact as it does.

Next year’s conference will be held on November 21 and 22 in Chicago at the Westin. If your company is looking for industry talent––skilled, experienced, and ready to contribute to your business’ success from Day 1––plan to attend the 2024 College Industry Conference.