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Telling Your Foundry's Story

Doug Kurkul

As Modern Casting readers know first-hand, the modern economy would grind to halt without the highly engineered castings produced by foundries. According to an American Foundry Society (AFS) economic impact analysis, the 1,700-plus U.S. foundries directly and indirectly have a $110.5 billion economic impact, provide 490,000 jobs, and pay over $32 billion in wages and benefits. 

Spotlight on the Modern Metalcasting Industry 

To help communicate the value of our industry, AFS teamed up with the Foundry Educational Foundation (FEF) to produce a 5-minute video. Titled, “Spotlight on the Modern Metalcasting Industry,” the fast-paced video highlights our economic contributions, the importance of keeping metalcasting here as opposed to abroad, and the great careers our industry offers. Last autumn, the video was seen by some 3.8 million people on the Public Broadcasting System! The video has also been viewed 3,600 times and counting on the AFS YouTube channel. We encourage you to distribute the video to educators, career counselors, communicator leaders, journalists, job applicants, and others to help tell our industry’s essential story. 

Our industry is, of course, comprised of individual foundries in hundreds of communities, each with their own unique story to tell. This month’s column is all about the opportunity for you and other 
Modern Casting readers to convey your own story to key audiences. Some foundries are very far along in this endeavor, whereas others are just getting started. No matter where you are on that journey, AFS encourages you to move forward. 

Communicating with Your Key Audiences

There are great benefits to communicating your foundry’s message with important audiences. Now more than ever, there are compelling ways to engage those audiences. 

For example, we encourage you to invite your federal, state, and municipal legislators to see your plant and interact with your employees. Show them your finished castings and explain how they are integral to finished products that we all depend upon. Stephanie Salmon in our Washington, D.C., advocacy office (ssalmon@afsinc.org) can help you prepare for a visit from a member of Congress or their staff. 

Likewise, I hope to see you in Washington, D.C., June 11–12 where together we will visit dozens of federal lawmakers. By establishing relationships, policymakers will better understand the positive impact of foundries, and they will be more apt to take your phone call as a key vote approaches on an issue affecting your company.

Manufacturing Day rolls in around the first Friday of October. This provides a perfect opportunity to invite key audiences to your facility, including policymakers, educators, career counselors, and local tech-ed classes. The AFS website––www.afsinc.org––offers resources to help execute your MFG Day. See the “Careers” tab on the AFS Home Page or contact my colleague Bill Finn at bfinn@afsinc.org. A student you host this October might become a valued employee down the road.
Finally, as you practice the principles of good citizenship in the community, be sure to capture it on video, mention it on social media, include photos in your company communications vehicle, and share the good news with the editors of local newspapers. Every month, AFS members are doing great things in the community––benefiting schools, parks, the environment, public health, the arts, and more. 

All of these endeavors are part of your foundry’s story, right alongside the careers you provide your employees and the world-class castings you provide your customers. As an industry, we have a great story to tell, foundry by foundry. Let’s not be shy in sharing that message.