Metalcasters Have a Rockin’ Time in Cleveland

Modern Casting Staff

Well-known as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is also in the state with the most metalcasting facilities. Its location in the Midwest, along with the industry’s current state of high activity, brought over 2,200 attendees to the 127th Metalcasting Congress this year. 

Attendees were treated to a full show floor with 230 exhibitors, a packed schedule of technical and management sessions, Institute courses, keynotes, and several opportunities to network and celebrate industry award winners.
The three keynotes were highlights and included speeches by Dwier Brown, author and actor in the “Field of Dreams” movie and John “Chip” Keough, who gave the Hoyt Memorial Lecture: “Innovate or Die.” The final keynote was a lighthearted yet educational debate on the merits of additive manufacturing vs. casting vs. forging. Representing additive manufacturing were John Wilczynski, America Makes - National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institution, and Richard Huff, ASTM International. Representing castings were Randy Oehrlein, Carley Foundry Inc., and Charles Monroe, The University of Alabama. Finally, representing forgings were Bud Kinney, retired from IMT Corp., and Pat Burke, Whitcraft Group. Vasko Popovski, Ransom & Randolph, served as moderator.

Two distinguished industry veterans, Gregory Miskinis and Thomas Slavin, were presented with the American Foundry Society’s highest honors during the Annual Banquet at Metalcasting Congress 2023.

Miskinis, who retired from Waupaca Foundry (Waupaca, Wisconsin) as director of research and process development, received the John H. Whiting Gold Medal for “significant contributions to the advancement of the cast iron industry as a dedicated and selfless leader, advocate, educator, innovator, motivator, and metallurgist.”

Slavin received the William H. McFadden Gold Medal for “outstanding contributions to environmental, health and safety education and sharing of knowledge within the metalcasting industry and the American Foundry Society to improve the health and safety of metalcasting workers.” Slavin is president of Slavin OSH Group LLC (Chicago).

“AFS has been presenting Gold Medals to distinguished industry leaders since 1924,” said AFS CEO Doug Kurkul. “Greg Miskinis and Tom Slavin have earned the respect of their peers through their tremendous accomplishments and by freely sharing of their vast knowledge, contributing to a culture of quality and safety that reverberates throughout the entire metalcasting industry. They exemplify the spirit of AFS Gold Medals.”

Miskinis earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He started his career at Madison Kipp and Brillion Iron Works before joining Waupaca Foundry in 1989. Miskinis was a contributing author to AFS’s Casting Defects Handbook and Principles of Metalcasting—Cleaning and Inspection and a frequent presenter at industry events. A member of AFS since the early 1980s, he chaired the AFS Research Board, among other society activities.

Slavin’s 40-year career has included extensive experience in the areas of safety, industrial hygiene, fire prevention, and safety management. Some of his specialties include silica, PPE, and regulatory and consensus standards. A member of AFS since 1982, Slavin is a past recipient of the Childress-Loebler Environmental Health and Safety Lifetime Achievement Award, the Keating Founders Freedom Award, and the Best Paper Award, all from AFS. He is a widely published author on health and safety topics.

Honor Roll

The AFS Service Citation, the AFS Awards of Scientific Merit, Division honors, and more were presented at the Volunteer Leadership Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, April 25.

The AFS Award of Scientific Merit was presented to Steve Dawson and Rafael Gallo. 

Dawson is president and CEO of SinterCast (Katrineholm, Sweden). His award recognizes “his knowledge and advancement of material properties, benefits, and production methods for compacted graphite iron and for furthering the metal’s applications in automotive, commercial vehicles, and industrial power markets.”

Gallo is a technical consultant for Pyrotek Inc. (Aurora, Ohio). He was honored for “his considerable technical contributions to the investigation and analysis of aluminum foundry inclusion and hydrogen metallurgical defects and the recommended practices in molten metal fluxing and degassing treatment processes to minimize and remove them.”

Kelley Kerns, director of business development for HA International (Westmont, Illinois), received the AFS Service Citation, which honors outstanding general service to AFS, its chapters, and the broader industry. Service Citations primarily recognize exceptional management achievements by AFS members.
Kerns’ citation specifies that he is being honored “for making substantial advancements in the technical, educational, and managerial areas of the foundry industry while tirelessly promoting metalcasting throughout his career.”
Kerns has been a member of AFS since 1993, when he started his metalcasting career. He has served AFS in many roles over the years, including as a member of various Additive Manufacturing Division committees and the Government Affairs Division. He has also been highly active in metalcasting education, having served as a director of the Cast Metals Institute (now AFS Institute) from 2006-2010, including as vice chairman and chairman. Among the other educational initiatives he supports, he is also highly active in the Foundry Educational Foundation, sitting on its executive board and fund enhancement committee.

At the Women in Metalcasting Breakfast April 26, Susan Bear, chief technology officer at Grede was honored with the Women in Metalcasting Excellence Award from AFS, which honors “a person who has been an exceptional leader, champion, mentor and/or role model for women in the metalcasting industry.”
Bear joined Grede in July 2018 and was promoted to CTO in October 2022, leading the engineering, quality, and program management functions for the company. Her contributions range from technical expertise and business acumen to leadership and a passion for results. As a champion of technology, Bear has been a driving force behind an organizational transformation from the “art of the foundry” to the “science of iron casting,” with a focus on Foundry 4.0, IOT and process enhancements supported by real-time data.

At the same breakfast, Hannah Blansett, University of Alabama-Birmingham, was presented with the Jean Bye Women in Metalcasting Scholarship.
The Howard F. Taylor Award for the 2022 technical paper with the longest-lasting impact on the metalcasting industry went to “Mutual B, Ti, N Effects on Phase Transformations in Cast Iron: Thermodynamic Consideration and Experimental Verification (22-134)” by Laura Bartlett, Simon Lekakh, and Suyash Pawaskar, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri).The Ray Witt Award for the 2022 AFS management or marketing-oriented paper that exhibits the greatest probability of favorably impacting the metalcasting industry went to “Executive Safety Responsibility (22-025)” by Ted Schorn, Enkei America Inc. (Columbus, Indiana).

The Applied Research Award was given to Andy Shea, A Y McDonald Mfg. Co. (Dubuque, Iowa) for his project “Turbulent Gating Effect on C89833 (AFS Project 19-20#03).” 

Millionaires Safety Awards, which recognize facilities that reach a minimum of one million safe-hours worked without a lost-time injury or illness, were presented to:
- ASC Engineered Solutions (Columbia, Pennsylvania)
- EJ (Elmira, Michigan)
- Grede Castings-Reedsburg (Reedsburg, Wisconsin)
- Grede Castings-Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin).

Passing the Rammer

The Volunteer Leadership Awards Luncheon held on April 25 included the official election of the new AFS officers. Bradford Muller, vice president of corporate communications, Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, became the new AFS President; Angela Schmeisser, president and CEO of St. Marys Foundry Inc. is the AFS Vice President; and David Gilson, sales and marketing director for SinterCast is the AFS 2nd Vice President.

During the luncheon, Kurkul thanked Adam San Solo, vice president-infrastructure, Neenah Enterprises Inc., for his service as AFS President the past year. A new class of directors was also added to the board. The full list of the AFS Board of Directors for 2023-2024 is on page 39.

Looking Ahead

Metalcasting Congress 2024 will be held April 23-25, 2024, in Milwaukee, and CastExpo 2025 will be April 12-15, 2025, in Atlanta.  

Click here to view the column in the May 2023 Modern Casting digital edition.