2018 Foundry Leadership Conference

North America's Premier Leadership Conference for Metalcasters, Suppliers and Castings Purchasers

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
September 16-18, 2018


The AFS Foundry Leadership Conference, formerly the Foundry Executive Conference, is the North American metalcasting industry's premier leadership conference. Metalcasters, suppliers and purchasers in leadership positions -- not just C-suite executives -- are encouraged to attend. Hear from a slate of high-level presenters, network with other industry leaders and learn about the current state, and the exciting future, of metalcasting.


Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
  • Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
  • Amelia Island, Florida
  • September 16-18, 2018
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Hotel Information

Omni Amelia Island Plantation
  • Omni Amelia Island Plantation
  • Amelia Island, FL
  • $239

39 Beach Lagoon Road
Amelia Island, FL
Phone: 904-261-6161

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is nestled between the blue Atlantic Ocean, green marshlands and Intracoastal Waterway.  This secluded island paradise offers a luxury resort experience in perfect harmony with nature. The property includes 54 holes of championship golf, 23 clay tennis courts, a nature inspired signature spa, nine culinary options, kayaking, paddleboarding, kids camp and more.

AFS Group Room Rates
Oceanfront Hotel Rooms - $239
Corner Suite - $239
End Suite - $239

Check-in time is 4:00 p.m. / Check-out is 11:00 a.m.

The cut-off date for accepting reservations for the AFS room block is Thursday, August 23, 2018.  Reservation requests received after 5:00 p.m. local time at the hotel on the cut-off date will be accepted on guestroom availability at the group rate.  The group rate may not be available after the cut-off date.

The AFS group rate will available three days prior and three days after the meeting dates based on availability.  The cutoff date is Thursday, August 23, 2018.

Travel Information


The Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is less than 30 minutes from Amelia Island and includes the following carriers: Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Air Canada

Transportation Services

Amelia Airport Shuttle & Transportation

Hertz Local Edition - Car Rental


“What Matters Now.”
Nina Easton
Co-Chair of Fortune Most Powerful Women International

Nina Easton is co-founder of SellersEaston Media, an organization dedicated to capturing and preserving the legacies of leaders in business, philanthropy, the arts, and public service. Easton is a former Fortune editor and columnist, and chairs Fortune Most Powerful Women International and co-chairs the Fortune Global Forum gathering of the world's top CEOs. 

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), she hosts the global affairs series of live events and podcasts, "Smart Women Smart Power," offering insightful interviews of top diplomats and policy-makers. Easton is a long-time TV commentator, providing regular political analysis on Fox News' top-rated primetime news shows.

Where Disruptive Innovation Meets Leadership
Luke Williams
Professor of Innovation and Executive Director of W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs at NYU’s Stern School of Business

Luke Williams is a globally recognized authority on disruptive innovation. His presentations reveal a way of thinking that has the power to transform your business and stay ahead of the game.

Luke authored the international bestseller Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. He is featured regularly in media outlets including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist


Innovation and Strategy
Stephen Shapiro
24/7 Innovation

Stephen Shapiro cultivates innovation by showing leaders and their teams how to approach, tackle and solve their business challenges. Applying the knowledge he has accrued over decades in the industry, Stephen is able to see what others can’t: opportunities to improve innovation models and the cultures that support them.

Mitigating Emerging Risks as Manufacturers Innovate in a Data-Driven Economy
David T. Carlson
Senior Vice President for Manufacturing and Automotive Industry, Marsh USA

With the adoption of new Industry 4.0 technologies in the foundry come emerging risks, as well. The first step is to understand the new risks, and how many manufacturers are using emerging risk as a business enabler. David Carlson will deepen attendees’ understanding of sound strategies to consider. 

Optimizing the Sales and Marketing Program for the Foundry in the Digital Age
Kris Pfaehler
CEO, Sand Dollar Advisors

Drawing on a lengthy career that included 8 years as EVP of Sales & Marketing at Waupaca, Kris Pfaehler will deliver a presentation that  presents lessons learned throughout his career, and challenges you to optimize your foundry sales and marketing program for the digital  age. 

State of the Global Metalcasting Industry - Moderator
Peter Reich
AFS Vice President and Director of Laempe Reich

Peter Reich, Director of Laempe Reich, is currently the AFS Vice President. The Reich family success story began 75 years ago, when Harry H. Reich, a young patternmaker-molder, headed south and arrived in Alabama, raised a family, and started his company selling foundry equipment and supplies. Son Harry C. Reich grew the company, and eventually partnered with Joachim Laempe. And Laempe Reich was born. Now, David and Peter Reich, with their talented team, continue that tradition of cores and support and in 2010, created a full-service coreshop called The CoreRoom.

Peter is the moderator of this year’s State of the Metalcasting Industry panel.

State of the Global Metalcasting Industry - Asian Perspective
Atchi Nagai
President of Sintokogio

Atchi Nagai is the President of Sintokogio, Ltd. Sintokogio, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells foundry, surface treatment, environmental, material handling, and special equipment in Japan, as well as internationally. Atchi will speak on the State of the Metalcasting Industry panel from an Asian perspective.

State of the Global Metalcasting Industry - European Perspective
Carsten Kuhlgatz
CEO and GM of Hüttenes-Albertus Chemische Werke GmbH.

Dr. Carsten Kuhlgatz was born in Germany in 1961. He earned a Doktorate in Foundry Engineering at Technical University Clausthal graduating in 1995. Carsten is currently CEO and President of Huettenes-Albertus Chemische Werke GmbH. His other industrial interests include being a member of the Board of Directors of the German Foundrymen Association (VDG). Carsten has been the VDG representative on the WFO Executive for 2 years. Carsten will speak on the State of the Metalcasting Industry panel from a European perspective.

State of the Global Metalcasting Industry - World Foundry Organization Perspective
Denny Dotson
Chairman of Dotson Iron Castings and AFS representative to the WFO

Denny Dotson is a lifelong metalcaster and has served as president of both the American Foundry Society and the Ductile Iron Society. He currently serves as the AFS representative to the World Foundry Organization. He has been chairman of Dotson Iron Castings, a 141-year-old company specializing in the less than 50-pound ductile cast and machined market, since 2010. Denny will speak on the State of the Metalcasting Industry panel from a World Foundry Organization perspective.

State of the Global Metalcasting Industry - North American Perspective
Brad Muller
Vice President of Marketing Charlotte Pipe & Foundry

Brad Muller is a marketing and communications strategist with more than 25 years of experience in public and corporate affairs, international and government relations, manufacturing and business marketing, crisis management and training, and more. 

Brad currently leads marketing, corporate communications and government affairs for Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, a fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturer based in North Carolina. Brad will speak on the State of the Metalcasting Industry panel from a North American perspective.

Update on Future Leaders in Metalcasting
Megan Kirsh
Sales & Marketing Manager, Kirsh Foundry Inc.

Megan Kirsh is the sales and marketing manager for Kirsh Foundry and the current chair for Future Leaders in Metalcasting. Founded in 1937, Kirsh Foundry is an iron jobbing foundry in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Since joining the company in 2012, Megan has been committed to helping develop innovative ways to meet the personal and professional needs of the next generation of leaders in the metalcasting industry. Megan will provide an update on Future Leaders in Metalcasting, an AFS shared interest group.

Update on Women in Metalcasting
Sara Joyce
Vice President of Quality & Technical Assurance, Badger Mining Corp

Sara Joyce is the Vice President of Quality & Technical Assurance for Badger Mining Corp and the current chair for Women in Metalcasting.  Founded in 1949, Badger Mining is a family owned industrial sand supplier located in Wisconsin.  Joyce has been at Badger Mining for 35 years.  An AFS member since 1989, Joyce has frequently presented at chapters and conferences, served on panels for Metalcasting Congress and currently serves on several AFS committees. She received the AFS Service Citation in 2004 and The William H. McFadden Gold Medal in 2017.   Sara will provide an update on Women in Metalcasting, an AFS shared interest group.

State of AFS Address
Doug Kurkul

The American Foundry Society has adopted a new Strategic Plan to lead the metalcasting industry into the fast-changing years to come.

AFS CEO Doug Kurkul will address this and other topics in a fast-paced State of AFS address.

Public Policy and Elections Update
Stephanie Salmon
AFS Washington Office

Where does AFS and the metalcasting industry stand in advancing our advocacy agenda? How will the November elections affect the foundry industry agenda? Stephanie Salmon from the AFS Washington DC Office will answer those vital questions. 

Conference Agenda

Sunday, September 16, 2018
12:30 p.m.
Golf Tournament, Tennis OR Activities on Property on your own

Golf Tournament Chaired by: Mike Didion of Didion International
Join your AFS members for a some fun, competitive golf and fellowship! This year’s tournament is on an amazing championship course and Tournament Chairman Mike Didion will lead the way! Tee off on our two championship golf courses near a lush forest and beautiful marshes. If you want to improve your game, learn to swing like a pro at our prestigious golf academy. Possible fee for lessons. 

Tennis Chaired by: Peter Reich of Laempe Reich
Enjoy a game of tennis on this prestigious tennis facility set beneath a canopy of majestic live oaks and featuring 23 Har-Tru® fast-dry clay courts. Lessons are also available for all experience levels. Possible fee for lessons. 

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception
Monday, September 17, 2018
7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Welcome / Opening Remarks

Peter Reich (Laempe Reich), AFS Vice President

8:45 – 10:00 am.
The State of the Global Metalcasting Industry

Moderator: Peter Reich (Laempe Reich)
North American Perspective: Brad Muller (Charlotte Pipe)
Japanese Perspective:  Atsushi Naga (Sinto)
European Perspective:  Carsten Kuhlgatz (HA)
World Foundry Organization Perspective: Denny Dotson (Dotson Iron Castings)

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.
10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
Optimizing the Sales and Marketing Program for the Foundry in the Digital Age

Kris Pfaehler, CEO, Sand Dollar Advisors

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where Disruptive Innovation Meets Leadership

Luke Williams, Professor of Innovation and Executive Director of  W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs at NYU’s Stern School of Business

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Update from Women in Metalcasting
2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
2:30 – 3:25 p.m.
Mitigating Emerging Risks as Manufacturers Innovate in a Data-Driven

David T. Carlson, Senior Vice President for Manufacturing and Automotive, Marsh USA

3:25 – 3:40 p.m.
Update from Future Leaders in Metalcasting

Megan Kirsh, Sales & Marketing, Kirsh Foundry Inc

3:40 p.m.
Adjourn until Banquet
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Dinner/ Awards Banquet

Master of Ceremonies
Jean Bye, AFS President
State of AFS Address 
Doug Kurkul, AFS CEO
Presentation of William J. Grede Award 
By Board of Awards Chairman Dennis Dotson

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
7:30 – 8:15 a.m.
8:15 – 8:40 a.m.
AFS Policy Agenda Update

Stephanie Salmon, AFS Washington Office

8:40 – 10:10 a.m.
Presentation on Innovation and Strategy

Stephen Shapiro, Innovation Instigator, Hall of Fame Speaker

10:10 – 10:25 a.m.
10:25 – 11:40 a.m.
Roundtable Discussions
11:40 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

Announce 2018 Location – Mike Lenahan
Closing Remarks – Peter Reich

11:50 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Box Lunches
1:00 p.m.
Afternoon Excursion (Included in Registration Fee).

Special Events


Registration Fees

$1,500 AFS Corporate Member
$2,000 Non-member
$690 Spouses’ Registration

Special Events
$200 Golf Fee, per person
$35 Tennis Fee, per person 

Spouse registration includes all sponsored breakfasts, breaks, receptions and dinners.

Cancellations & Substitutions

Substitutions will be accepted anytime. However, cancellations of confirmed registrants with full refund of fees will not be accepted unless received at least two weeks prior to the conference date. In the unlikely event, the conference is cancelled for any reason, AFS liability is limited to the return of the registration fee.