From the CEO: AFS is changing with you

A column from AFS CEO Doug Kurkul

How much has your business evolved over the last several years? Think of the new products or services you have introduced, and new technologies, processes, and policies you have adopted, to keep up with the demands of the marketplace and to serve your customers. 

Much like foundries, trade associations must also evolve. This column focuses on 10 changes that AFS has made to better serve our membership and our industry.

1. New Strategic Plan

Under the leadership of then-President Patricio Gil, the AFS Board adopted a new strategic plan, mission and vision statement in March 2018. Linchpins of the plan are: a) Member Success & Sustainability; b) Industry Stewardship; c) Policy Advocacy; d) Promotion of Castings; e) Workforce Development; and f) Technical Innovation.

2. Streamlined Research Procedures

Technical research is a key AFS function. The Research Board and staff have adopted procedures to evaluate proposals more expeditiously and encourage higher-impact projects for the benefit of our members.

3. Governance Modernization

AFS has built on governance-modernization efforts initiated by Past Presidents Bruce Dienst and Jeff Cook. This includes creation of the Management Council, an initiative led by current President Jean Bye. This Council operates parallel with the Technical Council, and will drive AFS leadership in management matters. AFS also made Additive Manufacturing a standing division, with three committees. Moreover, AFS adopted a Code of Conduct to ensure that attendees may participate in events with a spirit of collegiality, collaboration, professionalism and respect. 

4. Silica Compliance

While disappointed that our lawsuit against OSHA was not successful, AFS has been delivering expert compliance guidance via webinars, website, and other channels.

5. Technical Library

New software implemented in January 2018 provides much easier digital access to thousands of metalcasting articles. Unlimited access is now a free member benefit.

6. New Website & Communications 

Also receiving high marks is the new AFS website that went live in April 2018 with streamlined navigation and one-click access to metalcasting and career information, buyer-designer resources and other new content. AFS has upgraded its print and social media communications and launched AFS Insider News to help members get involved in AFS. 

7. Member-Only Webinars

AFS has expanded from eight webinars per year to more than 30 in 2018 on a variety of technical, management, and public policy topics. Webinars cost $250 each for non-members and are free to members. This is a great value for members. 

8. Designer-Buyer Track

AFS is bringing back this popular track, with eight to 10 sessions at CastExpo 2019 in Atlanta, right on the exhibit show floor. Buyers are encouraged to “Bring Your Own Blueprint” to discuss with foundries exhibiting at the Cast in North America section.

9. Training for Excellence in Metalcasting

If your foundry seeks to set itself apart from the competition in terms of casting quality and foundry profitability, the AFS Institute can help. AFS has completed a five-year, $1 million investment in modernized curriculum. Clarence Trowbridge will sit down with your plant or HR manager to discuss customized training plans. He can be reached at

10. Superior Chapter Support

AFS brought back and retooled the annual Chapter Officers Conference, and launched a monthly Chapter Bulletin, to support chapter operations.

AFS has many traditions which we respect and cherish. The member-led changes we adopt today will ensure that our association remains relevant and delivers optimal member ROI long into the future. Thank you as always for your involvement and support.