Column: Great stories to tell

By Doug Kurkul, AFS CEO

Every day, nearly 200,000 people go to work in America’s foundries, producing the complex engineered parts that are essential to modern life. From this economic activity – which constitutes a $33 billion industry – emerge countless great stories. One of the roles of the American Foundry Society is to tell those stories. At AFS, we call this "Industry Stewardship." It’s one of the six pillars of the AFS 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

Careers. Some of those great stories involve the people who work in the foundry industry. In 2018, we created a web page at titled "We Love Metalcasting" that highlights 25 young people with name, company, job title, photograph, and a quotation from each, telling why they love to work in our industry. 

In February of this year, we went further, issuing a fast-paced metalcasting careers video, "The Future of Careers in Metalcasting." The message is that metalcasting is an industry that utilizes technology, embraces recycling, and offers great careers in a wide variety of positions. The intended audience for the video is students, parents, educators, career counselors, and job-seekers. We encourage you to go to YouTube, watch the video, and then share the video link with other people – inside and outside of our industry – to help spread the word about careers in metalcasting.

Sustainability. Foundry leaders recognize that being environmentally responsible and enhancing the bottom line are not mutually exclusive objectives. Often, a business case can be made for advancing environmental sustainability within a foundry. The AFS website now tells this type of great story via Sustainability in Metalcasting. It features five categories of sustainability success stories, collected by the good folks in the AFS Environment, Health & Safety Division. Another section of the site, dedicated to AFS First, offers extensive information about how metalcasters recycle millions of tons of discarded scrap metal every year.

Where You Are. AFS is launching another communications campaign titled "Where You Are." These messages are being used on Capitol Hill, on widely viewed social media channels, and in AFS communications to deepen public appreciation for the fact that people are seldom more than a few feet away from a casting.

The "Where You Are, No Matter Where You Are" messages make the point that castings are a part of the jets on which we travel, the cars we drive, the pipelines that bring us clean water, the motorcycle in our garage, the agricultural equipment that harvests our food, the missile systems that safeguard our security, the hydrant down the street, the cookware in our kitchen, and countless other applications. As more people realize how widespread castings are, growth in their appreciation for the industry that makes castings will often follow.

We thank the volunteers who help us deliver the AFS message, and the more than 900 companies that invest in AFS Corporate Membership, as your support is especially important in making AFS communications and advocacy work possible. The metalcasting industry has great stories to tell. We welcome your full participation as we tell those stories.