In its 81st year, the AFS Wisconsin Regional kicked off with AFS President Jean Bye (Dotson Iron Castings) announcing the direction of AFS and the success of the metalcasting industry.
The Wisconsin Chapter’s Vice President and 2019 Regional Chair, Mike Kamin (Carpenter Brothers Inc.), is looking towards the future of metalcasting, too.
"Our success is bringing industry professionals with a vested interest in the foundry industry, and the future, together," Kamin said.
The AFS Wisconsin Regional is a yearly expo orchestrated with the help of the Stateline and Northeastern Wisconsin chapters. The two-and-a-half-day event, held annually at Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, features more than 80 exhibitors and hundreds of attendees. Metalcasting students showcase their projects for a casting contest, and technical sessions hosted by industry leaders add educational value to the show.
To reach the Regional’s future-focused goal, the Wisconsin Chapter enlisted the help of the Foundry Educational Foundation.
"New for 2019 was the introduction of a job fair aimed at getting students and other industry professionals aligned with the recruitment needs of our industry," Kamin said.
Kamin knows what the job fair means to the industry. The skilled workforce gap is a serious concern for foundries and suppliers. With the addition of the job fair, the Regional connected metalcasting students with employers. The job fair got positive feedback, and organizers have already decided to bring it back in 2020.
"Our goal is to get more entrenched in the needs of our metalcasting facilities and suppliers who support our industry," said Kamin. "We want to see penetration in other facets of our supporting organizations like HR, quality, operations, production, and management."
Putting on an expo and hosting a job fair are ambitious goals that come with a long list of challenges. But support from the Stateline and Northeastern Wisconsin Chapters makes it all possible. Wisconsin Chapter Association Manager Laura Gustafson credits the chapter’s dedication to putting on a successful show.
"The annual AFS Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference and Expo is a huge undertaking with many moving parts," said Gustafson. "It would not happen if it were not for the amazing AFS volunteers!"