Six Decades On, Detroit-Windsor Chapter’s Gala is Thriving

A lot goes into making the AFS Detroit-Windsor Chapter’s Management Night Gala a success, but Shiaofong Yin (TEALE Group Investment and Consulting), the chapter’s 2015-2016 and current chair, says there’s no secret to its enduring popularity. “It’s fun!” she said. “That’s it. Just make it fun.”

The chapter’s annual gala stretches back to 1958, when Walker Cisler, the famed engineer and executive at Detroit Edison, was the event’s featured speaker. Every year since, national and international foundry executives – leaders who understand the impact of global, macro-trends on the industry – have headlined the gala, which attracts about 200 attendees.

“We try to bring together stakeholders representing all aspects of the metalcasting field: designers, producers, suppliers, buyers, users, educators and researchers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” Yin said, to reflect the geographic, technical and corporate diversity of the chapter’s territory.

Besides Detroit-Windsor members and AFS national leadership, members of other Michigan AFS chapters and the ASM Detroit chapter also attend, as do educators from local FEF schools. College students are sponsored by individual and corporate members.

In addition to big-name speakers, the gala includes dinner, raffles to raise money for scholarships, award-winning vendor displays and networking at some of the region’s best venues. Potential venues for 2020 include Motor City Casino, Huron River Club and Ford Piquette Museum.

This is also the chapter's premier event for corporate sponsors, from Tier 1’s to foundry suppliers to test labs and design houses, because of the promotion, visibility and access.

 “There’s a lot of competition for every member’s time,” Yin said. “We want to make it a festive affair that spouses will even want to attend.”

Decades of experience means the chapter has event-planning down to a master checklist, which makes it easier for the volunteer board to manage. But they have made changes. After decades of holding it in January, the 2020 Management Night Gala will move to Thursday, May 14.

“It’s the networking event of the year,” Yin said. “We feel this is a special event where we get to really celebrate the folks that make our industry exciting, vibrant and dynamic.”

For information about the AFS Detroit-Windsor Chapter, visit