Industry Leaders Honored: AFS Announces 2023 Recipients of Keating and Grede Awards

The recipients of the James P. Keating Founders’ Freedom Award and the William J. Grede Award for 2023 have been unveiled by the American Foundry Society, marking two of the metalcasting industry's most distinguished management accolades.

Joey Leonard (TalentCast HR) and Patrick Ameen (Amsted Rail Company Inc.) are the winners of the James P. Keating Founders’ Freedom Award, while Charles M. Kurtti (retired, Neenah Foundry Co.) has been honored with the William J. Grede Award.

The Keating Award recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to the foundry sector, specifically in the areas of government affairs, human resource management, safety and health, or education.

Joey Leonard, a human resources executive with extensive involvement in metalcasting, has earned a Keating Award due to his notable track record of industry leadership. Formerly an HR executive at Waupaca Foundry, Leonard also served as chair of the AFS Human Resources Division, leading various projects including the AFS Wage and Hourly Survey and AFS Job Descriptions. He is committed to fostering the growth of the foundry industry's talent pool, with a particular focus on supporting college programs and inspiring new graduates to enter the metalcasting field.

Patrick Ameen, Vice President of Industry Relations at Amsted Rail, was selected for this honor due to his valuable advocacy efforts and significant contributions to the AFS Government Affairs Division. With nearly half a century of experience in the rail and metalcasting sectors, Ameen is a respected spokesperson for American manufacturers. His expertise helped to pave the way for the passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA), which prohibited the use of federal funds for the purchase of rail cars from China.

The William J. Grede Award, celebrating accomplishments in the realms of management, marketing, or education that contribute to the expanded use of metal castings, has been granted to Charles M. Kurtti. He retired as Executive Vice President from Neenah Foundry Co., but Kurtti’s impressive career spanned diverse roles within the foundry sector, including sales, marketing, and manufacturing and engineering. Kurtti’s impact extended beyond his career, as he continued to support foundries through leadership roles in organizations like the Wisconsin Cast Metals Association. His influence also encompassed energy and environmental management within the metalcasting sector, in addition to delivering numerous technical presentations at industry events. Kurtti is a Past President of AFS.

The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place during the 2023 Foundry Leadership Summit, Sept. 18 – 20, 2023, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina.

The AFS Board of Awards, which selected the honorees, extends its gratitude to AFS members for their active participation in the nomination process.