Staff

  • Doug Kurkul

    AFS Chief Executive Officer

    As the CEO of AFS, Doug Kurkul draws on 30 years of business advocacy and association management experience. In past roles, he has served as CEO or President of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Round Rock Chamber & Economic Development Partnership, and the Printing & Imaging Association of Mid-America. He also is a past Vice President for Communications & Marketing Services at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a Reagan appointee at the Department of Energy, and a Presidential Management Fellow at the Small Business Administration. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration from the American University and a B.A. from Ashland University, as well as leadership training from Duke University’s Center for Creative Leadership. Kurkul has served on numerous boards, including the Texas Association of Business and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. He is past editor of Leadership for Manufacturers magazine and the award-winning book, Manufacturing in America: A Legacy of Excellence.

  • Kris Drager

    Director of Finance & Accounting

    Kris Drager, the longest-serving member of the senior leadership team, joined AFS in 1979. She is Director of Finance & Accounting, leads a three-person team, and oversees the financial well-being of AFS and the Institute with an eye for detail. She also has played a key role in the success of AFS’s trade shows as exhibits director of CastExpo and the annual Metalcasting Congress.

  • Richard Jefferson

    Vice President of Marketing & Communications

    Richard Jefferson joined AFS as Vice President of Marketing & Communications in January 2017. He brings extensive marketing and management experience with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals. He also was a Bush (43) Administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has master’s degrees in public policy and communications and a bachelor’s in English literature. He staffs the AFS Marketing Committee and oversees editorial, website and social media content, as well as branding and marketing.

  • Mike Lakas

    Vice President of IT and Operations

    Mike Lakas joined AFS in 2014 and made immediate contributions by beginning to modernize the organization’s technology functions and instituting an internal Kaizen team. He was promoted to Vice President of IT and Operations in September 2017. In his expanded role, he heads up not only IT, but also conference management, customer service, and building operations. Before joining AFS in 2014, Mike held IT roles at a medical society and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds an MBA and a bachelor of science degree from that institution.

  • Cathy Potts

    Director of Human Resources & Administrative Services

    Cathy Potts joined AFS in 2015 and was promoted to Director of Human Resources & Administrative Services in 2017. In addition to administering all HR functions, she provides administrative support to the CEO, staffs the Human Resources Committee, and is the staff co-liaison to Future Leaders of Metalcasting. Her extensive experience includes 16 years at Navistar in human resources and involvement in global recruiting and staffing, organizational development and training, employee relations and compensation.

  • Ben Yates

    Vice President of Business Development

    Ben Yates joined AFS in 2017, where he is responsible for membership development, chapter relationships, advertising sales, event sponsorships, and industry solutions programs. Before joining AFS, Ben spent 14 years with Associated Equipment Dealers, a North American trade group serving construction equipment dealerships. In addition to regular writing and speaking duties at AFS, he has extensive experience in grassroots advocacy, having hosted facility tours with more than 60 U.S. senators and congressmen. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and master’s degree from Florida State University.

Administration

Doug Kurkul
AFS Chief Executive Officer
Administration
Ext 281
Cathy Potts
Director of Human Resources & Administrative Services
Administration
Ext 207

Accounting

Kris Drager
Director of Finance & Accounting
Accounting
Ext 217
Nicole Bagnara
Accounting Associate
Accounting
Ext 293
Valerie Stramaglia
Accounting Manager
Accounting
Ext 256

Marketing & Public Relations

Richard Jefferson
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 281
Katelyn Stanek
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 286
Laura Moreno
Director of Special Publications & Related Services
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 241
Tony Perone
Mailroom/Warehouse Coordinator
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 247
Mike Berrafato
Art Director
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 214
Tyler Buchenot
Senior Graphic Designer
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 289
Brian Sandalow
Associate Editor
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 232
Joe Costin
Public Relations Specialist
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 276
Sue Thomas
Senior Technical Editor
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 231
Shannon Wetzel
Managing Editor MC and MCDP
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 266

Information Technology

Mike Lakas
Vice President of IT and Operations
Information Technology
Ext 254
Katie Matticks
IT Project Manager
Information Technology
Ext 294
Rich Fett
IS Manager
Information Technology
Ext 245

Business Development

Ben Yates
Vice President of Business Development
Business Development
Ext 205
Neal Bender
Business Development Specialist
Business Development
Ext 213
Fabio Cavalieri
Advertising Sales and Marketing
Business Development
Ext 243

Technical

Pam Lassila
Casting Congress Coordinator
Technical
Ext 240
Frank Headington
Interim Technical Director
Technical
Ext 252
Kimberly Perna
Technical Assistant
Technical
Ext 246
Steve Robison
Chief Technical Services Officer
Technical
Ext 227
Juliette Garesche
Senior Environmental Health and Safety Technical Director
Technical
Ext 224

The Institute

Jennifer Morton
e-Learning Project Manager
The Institute
Ext 239
Renee Berrigan
Education Assistant
The Institute
Ext 209
Bo Wallace
Institute Course Coordinator
The Institute
Ext 249

Customer Service

Deana Barrueta
Customer Support Coordinator
Customer Service
Ext 238
Carmen Rodriguez
Receptionist / Customer Service
Customer Service
Ext 0
Barbara Jackowski
Customer Service Manager
Customer Service
Ext 290

Tradeshow & Event Planning

Diane Waligurski
Meeting Planner and Trade Show Manager
Tradeshow & Event Planning
Ext 258