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.

  • 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.

  • Peggy Mennella

    Director of Accounting and Finance

    Peggy Mennella joined the AFS senior leadership team as Director of Accounting and Finance in May 2018. She is responsible for the accounting and reporting requirements of the AFS and the Institute. Mennella has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois-Chicago and is a certified public accountant licensed with the state of Illinois. She is a member of both the American Institute and Illinois Society of CPAs and appreciates the importance and need for professional societies advocating education and innovations. She brings many years of experience in public accounting, concentrating in audit and tax and not-for-profit association management accounting. Before joining AFS, she was accounting manager for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • 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 Marketing & Business Development

    Ben Yates joined AFS in 2017, where he is responsible for marketing and public relations, 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.

  • Steve Robison

    Chief Technical Services Officer

    For more than 25 years at AFS, Steve has served as a leader for the technical, research and publication departments, while overseeing the technical committee structure. He's been active in the foundry industry more than 45 years, primarily in aluminum and magnesium casting. Before joining AFS, Steve worked in an aluminum foundry in a variety of production and management positions, and as a supplier of equipment and materials to the California metalcasting industry. While at AFS, Steve has been instrumental in the development of the AFS magnesium and additive manufacturing divisions and the AFS energy committee. He is a past recipient of the AFS Howard Taylor Award, and has received the AFS Magnesium Division Best Paper and Outstanding Service award. Steve has published numerous articles in metals industry magazines on aluminum and magnesium casting, cleaning room technology, foundry safety and energy efficiency. Steve has a B.A. from Biola University in La Mirada, CA.

Administration

Doug Kurkul
AFS Chief Executive Officer
Administration
Ext 244
Cathy Potts
Director of Human Resources & Administrative Services
Administration
Ext 207
Tony Perrone
Mailroom/Warehouse Coordinator
Administration
Ext 247

Accounting

Peggy Mennella
Director of Accounting and Finance
Accounting
Ext 267
Valerie Stramaglia
Accounting Manager
Accounting
Ext 256
Nicole Bagnara
Accounting Associate
Accounting
Ext 293

Information Technology

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

Marketing & Business Development

Ben Yates
Vice President of Marketing & Business Development
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 205
Fabio Cavalieri
Advertising Sales and Marketing
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 243
Katelyn Stanek
Director of Marketing & Communications
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 286
John Carano
Business Development Manager
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 614-378-8948
David Kathe
Advertising Sales and Marketing Manager
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 272
Jessie Schlacks
Communications Specialist
Marketing & Business Development
Ext 276

The Institute

Renee Berrigan
Education Assistant
The Institute
Ext 209
Jennifer Christian
Director of Training Solutions
The Institute
Ext 239

Marketing & Public Relations

Tyler Buchenot
Senior Manager of Creative Services
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 289
Mike Berrafato
Art Director
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 214
Shannon Wetzel
Managing Editor MC and CS
Marketing & Public Relations
Ext 266

Technical Services

Frank Headington
Senior Technical Director
Technical Services
Ext 252
Juliette Garesche
Senior Environmental Health and Safety Technical Director
Technical Services
Ext 224
Tom Dore
Technical Director
Technical Services
Ext 242
Kimberly Perna
Technical Executive Assistant
Technical Services
Ext 246
Steve Robison
Chief Technical Services Officer
Technical Services
Ext 227
Sue Thomas
Senior Technical Editor
Technical Services
Ext 231
Bo Wallace
Senior Technical Associate
Technical Services
Ext 249

Customer Service

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

Tradeshow & Event Planning

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