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The road to unification.

The concept of unifying the many organizations in the foundry industry is not a new one. Some far-sighted individuals promoted the idea for 20 or 25 years.

The foundry industry is significantly different than it was 20 years ago; markedly different than it was even 10 years ago. Change has always been with us but this has been a period of accelerated change-change brought about by technological improvements, computer communications, revisions in the way of doing business-nationally and internationally-essential changes in environmental attitudes.

While the concept of consolidating and merging the various casting industry associations was talked about for years, nothing really happened until the Cast Metals Federation was formed. This enabled our industry to speak with a unified voice in Washington. However, CMF was a loose-knit federation and its members frequently had their own agendas which took precedence over the CMF agenda in terms of staff participation, finances and so forth. This was the weakness of CMF; a weakness which became most glaring during the recession of the early and mid-1980s. Then things began to happen.

In March of 1986 CMF was merged into the old National Foundry Assn, which then changed its name to the Cast Metals Assn. At about the same time the Iron Casting Society changed its name to the Metal Castings Society.

CMA and MCS both operated out of the same building and had many common members. The more they worked together, the more they could see a perfect fit. CMA with its government affairs, human resources and management programs; MCS with its marketing and management programs. There was very little overlapping. By July 1987 MCS merged into CMA and the name changed once again, this time to the American Cast Metals Assn.

In its first two years ACMA built a solid foundation with its programs and produced an organization strategically positioned for growth. All it had to do was to look next door at its neighbor, the American Foundrymen's Society, to see an organization similarly Positioned.

For many years AFS and the trade associations worked side by side, with AFS as the technical and educational arm of the industry, and the trade associations representing management interests. AFS had corporate and individual members from foundries as well as suppliers and equipment manufacturers and others affiliated with the industry. The trade associations and ACMA had only foundry corporate members.

For each organization to grow and achieve its maximum effectiveness, it would have to move into the territory of the other. Competition may be fine and bring out the best in people and in most organizations, but to have AFS and ACMA engage in fighting over turf would be senseless warfare. This was particularly true from the point of view of those of us who felt kindly toward both organizations and supported them with money and time.

At any rate, in April 1989, ACMA initiated action toward unification; AFS responded promptly in the affirmative. All in all the discussion moved forward rapidly, The talks were almost derailed once, but were resumed quickly with a final Plan and Agreement of Merger in place in mid-August of this year.

During the next month ballot proxies were mailed to the active members of both organizations along with details of the proposed merger and the new bylaws. The information also pointed out that the name of the surviving corporation would be AFS, and stated that the current ACMA programs would remain intact and would be directed by ACMA staff. It was also stated that we firmly believe the synergism between these programs and AFS programs would result in more effective service to the industry and membership with considerable economies of scale.

By late September the ACMA membership had overwhelmingly approved the unification. Likewise, by early November, the AFS membership by a nearly unanimous vote, approved the merger as well. The integration of programs and staff has already begun and is expected to be completed and in place by Dec 31 of this year.

I would personally like to thank the entire unification committee and others who participated in this important endeavor. Special thanks go to Jim Pearson and Don DeClark who cochaired the committee.

Finally, I would like to urge the entire foundry industry to become involved in the "New AFS." Together we can make it work and create the kind of organization of which we can all be proud.
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Title Annotation:foundry industry trade organizations merging
Author:Singleton, Alvin W.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:editorial
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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