More than 15 years ago, FOUNDRY Management & Technology committed ourselves to documenting the history and progressof metatcasting, not by further examination of the industry’s technical and organizational developments but by identifying and celebrating the individuals that have made possible those developments. It was in part a self-serving effort — a special feature of our centennial celebration, and a way to show how much progress we have made since 1892. But the effort continues, and has become one of our particular privileges. Each year, the FM&T Hall of Honor reminds us and our readers that the accomplishments and sacrifices of individuals are the legacy of the metalcasting industry, and an inspiration to its future.
The FM&T Hall of Honor recognizes men and women whose technical and process innovations; organizational leadership; professional and industrial standards; and personal contributions and achievements have improved and enhanced metalcasting as a science, as an industry, and as a community.
The 2008 FM&T Hall of Honor inductee is widely recognized and appreciated for his leadership of the Foundry Educational Foundation. For the past 25 years he has played an instrumental role in the education of future managers and executives. During the World Foundry Conference in 2006 he became the first American to receive the U.K.’s Foundry Educational Trust’s prestigious Voya Kondic (VK) Medal.
His greatest reward has been his colleagues’ universal admiration — “one of the most dedicated foundry industry professionals with whom I have had the pleasure to work,” one of them declares. Foundry Management & Technology is pleased to add our endorsement and the metalcasting industry’s recognition to that testimony.
|BILL SORENSEN Executive Director Foundry Educational Foundation Schaumburg, IL|
FEF Executive Director Bill Sorensen congratulates FEF Education Committee chairman Tom Cobett at the 2007 College Industry Conference.
When Bill Sorensen took charge of the Foundry Educational Foundation as its Executive Director in 1983, he had undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University and a solid professional resume. But, few could have imagined the impact he would make on the Foundation. And, because of Bill’s innumerable qualities and accomplishments, fewer still would have estimated the impact the FEF continues to have more than 60 years after its founding.
As one of Bill’s many admirers points out to us, “This is not an easy job … [he] gets a new boss every year … and a constantly changing board, all of whom are volunteers, over whom he has absolutely no actual authority. In order to get things done he has to be the greatest of diplomats, constantly suggesting, urging, and reminding, as he oversees our program and goals.”
During Bill’s tenure, FEF has grown to be a strong influence in every aspect of metalcasting — management, production, R&D. The organization has reached thousands of students, many of who are industry leaders today, thus putting into action one of the organization’s founding principles: “to assure a continuing supply of technical manpower for the metalcasting industry.” At the same time, Bill has overseen FEF’s development of an investment portfolio that has immunized donors’ principal against potential loss, while at the same time providing an annual 6% return for endowments.
One past Hall of Honor inductee explains, “As a member since 1999, I could not have picked a better person than Bill Sorensen. The future of the entire industry depends an attaching young people with talent to serve both the industry technical and management needs.”
A decisive factor in Sorensen’s achievement has been his organizational skills, which he developed in previous positions working at a major university, financial institutions, and a flat-rolled steel company before joining FEF. One of his supports explains, “Bill has to wear many hats. FEF over sees the activities at 25 accredited universities and 10 affiliated universities. The FEF Board of Directors is composed of over 40 volunteers throughout the industry. Corporate and individual contributors range in the hundreds. Bill manages to effectively balance all of these concerns, which can be conflicting at times.”
Notably, Sorensen has been instrumental in establishing a much stronger accreditation program for FEF universities and works closely with the FEF Key Professors — the teachers who are trusted to lead the academic programs, and to carry out the educational mission. “As a FEF scholar, Bill showed a genuine interest in me and my career in metal casting,” recalls one professor and past scholarship recipient. “Now, as a FEF Key professor, I see how effectively he handles concerns of professors and schools, industry leaders, and students in a professional and dedicated manner.” One of Bill’s most frequently cited achievements is strengthening the foundation’s College Industry Conference. That annual event not only conducts the FEF’s necessary business, but celebrates the accomplishments of the professors and scholars, and bonds them to the industry that is built on their work and promise. “It is a much more effective and enjoyable event than the first year I came on the board,” enthuses one FEF volunteer member.
Many of Sorensen’s achievements can be documented by the progress of FEF under his tenure:
• Annually, 85-90% of all funds received by FEF are disbursed for scholarships and program support.
• On average, each year 75% of all FEF scholarship recipients begin working in the foundry industry immediately after graduation.
• Between 1996 and 2007, 2,487 students in metalcasting engineering programs received FEF scholarships.
• From its base as an American foundation, FEF has expanded in recent years to serve students in Canada and Mexico.
• In 2007, FEF launched an aggressive fundraising plan to build a $7.5-million Endowment
Campaign, to increase the impact of individual FEF scholarship awards and fill the metalcasting industry’s need for technically trained and capable employees. These details, and more, document the vitality of FEF under Bill’s direction, and its significance to the metalcasting industry. But, what invariably impresses Bill’s admirers is his personal investment in the success of so many individuals. A man of many skills and interests — he enjoys music and theater, and the company of his wife, children and grandchildren — Bill is a friend, a confidant, a supporter, and an advocate to the metalcasting industry. He has been instrumental to the development of hundreds of scholars and industry professionals, and tireless in his efforts to build a successful metalcasting industry.