December 2017

The entire class of Bay View Elementary sent letters to thank AMFA-ET for the $4000 grant to jumpstart their STEM curriculum at school. They warmed our hearts to read them. Here are just a few.




















































October 2017









I would like to thank you for inviting our students to the Manufacturing tour.  Our students were very impressed with the tour and the places we visited.  Most of them have never been exposed to facilities like these.  Several of them have expressed interest in continuing on into some sort of manufacturing career in our area.  Many of our students who did not get the opportunity to go asked when they could go on the tour.   I have included a  picture that I took on the tour (RMS Tritec).  

 Thank you once again.

David Janssen
Mesabi East Guidance Counselor
Aurora, MN 55705



June 2017








Jeremy Lehman (r) was named AMFA Educational Trust Most Valuable Partner at AMFA-ET’s recent Golf Event.

Recipients of the AMFA Educational Trust MVP Award (Most Valuable Partner)

2002   Mary Brandt
2003   John Eagleton
2004   Heidi Timm-Bijold
2005   Jamie Dettmann
2006   Gene Betts
2007   Bob Mars Jr.
2008   Dan Larson
2009   Diane Rauschenfels
2010   Rusty Hoglund
2011   Diane Morin
2012   Sandy Kashmark
2013   Richard Lien
2014   Todd Hanson
2015   Gary Werkhoven
2016   IRRRB
2017   Jeremy Lehman


October 2016 – Dear AMFA, we are writing to thank you for the $500 grant we received from you. The funds will be used to acquire tools and equipment to support the Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team.  Thanks again.


May 2016 – Cook County Middle School using the robotics kits AMFA helped pay for!

Cook County Middle School 1










May 2016 – Cromwell Wright High Mileage team gave a shout out to AMFA-ET, thanking them for their support. With the donated money towards a new welder, they were able to purchase a new Miller welding machine. It was used to construct nearly the entire frame of the high mileage car they built and will be used again and again throughout the years. The welding program at the school will benefit too.


April 2016 – Hermantown Talons FIRST Robotics Team is heading to St. Louis for the World Championships on April 27-30. The 16 team members won the right to compete on this high level by winning the Northern Lights Regional competition in Duluth at the DECC. Congratulations!

Hermantown Robotics Team Picture










March 2016 – Members of the Moose Lake Circuit Breakers #6044 FIRST Robotics Team took home the Highest Rookie Seed award from the competition at the DECC March 2-5.

Moose Lake Circuit Breakers FIRST Team










March 2016 – Jim Petruga presents a $1,400 grant to The Girls Restorative Program in support of a Women’s Welding Camp held at WITC in March 2016.  Seven girls from Denfeld High School attended the camp this year; bringing total graduates of this program to nearly 60 girls throughout the past 7 years.

WomensWeldingJimPetruga 768 x 268










2015 – Hibbing Community College and the Hibbing Community College Foundation sent a letter of thans for the donation of $1,000 for Patrick Ryan Scholarship Fund. This donation was made on behalf of Mary Brandt, Board member, for her many years of service to AMFA and AMFA-ET.

Mary Brandt Scholarship Award photo resized













Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) Team 4009 competed at the 2015 MSHSL/FIRST State Robotics competition at Williams Arena on the University of MN Twin Cities Campus on May 16, 2015. Out of 193 Minnesota teams, 30 were invited to compete. DNA finished 9th and earned the Outstanding Engineering and Design Award sponsored by the robotics manufacturing department of the Dunwoody College of Technology. The award recognizes those teams that exhibit unique engineering and design solutions to the robot challenge. The award comes with a trophy and $500 check to be used toward next year’s team expenses.

Denfeld H S receives Check














2015 – Wrenshall Public Schools sent a letter of thanks to AMFA for supporting their robotics program.  According to Chris Gustafson, Industrial Technology Teacher, “Our program is in its infancy and I believe that it can help students stay interested in school and develop skills they will need for jobs of tomorrow”. He will keep us informed of its progress.

2014 – Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) FIRST Robotics Team 4009 receives $500 check for their robotics program. See AMFA News page for additional information on successful 2014 robotics programs.


2014 – William Kelley Team 3267 Competes in FIRST

William Kelley High School’s FIRST robotics team, Team 3267 Mariner Robotics, recently competed in FIRST competition.  This year the students designed and constructed a robot that competed in the FRC Aerial Assist which focused heavily on team play and assistance among robots and their drivers. By maneuvering a 2 foot exercise ball by pushing, throwing, catching, and shooting it a team earned points; with additional points earned by forming an alliance with other teams.

The Mariner Robotics robot consisted of a 10 inch rotating hopper to catch, hold, and shoot the ball, with two fingers added at the top to help manipulate it. The strategy this year was to make it mechanical versus pneumatic creating a robot that was as short as possible and also keep it under the 120 pound weight restriction.
Although there were some robotic glitches the competition strategies involved with alliance building with other teams more than made up for any difficulties with robotic performance making the students happy and excited about the entire process.

Chris Belanger, Lead Mentor and his Mariner Robotics FRC Team 3267 want to thank AMFA-ET for the $500 grant that helped make this experience possible.



2013 – Two Harbors High School Robotics Team Earns its Rock Solid Name in the First Year

One year ago, Mark Schlangen, science teacher at THHS, attended a regional FIRST Robotics competition and suggested to the principal, Brett Archer, that the school should arrange for some students to attend


a competition next year to see what it was all about.  Mr. Archer took this request several steps further, applying for a NASA grant and registering a team that had yet to be formed.

He then asked the faculty if anyone was interested in starting a team.  Mark Schlangen and Lauren Burton, a special education teacher, agreed to serve as co-coaches.

It was not difficult to find adult mentors.  The coaches asked individuals from the community—engineers, business owners, and various other professionals—and most of them said yes.  Soon, additional adults started asking if they could be mentors as well.   The coaches developed applications for student members and soon a group of 16 students was meeting regularly to plan in the pre-season weeks.

January 5th was the kickoff event, held at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  Teams gathered to find out the challenge for this year, which involved shooting flying discs into goals and then climbing a tower.  The teams would be arranged in alliances of three versus three.  Each match was 2 minutes, 15 seconds long, with a pre-programmed autonomous period during the first 15 seconds.  A highly detailed rule manual was released at that time, and the teams received their Kit of Parts which contained most of the components needed to build a working robot.

With the challenge and the rulebook in hand, students decided on a game strategy and then a design for a robot.  Local businesses provided shop labor to help with manufacturing, and some provided tools and materials.  Students had to quickly learn skills including computer-aided drafting, electronics, computer programming, applied physics, sewing, assembling composite materials (carbon fiber), marketing, and grant writing.  They also became public speakers, going to businesses to ask for sponsorship and presenting updates to community foundations.

Six weeks later, build season ended.  The team had to “bag and tag” the robot until the regional competition at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, March 7th through 9th.  To the team’s great surprise, Rock Solid won the Rookie All-Star award, which granted them a place at the World Championship in St. Louis.  The team had six weeks to raise $15,000 to attend the competition, and met the goal thanks to many sources including grants, fundraising events, and private and corporate donations.  The Championship, held at Edward Jones Dome, was a fantastic experience, competing with teams from all over the world.  There were four arenas running concurrently and nonstop visiting and strategizing between teams.  It was amazing for Rock Solid to be among teams sponsored by Google, Motorola, Boeing Aircraft, and Ford Motor Company.  They had a chance to talk to representatives from engineering colleges as well, including MIT.

After Worlds, Rock Solid competed at the Minnesota State High School League’s State Robotics Tournament in St. Paul.  It had come as a surprise that the team qualified, but the qualifications were based on their performance at their first regional event, placing them at 27th in the state out of over 180 teams.  At the state tournament, Rock Solid earned 3rd place.

Note: AMFA Educational Trust provided funding support for the Rock Solid team.  Your participation at the annual golf social (and at special events like the Beer Tasting Social held last March) make such donations possible.


2013 – Proctor High School Robotics Team goes to nationals!

From team advisors: “AMFA, we thank you so much for your donation towards our robotics team.  Our team was made up of five seniors who took leadership as team captains, eight juniors who were the bulk of the team as well as the manufacturers of all the parts used to create the robots, and four sophomores, who were learning how to successfully design and create these mean machines.  

At the beginning of the year we create designs for the robots and put them on CAD.  These designs are built around a robot’s weapon, which were a wedge – used to get underneath robots and flip them over – or a spinning drum that hits robots and destroys them completely if built right. We manufacture all the parts and pieces ourselves, other than the electronics.  We assemble the robots  and bring them to competitions at Dunwoody College of Technology and fight 8 to 10 different schools.  This year we took home 1st and 2nd place trophies at every competition!  After fighting, we repair the robots and make modifications based on strengths and weaknesses of our robots as well as opponents.

Our success at the Dunwoody and Mall of America competitions made us the Regional Robotics League Champion, which is an amazing feat, seeing that we beat the previous National champion!  At Nationals in Indianapolis we placed 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th out of 52 teams; ; this  was an amazing and stressful experience! These competitions are where teamwork and critical thinking skills are used for repairing the robots and finding weaknesses to attend to.”

Originally concieved by the Minnesota Precision Manufacturers Association, the Midwest Robotics League  gives students a chance to put their technology skills to use building robots that compete against other students’ robots. MPMA donated the league to Dunwoody College of Technology in 2007. Dunwoody has been operating it since. MRL offers competitions for 15 lb robots. The first state competition was held August 27, 2005 at the Minnesota State Fair for both 15 and 120 lb robots.

Lake Superior School District Received a $5,970 Grant 

The Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association Educational Trust (AMFA-ET) presented Lake Superior College with a $5,970.00 grant to purchase five complete machine tool kits for Machine Technology student scholarship recipients.

The tool kit purchase enables students to continue on in the machining program and helps to ensure that regional employers will have an adequate supply of well-trained employees. To qualify for the grant scholarship, students must be enrolled in the machine technology program and have a good academic standing.



Robotics 015_small








“The Hermantown Metal Fabrication class and instructor Tyler Homstad would like to send a Happy Holidays and thanks to all of those involved with AMFA for the donation that was made earlier this year which got our lathe up and running. The students have been enjoying this new toy almost too much. Here is a picture of them in action and of them posing by the now working lathe. Thanks again and holiday wishes.”

– Industrial Technology Department (December 2012)

Hermantown High School Receives $2,250 (November 2012)

The Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association Educational Trust (AMFA-ET) presented Hermantown High School with a $2,500.00 grant to purchase machine tooling.

The purchased items will be used to work on machine turning projects which are related to hands-on lathe use.  Hermantown High School’s metal working program can now do machining, welding, torch and plasma cutting, and other industry related learning projects.

The Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association (AMFA) is a member driven organization helping to strengthen and grow the manufacturing and fabricating industries in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin.  The AMFA-ET is a 501-C3 nonprofit organization, which disseminates information about employment opportunities in manufacturing, provides grants to regional educational institutions, supports lifelong learning in technical education and raises funds to support its mission.

WITC’s College for Kids Received Grant Funding From AMFA-ET (September 2012)

AMFA-ET donated money to Wisconsin Indiahead Technical College, which made it possible for the purchasing of Lego Mindstorm kits used at the College for Kids Lego Robotics summer camp. The Lego Mindstorm education sets enable students to build and program real-life robotic solutions. The Lego Robotics summer program provides cross-curricular opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math; allows for creativity in design and enables students to explore the world of engineering. This type of activity helps to give young students an appreciation for hands-on manufacturing related learning. Lego Robotics camp was ver successful this year due to AMFA-ET’s donations.  Click on the below link to view the video of the College for Kids program.

AMFA ET supports “How People Make Things” exhibit at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.   (March 2012)

For the past four months, AMFA and others have encouraged visits to the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown St. Paul. AMFA-ET was one of many organizations providing financial support to increase exposure to the traveling exhibit, “How People Make Things,” which was housed at the museum from February 18 – June 3, 2012. To those of you who spread the word to your employees, friends and neighbors – thank you! The response was terrific.

AMFA-ET funding was used to cover the cost of field trips for elementary students from these three communities: Iron River Elementary (Maple, WI), South Ridge Elementary (Culver, MN), Moose Lake Elementary (Carlton, MN). CMMA and TSMA provided financial support to schools from their regions. How many parents and teachers are now better informed about careers in manufacturing? How many young people were inspired to consider a manufacturing career without even realizing it? More than 1,700 students and 400 adults from 27 schools visited the museum as a result of association support. Kudos to us!

AMFA ET provides support for the William Kelly High School FIRST Robotics Team.  (April 2012)

William Kelly High School in Silver Bay, WI received a grant from AMFA-ET to support their involvement in the FIRST Robotics Competition.  Here is what the students had to say:

Thank you for sponsoring us! We had so much fun at the competition. Thank you for giving us this amazing opportunity and learning experience.

-Team #3267