The first ten years…


  • AMFA was formed in December of 1997 with the election of the first Board of Directors.
  • AMFA is a member driven organization.
  • AMFA holds monthly meetings featuring topics of interest to metal fabricators.


  • Founding President Gene Betts, NRRI,  is elected to a second term as President.  Under Gene’s leadership the organization becomes a legal 501(C)6 nonprofit corporation.
  • AMFA uses a $7,000 development grant from NRRI to develop and print a monthly newsletter, Shoptalk.
  • AMFA invests $8,000 in the purchase of two display units for members to rent for use at trade shows.
  • AMFA grows from the founding 11 members to 16.


  • AMFA begins a dialog with Tri-State Manufacturers’ Association (TSMA) –  a similar organization located in west central Minnesota –  on ways the two organizations can work together, with emphasis on making available to AMFA members the Trifac workers compensation self-insurance program. 
  • The first annual AMFA-ET Golf Fund Raiser is held in June.
  • Membership grows to 28.


  • AMFA forms an alliance with TSMA.
  • AMFA and TSMA discuss the formation of Midwest Manufacturers’ Association.**
  • The Trifac Workers Compensation program is made available to AMFA members – participating AMFA members save thousands on insurance costs.
  • AMFA changes its name from Arrowhead Metal Fabricators Association to the Arrowhead Manufacturers & Fabricators Association to attract a larger membership pool.
  • Membership grows to 32 companies.
  • AMFA forms a committee to address education/workforce issues. 


  • AMFA holds its first Work Force Development Conference to address the shortage of skilled workers in the region.
  • The manufacturing industry takes a sharp down turn the second half of the year.  Despite the declining economy, AMFA membership grows to 36.
  • AMFA forms the AMFA Educational Trust to address workforce issues.  For tax deduction purposes, AMFA ET is a separate 501(C)3 non-profit organization.


  • AMFA develops its first comprehensive strategic plan.
  • AMFA begins a dialogue with the metro-based Minnesota Precision Manufacturers Association (MPMA) to explore ways of working together to benefit both organizations.
  • Star of the North Machine Technology Program (SONTEC) accepts its first 16 students for training at Proctor High School.
  • Membership grows to 61.


  • AMFA makes its first appearance at Duluth Days at the Capitol with a 30’ display booth featuring manufacturing technology and processes.
  • The MN DEED office recognizes AMFA as an organization using “best practices” to further the success of manufacturers in the region.


  • AMFA is a founding member of the Minnesota Manufacturers Coalitions, an organization representing more than 20 trade groups and service organization serving manufacturers in Minnesota.


  • AMFA-ET partners with W.P. & R.S. Mars Company to introduce the “Tool Box Scholarship Program,” providing financial assistance for students entering the Machine Technology Program at Lake Superior College.
  • AMFA members participate in the first annual Autumn Golf Social, sponsored by MMA.
  • Through CVI, a new benefit program is introduced, offering Vision/Dental insurance, Long Term Care insurance, and health insurance.


  • AMFA members add their voices to others from the MN Mfg. Coalition in an attempt to impact legislation pertaining to the rebate process for collecting Sales Tax on Capital Equipment.
  • AMFA invests in a completely renovated website to provide improved services to members and potential customers visiting the site.


  • More than 100 people attend the 9th annual AMFA ET golf social, generating a profit of $18,000 in support of technical education in the region.
  • The Trifac Fund awards $1 Million in dividend payments.
  • AMFA takes a leadership role with the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council.
  • Membership grows to 75 companies.