July 2017








The AMFA Educational Trust named Jeremy Lehman as the 2017 Most Valuable Partner.  The MVP award is given annually to acknowledge an individual or organization’s efforts to support the mission of the AMFA Educational Trust.

Lehman, Machining Production Manager at Tritec Steel Fabrication in Virginia, has long supported the mission of AMFA and its grant-making arm, AMFA Educational Trust.  He first became involved with AMFA when Lehman’s Machine joined the association in 2012; that company was co-owned by Jeremy and his father.  When Lehman’s Machine was purchased by fellow AMFA member Tritec Steel in 2015, Lehman was granted permission to continue his active involvement with AMFA.

Lehman began his first term on the AMFA/ET board of directors in January 2013; he continues as a board member today.  He currently serves as AMFA President, a position he has held since 2015.  He also served as President of the AMFA Educational Trust in 2014.

In addition to board leadership, Lehman has been active with a number of AMFA committees over the years, including Education Partnership, FabTech Planning, Programs, and Government Affairs.  He typically gives of his time annually to represent AMFA at the FabTech Expo, Duluth & St. Louis County Day at the Capitol, and the SME Tradeshow in Duluth.  Frequently, Lehman provides a well-articulated “letter of support” regarding legislative issues the board has deemed important to manufacturers.

Lehman’s employer, Tritec Steel Fabrication, also deserves commendation for ongoing support of AMFA and AMFA-ET, including golf sponsorship, education sponsor, hosting student tours, and more.  Tritec has been a member of AMFA since 2009.


November 2016 – AMFA was well represented at FabTech held in Las Vegas on November 16-18, 2016










Photos showcase (left photo) Sandy Bryant and Gary Grangruth and (right photo) Dan Larson, Lori Spielman and Jim Petruga.


May 2016 – AMFA May meeting featured speakers Nancy Gorman, XPO and Doug Hlas, Bay and Bay Transportation.

Click Here for a copy of their powerpoint presentation on Transportation Issues.


April 2016 – Denfeld Nation Automation FIRST Robotics Team 4009 is heading to the St. Louis World Championships…

DNA did an awesome job at the Lake Superior Regional competition at the DECC in Duluth on March 4 and 5. They finished with an outstanding 14-0-0 undefeated record in the competition. They earned one of the most prestigious awards that FIRST bestows, The Engineering Inspiration Award sponsored by NASA. This award alone qualifies a team for World Championship competition! They also qualified for Minnsota State High School League State Robotics Competition and will compete in regional competition in Boise ID as well. Congratulations Team 4009!



March 2016 – Members of the Grand Rapids High School FIRST Robotics and Shell Eco Marathon Team sent their thanks….

“We would like to thank you again for your generous donation to the Grand Rapids FIRST Robotics Team. Your donation went towards purchasing our drive systems and other parts we needed. Now we are making the switch to go to Detroit, Michigan to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon with our Battery Electric car. We wouldn’t have been able to have these tremendous experiences without your support”.


March 2016 – Hermantown FIRST Robotics team to attend World Championships with help from AMFA

According to Tyler Homstad, CTE Instructor –

The First Robotics World Championships are held in St. Louis, MO on April 27-30th, 2016.  We have 16 students attending.  They earned a chance to compete at the World Championships by winning the Northern Lights Regional competition here in Duluth at the DECC.  We are excited, but overwhelmed by the amount of $$ it is going to cost. Thanks, AMFA,  for your financial help.

Good luck Hermantown FIRST Team!

Hermantown Robotics Team Picture










October 2015 – Cherry Middle School during Statewide Tour of Manufacturing.

The students had a great day. Their trip started with a tour of Fraser Shipyard, Lake Assault and NECO Solutions. Jim did a great job keeping us moving along. The students talked a lot about seeing a large ship in dry dock. The bright red assault boats were a great draw also. We enjoyed coffee and with Jim and the students.

The group was all 8th and 9th graders from Cherry High School. From Fraser Shipyard we went to Tweed museum and a tour of UMD. The students visited the UMD Library, visited the athletic center, and the geological department in addition to a tour of Tweed Museum.

From UMD we went to the maritime museum for a 25 minute show on the great lakes and a 30 minute self guided tour of the museum. From the maritime museum we walked over to the Great Lakes Aquarium where we visited the aquarium for an hour and a half. Here the students had a pizza party before heading over to Bentley Ville. It was a day full of tours, college visit and good food.

Today we started to plan the 11 and 12th grade spring field trip. This group will tour Delta Airlines maintenance facility in the cities, the control tower, compete at Valley Fair during physics day, camp at Lake Elmo and probably enjoy a couple more activities, This should be a great trip if we can get approval.

Thank you for all your support,

Rick Pierce
Cherry High School

Cherry Middle School tour 2


2015Denfeld Nation Automation FIRST Robotics Team 4009 sends a big “Thank You for your generous monetary donation of $500 and in helping our team’s success this season. We hope you can come and see our robot at the regional competition on March 4th and 5th, 2016, at the DECC”.


2015The Northwestern Robotics Team members, 32 students strong, send a thank you for the generous contribution towards the team’s start-up! Team #17106 The New A.G.E. Automation Gadget Engineers


An article about AMFA was featured in the MINE V publication of the Hibbing Daily Tribune and Chisholm Tribune Press.

To read the article click on the link



The Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) FIRST Robotics Team 4009 had an extremely successful 2014 season.  At their first competition at the DECC they placed 24 out of 57 teams advancing to the play-offs, losing in the semi-finals. Ranking 19 out of 186 teams in Minnesota allowed them to advance to Minnesota State High School League State Competition, competing at Williams Arena at the U of M on May 17th. Minnesota is the first school to recognize robotics as a state high school league sport.

While participating in FIRST Arial Assist competition a major focus is building alliances. At the end of 45 qualification matches, DNA was ranked third and was in a position to choose playoff partners. They chose Team 3313 Mecatronics from Alexandria along with the Duluth Daredevils. “Partnering with another Duluth team was a fun way to demonstrate gracious professionalism and cooperation, the values that FIRST teaches; and it was tons of fun to cooperate with someone who is usually thought of as a rival, and represent Duluth on a state-wide level” said Lauren Johnson, DNA Captain.  Although they did not reach the championship game, they were happy with their success, especially as this is their third year in existence and first State appearance.

Denfeld Nation Automation sends their thanks for the $500 grant they received from AMFA-ET!

2014 – AMFA Educational Trust provided a $1,398 grant to Chisholm High School for purchase of a laptop computer capable of running EnRoute Pro 3D software, a program that is particularly suited to running the school’s existing CNC wood router.  The funds also covered the cost of a set of 3D router bits.  According to instructor Erik Kuusinen, “These enhancements to the classroom will greatly assist in teaching students how to design and make parts, as well as providing general exposure to CNC software.”

2014 – 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.

Chisholm High School Receives grant from AMFA-ET

Pictured are:

Front:  Erik Kussinen, Chisholm HS, and AMFA board members Jeremy Lehman and Mary Brandt

Back: AMFA board members Elissa Hansen, Gene Betts, Gary Werkhoven, Todd Hanson, Sandy Bryant and Bill Grau

FabTech 2013 in Photos:


AMFA provided transportation funding for high school students from the AMFA region to attend Productivity’s 2013 Oktober Tool Show in Minneapolis


Thanks for the invite to the Oktoberfest Tool Show.  

One of the best highlights for my students was when we first arrived and the students were told “employers are no longer interested in your brawn, they are interested in your brain” –  Hearing this and then seeing firsthand all of the technology used to run the machines – really drove this home.  I had several students along that would not have normally thought of manufacturing as a career – because they thought they just wanted to work with computers.  Well, after the tool show – they had a new perspective and saw many examples of what they could do with technology AND manufacturing.

When I came back to the classroom the next day, I shared some video clips I took at the show and repeated the message that the gentleman shared upon our arrival – “interested in brain not brawn” –  the vid clips of the robotic operations drove that message home to all of my students.

Thanks again for a great opportunity for my students!

Mark Schlangen
Science Teacher
Two Harbors High School


The bus was very helpful for getting students down there.  As for the fest, it was quite amazing to see all the different distributors and different technologies that are out there.  It was fun and I hope to attend again with possibly more students.  The students enjoyed their time as well.  I heard many good comments.

Chris Belanger
William Kelly High School
Silver Bay


I thought it was a great show. My students really enjoyed the show and talked about it for days afterward. We really appreciate being invited to this great event and also appreciate the transportation help from AMFA.

Mike Fitzpatrick
Two Harbors High School


Grow Minnesota!

Click here for a PowerPoint of Kathi Schaff’s presentation at the AMFA October general meeting.