The AGMA Foundation Announces New Executive Director to Continue Support to Gear Industry

June 1, 2021 – Alexandria, VA – The AGMA Foundation is pleased to announce Mary Ellen Doran as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. She will assume the role beginning today, June 1, 2021.

The appointment comes after the retirement of Cindy Bennett, AGMA Foundation Executive Director, who had held the position since 2014,

Doran is currently the Director, Emerging Technology for AGMA and she will hold dual roles for the AGMA and the AGMA Foundation.

“Mary Ellen has more than 20 years of non-profit experience with specific experience in fundraising,” states Dean Burrows, Chair of the AGMA Foundation and President of Gear Motions. “In addition, her outstanding work at AGMA in communication and emerging technology roles, and the positive relationships she has developed over her ten years at AGMA, ensures she is the right fit to move the Foundation forward.”

Doran will work with the Foundation Trustees to develop a strategic plan that leans toward the three pillars of the AGMA Foundation: Education & Training; Scholarships; and Emerging Technology specifically tailored for the needs of the gear industry.

“Mary Ellen has the right skill set to help us develop new avenues for fundraising including planned and corporate giving,” commented Ruthie Johnston, AGMA Foundation Trustee and President of Croix Gear & Machining. “I look forward to working with her to help sustain and grow the great programs we offer.”


AGMA Foundation Executive Director, Cindy Bennett, Announces Retirement

May 27, 2021 – ALEXANDRIA, VA – Cindy Bennett will retire as the AGMA Foundation Director on May 31, 2021. Bennett has served as the Foundation’s executive director for a combined 11 years during two different tenures, with the most recent starting in 2014.

“Cindy will be leaving the Foundation on solid ground,” notes Dean Burrows, Chair of the AGMA Foundation and President of Gear Motions. “On behalf of the Foundation Trustees and the industry she has served, we thank Cindy for her years of dedicated service, and wish her the very best in retirement.”

During her time at the help of the Foundation she has done a tremendous amount for the gear industry. She built up the scholarship program, providing more than $300,000 in scholarships to students. The program has an 86% retention rate of graduated recipients working in the gear industry. She oversaw the efforts to educate the industry on AGMA’s rich history, as part of the AGMA 100th anniversary celebration, including authoring, “Celebrating 100 Years of Gearing, The History of AGMA,” published in 2016.

In 2017, she worked with the Trustees to chart a new strategic plan for the Foundation. This effort resulted in four new engineering classes, four new operator level classes, and the development of the AGMA National Training Center.

She also led the design and implementation of the AGMA Foundation Get Into Gears Employee Recruitment Toolkit. The toolkit, free to download, is designed to help gear manufacturers and suppliers to the industry recruit people into a great career in the gear industry. The toolkit includes print ads, posters, social media advertisements and more tools that have aided manufacturers in bringing in new employees. Over 200 companies have utilized this free program.

“Cindy led the Foundation with professionalism, and incredible dedication to its mission,” added Justin McCarthy, AGMA Foundation Trustee, and responsible for Business Development at Scot Forge. “She worked hard to make sure that the gear industry was well represented, and that the work that we did always reflected the needs of the manufacturers in our industry.

AGMA Foundation Positions Itself for the Future

Foundation Engages Vertical Leap Consulting to Conduct a Comprehensive Strategic Planning Process

The American Gear Manufacturer’s Association (AGMA) Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization founded and funded by the 500 member companies of AGMA, will conduct a comprehensive strategic planning process in 2017.  Founded in 1994, the AGMA Foundation’s mission is to support and strengthen education, training and research for the gear industry.  The Foundation’s programs include grants for workforce development, grants for university based gear research, and a highly successful scholarship program for students aspiring to a career in the gear industry.

“The Foundation’s last strategic planning process occurred six years ago.” explains Scott Moss, AGMA Foundation Board Chairman, “Manufacturing is changing and evolving at a record pace.  In 2017, the Foundation will seek input from the gear manufacturing community to determine its future needs, and develop a new strategic plan to best support and advance the industry.”

The AGMA Foundation has engaged Vertical Leap Consulting LLC, of Boyds, Maryland, to assist the Foundation Board with the strategic planning process. Vertical Leap will conduct extensive interviews with the Foundation’s Executive Director and ten person Board of Trustees.  Vertical Leap will also conduct a comprehensive survey of AGMA member companies and industry stakeholders to gather data on the industry’s current and future needs. The AGMA Foundation Board of Trustees will work with Vertical Leap to translate this data into a strategic action plan that aligns with the industry’s needs and goals.

Vertical Leap LLC, founded in 2002, helps trade associations and professional societies develop growth and positioning strategies.  Steve Lane, the President of Vertical Leap, will serve as the lead consultant for the AGMA Foundation.



11 Scholarships Awarded in 2016, Including First-ever Technical College Recipient

86% of Scholarship Recipients Are Employed in the Gear Industry

October 10, 2016 – Alexandria, VA – The AGMA Foundation awarded $52,000 in scholarships to a record-number 11 engineering students for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Ten recipients pursuing 4-year undergraduate or graduate degrees received $5,000 scholarships. And new in 2016, the Foundation awarded one $2,000 scholarship to a student pursuing a 2-year technical degree.

Since its inception in 2010, the AGMA Foundation has awarded over $125,000 in scholarships to undergraduate students.  AGMA Foundation tracks employment from scholarship recipients and is pleased to note that 86% of the Foundation’s scholarship winners are currently working in the gear industry.

AGMA members employing Foundation scholarship recipients include: Caterpillar, Koepfer America, Brelie Gear, Ontario Drive and Gear, DNV Kema Renewables, and the Siemens Solutions Lab at UNC Charlotte.

2016 AGMA Foundation Scholarship recipients included:


Jack Jaeger, Waukesha County Technical College


Isaac Bowser, Taylor University;

Christian Brower, Western Michigan University;

M.D Fahad, The Ohio State University;

Denis J. Lang, Penn State Behrend;

Cole Rickerson, Texas A&M University;

Joshua Smith, Colorado State University;

and Michael Ustes, University of Michigan.



Louis David Archambault, Ecole Technologie Superieure;

Keith Eller, Northern Illinois University;

and Yue Peng, University of North Carolina.


“The AGMA Foundation was proud to award 11 scholarships this year to students who are working on developing the skills the industry needs in order to stay competitive and innovative,” notes Cindy Bennett, Executive Director of the AGMA Foundation.  “This program is the largest of its kind in the industry, and since it’s a member-driven effort, this support is helping ensure we have the people we need in place to grow our industry.”

The AGMA Foundation Scholarship Committee received a record 21 applications and made recommendations to the AGMA Foundation Board. The Board selected 11 recipients for 2016.

“This is the clearest example of how the strong and admirable support of our Foundation donors is directly impacting the future of our industry,” adds Bennett.  “The thousands of dollars, sponsorships and continued support of the AGMA Foundation is building a bridge from the schools to the workforce, and is a wonderful example of members working collectively via the AGMA and AGMA Foundation to build our workforce of the future.”

AGMA Foundation is currently in its 2016 Annual Campaign fundraising drive; companies or individuals interested in supporting the future of the industry via scholarships and funding of research and education programming should visit https://agmafoundation.org/contribute/ or contact Cindy Bennett at bennett@agma.org.