FMA member custom-builds motorcycle for Foundation auction

August 8, 2006
By: Terrence Egan

Medalist Laserfab Inc., Oshkosh, Wis., is building a custom motorcycle for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl.® (FMA) Foundation's charitable auction, which will help the Foundation encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing. This article explains how you can view the progress of the build, donate items for the auction, and participate in the bidding.

The team at Medalist Laserfab Inc. will custom-build a motorcycle
for the FMA Foundation Auction.

Oshkosh, Wis., is well-known for Oshkosh Truck Corp. and OshKosh B'Gosh jeans, and it is even the home of the Experimental Aircraft Association. However, Medalist Laserfab Inc., a progressive specialty sheet metal fabricator from Oshkosh, is putting itself on the map as a forward-thinking leader in the fabricating industry.

Medalist is pooling its company talent and resources to encourage young people into manufacturing. Managing partner Jeff Knauf has committed to building a custom motorcycle that will be placed in the FMA Foundation's charitable auction this fall. Knauf, a former banker and entrepreneur turned fabricator, got the idea from his staff when they learned about the Foundation's mission this past winter after attending Metal Matters, FMA's annual conference in Las Vegas.

Matt Hotch, two-time winner of Discovery Channel's "Biker Build-Off," will advise Medalist Laserfab Inc.

Inspired by motorcycle fabricating television shows, the Medalist team will custom-design and -build the bike in time for the start of the online auction slated for Sept. 27. Bidding will continue on the bike at a live auction on the floor of FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Atlanta, Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

As an added incentive for bidders, Medalist will leave the bike unpainted at the time of the auction so the winning bidder can have it trimmed with custom colors, logos, or graphics. Medalist plans on investing approximately $20,000 in parts alone and estimates the final value of the bike to easily be three times as much.

"The bike could become a showpiece if the highest bidder is a company that uses it in tradeshows, with special customers, or in local parades," said John Thompson, plant manager.

Progress on the build can be viewed from the FMA Foundation's Web site at

With the generous support of FMA, 100 percent of the FMA Foundation's auction proceeds will be used to establish manufacturing camps for teens and award scholarships to young adults entering the metal forming and fabricating industry. The FMA will also match sponsorships dollar-for-dollar with a gift to the Foundation's Endowment Fund.

How to Donate an Item

  • Log on to
  • Click on Donate an Item.
  • Register yourself and your company.
  • Upload your company logo in .gif or .jpg format (180 x 180 max. pixels).
  • Upload the link that will be attached to the logo.
  • Upload a picture of the product or service.
  • Describe the product or service in detail. Tip: Write the product description in a word processing program such as Word to ensure correct spelling before submitting the description online. Descriptions may not be edited once they are submitted.
  • Set an estimated value.
  • Forward auction item (e.g., product, gift certificate) to: FMA Foundation Auction, 833 Featherstone Road, Rockford, IL 61107.

Live Event

The live event will be a three-day silent auction at the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2006, in Atlanta. The auction will take place in a 30- by 10- foot exhibit space on the show floor. Items with a value of $500 or more that are transportable to the show (within reason) will be auctioned online and appear in the live event. Due to space limitations at the live event, the Foundation reserves the right to determine which items will appear online and at the live event.


  • Donors receive recognition in the Foundation's year-end, full-page thank you ad in FMA publications.
  • Donors are listed in the FMA Foundation's annual report.
  • More than 27,000 industry professionals will receive e-mails promoting the auction.
  • Donor companies will appear on signage in the auction booth. Approximately 20,000 attendees are expected on the show floor.
  • Auction participants will have the opportunity to learn about your product or service and perhaps begin a bidding war!
Auction Timeline
Wednesday, September 27
Auction opens online at 8:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time.
Wednesday, October 25
Auction closes online at 12:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time.
Tuesday, October 31-Thursday, November 2
Some items will be auctioned live at the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show.
For those items, the highest online bid will be the starting bid. See live event details.

Terrence Egan