Standardization News

The Emerging Professionals Program

Rich Wilhelm

An organization like ASTM International is only as good as its members. Fortunately, for almost 120 years, ASTM’s membership has included many of the sharpest minds in a wide array of industries, from steel rails to nanotechnology to commercial spaceflight and beyond.

To help technical committees continue to engage future generations of experts, ASTM launched the Emerging Professionals program in 2015 and is expanding the program this year.

Creating Opportunity

“The objective of the Emerging Professionals program is simple: to create an opportunity with long-term benefits for new members who have demonstrated the potential to be industry and committee leaders,” says Katerina Koperna, administrator of the program.

Last year, during both the June and November committee weeks, five young professionals chosen by ASTM members received free travel accommodations to the meetings. The trip featured a daylong program hosted by members and staff that provided a comprehensive introduction to ASTM International and its standards development process as well as leadership training from a professional moderator.

Nima Shamsaei, Ph.D., was one of the professionals attending the November event. Shamsaei, an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department at Auburn University, was a relatively new ASTM member and had many questions.

“I had been involved in ASTM for a couple of years but didn’t have any training,” says Shamsaei, a member of the committee on fatigue and fracture (E08). “The Emerging Professionals workshop indeed helped me to gain knowledge on the overall process and hopefully become a more effective ASTM member.”

According to Shamsaei, the workshop helped him learn more about standards development and provided professional and management training.

“The workshop provided a very good overview of various stages of standards development, including drafting the standard and the voting and approval processes,” says Shamsaei. “This was followed by participating in a committee meeting with a mentor.”

Other participants in the program are as enthusiastic as Shamsaei.

“The program exceeded my expectations by providing a balanced combination of networking opportunities, committee meetings and learning experiences” noted Ash Kotwal, of Martin Marietta. Kotwal attended as a member of the committees on cement (C01) and concrete  and concrete aggregates (C09).

Carla Divieto, a November attendee, is on the staff of the Italian Institute of Metrology Research. She focused on the tangible results of the Emerging Professionals program when she said, “I have submitted my first standard, and the first ballot went very well! 100 percent of acceptance! Thank you for your support and training!”

“We want young professionals to engage with ASTM staff earlier in their careers,” says Koperna. “Through the Emerging Professionals program, we hope to create a network for future leaders in all areas of standards development.”

Nominate Your Committee’s Next Leader

How It Works

Here’s how the Emerging Professionals program works:

ASTM International technical committees are invited to nominate a candidate who wants to become more active in their committee. The Emerging Professionals task group will select up to six candidates per committee week. These candidates will:

  • Receive round-trip domestic economy airfare to and from the committee week;
  • Receive two nights’ accommodations in the committee week hotel.
  • Attend an Emerging Professionals Workshop for a comprehensive introduction to ASTM and its standards development process;
  • Receive leadership development training from a professional facilitator and learn skills such as negotiation, consensus building, and problem solving; and
  • Participate in technical committee meetings with a committee mentor.

Jon Hockman, founder and principal at d3 in Washington, D.C., will be the guest speaker at the June, October, and November workshops. A certified facilitation professional with 25 years of experience advising association, nonprofit, and government leaders, Hockman is a fellow in the American Society of Association Executives. His clients have included the American Chemical Society, American Concrete Institute, and the American Institute of Architects.


Potential candidates for the program must meet the following criteria:

  • One to five years of experience in standards development or in using ASTM standards in their work;
  • Works for a company, association, or government agency that is using and/or developing ASTM standards, or attends a university (graduate level or higher) where their work involves/contributes to a significant ASTM activity;
  • Is available to attend the appropriate technical committee meeting; and
  • ASTM International membership is required for the candidate and mentor. Student membership is acceptable for the nominee.

Nominations are now being accepted for the Emerging Professionals program for the following dates during upcoming committee weeks:

  • Oct. 10, New Orleans, Louisiana - nominations due 8/10/17
  • Nov. 14, Atlanta, Georgia - nominations due 9/14/17
  • Dec. 5, New Orleans, Louisiana - nominations due 10/5/17

The six confirmed Emerging Professionals for June D02 Committee Week are:

  • Abdullah Alsamraie, AccuStandard, Inc. (Nominated by Eric Dzialo, D02/D16)
  • Andrew Burris, South Coast AQMD  (Nominated by Raul Dominguez Jr., D01)
  • Jason Cook, Delek Refining (Nominated by Susan Robertson, D02)
  • Matthew Hinojosa, Southwest Research Institute (Nominated by John Brunner, D02)
  • Michael Mayo, Baker Hughes, Inc. (Nominated by Donald Wolfe, D02)
  • Allison Reed, Kinder Morgan Inc. (Nominated by James McGetrick, D02/D03)

For more information, and to nominate an emerging professional, click here.

Issue Month: 
Issue Year: