Standardization News

News from the ASTM International Board of Directors Meeting

The board of directors met virtually April 21-23. Here is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings.

Board Actions

The board approved the following action:
The consolidated financial statements and report of the independent accountants, and the annual review of the finance and audit committee charter, as presented.

GLOBAL COOPERATION AND SATELLITE OFFICES

The total number of signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) increased to 114, with the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) signing an agreement in November 2019. To date, there have been 8,432 citations of ASTM International standards by both MOU and non-MOU nations with international participation in almost all ASTM technical committees. 

2020 marks the 15th year of the Standards Expert Program (SEP), an in-residence program designed to enhance the procedural and technical capacity of MOU partners. Partners invited to nominate candidates for this year’s program are the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), and the Ethiopian Standards
Agency (ESA).

Applications for the Technical Visitor Grant Program (TVGP) have been received from five MOU partners: Angola, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, and Uzbekistan. Participants will be selected this fall.

Asia

Staff continues to implement ASTM International’s Asia strategy. Part of the strategy includes recognizing the need for, and benefit of, having local staff in the region. As a result, a job description for a regional representative has been developed.

India

In January, the newly named director general of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India’s national standards body, the BIS deputy director, and the secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs visited ASTM headquarters. 

Africa

ASTM staff and a member of ASTM’s committee on petroleum, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02), along with an American Petroleum Institute (API) representative, participated in a Petroleum Standards Training Program for West Africa, on Nov. 18-22, 2019. A major theme of the event was discussing how to create a harmonized set of standards to promote easier trade and product movement throughout West Africa. 

Middle East

The ASTM International United Arab Emirates (UAE) Chapter continues to bring together key UAE leaders and engineers focused on the built environment. On Jan. 28, a chapter event was held for students and faculty at UAE University in Al Ain. Chapter members from the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology and Knauf joined ASTM staff in making presentations. During the event, an ASTM Project Grant was awarded to graduate student Siham Al Shanti. In addition, a student poster contest was announced with sponsorship from three chapter members.

Latin America

In January, Daniel Trillos, head of standardization at the national standards body of Colombia (ICONTEC), worked with ASTM staff and participated in meetings of the committee on cannabis (D37). The goal of these continuing efforts is the potential adoption of ASTM standards in Colombia.

ASTM Latin American representative Maria Isabel Barrios attended the January committee week in Atlanta, Georgia, and then spent two days meeting with ASTM headquarters staff to discuss Latin America and advancing ASTM work there.

Brussels

ASTM’s Brussels office continues to engage European authorities and stakeholders on different fronts at the European and national levels. 

Jeff Grove, vice president of global policy, cooperation, and communications, traveled to Athens, Greece, in February to represent ASTM at NATO’s Workshop on the Use of Civil Standards.

Grove also attended the joint American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - European Standards Organizations meeting in Washington, D.C., and presented to the leadership of the European Committee for Standardization/European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CEN/CENELEC), ETSI, and the European Commission on ASTM’s initiatives to promote global collaboration in the development of standards in a range of application areas.

ASTM’s Brussels office hosted a meeting of the task group developing standards for traffic management for the committee on unmanned aircraft systems.

European public policy consultant Louis Fredricks represented ASTM at additive manufacturing (AM)-related events in Brussels, Belgium, and Spain.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ASTM will partner to publish an OECD case study on ASTM’s global process, membership, and effectiveness.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

As part of ASTM’s Technical Experts Program, consultants have worked with technical committees, coordinated efforts between stakeholders, and assisted in the signing of MOUs with standards groups in the areas of unmanned aircraft systems, aviation and aerospace, and cannabis.

The Aviation and Aerospace Coordination Team is working with stakeholders to create and implement a coherent regulatory strategy for North America, Europe and the United Kingdom, Asia, and the rest of the world.

A possible new activity will focus on developing standards related to stormwater control measures (SCMs). An organizational meeting is planned for the fall.

The exploration of a new activity in the area of climate has begun. A virtual meeting of stakeholders was held on March 30. Further exploration of this project will continue in the fall.

The Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) advisory board met virtually on Jan. 28 with Mohsen Seifi, Ph.D., ASTM’s director of global AM programs, providing a progress update and sharing key accomplishments.

The Exo Technology Center for Excellence (ET CoE) advisory board meeting was held virtually on March 27. Budget review, future projects, and engagement efforts were all discussed. The next meeting has been scheduled for October in Chicago.

The ET CoE released a Request for Proposals on March 30 to support the Research to Standards core activity for the organization’s center. The center anticipates providing three awards of $34,000 each, totaling $102,000. 

IT OPERATIONS AND CONTENT CURATION

ASTM 2.0 web development kicked off in February with core architecture, vendor selection, and execution structure all being completed. The next steps will involve communication and change management, as well as rolling out program increments.

LABORATORY SERVICES

The training and e-learning department has transitioned all in-person classes to virtual only. No in-person classes will be held in 2020 as per guidance from federal, state, and local officials. 

Proficiency Testing Programs (PTP) staff are working closely with subcontractors to continue the preparation and distribution of samples. The department started a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) program in March 2020 with the sponsorship of the petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants  committee (D02). The Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory’s proficiency sample program continues to grow at a steady rate. 

CERTIFICATION AND SEI 

The Safety Equipment Institute’s board of directors met on March 3. The board reviewed the 2019 audited financials as well as the year-to-date revenue and expenses for 2020. The board also discussed the appointment of Pat Morrison, of the International Association of Fire Fighters, as vice chair and reviewed new activities for additive manufacturing and cannabis.

COMMUNICATIONS

After 5 years of successfully leading ASTM’s communications department, Nathan Osburn accepted a position at Google in Mountain View, California.

The department has raised awareness of ASTM’s COVID-19 response in a number of ways. Promotion of ASTM’s informational landing page has generated over 48,700 pageviews (as of April 15), while the press release on ASTM’s available standards was distributed globally, translated into 10 languages, and picked up 750 times worldwide. A Standardization News online feature covering ASTM’s most important standards for PPE received over 1,000 pageviews in its first week.

ASTM’s SmartBrief newsletter is disseminating SN content and organizational messaging. There are currently 32,200 subscribers, with 2,000 nonmember subscribers. Open rate is 22%, and traffic to SN online pages is up 15% from April 2019 to April 2020.

In addition, ASTM reached 30,000 followers on LinkedIn and 25,000 on Facebook in the first quarter of this year as well as 14,000 Twitter followers and 1,000 Instagram followers.

SALES AND MARKETING

ASTM and AENOR are launching their partnership at the end of April. AENOR is the conformity assessment, training, and information company of the Spanish Association for Standardization. ASTM will provide AENOR members and customers access to a custom AENOR standards platform and will sell AENOR content [European Norms (ENs)] through the ASTM Compass platform. 

First quarter sales results were positive. Key developments included the sale of SpecBuilder to TAPPI, numerous academic consortia renewals, and a strong renewal rate with smaller organizations.

WASHINGTON, D.C., OFFICE

The Washington, D.C., office is engaged in activities involving federal legislation and regulations, international trade, and corporate outreach to companies and trade associations.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The Washington office has been involved in a successful cross-divisional effort to provide no-cost public access to 30 important ASTM standards and test methods used in the production and testing of personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks, medical gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizers, to support manufacturers, test labs, health care professionals, government agencies, and the general public as they respond to the global COVID-19 public health emergency. The standards have been shared in numerous organizational repositories worldwide.

U.S. Congress 

Congressional staff reached out to the Washington staff asking if ASTM could provide information regarding the private sector-led effort to develop voluntary consensus standards for commercial spaceflight. 

U.S. Federal Agencies

The Washington office worked with ASTM staff and volunteers to make the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aware of the publication of an ASTM standard for remote ID and tracking of unmanned aircraft systems.

In February, Brian Meincke, vice president of finance, business development, and innovation, and Jeff Grove briefed the FAA’s Office of Safety and Innovation on ASTM’s work and both will serve on the agency’s new standards advisory council.

ASTM staff met with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission staff to discuss wearable connected products. 

After 11 years with ASTM International, Anthony Quinn, director of public policy and international trade, accepted a position with the U.S Department of Commerce.

Issue Month: 
May/June
Issue Year: 
2020