Standardization News

News from the ASTM International Board of Directors Meeting

The board of directors met virtually October 18-20. Here is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings.
By: 
David Walsh

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

Memorandums of understanding (MoUs) increased to 119 with the signing of an agreement with Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT) of Brazil. Citations of ASTM standards by both MoU and non-MoU nations now stand at 8,755, with international participation in almost all ASTM technical committees. 

The Technical Visitor Grant Program (TVGP) continued in 2021 with an expert from the Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization (SASO) of Saudi Arabia and another expert from the Instituto Regulador de Derivados de Petróleo (the national oil company in Angola) taking part.

Europe

ASTM has continued to engage authorities and stakeholders on different fronts at the European and international levels. 

In July representatives from global standards organizations EUROCAE (the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment) and ASTM International met virtually to sign an MoU.

On September 13, during the annual meeting of its Partnership of International Organisations for Effective International Rulemaking, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a case study titled “International Regulatory Co-operation and International Organizations: The Case of ASTM International.” The ASTM Brussels and Washington offices will reach out to industries, think tanks, and other stakeholders to present and discuss the findings of the case study.

In September, ASTM staff met with representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to discuss the role and importance of ASTM standards for an increased uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in Europe and globally.

ASTM has had several contacts with the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Emergencies Programme team, on the topic of personal protective equipment in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Brussels

ASTM’s Brussels office coordinated a response to the European Union (EU) public consultation on the future of European standardization with a group of ASTM members from Europe.

In September, the Brussels and Washington teams met with staff from the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to discuss an extension of the 2019 MoU between ASTM and CEN. 

The Brussels office has also shared recommendations with the Trade and Technology Council, which will serve as a forum for the EU and the United States to coordinate approaches to key global trade, economic, and technology issues.

Canada

The Canadian Data Governance Standardization Roadmap, published recently by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), included over 500 references to ASTM standards. As a member of the SCC Standards Development Organizations Advisory Committee (SDOAC), ASTM also provided input for a new guidance document for developing a fast-track standards-based tool, the Publicly Available Specification (PAS). 

Africa

On August 17, ASTM and the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) held a successful joint webinar on cannabis. The event included panelists from ARSO, the Lesotho Standards Institute, and a technical member from the South African Bureau of Standards. 

ASTM and the American Petroleum Institute (API) are working under the Standards Alliance to conduct a three-year project focusing on the work of harmonizing petroleum standards in West Africa. 

Asia
Indonesia

A focus group discussion with the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (ESDM) and the national petroleum company (Pertamina) was scheduled for October 7. 

Korea

A panel discussion on vertiports is scheduled for November in conjunction with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and the Korean Institute for Aviation Safety and Technology. Global cooperation and technical committee operations staff will also conduct a member orientation for members and interested stakeholders in Korea in November. And, ASTM President Katharine Morgan has been invited to present at the Global Product Safety Innovation Forum sponsored by the Korean Institute of Product Safety in the same month.

Philippines

Scott Orthey, ASTM staff manager, and Chip Evans, ASTM director for Asia Pacific enterprise sales, recently joined Teresa Cendrowska, ASTM vice president of global cooperation, on an introductory call with the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI), which included the PISI president, vice president, and a technical committee leader. 

Singapore

Together with Jeffrey Stull, an ASTM technical expert for personal protective equipment (PPE), several ASTM senior staff joined a discussion with the director of standards for MoU partner Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the assistant manager for the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF).

Vietnam

ASTM began efforts to reconnect with the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering (formerly the National University of Civil Engineering) in October.

Caribbean

The CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), an MoU partner, has formed a regional project team tasked with reviewing hand sanitizer standards for adoption. ASTM’s assistance has been sought to identify standards referenced in the Guide to Local Production of World Health Organization’s recommended Hand Rub Formulations.

Latin America

ASTM’s Peru office hosted an additive manufacturing-themed webinar in September and a cement-themed webinar in October.

Middle East

James Olshefsky, ASTM director of external relations, presented to the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization and Mining Organization (AIDSMO) in September, at the meeting of the Arab High Committee.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Chapter

ASTM International’s UAE Chapter met virtually in September and hosted a webinar with the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) in October. 

Jordan

ASTM and the Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization (JSMO) are currently working to identify technical and procedural training topics. 

ASTM and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed an MoU in March to collaborate on activities related to personal protective equipment (PPE). Five nations were identified as partners: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, and Vietnam.

Washington, D.C., Office

The Washington, D.C., office engages in a number of activities involving U.S. federal legislation and regulations, international trade issues, and corporate outreach to industry and trade associations.

Review of Unmanned Aviation Issues 

Mary Mikolajewski, staff manager for the committee on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) (F38), was interviewed as part of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study examining private-sector workforce needs associated with urban air mobility (UAM) and advanced air mobility (AAM). The GAO expects to deliver their final report in early 2022.  

Organizational Outreach

Over the summer, the Washington office conducted a series of outreach meetings to organizations in the infrastructure sector. A meeting with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) centered on ASCE’s legislative and standardization priorities. A meeting was held with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the leadership of its Cooperative Research Programs Division. TRB colleagues outlined how they convene, advise, and publish reports related to their research programs. A meeting with key staff at the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) included discussions of strategy, work on carbon emissions reduction, and use of recycled plastics in asphalt. 

The Washington office met in September with two vice presidents of the American Iron and Steel Institute to discuss developments on environmental and sustainability policies and related technical activities. 

The Washington office also met with the board chair and executive director of the Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation (CFCR) in August. The conversation centered on aligning organizational priorities.

In the area of personal protective equipment, the Washington office arranged a September meeting with the chair of the American Mask Manufacturer’s Association (AMMA) to learn more about the association’s objectives.

Corporate Outreach

Staff met with the executive director of the Build Strong Coalition and the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Council.

Communications

Public/Media Relations

To date in 2021, the department has issued 141 press releases, mostly targeted at industry and trade press outlets. This total includes significant new/proposed/revised standards as well as major organizational announcements. ASTM continues to receive significant press coverage related to ASTM’s medical mask and barrier face covering standards overseen by the personal protective clothing and equipment committee (F23).

Internal Communications

Traffic to SN online remains far above 2019 levels, with recent stories on standards for emergency medical services, wildfire prevention, and leather goods. Total social media followers surpassed 90,000 for the first time, and the open rate of the weekly SmartBrief newsletter remains high at 24%. Followers on LinkedIn climbed 23% since the beginning of the year, while Instagram followers rose 63.5%.

The print edition of SN continues to follow the 2021 strategic editorial calendar, with recent issues focusing on commercial spaceflight, robotics/cybersecurity, and transition economies. 

Business Development 

The Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) continues its expansion and evolution to accelerate standards development and workforce development programs. The Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) is developing the second in a series of targeted survey projects focused on the exoskeleton community to aid in the prioritization of projects to be undertaken.

Philip Kenul, an ASTM UAS technical expert, moderated a panel at Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, focused on BVLOS (beyond visible line of sight) for UAS. In addition, Kenul is actively participating in the Internaitonal Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) joint technical committee on information technology to help prevent duplication of standards work.

In October, the business development team will host the 2nd Annual ASTM Autonomy in Aviation Symposium in conjunction with AC377 in Santa Clara, California. 

ASTM has engaged with The GMP Collective LLC and their CEO, David Vaillencourt, to collaborate, exchange information, and cooperate in areas of mutual interest ensuring the best use of resources to promote the ASTM cannabis program.

IT Operations

The Compass/SpecBuilder stage of ASTM 2.0 is complete, with 3,598 accounts and 167,640 users migrated. Next steps will include the public/membership migration of 35,000 active members later in 2021. 

In addition to ASTM 2.0, IT has engaged in a program to enhance cybersecurity organization-wide.

Membership

Overall ASTM membership remains steady since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with organizational membership growing 3% since 2019. Member promotions in 2021 resulted in approximately 1,000 new members, with significant gains in the areas of cannabis, consumer products, and plastics. International membership is up 3.5% on the year.

Laboratory Services

On October 1, the Test Monitoring Center (TMC) became an affiliate of ASTM International, and the staff who run the TMC operation became ASTM employees on October 1. On the same date, construction was completed on a new building owned by ASTM and staff began moving.

In December, ASTM will begin offering reference materials, beginning with petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and more). These materials will support test method validation; instrument calibration or verification; and the establishment of analyst competence..

Sales and Marketing

The transition to ASTM 2.0 has boosted sales and resulted in the migration of 4,000+ accounts and over 150,000 users.

Sales grew year over year in multiple regions of the globe, with Asia-Pacific growing 8%, the Middle East growing 18%, and Europe growing 3%. ■

Issue Month: 
November/December
Issue Year: 
2021