Life Changing

Katharine Morgan

When you spend 40 years with an organization, it is life changing – in small, big, fun, serious, and perhaps obscure ways.

I remember in my first month or so at ASTM being challenged by the alphanumeric identifications for our technical committees. It seemed a language unto itself. Now, I can’t press A01 on a vending machine for pretzels without thinking about steel; similarly, I can’t park in section C16 of the Philadelphia Airport garage without a nod to thermal insulation. Even standards designations stick in my head. I saw a license plate the other day with F963 and immediately my mind went to our toy safety standard and the children who are better protected because of the work of ASTM members. And when I go to Home Depot, I often take photos of products with an ASTM designation. That usually turns some shopper’s heads.

In my early days, I also remember thinking that ASTM had such a renowned collection of technical experts in so many fields. It was humbling. Today, I remain in awe of the breadth and depth of ASTM’s contribution to overall quality of life. Through the years, I was always learning about an area covered by our standards that had somehow escaped me until that moment. I admit that I still like to read SN in print, and one of the first sections of the magazine that I go to is the news of the technical committees. The diversity of subjects and seemingly endless reach of technical expertise among the membership is hard to comprehend – and oh so fascinating.

I’ve enjoyed learning about different cultures and geographies. As a girl who grew up in the northeast, we vacationed in the I-95 corridor from Maine to Florida. But ASTM afforded me the opportunity to experience most U.S. states as well as a variety of international locations. The latter was particularly meaningful. I was welcomed in so many countries not because I was Kathie Morgan but because I represented the brand of ASTM International; the value of high-quality and market-relevant standards; and the hope for a better tomorrow. I was always proud to carry our flag.

The ASTM community – our members, staff, and partners – have become dear friends. Many are like family, and some actually are family. I met my husband, Jeff, through an ASTM colleague in 1992 and it has been happily ever after since. Of course, this momma is thrilled that our son has found a home in the Technical Committee Operations Division at ASTM assisting our terrific members. Indeed, I will always cherish how our family has been blessed by the care of so many around us. Standards folks understand collaboration, consensus, compromise, and how having a sense of humor can serve you well and make life fun. Perhaps that is what makes them such a special breed. Regardless, it has been a joy to be with such good people for so long.

While it is impossible to thank everyone who has touched my life, I do want to acknowledge the staff of the President’s Office at ASTM: Samantha Boerckel, Tim Brooke, Teresa Cendrowska, Howard Gilson, Jeff Grove, Maureen Houck, Brian Meincke, Tom O’Brien, Stuart Radcliffe, Mohsen Seifi, Dan Smith, and Heidi Turley. This team inspired me every day with their passion and commitment. Thank you all. I also wish to recognize two past Board chairs who were the alpha and omega of my presidency: Ralph Paroli, who signed my contract in 2016, and Bill Ells, who was on the receiving end of my “It’s time for me to retire” phone call. I appreciate all of their constant support. Finally, I wish the very best to my successor, Andy Kireta. He shares my passion and commitment for ASTM and I know he will serve the organization with distinction.

ASTM is life changing. Of course it is for someone like me, who spent 40 years with the organization. But it is also life changing for those with less time and for those who don’t even know what ASTM is or what ASTM does. What an amazing mission and legacy that is to think about. It was my greatest privilege to be a part of it.  ■

Kathie E. Morgan
President, ASTM International

Issue Month
Issue Year