Looking Back, Looking Forward

Katharine E. Morgan

It is an exciting time at ASTM International. We are quickly approaching our 125th Anniversary in 2023 and the planning is underway. This has allowed me the opportunity to look back at the formation of our organization and reflect on all that we’ve accomplished since then.

What started as a small gathering in Philadelphia in 1898 has grown into a global standards organization that’s setting the pace for standards development around the world. 

With nearly 150 technical committees and a robust offering of value-added products and services, ASTM International is an organization constantly evolving. Touching dozens of well-established industries like steel, construction, and energy, we’re now exploring new and exciting activities including connected products, commercial spaceflight, and drones.

Additionally, our members are on the forefront of identifying ways to pair technological advancements with standards development efforts in our committees. One such area is sustainability and the growing role of standards in what has come to be referred to as “The Circular Economy.”

Sustainability efforts are cross-cutting and impact the work of a number of committees including sustainability (E60), water (D19), environmental assessment, risk management, and corrective action (E50), and many more. You can read more about these efforts HERE

I’ve previously mentioned how resilient our organization has been, particularly in the face of the challenges of the past year. This also holds true for the entire history of ASTM. Time and again we’ve adapted our efforts to address emerging industries and face new challenges.

In just the past few years, we’ve launched new student chapters at Florida International University in the United States and UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) in Peru. We’ve developed new partnerships, such as our recent agreements with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and the New Zealand national standards body, Standards NZ.

In addition, we’ve formed the Global Collaboration Forum for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), where the PPE community can work together to address the challenges facing PPE quality and availability and advance new standards efforts. 

We’ve bolstered our growing portfolio of value-added products and services to offer exciting new features to support our members and partners around the globe. And with the support of our board of directors and the expertise of our members, we’ve created two centers of excellence, in the areas of additive manufacturing and exo technologies. 

ASTM International standards, developed by you, our more than 30,000 members around the globe, support health, safety, and consumer confidence in fields and industries that our founders never dreamed of. They support spaceflight, aviation, nuclear technology, amusement rides and devices, and so much more. 

I’m immensely proud of how ASTM International has adapted to face new challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities in just the few years I’ve served as its president — let alone what we and our predecessors have achieved together since 1898. I look forward to the next few years of planning for our 125th anniversary and seeing what’s ahead in our journey. ■

Katharine E. Morgan
President, ASTM International

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