News from the ASTM International Board of Directors Meeting
The board approved all proposed budgets, the appointment of auditors, and the annual reaffirmation of resolutions pertaining to financial matters. They also approved the appointment of John Logar to serve as chairman of the 2018 Finance and Audit Committee.
Changes to Part H of Form and Style for ASTM Standards (the Blue Book) on the use of SI (metric) units in standards were approved, providing formatting and terminology consistency with the American National Standard for SI Practice (IEEE/ASTM SI 10).
The board approved the Committee on Publication’s decision to award the 2017 Charles B. Dudley Award to Kishore Nadkarni for his work writing and editing a number of important and influential books on petroleum fuel and lubricant analyses, specifically Monograph 9, Spectroscopic Analysis of Petroleum Products and Lubricants.
A new technical committee on exoskeletons and exosuits (F48) was approved.
Technical Committee Operations
ASTM International staff continues to enhance member retention and promotional efforts, the latter of which has yielded approximately 840 new participating members, including 175 new international members. International membership represents 21 percent of the total membership, with leading participation in Australasia and Europe. Organizational memberships continue to rise with a 4.7 percent increase. The number of “units of participation” is on the rise, with over 40,000 main committee units of participation. While more companies are sending fewer members to participate, those who do participate are involved in more committees than ever before.
In 2017, ASTM International awarded four Graduate Scholarships of $10,000 each and will award up to five $500 grants to university students to help with design projects that contain an ASTM International standards component. The 2017 Professor of the Year was named — Feraidon Ataie, an assistant professor at California State University – Chico.
The Emerging Professionals program, which aims to engage the next generation of technical experts, is expanding, with workshops at several 2017 and 2018 committee weeks. Staff is forming a cross-divisional team to evaluate practices in attracting, acclimating, training, and retaining young professionals.
Government and Industry Relations
ASTM International’s Washington, D.C., office is monitoring U.S. federal legislation and regulations, as well as international trade issues, while also conducting outreach to industry and trade associations. One such activity was ASTM President Katharine Morgan’s participation in a congressional briefing on “standards and 21st century infrastructure” in July. Throughout the year, ASTM provided public comment to agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration regarding standards-related regulatory action. Staff also filed comments and testified in front of the U.S. Trade Representative, explaining technical barriers to trade issues in the North American Free Trade Agreement. In August, Vice President Jeff Grove was a delegate to the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting in Vietnam and gave three presentations to regulators and trade officials on using international standards to support good regulatory practices.
ASTM International’s Memorandum of Understanding Program continues to grow, with 106 MOUs signed to date with standards development bodies. Standards experts from Ghana and Guyana (MOU signatory organizations) are being invited to ASTM headquarters for training. In addition, “road shows” were recently conducted in Asia and Central America, providing ASTM International staff with on-the-ground opportunities to learn more about government and industry needs in these regions. The global cooperation staff also has been actively engaged in the Middle East and Africa with support from the Gulf Standardization Organization and U.S.Agency for International Development, respectively.
Each office provided a report to the board on their outreach activities, which notably included:
Development of a standard for hoverboards as a National Standard of Canada.
Ongoing monitoring of the Chinese government’s standardization reform and increased emphasis on providing laboratory services such as training, proficiency testing, and certification.
Representation of ASTM at many events and meetings, engagement with public and private stakeholders from various industrial sectors, and an increasing number of technical committee meetings held in Europe.
The Central America Road Show (September) strengthened ASTM’s penetration in the region with on-the-ground education, outreach, and training in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama.
Twenty ASTM International proficiency testing programs are now accredited to ISO 17043, the conformity assessment standard for proficiency testing. The Laboratory Services division will continue expand its scope of accreditation to all 46 programs. Meanwhile, a new cetane program, covering the ignition quality of diesel fuel, has been launched. At the Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory, two new inspection programs have been launched, on segmental retaining walls and interlocking pavers. And in training and e-learning, the transition to the new learning management system is complete, and has over 5,500 users. Ongoing enhancements to e-learning content includes the development of subtitles in different languages and the potential development of a video “wall” for easier access to e-learning courses.
The corporate communications department continues to broaden the reach and impact of ASTM International’s mission through engaging content in Standardization News magazine, strategic media relations, and robust digital engagement tactics. The magazine’s online pageviews has grown 36 percent in 2017. Staff also worked closely with journalists from the New York Times, NPR, and other mainstream and industry media on sensitive topics such as amusement ride safety. New videos are coming out on exoskeletons and exosuits, emerging professionals, the 2018 board chairman, and more. Most notably, a cross-divisional team created a new video entitled “Connecting the Dots,” showcasing ASTM International’s role as a standards developer and integrator of innovative services.
Safety Equipment Institute (Affiliate)
The SEI board met in advance of the ASTM International board meeting. SEI is focusing on providing certification services that help ensure “safe living and working environments.” They are focused on enacting growth strategies that expand their services to industry. New certification programs could include hoverboards, baseballs, chest protectors, mobile radios, checkpoints, and more. An upgrade to SEI’s website is forthcoming, with more intuitive and user-friendly areas. For more information on a new SEI certification program, see the Spotlight article on page 60.
Sales and Marketing
Roughly 34,000 customers and 3,000 companies are now using the Compass platform. Several new products and services are experiencing growth, including areas such as laboratory services (see earlier section). Click for more information.