News from the ASTM International Board of Directors Meeting

The board of directors met Oct. 14-17 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Here is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings. We’ll have more coverage of the outreach events held Oct. 16 in the January/February 2019 issue.

For more information on meeting content, contact ASTM International President Katharine Morgan, tel +1.610.832.9721

2018 ASTM International board of directors, from left: (front row) John Fletcher, Vicky J. Taylor, Jeff Weiss, Oliver S. Delery Jr., Ralph M. Paroli, D. Thomas Marsh, Dale F. Bohn, Taco van der Maten (vice chairman), Andrew G. Kireta Jr. (vice chairman), John R. Logar, Joannie Chin, R. Christopher Mathis, William A. Ells, Ferdinando E. Aspesi; (back row), left to right: Terry O. Woods, Cesar A. Constantino, Arman Shakkaliyev, Bill Griese, Alan P. Kaufman, Deryck M.S. Omar, Irving S. Scher, John T. Germaine, R. James Galipeau, James A. Tann. (Not pictured: Katharine E. Morgan, president)

Board Actions

The board approved the following actions:

  • The appointment of Vicky J. Taylor to serve as chair of the 2019 Finance and Audit Committee. Taylor is a senior research technologist at INVISTA (Canada) Co., Kingston, Ontario. She is active on the committees on textiles (D13) and personal protective clothing and equipment (F23). Taylor has served on the board since 2016.
  • The appointment of Brian Meincke to the position of ASTM International treasurer (learn more about the recent staff reorganization below and in the President’s Message).
  • A change to the language addressing member responsibilities in Section of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees. The proposed revision covers the importance of our members working in a safe and comfortable environment. The new language is: Responsibilities of membership — Open participation and the consensus process are core values and the principal strengths of standards development in ASTM International. To be successful, the consensus process depends on the ability of members to work together with an attitude of collaboration and collegiality in a safe and comfortable environment where all interactions are professional and members, participants and staff are treated with dignity and respect. Each member is expected to participate and contribute in good faith to the standardization activities undertaken by the committee(s) to which they belong. For additional information on the responsibilities of membership, see Appendix B.

  • The awarding of the Charles B. Dudley Medal to Dr. Robert J. Johnson for his work on 15 Selected Technical Papers on snow sport safety. According to nominator Irving Scher, Dr. Johnson is an orthopedic surgeon and member of the snow and water sports committee (F27), who has brought together the highest caliber research related to ski injuries and the scientific examination of methods and equipment to prevent them. These volumes are considered by many as the best source of ski safety research. Dr. Johnson’s hard work and passion for treating and preventing skiing injuries have made skiing safer, Scher said.
  • The board also approved budgets (including support for several new staff positions), appointment of the auditors, and other actions.

Global Cooperation and Satellite Offices

To date, the total number of memorandums of understanding between ASTM International  and national standards bodies is 110. New MOU partners in 2018 include the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, the Institute of Standards of Cambodia, and the Georgian National Agency for Standards and Metrology.

In 2018, standards experts are visiting ASTM International headquarters from the national standards bodies of Thailand and Costa Rica as well as regional standards bodies in the Gulf and the Caribbean. A delegation from Standards Australia will also visit soon.

ASTM International staff have interacted more frequently in recent months with the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe, the World Bank, and other global bodies.

In September, Tim Brooke, vice president of laboratory services and certification, and Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, conducted a Road Show in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. An MOU partner since 2003, Vietnam’s national standards body has cited hundreds of ASTM standards, primarily for petroleum and petrochemicals, construction and textiles.

Building on that, ASTM International recently analyzed its presence in the region and will be doing more to eliminate barriers to the acceptance and use of ASTM standards while also encouraging membership.
ASTM International’s satellite offices continue to work with business, trade associations, regulatory agencies, and others in their regions. Some examples:

  • Brussels — In July, Sara Gobbi, director of European affairs,  joined ASTM International senior staff for a week of productive meetings with international organizations and standards setting bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission, the World Trade Organization and the U.S. Ambassador to the WTO, and others. Technical dialogues continue to grow in areas such as biobased products, biofuels, additive manufacturing, drones, exoskeletons, and recovered carbon black.
  • Canada — During the past few months, ASTM International has continued discussions with Canada’s Health Standards Organization and met with the Canadian Standards Association, the CIO Strategy Council, Standards Council of Canada, and Underwriters Laboratories of Canada. Diane Thompson, the director of the Canada office, is working with the Standards Council of Canada to help reduce duplication of effort while also participating on the SCC Standards Development Organizations Advisory Committee.
  • China — With a recent shift in direction over the past year, interest in products and services in China has grown significantly. Pat Picariello, technical committee operations director, is speaking at an International Summit Forum for Technology and Standardization Development of Testing and Materials, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Staff and members are planning the June 2019 meetings and workshops of the committee on nuclear fuel cycle (C26) in Beijing. 
  • Latin America — ASTM was again included on the technical program for Reunión del Concreto, a well-known exhibition and conference for the concrete industry organized by ASOCRETO, the Colombian trade association for concrete. Prior to the event, Latin American Representative María Isabel Barrios conducted several outreach visits in Bogotá, Colombia, with companies and organizations.
  • India – A small delegation from India plans to attend the upcoming meeting of the medical and surgical materials and devices (F04) committee to discuss possible collaboration.

Washington, D.C., Office

In anticipation of the late-2018 committee weeks being held in Washington, D.C., staff spent much of the year planning workshops, outreach meetings, and other events to collaborate with federal agencies, trade associations, and other standards developers.

Also, staff is tracking pending U.S. legislation of interest to ASTM International and its technical committees, including:

  • Legislation to reauthorize U.S. federal aviation programs and establish a regulatory framework for recreational and small drones, and
  • The Farm Bill, which would reauthorize efforts such as the Biopreferred Program, which the Safety Equipment Institute oversees.

Staff have been deeply involved in conversations related to trade discussions throughout North America and in Europe, supporting the idea that international standards based on World Trade Organization principles should be treated equitably.

Recent activities included a Capitol Hill event on how standards and codes support a resilient 21st-century infrastructure and a briefing on how policies, standards, and funding can be coordinated to better protect public spaces from attacks.

Business Development

The Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence has had a strong first year, announcing four founding partners (Auburn University, NASA, EWI, and the UK-based Manufacturing Technology Centre) and two strategic partners (the U.S. National Insitute for Aviation Research and Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster). Click here for more recent updates. A new video highlights the partners and vision for the center of excellence. Also, the education and workforce development group – part of the center – recently defined its mission and its work is now fully underway.

Certification and Safety Equipment Institute

SEI's website has been redesigned and will soon also be fed by a new database, making it easier for consumers, manufacturers, and others to interact with it.

For recreational equipment, nearly 30 standards support the certification of about 500 product models, while for fire/industrial/law enforcement applications, nearly 50 standards support about 1,150 product models. The USDA Biopreferred Program has grown to over 3,200 products. In addition, several new certification programs are being considered for 2019 and 2020.

A new template has been developed, allowing ASTM International committees to ask SEI to explore possible certification programs for a specific standard or standards.


Standardization News online reached 100,000 page views earlier than in any previous year. The new app/pdf version is also performing well with 8,000 unique readers in 2018.

A new animated video is helping prospective committee week attendees. In one month, it has received nearly 1,000 YouTube views and positive feedback from emerging professionals.

There have been several examples of neutral-to-positive media coverage in regard to amusement rides, drones, exoskeletons, and other topics, with significant media hits in O Magazine, Safety+ Health Magazine, the Kansas City Star, and an NBC affiliate. There has also been extensive trade press and social media coverage of the launch of the Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence over the past year. Overall social media followings have grown dramatically in the past six months: Facebook (up 1K), Twitter (up 1.5K), and LinkedIn (up 3K).

Laboratory Services

To date, 45 of 47 Proficiency Testing Programs are now accredited to ISO 17043, a key requirement related to conformity assessment. New programs are underway for biodiesel blends, styrene, and liquefied petroleum gas. Translations into Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese of lab instructions and data entry worksheets are underway.

In regard to training/e-learning, videos showing how to conduct ASTM International test methods are now available alongside the text of many standards for Compass subscribers. With a new hire, staff is also working to develop 2D and 3D animation videos.

Students and Emerging Professionals

Four $10,000 Graduate Scholarships were awarded to high potential doctoral students:

  • Kathryn Anderson, University of Alabama;
  • Tuhin Das, McGill University;
  • Anthony Marletta, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and
  • Andrew Tonigan, Vanderbilt University.

Staff have developed text and video materials to 1) help members engage with the next generation of committee leaders and 2) help students understand standardization. Examples include the September/October SN feature article, “Bringing the Next Generation on Board,” and a series of videos produced and uploaded by the University of Pennsylvania Law School in which staff were interviewed on the standards development process and the importance of standards to law students.

The Emerging Professionals Program continues to be successful in helping committees educate and encourage promising new members. Following this November’s Emerging Professionals Workshop, 47 people will have gone through the program in 2018, with a total of 84 since the program’s inception. Notably, 29 of those 84 are now serving as technical contacts for a work  item,  11 are serving as subcommittee officers, four are leading ILS programs,  and two are main committee officers. For 2019, staff is considering expanding the number of individuals in each cohort.

Staff Reorganization

ASTM International staff recently completed steps toward a reorganization. Discussions in recent years have turned toward becoming more technology- and innovation-focused. Many staff members were involved in reorganizational discussions. Key goals were delivering a “future-state” operating model, refining the product development process, and optimizing IT prioritization processes. The reorganization addressed all of these areas and more. For more information, see the President’s Message.

Marketing and Sales

ASTM International’s brand and product are strong worldwide. New features in Compass are being rolled out regularly. We continue to both seek and get requests for more third-party content on our platforms, building on the success of relationships with the American Petroleum Institute, the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials, and others.

Staff have forecast strong growth for 2018 overall. There are a handful of country-specific challenges due to a variety of external factors, predominantly related to economic conditions in those markets. Discussion focused on how board members could be helpful in creating relationships with their respective industries, with some additional discussion on outreach to academia.


Participating and organizational memberships increased slightly since 2017 (0.5 percent for participating members). Staff has conducted 31 membership promotions this year, which have yielded about 800 new participating members, including 225 new international members. We have realized an overall 1 percent gain in main committee units of participation in 2018. Membership retention efforts yielded strong returns of nearly 20 percent for organizational members and over 25 percent for participating members. International members continue to outpace other segments and now represent 21 percent of total membership. U.S. federal government membership grew significantly in the last year.

The in-person Officers’ Training Workshop at ASTM International’s global headquarters in September was very successful with more than 100 participants.

A new meeting registration system will launch next year, providing a better experience for our members.

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