News from the ASTM International Board of Directors
The board approved the following actions:
- The Minutes of the October 2021 board meeting.
- The consolidated financial statements and report of the independent accountants, and the annual review of the finance and audit committee charter, as presented.
Global Business Development and Innovation
Brian Meincke, ASTM’s vice president of business development, discussed ASTM’s innovation strategy. Outreach meetings were conducted in conjunction with ASTM’s Jeff Grove, vice president, global policy, cooperation and communications, and Sara Gobbi, director of EU affairs. Twelve (12) meetings were held in the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Meincke reported on developments in ASTM’s Xcellerate program, the Exo Technology Center of Excellence, and the October Autonomy in Aviation Symposium.
Tim Brooke, ASTM vice president, laboratory services and certification, was appointed to the 2023 SEI Board of Directors.
Brooke also provided updates on three new program offerings: reference materials, ASTM Insight SQC, and SOPs and TMAs. A number of reference materials have been prepared and distributed this year for the petroleum sector, with time spent refining the workflow and back-end processes for fulfilling future orders. A marketing plan will be executed in early 2023, and a website update will include new functionality for reference materials.
ASTM Insight SQC product was launched in June and enhancements to the system continue. Templates have been developed for standard operating procedures (SOPs) and TMAs and first products will be delivered by the end of 2022.
Dan Smith, ASTM vice president, technical committee operations, reported on the creation of a new committee on digital information in the supply chain, detailing the research that has gone into the effort.
Smith also discussed the board task group on academic outreach, the first meeting of which took place on September 6. Among the items discussed were ways to improve and expand the Academic Program, the Emerging Professionals Program, and the Mentor Program.
A proposal to approve the revised structure of the Robert J. Painter Award was presented.
Washington, DC, Office
In support of ASTM’s mission and strategic objectives, the Washington D.C. office engages in a number of activities involving Federal legislation and regulations, international trade issues, and corporate outreach to industry and trade associations.
ASTM VP Jeff Grove reported that the Washington Office worked with ASTM technical committee operations (TCO) and relevant committee leaders to hold a virtual discussion on August 12 with staffers from the Senate Finance Committee and the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee to provide information on ASTM’s process.
The organizers of ASTM’s Autonomy in Aviation Symposium expressed interest in inviting members of Congress to speak at the event.
U.S. Federal Agencies
The DC Office continues to work with TCO and Kathie Morgan to arrange and conduct meetings with each Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In an early August meeting with Commissioner Dana Baiocco, participants discussed topics including ASTM rules and regulations, committee balance, and the cooperative relationship between the two organizations.
The DC Office and TCO will make presentations to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emerging Standards Professionals community as part of the Agency’s Standards Roundtable in October. In addition, the DC Office assisted with outreach to EPA and the Department of Agriculture for the executive subcommittee of the committee on petroleum products, liquid fuels, and lubricants (D02) in early October and to several federal agencies.
In early September, the DC Office facilitated a meeting between executives at U.S. Pharmacopeia and ASTM leadership. Topics of discussion included symposia collaboration, joint cannabis certification, proficiency testing, continuous manufacturing, and additive manufacturing.
The Washington office facilitated a meeting with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) after learning of their Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Caucus on Capitol Hill. Topics included how ASTM aviation committees can assist in educating lawmakers and staffers.
Over the summer, the DC Office met twice with staff from NEIWPCC, a regional commission that helps the states of the Northeast preserve and advance water quality. The first meeting was introductory and centered on learning more about each organization for potential collaborations.
Diane Thompson, ASTM’s director of Canadian affairs, and Jeff Grove continue to represent ASTM in deliberations of the Standards Council of Canada’s (SDO) Advisory Committee (SDOAC) as they revise and implement the National Standards Strategy of Canada.
ASTM currently has 121 MoU partners among national and regional standards bodies worldwide. Citations of ASTM standards by both MoU and non-MoU partners reached 9,000.
ASTM’s Jim Olshefsky, director, external relations, and Teresa Cendrowska, vice president, global cooperation, attended the ISO annual assembly in September in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Global Cooperation and Satellite Offices
Standards Expert Program (SEP)
In 2022, three technical experts from the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), and Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA) will participate in ASTM’s SEP, in-person. Currently, several staff are involved in providing the experts with virtual orientation sessions.
2022 Technical Visitor Grant Program (TVGP)
Two experts from the Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) of Saudi Arabia have been selected to take part in the program later this year.
ASTM worked with the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), an MoU partner, to define a series of five joint webinars.
In August, ASTM committee manager Jimmy Farrell and SEI director Tricia Hock presented to the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) on the topic of cannabis standards and the activities of the committee on cannabis (D37).
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Elvin Chia, ASTM’s representative with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), attended APEC’s 15th Conference on Good Regulatory Practice in Chiang Mai, Thailand on August 24.
Chia has led numerous virtual programs in Asia that have increased engagement. Examples include:
- Conversations with the national standards body (NSB) of Brunei Darussalam, the National Standards Center (NSC). As a result, the Ministry of Development has approved the transfer of ASTM’s MoU to NSC.
- With committee experts and the U.S. Commercial Service, reaching out to the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM), Malaysia’s NSB, to encourage an information session about the benefits of including ASTM testing protocols.
- Routine conversations with the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), ASTM’s MoU partner, continue. Discussions focus on updating the existing MoU.
- Facilitated several introductory conversations with public and private sector organizations in Singapore, including Shell Singapore, Continental-NTU’s Corporate Lab, the National University of Singapore, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.
ASTM’s Latin American Representative, María Isabel Barrios, supported a student event with Board Chair Cesar Constantino in Guatemala on July 7.
On August 17, the Peru Office supported Tricia Hock, SEI director of certification operations, who presented at a virtual forum on cannabis hosted by MoU partner Instituto Colombiano de Normas Técnicas y Certificación (ICONTEC).
In September, ASTM’s representative supported Chair Constantino on a week-long trip to Peru and Colombia as part of his ongoing efforts to meet with many of ASTM’s Latin American MoU partners.
ASTM signed an MoU and Commercial Agreement with the Organismo Nacional de Normalización y Certificación de la Construcción y Edificación (ONNCCE).
Chris McCullough, ASTM’s general manager, program development, laboratory services will speak at the 6th GCC Laboratory Proficiency Conference October 18-19, 2022, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In September, the Chapter Advisory Council met with ASTM staff on the margins of the ISO General Assembly at the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council to discuss and brainstorm ideas for future chapter activities.
In September, ASTM and the IFC concluded 18 months of collaboration on personal protective equipment (PPE) under their MoU. Through the MoU signed in March 2020, ASTM delivered nine technical sessions related to PPE, sanitizers, and related topics.
Other accomplishments include the adoption of the specification for barrier face coverings (F3502) by Jordan’s NSB and the Jordanian Standards and Metrology Organization.
The communications department has issued 208 press releases YTD in 2022, heavily targeting industry and trade press outlets. This total includes technical committee news, member awards, several organizational announcements including MoUs, ASTM Xcellerate, partnership agreements, and more. Media inquiries continue at a steady rate, mostly from trade publications interested in a wide variety of topics.
The “In the Square” newsletter provides insight on key events at ASTM, and the department is also responsible for a general “news” channel on Yammer, ASTM’s new internal social site.
With additional Spanish SN HTML pages being published to SN Online each issue, traffic to SN has increased year over year. The traffic total for the full year is on pace to exceed 2021 by more than 20% and will approach a quarter of a million.
SN content on new concrete technologies has done well traffic-wise, as has content on standards for crop spraying, as well as online-only features on summer standards and standards for back to school. With ASTM’s total social media followers now exceeding 110,000 and ~25,000 SmartBrief subscribers, dissemination and amplification of SN content is more effective than ever before.
Soon to be released, a video for the consumer products committee includes interviews that make clear the role of standards in consumer safety. ASTM’s YouTube channel has grown, and with more video being uploaded to social media, the overall number of video views is up 15%.
LinkedIn followers continue to grow at a rapid rate and currently number 61,000. ASTM’s Facebook channel has reached a milestone of 30,000 followers. Combined social media reach is over 110,000 with total impressions topping 2 million year to date.
Notable achievements in 2022:
- Improvements to the publishing electronic warehouse (MarkLogic), which benefitted the organization through decreased onboarding costs; increased efficiencies; increased security; and more.
- The move to the Alfresco CMS resulted in automation of manual processes and the alignment of siloed content to enable expansion for housing additional ASTM content.
- The publishing assistant application provided additional services to integrated service clients; supported content organization-wide; and created a means for others to no longer be reliant on IT division through additional resources.
- The development of multimedia product offerings in collaboration with sales.
Sales and Marketing
Publications revenue has grown 5% through Q3 2022. Both the reseller channel and direct channel have contributed to that growth. Although web downloads are off compared to 2021, we have taken steps to effect change including significant SEO work.
ASTM brought back industry category pages in Q3 2002, which helped drive much of the traffic for specific ASTM standards. New staff additions, combined with new product offerings such as Compass Points, reference materials, and Insight SQC Software point to a positive outlook for
the future ■