Recap: News of the ASTM Board of Directors

News of the ASTM Board of Directors

ASTM International's board of directors met Oct. 20-22 at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Korea. Here is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings. We have more coverage of the events surrounding the meetings in Seoul.

Succession: ASTM Presidency

On the heels of years of succession planning and a selection process begun in late summer, the board unanimously approved the recommended appointment of Katharine E. Morgan as president of ASTM upon President James A. Thomas' retirement. Morgan, who is currently ASTM vice president of technical committee operations, will serve as executive vice president until Thomas's retirement to ensure a smooth transition. For more information, see the article, Planning for the Future.

Finance and Audit

The board approved all proposed ASTM budgets as well as the appointment of Dale Bohn to serve as chairman of the 2015 Finance and Audit Committee. Bohn is product quality manager for Flint Hills Resources LP, St. Paul, Minnesota. He is active on ASTM Committees D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants and D04 on Road and Paving Materials. A former chairman of the ASTM Committee on Technical Committee Operations, Bohn has served on the ASTM board of directors since 2012.

Brand Launch

Brian Meincke, assistant vice president of business development, and Jeffrey Grove, vice president of global policy and industry affairs, described the new brand strategy adopted by ASTM. Undertaken to better communicate our identity as a provider of a range of products and services as well as standards, the new brand was officially launched with the visual communications used during the events in Seoul and a news release coinciding with the meetings. For more information, see James Thomas' Plain Talk article and a related feature article.

Certification, Training and Proficiency Testing

ASTM is a program operator for the development of product category rules and environmental product declarations. Timothy Brooke, vice president of certification, training and proficiency testing, reported on completed and upcoming PCRs and EPDs in roofing, cement and flooring.

ASTM continues to enhance its training program focused on using ASTM standards. Brooke described new online self-guided courses, e-seminars and the translation of existing courses. ASTM has also developed a learning management system for training program users. The system integrates with customers' own learning management systems and provides a certificate on course completion.

Finally, Brooke reported on development and expansion in the Proficiency Testing Program. New programs under development to help labs determine their proficiency include cetane, knit fabrics and plastic films.

Business Development

Brian Meincke reported on new business developments at ASTM.

  • Two new ASTM technical committees have been formed recently: E62 on Industrial Biotechnology and F45 on Driverless Automatic Guided Industrial Vehicles. Other potential standards development activities under consideration include aerospace maintenance personnel, energy efficiency in the built environment and lightweight materials.
  • ASTM has executed memorandums of understanding for standards development with the Ames Laboratory's Critical Materials Institute and the National Institute of Justice.
  • New service areas in the exploratory phase include the development of a personnel certification program based on the standards of ASTM Committee E56 on Nanotechnology and an electronic reporting tool and searchable database related to ASTM standard E2893, Guide for Greener Cleanups.
  • Other potential partnerships include 1) working with the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in areas such as engineered nanomaterials, fibers and textiles, and aerospace composites, and 2) the possible formation of an industry collaboration for the aviation and aerospace industry.

Government and Industry Relations

The staff members of ASTM's Washington, D.C., office engage in activities involving federal legislation and regulations, international trade and standards issues, and corporate outreach to industry and trade associations. Jeffrey Grove reported; here are some highlights.

  • Over the summer, the Office of the Federal Register submitted its Final Rule on Incorporation by Reference to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency and executive review. Once this OMB and interagency review concludes, the OFR will publish its Final Rule on IBR. ASTM submitted comments supporting the OFR's proposed IBR revisions, since they recommend a flexible approach in which agencies consult with standards development organizations to find innovative solutions that provide the public with some level of access.
  • ASTM has also submitted comments in response to a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council. The comments address the revision to the Strategy for American Innovation, which incorporates policies that support innovation in products, processes and services with the goal of promoting economic growth and competitiveness.
  • Grove noted that the Washington office continues to engage trade associations, business groups, corporations and other stakeholders to raise awareness of ASTM and seek cooperation opportunities. Since the last board meeting, staff has met with organizations such as Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association, the American Forest and Paper Association, and Wind on the Wires, a wind energy advocacy group.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, director of external relations, reported on ASTM's outreach to students and the academic community.

The 2014 Focus on Academic Research campaign has emphasized how student participation in research can nurture interest in standardization and build technical and problem-solving skills. As part of the campaign, ASTM sponsored a student paper competition. Meredith McQuerry, a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, won the competition.

The Academic Outreach Program also sponsors grants to students who include ASTM standards in capstone projects and will again offer up to five $500 grants. Olshefsky noted this program has a proven track record over the last several years in encouraging students to include a standards element as part of their senior design or graduate projects and having their resulting research published on the ASTM website.

Three students who have demonstrated high levels of interest or involvement with ASTM standards have received $10,000 scholarships from ASTM this year. Finally, in 2014, ASTM once again sponsored a student in the WISE (Washington Internships for Students of Engineering) Program, a paid 10-week summer internship in Washington, D.C.

Satellite Offices

Several ASTM staff members reported on the activities of ASTM's global offices.

  • Europe: The ASTM office in Brussels, Belgium, directed by Sara Gobbi, reaches out to the European Commission, business and trade associations, and other European stakeholders. Gobbi recently met with the new U.S. ambassador to the European Union and the EU's minister counselor for commercial affairs, discussing upcoming rounds of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. Gobbi represented ASTM at a Trans-Atlantic Business Council meeting of EC officials focused on regulatory convergence and standards. She continues to reach out to Brussels-based associations and stakeholder groups, fields inquiries from European companies and other organizations regarding ASTM policies and processes, and monitors European policies in various industrial sectors.
  • Canada: Diane Thompson, who manages the ASTM office in Ottawa, Ontario, and other ASTM staff have met with various government stakeholders, such as Environment Canada, Transport Canada and Health Canada, to further build awareness and support of ASTM International. During the June committee week in Toronto, ASTM hosted Standards Council of Canada executives to discuss areas of cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations. ASTM is an associate member of Canada's National Public Safety Advisory Committee and is involved in SCC's Standards Development Organization Advisory Committee; Katharine Morgan was elected vice chair of the SDOAC in July.
  • China: The ASTM China office continues to act on opportunities in the environmental, fire safety, children's products, additive manufacturing and sporting goods and facilities sectors. China staff members Liu Fei and Nancy Hu frequently represent ASTM in industry and government meetings in China and the region as well as regional events such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation's Standardization in Education workshop. They continue to monitor Chinese standardization and certification policy and the revision of the China Standardization Law, which is on the 2014 agenda of China National People's Congress.
  • Mexico: Among their other work, ASTM Mexico representatives, led by Luis Ordoñez, jointly hosted an all-day workshop with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in August. Covering the global impact of standards on competitiveness in the North American market, the workshop was planned and advertised with the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology.

Committee Operations

The board approved a request for disbandment from ASTM Committee D06 on Pulp and Paper Products due to a lack of industry support since TAPPI's accreditation as a standards developer. With standards from TAPPI and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) already in existence, Committee D06 has worked over the last few years to withdraw all of its standards.

Daniel Smith, assistant vice president of technical committee operations, reported on membership trends. Participating memberships continue to grow at a steady pace, up 20 percent in the last decade and 1.4 percent in the last year. Organizational memberships are up 3.5 percent since 2013, aided in part by increases in the number of international members and upgrades to our online organizational member directory.

Smith also reported that ASTM staff engages in member retention, with 22 percent and 30 percent returns of participating and organizational members, respectively, who were initially dropped for non-payment.

Globalization and Global Outreach

Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, reported on the outreach and cooperation work of her division.

The team's core program - its memorandums of understanding with national and regional standards bodies - continues to grow, with Burundi, Namibia and St. Kitts-Nevis being the most recent signatories at the time of the meeting. By tracking the use of ASTM standards by national standards bodies, Cendrowska was able to report 6,525 citations of ASTM standards by both MOU and non-MOU nations.

Through ASTM's MOU Technical Visitor Grant Program, staff has selected an expert from Ghana as the 2014 participant and an expert from China for early 2015. This competitive grant program benefits a technical expert from an MOU signatory who will learn more about standards-related work in a given sector covered by ASTM.

The Standards Expert Program allows standards professionals from selected MOU signatories to come to ASTM for several weeks of training. This year's experts hail from Bolivia, Pakistan and Singapore.

In other news, Mr. Jong Yoon Jun, of the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, began his 11-month attachment with ASTM in late May. Jun was instrumental in coordinating the Industry Day outreach activities for this board meeting. ASTM staff has also worked with him to evaluate the potential of conducting a steel workshop with the North East Asia Standards Cooperation when the three NEASC partner nations - China, Japan and Korea - meet in mid-2015.

ASTM remains active in the Middle East, with outreach involving:

  • The September visit to ASTM headquarters by a member of the Standardization Organization of the Gulf Cooperation Council for training on planning and business development for standards developing organizations;
  • Technical training sessions and consultations in Saudi Arabia on steel reinforcement for concrete and ready-mixed concrete; and
  • Participation in an upcoming sustainable construction conference in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, Cendrowska reported on collaboration with other standards organizations and government agencies to strengthen the reception of ASTM outreach by developing nations. The USAID-sponsored Standards Alliance program targets various nations and regions in which ASTM has MOUs. ASTM has contributed to the development of the first year work plans for South and Central America, the Southern Africa Development Community region, the East African Community region, the Middle East/North Africa region, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Corporate Communications

Barbara Schindler, director of ASTM corporate communications, reported on the work of her department. Highlights include:

  • The redesign of ASTM Standardization News, launched with this issue;
  • The redesign of SN's online presence, which will launch by year's end;
  • Examples of coverage of ASTM in the media; and
  • Recently developed sector overviews.

For more details, contact ASTM President James A. Thomas (tel +1.610.832.9598).

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