This has been a great year. One of the things I've liked best about this year has been the contact I've made with SN readers through this column. What's made it uncommonly rewarding for me has been the feedback-to the point, insightful, and rich with experience. Plain Talk for a New Generation has been more than just a series of articles. It's been a line of communication.
During the year we used this space to air some substantial issues. We stated our convictions about quality and relevance in standards. We explored the possibility of using the Internet for standards development, and we talked about companies who know how to use standards to win markets. We announced our pilot project in ISO. We devoted two columns to why there are so many standards organizations in our country, and we talked about the inestimable value of our user-developers and customers. We reported on the development of a National Standards Strategy. We raised issues we thought were pertinent.
Now I'd like to raise the issues you think are pertinent. I want to start the new year by writing more about your expectations, your goals, the things you think are important. There are issues that can't get discussed in a technical committee meeting because time may be too limited for anything but standards development. Some of our users' needs may be going unexpressed, simply for want of a forum. This is my invitation to you, then, to put the topics on the table, to identify the things you want me to address. This invitation is extended to ASTM members and non-ASTM members, to people living in the United States and elsewhere. Ideas from our international members and friends will be especially welcomed. You know what your issues and your needs are, far better than I do. We can't begin to solve problems, institute changes, or improve our system until the people in the system tell us what needs doing. So contact me at the addresses below left to let me know what issues you want to hear raised in this column.
We've now reached the end of our century. How we progress in the next may very well depend on how well we are able to communicate with each other. Every standard we've ever developed and every consensus we've ever achieved began with a meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas. Let's collaborate, then, and make the most of this page. Who knows where it may lead?
And now I want to wish you and your families a healthy, happy holiday season and an exciting new millennium. It's going to be a great one for ASTM. To the ASTM staff, I extend my gratitude for your steadfastness and your commitment to excellence; to the ASTM Board of Directors, my deep appreciation for your leadership, guidance, and wise counsel. And to every ASTM member, on behalf of people everywhere who will spend this holiday season warmer, safer, and more securely sheltered because of you, I extend our heartfelt thanks.
James A. Thomas
President, ASTM International
Copyright 1999, ASTM International