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Plain Talk for a New Generation
In Appreciation

This was an important year for ASTM. It was a year marked by events at home and abroad that gave us pause, events that required us, as a nation and as a standards organization, to revisit our values and state them clearly. It was during this year, for instance, that ASTM was actively involved in the development of the nation’s first National Standards Strategy. And it was during this year that ASTM joined the dialogue on the Triennial Review of the WTO/ TBT(1) Agreement and the ISO/ CEN(2) Vienna Agreement.

It was a year for putting things into perspective, for sorting out, for determining what was important and what was not. And now, in this last article of this important year, is the most important issue of all: a tribute to the people of ASTM.

ASTM’s greatest assets are its technical experts. They are intrepid pioneers, tenacious, and independent. They are people who like to shape their own worlds, mold their own destinies, define their own problems, and invent their own solutions. They are here because ASTM offers people like them an opportunity to participate directly in standards development. This is so powerful an attraction that they come from all over the world to seize it, to be a part of it. This direct participation has given ASTM’s technical experts a sense of ownership about standards development that generates a great passion and commitment around their work. It is a palpable force, as any visitor to a technical committee meeting can attest. Small wonder, then, that ASTM standards are the best in the world.

Then there is the ASTM staff. ASTM staff are more than business managers, balloters, editors, publishers, and distributors, although they are all that. They are the custodians of openness and fair play; they are the embodiment of a management philosophy that entails far more than superior service and quality administration. They are partners in the process.

It is because of you, our technical experts and our staff, that we got back to basics this year, that we tried to remember how we got to this new millennium intact and still developing the best standards in the world. That’s why we revisited our values and were unapologetic about them. It was the least we could do. You did everything else.

And so, to the technical experts, the staff, the Board of Directors, to all the people whose extraordinary work, whose belief in true consensus principles, whose pride of ownership, and whose spirit, energy, and dedication has made ASTM standards known and valued around the world, I extend my deep appreciation and thanks.

Best wishes for a happy, safe holiday season.

James Thomas
President, ASTM

(1) World Trade Organization/Technical Barriers to Trade

(2) International Organization for Standardization/European Commission for Standardization

Copyright 2000, ASTM

James A. Thomas
President, ASTM

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Go to previous Plain Talk for a New Generation articles.