|ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 24-27 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The following is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings.
For further details on any of the following topics, contact ASTM President James A. Thomas, ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Dr., PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610/832-9598).
Continuing to act on its globalization initiatives and to further connect with partners around the world, ASTM International held its most recent board of directors meeting in October in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Board Chairman N. David Smith opened the 170th meeting of the ASTM board of directors.
Special events and distinguished guests provided added substance to the meeting. Upon the invitation of ASTM International, a delegation of senior standards executives from China traveled to Toronto to be part of the week’s activities. Attending were Madame Zhang Yanhua, vice administrator of the Standardization Administration of China; Ms. Huang Xia and Ms. Fan Chunmei, also of SAC; Mr. Zheng Weihua of the China National Institute of Standardization; and Mr. Zhang You Ming of the Shanghai Institute of Standardization. Also in attendance were two interns from China who were spending five weeks at ASTM International at the time of the meeting. (See the ASTM International News article about the internships.)
The Chinese Delegation
The first of the Chinese delegates to address the ASTM board was Madame Zhang Yanhua. On behalf of SAC, she thanked ASTM International for its many years of help regarding standardization in China. Madame Zhang noted that the cooperation between ASTM and SAC is strong, particularly since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2004. “The technical committee is at the foundation of our cooperation. Chinese technicians can borrow much from ASTM technical committees.” The speaker expressed hope in furthering this cooperation in the future, especially with next year’s October ASTM board meeting in Beijing. (See the Inside ASTM article on the Toronto workshop for more from Madame Zhang.)
Mr. Zheng Weihua, deputy director general, China National Institute of Standardization, talked about the fruitful cooperation between CNIS and ASTM International as a result of a 2003 agreement between the two organizations. “ASTM standards have become more recognized in China and more Chinese industries are actively involved in standards development,” Zheng explained.
Initiatives created to achieve these outcomes since the 2003 agreement include a special column on the CNIS Web site that links to the ASTM homepage, translation of general ASTM information, a database of ASTM standards, and the establishment of a distribution system for ASTM standards with copyright measures in place. Mr. Zheng concluded with the expectation of more cooperation in more areas between CNIS and ASTM International.
The final presentation from the Chinese delegation was made by Mr. Zhang You Ming, senior vice director for the Shanghai Institute of Standardization. Mr. Zhang noted, “Based on our past experiences, the ASTM and SIS cooperation will strengthen and further contribute to the Chinese standardization strategy.”
Since entering into an agreement in 2004, SIS and ASTM International have worked to implement its provisions. Mr. Zhang reported on SIS’ efforts to build the market for ASTM standards, enhance online systems, and facilitate membership and participation as well as personnel training. “SIS is paying a great deal of attention to our cooperation with ASTM International. We hope for more cooperation in the future,” concluded Zhang.
Following the presentations, the ASTM board posed questions to the speakers. The answers further echoed the theme of cooperation.
The importance of cooperation with China became apparent as each member of the ASTM board introduced themselves and stated with whom they are employed; the majority of the enterprises represented in the room was already doing business in China in one way or another.
Kitty Kono, ASTM vice president of global cooperation, reported that ASTM International continues to sign memorandums of understanding with national standards bodies of developing countries, with 42 signed as of the time of the board meeting. Kono also reported on the Open House for Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Standards Leaders, which was attended by representatives of 14 national standards bodies from the region. Memorandums of understanding were signed with Iraq and Palestine at the event, which was held in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the American National Standards Institute. Kono reported that since the Open House, many guests have expressed great interest in closer cooperation with ASTM International; her office is following up.
With regard to ongoing cooperation with China, Kono noted the May ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Beijing office of the Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment, a cooperative effort of ASTM International, ASME International, CSA America and the American Petroleum Institute. CSCA has been working over the last several months with Chinese government and industry officials to promote consortium members’ interests in China.
ASTM International has participated in several international trade workshops in the past several months, Kono noted, including the China/U.S. Standards and Conformity Assessment Workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Chinese Administration on Quality Supervision on Inspection and Quarantine; and the NIST Energy Standards in Trade Program and Standards in Trade Workshop on Building Construction.
Over the last several months, ASTM staff members have facilitated bilingual virtual meetings with technical experts from Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Panama on cement and concrete standardization, providing an opportunity for South American participants to contribute to standards development in these areas.
Finally, Kono noted ASTM President James Thomas’ participation in an October meeting in Washington, D.C., convened by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, on new opportunities for collaboration in international standards through ratification of the new Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Outreach to Academia
Teresa Cendrowska, ASTM director of external relations, reported to the board on ASTM’s initiatives to reach out to academia. As of the date of the meeting, more than 2,600 students had signed up for student membership in ASTM International. The ASTM staff education task group has accomplished the following in the last several months:
• At the end of 2005, ASTM International will begin offering “transitional” memberships to graduating students, a reduced-fee membership for the first year after graduation with the same benefits enjoyed by participating members.
• Based on feedback from professors indicating a willingness to include standards in classroom instruction if the documents are easily accessible and economical, the task group has developed the concept for a new product offering for university instructors, with availability anticipated in the second quarter of 2006.
• A redesigned academic Web site, branded the “ASTM International Campus,” was posted in early September. The site includes four topical areas that now serve professors as well as students.
• ASTM’s first student event was to be held in conjunction with the November Committee Week, with staff and members conducting a session with engineering students at Southern Methodist University to share information about ASTM International and its work.
• There has been increased coverage of standards and education in SN, with topics ranging from application of standards in curricula to national strategies for standardization education.
Corporate Communications Director Barbara Schindler provided more details on the development of the “ASTM International Campus” Web site. Schindler highlighted the new content on the site, specifically interviews with ASTM members, which stress the benefits of having an awareness of standards early in one’s career, and with professors, who discuss exposing university students to the need for and benefits of standards.
A new electronic version of Access ASTM International, the Newsletter for ASTM’s Global Customers, was launched in late September, Schindler reported. ASTM’s customers now receive the newsletter via e-mail, which allows them to click into the Access Web site for full articles written with the customers’ interests in mind. The purpose of the Access newsletter is to keep non-member ASTM customers informed of initiatives within the Society.
Lastly, Schindler reported on the ongoing development of a new section of the ASTM Web site dedicated to global initiatives. The site will feature the ASTM MOU program, Open Houses, and informational materials in various languages. Initial designs of the new Web page have been selected.
Drew Azzara, vice president of corporate development, reported that membership statistics are on target for 2005 projections. The ongoing trend of modest increases in participating members at 2 percent per year is due to the creation of new technical committees in burgeoning sectors, implementation of a member retention plan, and promotional campaigns targeted at specific areas within technical committees. The campaigns improve stakeholder breadth and advance global participation.
Azzara also reported that the gradual decline over the years in the organizational membership category has been slowed due to promotional campaigns that include new benefits such as the online organizational member directory and logo branding enhancements.
National Standards Strategy
James Thomas provided an update on the U.S. Standards Strategy, which will be presented to the ANSI board on Dec. 8 for final approval. Thomas referred to the strategy as a positive document, which has support from a variety of stakeholders and is consistent with ASTM’s multiple-path goals and objectives.
Washington, D.C., Affairs
ASTM Washington Representative Jeffrey Grove reported that a variety of legislation is currently being considered on Capitol Hill that involves ASTM standards in areas such as furniture tip-over safety, biodiesel and hydrogen fuels, steel wire rod used in fasteners, sustainable building materials and more.
ASTM is working directly with state and federal agencies on updating where possible outdated references to ASTM standards in state and federal codes and regulations. Grove said that, at the policy level, ASTM is also discussing amendments to the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act that would streamline the administrative rulemaking process in referencing the latest revisions in a way that preserves the ability of the agency and the regulated community to comment on and even reject a revised standard if it is inadequate in any way as a referenced document.
Finance and Audit Committee
Anthony Fiorato, vice chair of the ASTM board, announced the appointment of Jeffery Melsom as the 2006 Finance and Audit Committee chair. Melsom, a 2004-2006 director on the board, is manager, chemical measurements, at Michelin’s Sandy Springs, S.C., plant. He is active on ASTM Committees D11 on Rubber and D24 on Carbon Black.
Revisions to the ASTM logo use policy were approved that will now permit linking, through use of ASTM’s logo, not only to ASTM’s homepage, but to committee and document summary pages (after, of course, notice to ASTM of such use). Click here to view the new logo policy. To view all Web policies, go to www.astm.org and click on “Web Policies” at the top of the page.
Technical Committee Operations
The board approved a proposed revision to the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees. The revision to Section 11.1.3 makes it mandatory to include a rationale with each subcommittee ballot item. Prior to the revision, the regulations required a rationale for every type of ballot except a subcommittee ballot. Making this change enables consistent requirements for balloting throughout the process.
The board approved a revision to the working document caveat, which is specific language to be typed or stamped on the front page of standards under development in ASTM, and which can be found in section F2.4 of the Form and Style for ASTM Standards. The revision brings the language up to date with the ASTM intellectual property policy.
Two changes to ASTM’s bylaws were approved by the ASTM membership in October of this year and were subsequently approved by the board at this meeting. The bylaws were updated in response to changes in several Pennsylvania statutes (ASTM is incorporated in Pennsylvania). One of the changes is in Bylaw 10 on indemnification; the second change is the addition of a bylaw provision mandated by the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act. To view both sections as revised, go to www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/BOD.htm and click on “ASTM Bylaws.”
The board of directors meeting was concluded with a review of upcoming meeting dates, including the October 2006 meeting to be held in Beijing, China. //