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 December 2007
News of the ASTM Board

News of the ASTM International Board of Directors

ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 22-24 at ASTM International Headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa. 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).

President’s Leadership Award

The board unanimously approved the creation of the President’s Leadership Award. The new award will honor individuals who give exemplary service early in their involvement with ASTM International, i.e., the activity cited must have occurred within the individual’s first five years of association with ASTM. The types of exemplary service that warrant nomination include (but are not limited to) successfully leading a major new activity, revitalizing a dormant activity, advancing the global application of ASTM standards, reducing the cycle time of ASTM standards development, advancing the use of ASTM standards in regulation, fostering appreciation of ASTM standards among industry executives or successful academic outreach.

Globalization and Global Outreach

ASTM International’s vice president of global cooperation, Teresa Cendrowska, reported on activities in international outreach. ASTM’s memorandum of understanding program continues to bear fruit in offering avenues of cooperation between ASTM and mainly developing nations. Fifty-four MOUs have been signed worldwide, with the most recent signings being with Botswana, Ghana, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

ASTM is developing Latin-American Spanish language translations of the 46 ASTM standards cited in the American Concrete Institute’s Spanish language version of the structural concrete code (ACI 318-05S). Staff is in the process of posting the standards, as they are translated, to the ASTM Web site.

In cooperation with seven national concrete trade associations in Latin America, ASTM International is making its standards more accessible to individual users through information centers hosted at each trade association. Computers at the centers provide electronic access to published ASTM standards and Digital Library content. Centers have been opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bogotá, Colombia; San José, Costa Rica; Quito, Ecuador; Guatemala City, Guatemala;
El Dorado, Panama and Caracas, Venezuela.

As part of ASTM’s MOU program, ASTM sponsored technical assistance training programs for nine national standards bodies in 2007. The technical assistance program will be expanded to 20 locations in 2008.

Outreach to Academia

Cendrowska also reported on ASTM’s outreach to professors and students in university and college settings. Since the beginning of 2007 active student membership has grown by 1,030 students from around the world.

To support engineering education and help students learn how engineers contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy issues, ASTM International joined six other societies in 2007 as a sponsor of the Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. ASTM’s intern for 2007 was Saurabh Anand, a May 2007 graduate of Washington University’s mechanical engineering program. Anand worked closely with members of Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and developed a public policy paper titled, “Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Evaluation of Policy Constraints and the Role of Industry Consensus Standards,” which he summarized in an article for the September issue of SN.

The staff Academic Task Group’s focus for 2008 will be to develop relationships with university professors and instructors through conferences and activities sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education and the International Committee for Education about Standardization. ASTM’s director of external relations, James Olshefsky, will be the new leader of the staff Academic Task Group.

Government and Industry Relations

Jeffrey Grove, ASTM International’s vice president of global policy and industry affairs, reported that ASTM’s Washington, D.C., office is engaged in a number of activities involving legislation, trade agreements and corporate awareness.

In recent months, ASTM has responded to requests to appear before Congress regarding issues associated with toys. Most recently, Katharine Morgan, vice president of technical committee operations, testified before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on lead-tainted toy imports. Morgan described ASTM standard F 963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, and ASTM’s MOUs with Chinese standards bodies. Similarly, Grove received a request to appear before the staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to elaborate on Morgan’s testimony and provide copies of F 963. Previously, ASTM President James Thomas testified in May before a House Committee at a hearing focused on the Consumer Product Safety Commission and children’s safety issues such as ingestible magnets. Thomas provided an overview of the U.S. standards system and pointed out that the ASTM standards development process was flexible enough to make — in nine months — a major revision to F 963, mitigating the risk from ingestible magnets.

Several pieces of legislation of interest to ASTM International have been introduced in the U.S. Congress during the current session. As examples, Grove noted that the House Energy Committee recently included a provision in legislation (at the behest of automotive and engine manufacturers) directing the EPA to establish a national biodiesel specification for B20 within 90 days, provided that ASTM had not already done so. ASTM staff worked with supporters such as the National Biodiesel Board to explain the complexity of reaching consensus on the B20 specification to Congress and the consequences of taking technical decisions out of the voluntary consensus process of ASTM. Consequently, the legislation was amended to provide an additional 18 months before the EPA should establish its own government specification.

On a related matter, the Senate energy bill codifies an existing EPA requirement that all biodiesel used as fuel must meet ASTM D 6751, Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels. This provision is the subject of continued scrutiny as several new biofuel producers oppose the codification of the ASTM specification as they find certain properties to be problematic. ASTM is actively engaged in educating Congress on other legislative measures involving product safety, efficient buildings and building products, and alternative energy research.

Recognizing that the biofuels infrastructure of the U.S. and other countries relies extensively on ASTM standards, the U.S. Department of State has asked ASTM to assist the International Biofuels Forum by reviewing existing biodiesel and bioethanol specifications/test methods used in key regions of the world. Rather than focusing on global harmonization, the objective of this effort is confined to identifying key differences in existing specifications and to make recommendations toward more globally compatible specifications. Technical experts from ASTM, the Brazilian Organization for Standardization and the European Committee for Standardization began their review and discussions at a June meeting in Washington and plan to conclude the activity by the end of the year.

The board approved funds that allow ASTM International to take steps toward greater representation of the Society’s interests in Europe. Toward this end, ASTM staff will work over a three-year period with a European-based public affairs firm to regularly visit Europe and cultivate relationships with regional counterparts.

Corporate Development and Communications

Drew Azzara, vice president of corporate development, reported on ASTM’s efforts to attract and retain members. Azzara’s division creates promotional materials in several formats for new and existing technical committees. The implementation of these efforts has resulted in an increased level of participation from throughout the world. This expansion has provided global stakeholders and technical experts with a higher level of awareness of ASTM’s presence in the international standards arena.

ASTM International’s director of corporate communications, Barbara Schindler, provided the board with information on several departmental initiatives. The first annual ASTM International Advantage Award paper competition was held in 2007 and was very successful, with 15 papers submitted and three winners published in the November issue of SN. The paper submissions — from Canada, China, India, Nigeria, the United States and Zimbabwe — drew from the diverse industries covered by ASTM standards, such as drug manufacturing, sustainable development, environmental site assessment, biodiesel, transportation, infant walkers and construction.

January 2008 will see the launch of a revamped SN. The redesigned magazine, which will move to a bimonthly publication schedule, will provide readers with less technical and more comprehensive feature articles covering general standardization concerns such as regulatory issues, trade policy, etc. Committee activities will still be represented in the feature and Tech News sections of the magazine in a way that shows the value of ASTM’s activities to industries worldwide and society at large. New content will show readers how to make the most of ASTM International’s process, provide glimpses into the thinking of standards professionals via interviews, give snapshots of important ASTM products and more.

In light of the decreased number of SN issues per year, a program to deliver news about ASTM International in electronic formats is under development. It would take the form of electronic newsletters, as well as electronic event announcements and other e-mail communications. The first e-newsletter will be published in January 2008.

Committee on Publications

The board of directors approved the awarding of the 2007 Dudley Award, which is administered by the Committee on Publications, to Carl G. Cash (posthumous) for his paper “Porosity of Glass Fiber Felts Used in Built-Up Roofing,” which was published in ASTM Special Technical Publication 1088, Roofing Research and Standards Development, 2nd Volume, in June 1990. The Dudley Award honors an outstanding publication contribution that has a widely recognized impact on a particular field of ASTM interest and has been documented in ASTM literature. Cash’s paper represented a significant contribution to the roofing industry, one that revolutionized the assembly of built-up roofing membranes in which glass fiber felts were used as reinforcing. As a direct result of this paper, a majority of the roofing felt manufacturers changed their specifications for built-up membranes to require the use of high softening point bitumens for interply moppings. The immense reduction in membrane failures universally validated the paper’s conclusions.

Committee Operations

Katharine Morgan reported to the board on the Committee on Standards’ work to update provisions for the use of SI units (International System of Units) in the Form and Style for ASTM Standards manual. The board viewed a proposed revision to Part H of the manual and the Committee on Standards will review the revision and board input at its next meeting in March 2008.

The board approved changes to Section 9.5 (on proxies) of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees. These changes had been proposed by the Committee on Technical Committee Operations. The section now reads:

9.5 Proxies — A voting member wishing to vote via proxy at a subcommittee meeting or main committee meeting shall designate a member from the applicable subcommittee or main committee or an individual from the voting member’s voting interest (see 6.1.2). A voting member wishing to vote via proxy shall personally contact the member or individual whom the member wishes to exercise the proxy and shall complete a duly executed proxy form as provided in appendix VI of these Regulations. The signed and duly executed hand-written proxy form shall be mailed, e-mailed as a scanned attachment, or faxed by the voting member, or hand delivered by the proxy holder to the chairman of the committee or subcommittee prior to the applicable meeting or action. A separate proxy form shall be completed for each individual meeting of a subcommittee or a main committee. The solicitation of proxies from voting members is prohibited. Solicited proxies will not be accepted. No voting interest shall hold or exercise proxies for more than one voting member in any subcommittee or main committee meeting.

The board approved Society recognition of the newly established Carl G. Cash Award. ASTM Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofing established the award to recognize outstanding research-oriented contributions by ASTM International construction commiteee members to the advancement of building envelope technology, as exemplified by Cash’s distinguished accomplishments in this field.

Proposed Revisions to Mission and Strategic Objectives

The board approved minor changes to ASTM’s mission statement; the new statement can be viewed online by clicking on the “About ASTM” navigation bar at www.astm.org.

2008 Business Plan

President James Thomas presented components of ASTM International’s 2008 business plan to the board. To continue to meet its mission goals, ASTM staff has several plans for 2008, including:

  • Enhancing the translations program, i.e., translating standards and corporate information into other languages on an as-needed basis.
  • Creating online workspace for ASTM task groups, improving “MyASTM” functionality on the ASTM International Web site and creating a new site “shopping cart.”
  • Expanding Web conferencing and video technology.
  • Creating greater outreach to non-U.S.-based trade associations in order to improve links to industry sectors around the world.
  • Enhancing SN in 2008 and developing an electronic newsletter for ASTM members.
  • Converting standards data to XML for improved data utility and accessibility to external databases.
  • Creating new products such as customized standards collections and portal products.

Appointment of 2008 Finance and Audit Committee Chairman

Richard Kayser, vice chairman of the board of directors, announced that Julie Kilgore has accepted the position of chair of the board’s Finance and Audit Committee. Kilgore, principal and managing partner at Wasatch Environmental, Salt Lake City, Utah, served on the ASTM board from 2005 to 2007. //