A New Name, A Longstanding Commitment
You may have caught glimpses of itcomments in previous issues
of SN, in the ASTM catalog, in other communications from Headquarters.
After 103 years of success as an international standards developing
organization, ASTM is clarifying its name to reflect what has
been its mission for over a century. ASTM is now ASTM International.
This new identity celebrates ASTMs position as a leading standards
developing organization with worldwide participation and acceptance.
While this is a change in name only, it better represents the
truly international way ASTM has operated all alonginternational
in how our standards are developed as well as where and how they
are used. With 30,000 members from over 100 nations, and almost
40 percent of our standards distributed outside the United States,
many could argue that the shift to ASTM International is long
According to President Jim Thomas, ASTM is international not only
in name, member participation and standards distribution, but
most importantly in the manner in which it operates.
ASTMs method of developing standards is based on consensus without
borders, notes Thomas. Our process ensures that interested individuals
and organizations representing academia, industry product users,
and governments alike all have an equal vote in determining a
standards content. Participants are welcome from anywhere on
Thomas underscored his position even further during a speech at the 10th International IFAN Conference of Standards Users
last fall in Berlin, Germany. Thomas noted, ASTM makes participation
in the standards process easy. It openly admits technical experts
from companies all over the world. Our technical membership is
growing, and as the nationalities of global companies become less
distinguishable, so it is with many of our technical committees.
They can no longer be characterized as American. They are citizens
of the global marketplace.
As core documents of trade, standards must reflect the commitment
of the organizations behind them, the expertise of the stakeholders
who gather to write them, and the needs of the marketplaces that
use them. ASTM has long embodied these forms of quality, consensus,
and relevance. Our standards are widely known to be drafted and
published with the greatest concern for technical and editorial
quality. The regulations that govern the activities of ASTM technical
committees have for decades ensured that the hard work of consensus-building
takes place within a fair division of producers, users, and general
interest stakeholders. And finally, the bottom-up structure of
standards-developing leadership within ASTM, wherein the technical
committee members themselves determine the need for a new standard,
gives market relevance to the end product of their labor.
ASTM International believes that these core values, of which stakeholders
from around the world may take advantage, define the future of
the international standard. As Thomas said in his speech to IFAN,
I believe that quality and relevance, accepted everywhere,
is the mantra of the possible, the present, and the future.
A Member PerspectiveThe Services You Need
Several longstanding members of ASTM, who have seen the organization
grow and prosper and have witnessed its international influence
reach further each year, echo these values.
One of those members, James Seay, president of Premier Rides in
Millersville, Md., has seen the enormous progress ASTM has made
internationally though the eyes of his committee, F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices.
Technological advances of the last decade, combined with economic
and political changes, have broken down boundaries, bringing the
world closer together, notes Seay. Our organization, like many
others, now has the opportunity to do business on a worldwide
scale in a global market. Standards can play a vital role in aiding
global trade and ASTM has been instrumental in facilitating the
development of standards that can be used on a worldwide basis.
The work of the F24 committee is a great example of how successful
ASTM has been in facilitating international standards development.
Our committee can work together 365 days a year, online and in
real time to develop standards. ASTM has taken the critical technological
and operational steps to make this process inclusionary, enabling
all members from all parts of the globe to work closely together.
ASTM is very much an organization dedicated to worldwide presenceit
opens its doors and facilitates dialogue that leads to international
cooperation and progress, adds Seay.
One of the recent steps Seay refers to that ease the participation
for interested professionals from around the world is the development
of the Internet-based Standards Development Forums. This innovative use of online technology serves to blur national
boundaries by leaping past the traditional limitations of travel
budgets and time zones. Using the Forums, members may participate
in the development or revision of posted standards 24 hours a
day, seven days a week.
ASTM has also launched Web balloting, allowing members around
the world to vote on standards actions online, without the delay
of mailing printed ballots. This latest use of Internet technology
closes the circle: from document templates available online that
help users write standards in ASTM format, to Standards Development
Forums, through Web balloting, the entire ASTM process is open
to members around the world.
Another member who has contributed greatly to extending ASTMs
reach internationally is A. Ivan Johnson. An active ASTM member
since 1942, Johnson served at the U.S. Geological Survey for 31
years as a Water Data Coordinator. Since 1979, he has worked as
an independent groundwater consultant. In his frequent travels
abroad Johnson has played a missionary role in introducing ASTM
and its standards development processes into a number of developing
countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.
During my travels organizing and conducting international symposia
on groundwater sciences, I have found many developing nations,
particularly in Africa, who are in need of standards and methods
in a variety of environmental areas, comments Johnson. ASTMs
openness and inclusive processes enable them to get involved in
the standards process and bring much needed methods into their
In nearly 60 years I have witnessed tremendous growth in both
the use of and participation in ASTM standards throughout the
world. The name change to ASTM International serves as an affirmation
of that success, adds Johnson.
Open House for Latin American and Caribbean Countries
ASTMs message of international cooperation took center stage
at a two-day open house at its Philadelphia-area headquarters
in late November. The event brought together leaders of the National
Standards Bodies from Canada, as well as from countries throughout
Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries that sent representatives
include: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada,
Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
(Click here for coverage of this event.)
Memoranda of Understanding
In an effort to work with developing countries, ASTM has recently
signed memoranda of understanding with the Colombian and Uruguayan
national standards bodies.
The MOU with the Instituto Colombiano de Normas Tecnicas y Certificacion (ICONTEC) was signed on Oct. 16, 2001, to enhance the ability
of ASTM International and ICONTEC standards to support the needs
of the Colombian people, continue growth of the Colombian economy,
and aid in the development of Colombian national standards for
health, safety, and the environment. Fabio Tobon, the executive
director of ICONTEC, and ASTM President Jim Thomas were the signatories.
The MOU will promote communication between the two organizations
and increase awareness of standards development activities. The
development, endorsement, and implementation of this agreement
brings with it the promise of long-term mutual benefits for ICONTEC,
ASTM, and the constituents they both represent, Jim Thomas said.
Together, ASTM and ICONTEC will review the MOU on a yearly basis
to ensure that it meets its stated goals.
In late November 2001, Thomas spoke at the Workshop on Conformity
Assessment Systems in the U.S. and Colombia at ICONTECs headquarters
in Bogota. The title of his presentation was The Standardization
System in the U.S. and Its Relationship with Technical Regulations.
Tobon was present at the November Open House at ASTM Headquarters.
In January, Mr. Tobon began a three-year term as a member of the
ASTM Board of Directors.
An agreement between ASTM and the Uruguayan national standards
organization, the Instituto Uruguayo de Normas Tecnicas (UNIT) was signed by UNITs Director Pablo Benia and ASTMs Jim
Thomas on Nov. 14, 2001. The U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay, Martin
J. Silverstein, and the President of Uruguays Engineering Association
Eduardo R. Alvarez, were present for the signing. The MOU will
promote communication between the two organizations, promote knowledge
of the standards development activities of each organization,
and strengthen the Uruguayan national standards system. During
ASTMs visit to UNIT in Montevideo, Jim Thomas addressed a conference
of 150 engineers with presentations on ASTM standards and their
importance in the commerce of the Americas.
ASTMs technical committees, which represent industry fields ranging from metals to
the environment, have a long history of international activity.
Most recently, ASTMs Committee D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials and Applications and
its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) counterpart
signed an MOU highlighting the acceptance and use of globally
accepted standards, such as those of D01, to meet the needs of
all stakeholders in the paint and coatings industry, without recourse
to duplication of effort within ISO. (See the December 2001 issue
of SN for coverage of this MOU.)
Other ASTM technical committees such as D30 on Composite Materials and F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices have recently launched significant
efforts toward increasing international participation on their
standards development activities as well as promoting the international
use of their standards. Both committees are utilizing ASTMs online
capabilities, which allow users around the world 24/7 access to
the standards development process, from draft development to acquiring
the resulting standard. (See the March and August 2001 issues of SN for coverage of D30 and F24s efforts, respectively.)
New Logo and Tag Line
Along with the name clarification to ASTM International, our logo
has been enhanced graphically to underscore the international
message. In addition, the tag line Standards Worldwide will
be incorporated as part of the revised logo.
This new logo treatment conveys our international message effectively,
while not diminishing our brand recognition, which ASTM enjoys
in all corners of the world, notes Barbara Schindler, director
of ASTM Corporate Communications.
Dr. Kishore Nadkarni, formerly of ExxonMobil and an active member
of Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, summed
up the significance of the change to ASTM International with the
ASTM has always been the premier standards writing body around
the world, comments Nadkarni. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears
have gone into making ASTM the successful international organization
that it is. This name change legitimizes what many people around
the world have known for a long time. //
Copyright 2002, ASTM