Meet Your 2011 Chairman of the Board, Kitty Pilarz
As senior director of product safety at Mattel/Fisher-Price, ASTM International’s 2011 chairman of the board, Catherine (Kitty) H. Pilarz, is a key member of the worldwide community of people who work daily to ensure the safety of children’s products. In her position, Kitty interacts with not only her Fisher-Price co-workers, but with international government and industry representatives as well as consumers.
Many of these colleagues are members of ASTM International Committee F15 on Consumer Products, a group that has benefited from Kitty’s leadership for more than 20 years. Kitty is a past chairman of the committee, vice chairman of its subcommittee on new projects, and co-chairman of Subcommittee F15.18 on Cribs, Toddler Beds, Play Yards, Bassinets, Cradles and Changing Tables. However, Kitty helps develop ASTM standards for many more juvenile products than those covered by F15.18. She is active on a total of 23 subcommittees in F15, most of them having jurisdiction over standards for products that run the gamut from bunk beds to scooters.
All of these products are enjoyed by a notoriously unpredictable set of users — babies and children. “It’s not easy to foresee what a child will do with a product,” Kitty told me when I visited Fisher-Price headquarters in East Aurora, N.Y., to conduct our interview. Knowing this unpredictability, the toy industry employs programs that work right at the intersection between good product design and children’s whimsy to detect and correct emerging risks in juvenile products. At Mattel/Fisher-Price, Kitty oversees a hazard analysis program that evaluates products beyond their conformance to current standards to help identify potential problems.
It is programs such as this, combined with data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, feedback from consumers and other information sources that allow Committee F15 to respond to emerging hazards by developing or revising standards in a timely fashion. F15’s quick response time is now more important than ever, as the committee and CPSC collaborate to develop standards on an accelerated basis in support of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
As a new year of ASTM committee meetings gets under way, take a few minutes to learn more about ASTM International’s new chairman of the board, and reflect on how your commitment to ASTM standards development helps ensure safety for everyone from children to industrial workers.