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ASTM International Hosts Open House for Federal Standards Executives

On April 13 and 14, representatives from a number of U.S. government agencies met at ASTM International Headquarters to attend an Open House for Federal Standards Executives. The event was sponsored by ASTM International in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The purpose of the open house was to highlight the successes that ASTM and the federal government have shared in working together and to learn how to build on those successes. Representatives of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Commerce (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commercial Law Development Program, International Trade Administration), Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics And Space Administration, and the Government Printing Office had the opportunity to meet with ASTM International staff members to discuss issues involved in standardization and the Federal government.

Teresa Cendrowska, director of external relations, ASTM International, opened the program with introductions, and invited the participants to explain their expectations for the open house. Expectations varied, but a common theme was finding ways to further the vision of the partnership between federal agencies and standards development organizations.

Opening remarks were presented by William Lash, III, assistant secretary for market access and compliance, Department of Commerce. Noting that 80 percent of global commodity trade is impacted by standards, Lash also said that ASTM is a vital part of the U.S. government’s trade strategies and that standards are important in admittance to markets. In order to do this, according to Lash, the U.S. government needs to maintain active relationships with standards developers such as ASTM International.

Lash’s opening remarks were followed by a welcome from ASTM International President Jim Thomas, who spoke of the relationship that exists between standards and trade and of the importance of understanding the impact of standards on market access.

Speakers included the following:

Suzanne Troje, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, spoke on “Standards Obligations, Trade Agreements, and the U.S. Position: What Does It Mean?” Troje stated that trade agreements have proliferated recently between the United States and other countries, including Chile, Singapore, Australia, Morocco, as well as countries in Africa and throughout Latin America. She also said that there is a false dichotomy between regulatory protection and open markets, and that both can be ensured simultaneously.

Kitty Kono, vice president of global cooperation at ASTM International, presented an overview of the use of ASTM standards in a number of countries in her presentation “Global Application and Use of ASTM Standards — A Survey Conducted by the NIST Inquiry Point.” The survey, which highlighted the number and subject matter of standards used by many countries, showed that ASTM International standards are widely accepted and used around the world.

Mary Saunders, chief, standards services division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, presented “Standards and U.S. Government Agencies — Regulations, Procurement, Trade — Achieving the Missions.” This presentation focused on the government role in standardization, particularly with regard to the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.

Arthur D. Schwope, ASTM International chairman of the board, closed the first day of the open house with his after-dinner address, “Technical Assistance and Market Share,” which recognized the strategic importance of technical assistance by industrialized nations to developing nations. The presentation indicated that technical assistance efficiently establishes similar national views on health, safety and the environment and effectively implements technology directly or indirectly, e.g., through standards. Schwope also thanked government agencies for their assistance in the creation of standards.

Teresa Cendrowska and Pat Picariello, both of ASTM International, opened up the session’s second day with a presentation titled “ASTM International and U.S. Government Agencies” that defined the scope of the federal agency/ASTM relationship and detailed recent examples of this relationship. Recently- formed ASTM committees that were cited as examples of responsiveness to public-sector needs included E54 on Homeland Security (see the February issue of Standardization News), E55 on Process Analytical Technology (see the May issue of Standardization News), and F39 on Airplane Electrical Wiring Systems.

Mary McKiel, Environmental Protection Agency, mentioned in her presentation, “EPA Overview of Participation in ASTM and Use of ASTM Standards” that ASTM and EPA already have had many successful partnerships. She also said that, in order to work, people-to-people contact is important to the health of the public/private sector standards development relationship.

Don Marlowe, agency standards coordinator, Food and Drug Administration, spoke on the FDA mission of ensuring safe and effective medical products and safe foods and how FDA’s participation in standards coordination aids in that mission.

Colin Church, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, was joined by Kathie Morgan, ASTM International, in his presentation, “ASTM International and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission — A Partnership That Works.” Church and Morgan discussed how standards play into the implementation of CPSC’s work, the cooperation that CPSC has given to voluntary standards development and the relationship between CPSC and ASTM that began in 1974 with the establishment of Committee F15 on Consumer Products.

Greg Saunders, director, Defense Standardization Program Office, closed the formal section of the open house with a presentation on how the Department of Defense uses ASTM standards to accomplish its national and international mission.

Helen Delaney, Delaney Consulting, Inc., who has worked closely with both ASTM International and NIST, tied together the themes of the open house in her closing remarks, when she said, “I believe that everyone in the world wants to be well, and to be safe. That is why working in standards is so satisfying, and so rewarding. If we do our jobs well, we have within our power an opportunity to make more and more people in the world well and safe. That’s what our work means. Whether we do it in the government or in a standards organization, or both — that’s the goal.”

The Open House for Federal Standards Executives proved to be a success, facilitating an open exchange of ideas and information between ASTM International staff and the federal participants, as well as among the participants themselves. //

Seated left to right: Paul Gill (NASA), Sylvia Subt (USGPO), John Edmond, Jr. (USDOA), Colin Church (CPSC), Donald Marlowe (FDA), Mary Saunders (DOC-NIST), Gregroy Saunders (DOD), Richard Black (DOE). Standing left to right: Joseph Mohorovic (CPSC), Carol Herman (FDA), Kevin McIntyre (NIST), David Karmol (ANSI), Tim Brooke (ASTM), Pat Picariello (ASTM), Michael Crowe (FCC), Teresa Cendrowska (ASTM), Daniel Schultz (ASTM), Kitty Kono (ASTM), Daniel Smith (ASTM), Helen Delaney (Delaney Consulting, Inc.), Arthur Schwope (ASTM chairman of the board), Katharine Morgan (ASTM) .

Copyright 2004, ASTM International

Rich Wilhelm is news editor/writer for SN.