||News of the ASTM Board of Directors
ASTM International’s board of directors last met April 18-20 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).
2006 Nominating Committee
The board approved the 2006 Nominating Committee, which is charged with selecting the slate of candidates for 2007 ASTM directors and officers. The committee is composed of the three past chairmen of the ASTM board and six other individuals. The following people are serving on the 2006 Nominating Committee:
• Kevin Ashley, Centers for Disease Control/National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio
• Michael R. Mitchell, Mechanics & Materials Consulting, Flagstaff, Ariz.
• John Malmgreen, Eastern Alloys, Inc., Maybrook, N.Y
• John Melander, Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.
• Ernest Pauliny, Public Service Electric and Gas Co., Somerset, N.J.
• Michael Zupanick, Technologic Resources Inc., Broomall, Pa.
• Wayne N. Holliday, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Columbus, Ohio (past chair)
• Arthur D. Schwope, TIAX LLC, Cambridge, Mass. (past chair)
• N. David Smith, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Products, Raleigh, N.C. (past chair)
Outreach to Academia
Teresa Cendrowska, director of external relations, reported that the student membership category continues to grow, with more than 3,100 students from around the world taking advantage of ASTM International’s free student membership. The leading fields of study are represented by undergraduate and graduate civil and mechanical engineering students.
The educational task group continues to seek and publish content aimed at professors and students on the ASTM Web site, particularly through the ASTM Campus online and SN. The group is also involved in collaboration with other organizations to promote the message of outreach from standards developers to academia. Partner organizations and events include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 Program, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s light sport aircraft courses, Southern Methodist University, Arizona State University, the Community College of Philadelphia’s First Annual Engineering Education and Career Symposium, Drexel University, the Ansan Campus of Hanyang University in Korea, the American Society of Engineering Educators, and the Standards Engineering Society’s annual conference.
Research Task Group
Cendrowska also reported on the progress of an ASTM task group that is preparing to conduct a research study on the impact of standards on corporate profitability. During 2005 two requests for proposals were issued, and in late 2005 contractors were selected: the University of Texas, Austin, which will conduct a qualitative study, and Market Measurement, which will conduct a quantitative survey. Together with the researchers, the internal task group is evaluating several commercial sectors as candidates for study.
Government and Industry Relations
ASTM Washington Representative Jeffrey Grove described the activities in which the Washington office is currently engaged to advance ASTM’s mission and strategic objectives.
More than 40 members of Congress are cosponsors of legislation (H.R. 1861) that directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to mandate furniture tip-over safety regulations. ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products is currently considering a revision to F 2057, Safety Specification for Chests, Door Chests, and Dressers, to meet or exceed the requirements of H.R. 1861. ASTM has been proactively engaged with Congress to make them aware of the pending revisions to F 2057. In March, the primary sponsor of H.R. 1861 wrote to F15 and indicated that she plans to revise the legislation by including F 2057 through incorporation by reference.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has agreed to sponsor and introduce the “Standards Development Organization Advancement Act of 2006.” The legislation provides SDOs with an affirmative defense precluding liability when involved in a standards development activity that includes the elements of a voluntary consensus process such as openness, balance of interests, due process, an appeals process, and consensus. It does not preclude liability when an SDO is guilty of intentional, bad faith, or criminal misconduct in its standards developing activity. The legislation confirms existing case law wherein courts have recognized that an SDO does not owe a “duty of care” to the user of a standard because the SDO exercises no control over the voluntary implementation of its standard.
ASTM International has been working with the state of Maryland Department of Economic Development to establish a policy requiring all state agencies and departments to use standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies and to participate in their development. The policy is modeled after the federal Public Law 104-113, the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act. If adopted by Maryland, the policy could serve as a model for other states.
Removing Barriers to the Global Acceptance and Use of ASTM
ASTM contacted the representatives to the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Committee concerning the 2005 World Trade Report. ASTM is concerned that the report’s section on standards and trade contained certain statements and references that served to advance the misperception that standards developed by specifically designated organizations should be given primary importance and recognition in the global marketplace as international standards. In response, the 149 representatives to the WTO TBT Committee discussed the statements in the report at their autumn meeting in Geneva. The TBT committee chair concluded the discussion by reaffirming previously stated WTO policy that bases recognition and acceptance as an international standard on specific principles such as the transparency, openness and impartiality in their development process rather than designating specific organizations that develop international standards. The concluding statement by the chair was welcomed by ASTM.
ASTM International participated in a summit of global manufacturers in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss international trade issues and strategies to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade that arise due to standards and technical regulations. Other members of the manufacturing delegation included representatives from DuPont, Ford, Nucor, the Society of the Plastics Industry, the American Forest and Paper Association, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and CropLife America. The delegation met with European counterparts from leading trade and industrial associations to discuss trans-Atlantic business concerns and with WTO ambassadors and mission staff from Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and Uruguay.
Recent corporate awareness activities have included meetings of ASTM senior staff with U.S. trade associations and corporations to raise the visibility of standards among corporate executives as well as to advance an appreciation for the value of working with ASTM to meet corporate business objectives.
Globalization and Global Outreach
Vice President of Global Cooperation Kitty Kono reported on ASTM’s global outreach program.
Memorandums of Understanding
Forty-five MOUs have been signed worldwide, most recently with the national standards bodies of Jordan and Honduras as well as with the Gulf Standards Organization a regional body that includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. As one result of these MOUs, a database has been compiled of all ASTM standards used as the basis of national standards, referenced in national standards, or used in regulation of countries worldwide. To date, staff have identified 3,270 separate ASTM standards that are used in this way by 61 countries.
The China Consortium on Standards and Conformity Assessment was incorporated as a legal entity in late December 2005 and is now CSCA, Inc. The consortium received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will end in June 2007, to help defray the cost of CSCA; all members of the consortium agreed to extend their commitment to fund CSCA until June 2008.
In continuing support of our partnership with the China National Institute of Standardization, the Shanghai Institute of Standardization, and the Standardization Administration of China, ASTM staff conducted training sessions for about 200 Chinese representatives in Shanghai and Beijing in January. In addition, ASTM is hosting three Chinese standards experts this spring and summer for extended educational visits at ASTM Headquarters.
Kono also reported that she and James Thomas made an official visit to New Delhi, India, in January to meet with top officials of many leading Indian standards, trade, and government organizations, including the Bureau of Indian Standards, the Confederation of India Industries, the National Council for Cement and Building Materials and the Indian Oil Corporation. A delegation from the Bureau of Indian Standards will have made a follow-up visit to ASTM Headquarters during the third week of May.
ASTM Director of Corporate Development Pat Picariello and ASTM’s Mexican Representative Luis Ordonez hosted a meeting in Mexico City in February with 40 representatives of the Mexican construction standards organization, ONNCCE. The objective of the meeting was to analyze opportunities where ASTM technical committees could cooperate with ONNCCE committees in harmonizing and developing standards for Mexico.
Kono reported that in March, the U.S. Department of Commerce presented ASTM with a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade as a result of the ASTM/Vietnam memorandum of understanding. The certificate was awarded during a visit to ASTM headquarters by a delegation of eight legislators and standards officials from Vietnam who were visiting the United States as part of a broader Department of Commerce initiative to promote trade.
ASTM International sponsored a seminar on “Standards for the Construction Industry” for about 150 engineers and government representatives from the Moroccan construction sector. The program, which took place in Casablanca, was held in cooperation with the National Standards body of Morocco, Service de Normalisation Industrielle Marocaine. The purpose of the program was to raise awareness of the importance of ASTM standards for construction and the openness of the ASTM standards development system. Speakers included Abdellah Nejjar, director of SNIMA; Abderrahim Taibi, chief of standards for SNIMA; John Nicholas, immediate past chair of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings, and Kono.
In February, James Olshefsky, ASTM director of committee services, provided training via phone and Internet to 10 representatives of the Afghanistan National Standardization Authority. Olshefsky and Jessica Hychalk have provided similar training to representatives from Bolivia, Egypt, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Zambia.
In March, Robert Morgan, a director in the ASTM Technical Committee Operations Division, participated in a five day seminar on U.S. Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment in Bangkok, Thailand. Morgan presented information about ASTM International to more than 200 representatives from various industrial sectors and government officials from Thailand. Kono closed her report with notice of future outreach activities to be undertaken by senior ASTM staff in Peru, Korea, and Panama.
Corporate Development and Communications
Vice President of Corporate Development Drew Azzara reported to the board on membership trends. The number of participating members in ASTM has continued to increase at an annual rate of 2 percent; while informational memberships increased by 1.4 percent between 2004 and 2005, and organizational memberships decreased by 2.5 percent during that time. Student memberships continued to rise with a 5.4 percent increase in new memberships in 2005 over the previous year. The number of members from outside the United States saw a 25 percent increase between 2003 and 2005.
Director of Corporate Communications Barbara Schindler reported on the recent expansion of SN to three languages: English, Spanish and Chinese. In March, the first issue of the new online Spanish-language version of SN was posted. Visitors to the ASTM Web site can access this new feature by going to the ASTM homepage and clicking on the Spanish link in the new, three-language logo for Standardization News. This new version of SN will be published online on a quarterly basis, and includes most of the news items and selected feature articles from the three previous SN issues.
Chinese-language editions of SN have been published annually since 1991. Beginning this year, Biao Zhun Hua Xin Wen will be published twice a year. The first 2006 issue was in production at the time of this report and features articles published in English SN over the past several months. The second issue for 2006 will be published in time for the October board meeting in Beijing and will feature original content aimed at the industry sectors whose representatives board members will be meeting with that week. Schindler also reported on two new informational initiatives from Corporate Communications, the development of a Global Cooperation Web page on the ASTM site and a new information kit.
Accessed via the Global Cooperation navigation bar, the addition of information about ASTM’s global outreach gathers existing global information and offers new material. For the first time on the Web site, there is a section dedicated to ASTM’S memorandum of understanding program. Organized alphabetically by country, the MOU page contains a listing of all the national standards bodies with which ASTM has signed MOUs. The NSB logos are “live,” offering a direct link into the Web sites of ASTM’s NSB partners. Other sections include information on membership, ASTM’s online standards development tools, the Open House initiative, international training, and ASTM’s compliance with the WTO Principles for the Development of International Standards.
A new packet is now available containing several new information pieces about standardization, ASTM International, membership in ASTM and more. The new materials are housed in a folder designed with extra-capacity pockets to also hold SN, the ASTM Directory, etc. A companion folder with smaller pockets is also available.
Lastly, Schindler reported on the development of several new or updated brochures on the new ASTM continuity of care record standard, sustainability, ASTM student membership, Committee E13 on Molecular Spectroscopy and Separation Science, and ASTM International and public policy (under development).
ASTM Vice President of Publications and Marketing John Pace reported on the development of new products that better serve ASTM’s members and customers by packaging standards and related publications in improved ways. These include new compilations of standards, a historical compilation of the Journal of Forensic Sciences (1972-2005), and the packaging of certain standards with related helpful material. In addition, Pace’s division has also added two new international sales directors to its staff and is engaged in creating joint product development offerings in conjunction with several other standards partner organizations. Finally, Pace reported on the ongoing effort toward a complete digital library of ASTM publications, including technical books and papers, manuals and more.
William T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award
The board unanimously approved that the 2006 William T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award be presented to Akira Aoki for distinguished and outstanding contributions to standards and standardization both nationally and internationally, and for advocacy of an open and transparent global standardization process. Aoki is executive advisor, international, of the Japanese Standards Association in Tokyo. Biographical information on Mr. Aoki will appear in an upcoming issue of SN.
Next Board Meeting
The next meeting of the ASTM board of directors will be held in October in Beijing, China. In addition to holding their meetings in Beijing, board members will visit with Chinese representatives from various industry sectors, including environmental regulation, energy, consumer products, construction and metals.//