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March/April 2008
PlainTalk

The Secret of Success

Honoring New Leaders

James A. ThomasSome things don’t change. The visions, the principles, the fundamental values of ASTM International, for example, are the same today as they were when the founders set them down. For 110 years, this organization has been the living embodiment of those values, its leaders never wavering, never compromising their commitment to openness, fairness, quality and relevance in the development of standards. Those values are still the compass point to which we turn, whether it is in guarding the process of open standardization or providing the best atmosphere in which our experts can work freely and efficiently.

Some things, however, do change. Because this organization is nothing if it is not people, the inexorable cycle of youth and age, career and retirement, is part of the ASTM experience. And yet, in well over a century, ASTM International has lost nothing of its vitality or its relevance to the world at large. This could not have happened without a constant influx of new minds and new energies. Rejuvenation is part of the process.

New members come into ASTM International every day from all parts of the globe, filled with enthusiasm, new ideas and fresh approaches. Here they find acceptance and discover that there are no barriers to full participation. There are no political boundaries in the system, nothing to discourage the full expression of talent or the pursuit of excellence. They come for the freedom to be the best. This is the secret of our success.

This past year, the board of directors decided to recognize and honor the contribution new members are making to ASTM’s remarkable history by establishing the ASTM International President’s Leadership Award, which recognizes extraordinary leadership within the first five years of an individual’s association with ASTM. The purpose of the award is to “acknowledge individuals who, early in their ASTM career, have significantly advanced the Society’s mission through extraordinary accomplishment, example and vision. The Award signifies the promise of continued success of ASTM International, made possible through the inspiration and positive contributions of new volunteers.”

Perhaps this award will also inspire our more seasoned members to seek out the new generation. They are, after all, the promise of our continued success.

James A. Thomas
President, ASTM

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