Next Generation of Committee Leaders

    Strong leadership is vital to the success of every ASTM committee. Committee officers provide direction and support to their membership which allows the committee to operate efficiently and effectively throughout the standardization process. Committee leaders must also be responsible for future leadership needs. There is no formal policy for succession planning, but ASTM encourages all committees to identify potential leaders, and train members who have interest and the potential to assume a leadership role. Current leaders should be identifying potential future leaders based on working relationships and active participation within the committee. Active and interested members should be appointed to task groups, subcommittee, or other committee leadership positions. In addition, committee officers should reach out to new members in the committee and assist them so that they can quickly become involved in the committee's standards development activities. For additional information about methods that help train new members, please see “Best Practices for Training New Members.”

    Many committees create a hierarchy of main committee officer positions so that a first-time elected member might initially serve as recording secretary, then membership secretary, vice-chairman, and finally main committee chairman. This approach provides a member with a well-rounded experience prior to serving as main committee chairman. Main committee officers are elected from a slate that is prepared by a nominating committee in odd-numbered years. The election of main committee officers is outlined in the committee’s bylaws.

    The subcommittee chairman is also a very important position and vital to the standardization process. Many of the larger ASTM subcommittees have additional officer positions such as vice chairmen and secretaries. A subcommittee chairman should identify active members such as technical contacts and task group chairmen and consider them as possibilities for serving in these subcommittee officer positions and eventually as subcommittee chairman replacements. Appointments of subcommittee chairmen are done by the main committee chairmen and approved by the executive subcommittee. So, subcommittee chairmen should keep their main committee chairmen informed of their succession plans as they progress.

    Lastly, committees should make use of training opportunities that ASTM offers online, at committee meetings, and through special training events like the Officers Training Workshop. Also, the current leadership should use the ASTM awards program to recognize the efforts of members as they participate in the ASTM process.