News of the ASTM International Board of Directors

ASTM International's board of directors last met April 23-25 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., P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610-832-9598;

Nominating Committee

The ASTM International board approved the 2012 Nominating Committee, which is charged with selecting the slate of candidates for the 2013 board. The committee is composed of the three most recent past chairs of the ASTM board and six other individuals. The following people are serving on the Nominating Committee:

  • Kenneth R. Bell, Bechtel Group, Frederick, Md.;
  • Larry D. Brown, Tectum, Inc., Newark, Ohio;
  • Richard C. Culbertson, Lockheed Martin, Cherry Hill, N.J.;
  • Franceen Gonzales, Great Wolf Resorts, Largo, Fla.;
  • Claudia V. Kropas-Hughes, Air Force Materiel Command, Dayton, Ohio;
  • Catherine H. Pilarz, past chairman of the ASTM board, Mattel/Fisher-Price, East Aurora, N.Y.;
  • Roger E. Stoller, past chairman of the ASTM board, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.;
  • James A. Tann, Brick Institute Mid-East Region, Canton, Ohio; and
  • Paul K. Whitcraft, past chairman of the ASTM board, Rolled Alloys Inc., Temperance, Mich.

Globalization and Global Outreach

ASTM International's vice president of global cooperation, Teresa Cendrowska, reported on her division's outreach work with standards developing organizations, trade associations and standards professionals around the globe.

Through its Standards Expert Program, ASTM annually hosts standards professionals from signatories of ASTM memorandums of understanding for approximately one month. This May, Soronzonbold Sukhbaatar of the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology, Jabor Mohamed Al-Naimi of the Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology, Bekir Çengelci of the Turkish Standards Institution, and Romana Marunda of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe participated in the program. In the spring, ASTM also hosted staff members as "attachments" from two MOU partners in Africa - Saziso Zangqa of the South African Bureau of Standards and Jonah Ernest of the Botswana Bureau of Standards.

In November 2011, ASTM signed a letter of cooperation with the Alliance for Training and Research Infrastructure for the Development of Mexico to cooperate in knowledge-sharing about ASTM International in Latin America. Alliance FiiDEM is a not-for-profit organization working to strengthen and upgrade scientific information on issues related to infrastructure through cooperation with the public and private sectors in the form of discussions and events.

Staff members at the ASTM China office continue to work to meet the needs of Chinese users of ASTM standards and to broaden the recognition and use of ASTM standards in China. Cendrowska reported on several of the China office's activities, which included training sessions for Chinese members of the collaborative group matched to ASTM Committee D05 on Coal and Coke and presentations to developers of Chinese standards for electromagnetic shielding materials, which is related to ASTM Committee D09 on Electrical and Electronic Insulating Materials. Cendrowska also noted the creation of a Chinese-language ASTM website. The website features a landing page similar to the front page of ASTM's English website, with additional information in simplified Chinese.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, ASTM International's director of external relations, reported to the board on outreach efforts to students and professors.

With more than 5,000 student members, 55 percent of whom are from outside the United States, ASTM is developing ongoing relationships with young people who represent the future of international standards development. ASTM also continues to sponsor a student in the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering program and is one of eight sponsoring organizations.

In 2012, ASTM will award a $10,000 scholarship to a graduate student who has demonstrated high levels of interest or involvement with ASTM standards. In addition, ASTM will offer up to five $500 mini-grants this year to assist university students in completing their graduate or senior capstone design projects.

ASTM International often visits the campuses of major universities to meet with students and professors and provide seminars on the use of standards. As of the time of the board meeting, three virtual visits had been made in 2012, in addition to the traditional face-to-face visits. During a February visit to Columbia University in New York, N.Y., a session was held with librarians to discuss the ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library and ways to improve usability. A second session was held for students.

Corporate Communications

Barbara Schindler, director of ASTM International corporate communications, reported to the board on her department's activities in communicating with ASTM's members and external media. Since the interview with board chairman Kenneth Yarosh in its January/February issue, ASTM Standardization News has begun introducing more video content into its online presence. Schindler also showed a video interview with ASTM President James Thomas, produced for the American National Standards Institute's Standards Boost Business campaign. Projects under development in the department include the 2011 ASTM Annual Report, the redesign and translation of the "What Is ASTM International?" brochure into seven languages, and the creation of an information booklet for the Global Cooperation division's memorandum of understanding program.

ASTM Washington Office

ASTM International's vice president of global policy and industry affairs, Jeffrey Grove, reported on developments of interest to ASTM's Washington, D.C., office.

A provision of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011 is of concern to ASTM and other code and standards developers; it restricts the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration from referencing any standards that are not available to the public at no cost on the Internet. ASTM staff anticipated the enactment of this legislation and an internal plan is in place to comply with the new law. Grove noted that congressional attempts to broaden the provision so that it applies to other agencies have been unsuccessful to date.

ASTM International participated in recent congressional hearings on the effectiveness of the U.S. standards system. James Seay, chairman of ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices and president, Premier Rides, Baltimore, Md., testified in March, as well as ASTM board member Mary Saunders, who represented the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., in her position as director of NIST's Standards Coordination Office.

In February, a United States – Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council was created with a mandate to work together to promote economic growth, job creation and benefits to consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination. ASTM staff engaged in the RCC's sectoral meetings targeted toward alignment of regulations and standards for nanotechnology, unmanned aviation vehicles and consumer products. In all three areas, ASTM has developed international standards with the involvement of public and private sector experts from Canada. Additional meetings are planned for the coming months.

In March, ASTM submitted its comments in response to the Office of the Federal Register's request for public comments on the petition for rulemaking related to incorporation of standards by reference in regulation and legislation. The petition specifically requested the amendment of regulations to define ‘‘reasonably available'' documents and to include several requirements related to the statutory obligation that material incorporated by reference be reasonably available. ASTM's comments described the private and public collaboration on and utilization of its standards, and clarified its position on intellectual property rights and its policies on the accessibility of its standards to the public.

The board discussed the recent determination by American Petroleum Institute legal counsel that participation in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) activities violates U.S. economic sanctions against certain participating nations, and API's subsequent instructions to their personnel to resign participation in ISO activities. ANSI has submitted a request for determination to the Office of Foreign Assets Control as to whether or not standards development activities are subject to U.S. economic sanctions. ASTM has sent an email to the ISO secretariats and chairmen of U.S. technical advisory groups administered by ASTM to notify them about the concerns raised regarding participation in ISO activities. No action was taken by the ASTM board, pending a response to ANSI's request to OFAC.

Committee on Certification

Timothy Brooke, ASTM International vice president of certification, training and proficiency testing, provided a report from the ASTM Committee on Certification Programs.

An ASTM program for Supplier's Declaration of Conformity to ASTM test methods was launched in April, providing suppliers with the ability to register their conformity to ASTM standards after providing documentation.

A new Coal Chemistry Technician Personnel Certificate Program was approved by the committee to train and assess individuals on good laboratory practices, focusing on the standards most frequently used in coal chemistry laboratories.

ASTM recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Institute of Building Sciences that is intended to improve building enclosure design and commissioning through several initiatives, including the development of a personnel certification program for building enclosure commissioning agents and consultants.

Technical Committee Operations

ASTM International's vice president of technical committee operations, Katharine Morgan, discussed several developments in her division.

The Committee on Technical Committee Operations forwarded revisions of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees to the board of directors for approval.

  • Revisions to Section 9 on Rules for Conduct of Business prohibit the recording of ASTM meetings with the exception of educational events.
  • Revisions to Section 11 on Subcommittee Balloting Procedures accommodates the practice of removing an item from ballot without consideration of negative votes in order to rework and resubmit the item for another ballot.
  • Revisions to Section 12 on Main Committee Balloting Procedures clarifies the availability of five options for handling negative votes.
  • Revisions to Section 9.6 of Circular Letter 726 clarify information about task group organization and procedures.

All recommended revisions were approved by the board.

In addition, the board approved the creation of new ASTM technical Committee E61 on Radiation Processing, which is being formed from Subcommittee E10.01 on Radiation Processing: Dosimetry and Applications. With a large membership of its own and little in common with the nuclear energy-related standards activities of other subcommittees in Committee E10 on Nuclear Technology and Applications, members of E10.01 have agreed it is time to dedicate a full technical committee to standardization activities within the radiation processing industry.

Daniel Smith, assistant vice president of ASTM technical committee operations, reported on membership statistics. The number of participating members has been steadily increasing for the past decade, with a total of 25,531 as of March 1, as has the number of organizational and international memberships. The Technical Committee Operations division has enhanced its tracking of government members and international members by region, and staff managers continue to proactively obtain needed government participation on technical committees and take action to retain dropped government members or find agency replacements.

Smith also reported on a satisfaction survey undertaken to learn how ASTM staff can better serve the needs of its members. The results were largely positive and pointed out some areas to which ASTM staff will investigate enhancements in the coming months.

European Public Affairs

Jeffrey Grove reported on outreach activities in Europe that aim to raise greater awareness and support of ASTM International standards in that region.

ASTM has been working with the Transatlantic Economic Council, a strategic partnership between the European Union and the United States that serves as a platform for economic and regulatory cooperation, regarding standards for various biobased product groups. ASTM standards for determining the biobased content of products and packaging are noted by the TEC due to the global significance of these documents. At the request of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, ASTM staff has engaged with the European working group on biobased products to provide an overview of our standards in this area. Further, ASTM invited the European Committee on Standardization (CEN) to establish a liaison with ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics to improve technical exchange and cooperation. In a recent TEC update document jointly issued by the European Union and the United States, the European Commission specifically commended ASTM for its willingness to engage and cooperate on the issue, and suggested that CEN should do the same.

The European Parliament is in the final stages of approving the series of legislative and non-legislative measures addressing the European standardization policy known as the "standards package." Of interest to ASTM International, the proposal reaffirms existing EU policy by stating that the term "international standardization body" specifically means the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Telecommunications Union. During negotiations between the European Parliament and council, an agreement on information technology and telecom standards was reached to allow the greater use of standards from consortia and fora for both regulatory and procurement purposes. However, such standards will be considered "technical specifications" and will not have the same legal status as European harmonized standards.

During a Brussels outreach visit in March, ASTM staff visited with numerous companies and organizations including the Solvay Chemicals Research and Development Center, the European Renewable Resources and Materials Association, Roquette Freres group, the European Partnership for Energy and Environment, European-American Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce – EU, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Europe, and Underwriters Laboratories – Europe. Other Brussels visits involved outreach to staff of the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament and with policy officers within the Euorpean Commission, including DG-Energy and DG-Enterprise and Industry.

William T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award

The board voted to honor Anthony Fiorato, Ph.D., P.E., a consultant and executive director of the Slag Cement Association, Farmington Hills, Mich., with the 2012 William T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award. The Cavanaugh Award is granted to a person of widely recognized eminence in the voluntary standards system who may or may not be a member of ASTM International. The title of honorary member is bestowed on recipients of the award. Established in 1987, the award honors William T. Cavanaugh, who firmly established ASTM International as the world leader in the development and dissemination of voluntary consensus standards during his service as chief executive officer from 1970 to 1985.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.