News of the ASTM International Board of Directors
ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 13-16 at the Marriott Downtown Hotel in Chicago, Ill. 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 Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610-832-9598).
Finance and Audit
The board approved all proposed ASTM International budgets as well as the appointment of D. Thomas Marsh to serve as chairman of the 2014 Finance and Audit Committee. Marsh is president of Centrotrade Minerals and Metals, Inc., in Chesapeake, Va. He is active on ASTM Committee D11 on Rubber and has served on the ASTM Committee on Technical Committee Operations. Marsh has served on the ASTM board of directors since 2011.
With discussion led by Katharine Morgan, ASTM vice president of technical committee operations, a number of actions were taken on items relevant to the operation of ASTM technical committees. The board approved the following actions:
- New procedures for appealing a decision issued by any of ASTM’s standing committees — the Committees on Standards, Publications, Technical Committee Operations and Certification Programs.
- A revision to the “Frequency of Review” section of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committee Operations from Circular Letter 728. The revision moves the date for the required withdrawal of a standard to Dec. 31 of the eighth year since the last approval date — a change from the previous date, which was Jan. 1 of the sixth year since its last approval date.
- A revision to the manual, Form and Style for ASTM Standards. The changes eliminate inconsistencies regarding commercial-contractual items in standards that existed between Section F1 and Appendix A of the manual.
- Society recognition of a new award within Committee D35 on Geosynthetics, in honor of L. David Suits for his outstanding, long-term service and commitment to the committee and the geosynthetic community at large.
ASTM International vice president of publications and marketing, John Pace, reported on the status of ASTM’s publications program. He noted that the transition in popularity from physical media, such as print books and CDs, to digital offerings continues, and that ASTM is responding with the ability to deliver information in the formats and combinations that customers need. He cited the recent conversion of ASTM standards and other selected products to XML format, as well as the development of a taxonomic system that aids search refinement, as internal solutions that help promote the goal of more flexible content delivery. In addition, ASTM is continuing in its efforts to review and refresh many longstanding compilations and create enhancements to encourage the use of online delivery options.
Other offerings are being brought together to provide customers with a suite of solutions for their technical information, quality and training needs; these include the incorporation of videos in standards, Proficiency Testing Programs, and a learning management system that delivers ASTM training programs and allows students and their employers to track participation.
Jeffrey Grove, ASTM vice president of global policy and industry affairs, discussed the activities of the ASTM Washington, D.C., office. He reported that ASTM has joined the National Fire Protection Association, UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), and ASHRAE (formerly the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) in a public relations campaign aimed at educating the public on the value that standards provide to society.
ASTM staff continues to be involved in standards and regulatory convergence discussions taking place as part of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Grove said that most recently, ASTM staff played an integral role in crafting the standards-related recommendations released by the U.S. Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade. Recommendations incorporate priorities such as requiring Europe to meet the obligations of the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade agreement and recognize international standards from outside the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (creating a pathway for non-European/ISO standards to be accorded a presumption of compliance with essential technical requirements of European New Approach Directives), and urging European Union and United States regulators to engage with standards developing organizations on both sides of the Atlantic.
The board heard reports from ASTM International offices in Brussels, Canada, China, Mexico and other regions.
- Brussels: Since opening the Brussels office in January, Sara Gobbi has engaged in a number of outreach activities to raise greater awareness with the European Parliament, European Commission, business and trade associations, and other significant European stakeholders. Gobbi also has visited other groups, including consumer groups and the representatives of small- and medium-sized enterprises in standardization, and has presented at numerous conferences in the region. In addition, an ASTM email newsletter to European stakeholders and ASTM members has been relaunched as a quarterly publication.
- Canada: Diane Thompson, the ASTM representative in its new Ottawa, Ontario, office, has conducted outreach in Canada through meetings with government agencies and standards organizations. Thompson has participated in meetings of the National Public Safety Advisory Committee and stakeholder meetings sponsored by the Standards Council of Canada, the Regulatory Cooperation Council and the Consumer Product Safety Directorate of Health Canada.
- China: Liu Fei, ASTM’s chief representative in China, reported on recent outreach trips undertaken with Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. The staff of the China office continues to engage Chinese business, industry and government in outreach and training programs and promotes participation in the ASTM standards development process.
- Mexico: Through staff in its Mexico City office, ASTM International continues its cooperation with the Alliance for Training and Research Infrastructure for the Development of Mexico (Alliance FiiDEM) to cooperate in knowledge-sharing in Latin America. In September, selected ASTM members and staff participated in a workshop on water quality in Mexico City, where staff also took the opportunity to make additional outreach visits related to ASTM petroleum and concrete standards.
- Other regions: James S. Thomas, assistant vice president of ASTM sales and marketing, discussed sales and outreach activities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Major activities include: 1) a national license agreement signed with the Qatar Foundation, allowing access to the ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library for employees of all government departments, the students and teaching staff of all academic institutions, and the staffs of all state-owned and private corporations working in Qatar; 2) an extension of a contract with the CAPES Consortium in Brazil, through which the complete collection of ASTM International standards are made available to the entire Brazilian academic community; and 3) numerous opportunities in Russia, including a memorandum of understanding signed with Gazprom, which opens the door to various cooperative opportunities.
Timothy Brooke, ASTM vice president of certification, training and proficiency testing, reported on new activities in his division, including the approval of the first product category rule for single-ply roofing membranes. ASTM International became a program operator in 2012, enabling it to work with industries to develop PCRs that determine what information should be gathered and how that information should be evaluated for an environmental product declaration. Brooke noted that ASTM is working with seven trade associations to develop PCRs for their industries. In the training area, a new learning management system has been incorporated, allowing students and their employers to monitor their training activity. In addition, Brooke’s division has released self-guided e-learning training modules in petroleum and construction, with more to come.
Barbara Schindler, director of corporate communications, reported on the public relations and other activities of the department. These include brochures developed to promote individual technical committees as well as program areas such as the Leadership Connection segment of the ASTM website, booklets highlighting the recent major resin code revision and ASTM’s presence in sustainable construction, exhibit materials and more.
Teresa Cendrowska reported on the activities in her division, which include a thriving Memorandum of Understanding Program in which 82 MOUs have been signed with national and regional standards organizations in developing areas and the Standards Expert Program, which, in its ninth year, will see residency visits by representatives of national standards bodies from Egypt, the Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Cendrowska’s division has hosted numerous delegations at ASTM headquarters from around the world and conducts intensive training programs on aspects of the ASTM standards development process. She also reported on the ongoing nine-month stay of Ms. Chang-ae Cho from the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards. Cho is serving as attached staff at ASTM headquarters, learning about the public-private partnership in the U.S. standardization system.
Cendrowska also reported on the academic outreach program, which promotes the education of university and college students in the benefits and uses of standardization. Chief among this year’s accomplishments were the awarding of graduate scholarships to students who incorporate ASTM standards into their studies, the naming of Haibin Ning, Ph.D., as the 2013 Professor of the Year and student activities planned in conjunction with the fall committee weeks in Jacksonville, Fla.
The board voted to award the 2013 Charles B. Dudley Medal to Manual 63, Just-About-Right (JAR) Scales: Design, Usage, Benefit, and Risks. The manual, developed by ASTM Committee E18 on Sensory Evaluation, is a comprehensive guide on the use of JAR scales in consumer testing, including their application, construction, analysis and interpretation.
This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.