News of the ASTM International Board of Directors

ASTM International's board of directors last met Oct. 24-26, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt in New York, N.Y. 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 Committee

The board of directors approved ASTM International budgets and reviewed other financial matters, and unanimously approved the appointment of Michael R. Withers to serve as chairman of the 2012 Finance and Audit Committee. Withers is vice president of ride engineering at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, Calif. He is an ASTM International fellow and Award of Merit winner who serves on Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices.

ASTM Logo Policy

The board approved a revision to the ASTM International logo policy; the policy no longer permits organizational members to use the ASTM logo in advertisements.

Government and Industry Relations

Jeffrey Grove, vice president of global policy and industry affairs, reported on the activities of ASTM's Washington, D.C., office involving U.S. federal legislation and standards policy, international trade issues, and outreach to industry and trade associations.

In addition, Grove reported on other endeavors by the ASTM Washington, D.C., office.

  • The Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency that conducts research and recommends administrative and agency procedure improvements, is currently working on two reports relevant to ASTM. The first report, incorporation by reference, examines legal and policy issues related to agency use of standards that are incorporated by reference in regulations. ASTM has sought to inform ACUS regarding the contribution of referenced standards to promoting health, safety and the environment. For the second report, international regulatory cooperation, ACUS is researching standards policies and related technical measures that create unnecessary obstacles to international commerce for the United States. ASTM has submitted comments promoting standards policies that facilitate greater global regulatory convergence and enhance trade, such as the multiple path approach to the use of international standards and related policies, which provide government with the flexibility to choose international standards based on technical quality, market relevance and World Trade Organization principles.
  • A provision in legislation addressing pipeline safety may require that standards referenced by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration be publicly available at no cost. ASTM staff has discussed the legislation with congressional staff to heighten awareness of copyright and funding issues, and to better understand the intent of the legislation, which references more than 100 ASTM International standards as well as those from other developers.
  • In partnership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the National Fire Protection Association, ASTM International will be launching an outreach campaign to raise awareness and appreciation among policymakers and the general public about the contributions that standards make to society through enhanced public safety, health and the environment. In support of the initiative, the organizations will document some of the benefits of voluntary consensus standards development to both government and the public.

European Affairs

Grove reported that ASTM continues to engage in public affairs activities to raise greater awareness and support for ASTM in Europe.

  • Since the April 2011 board meeting, World Trade Organization representatives from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Canadian government's Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada have met with the Non-Agricultural Market Access secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, about the industry letter sent in April 2011 urging USTR to reject the European proposal to WTO that would restrict the choice of international standards to certain organizations. ASTM and the broader stakeholder community are remaining engaged with the issue, which is not yet resolved.
  • The European Commission has proposed a series of legislative and nonlegislative measures addressing European standardization policy. The measures are collectively known as the "standards package" and are intended to strengthen EU standardization bodies, improve the internal market, speed the standards development process and integrate global information and communications technology in policy. The proposal reaffirms existing EU policy stating that the term "international standardization body" refers only to the International Electrotechnical Commission, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union. Issues still to be resolved include reaching an agreement on information and communications technology standards; further integrating small- and medium-size enterprises into standards development; unifying the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC); defining the funding model for the new standardization system and improving standards development efficiency. ASTM continues to monitor the situation.
  • Outreach trips to Europe continued as ASTM's Washington, D.C., office staff met with European Commission and European Parliament staff, and with representatives of companies, trade associations and consumer organizations. In June 2011, ASTM presented at a seminar sponsored by the European and U.S. governments on small and medium size enterprises best practices in standardization; the presentation pointed out how SMEs receive equal representation in the open and transparent ASTM standards development process.

Global Cooperation

Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, updated the board on the ongoing work by that division.

  • As of the board meeting, ASTM International had 74 memorandums of understanding with national and regional standards bodies. There are 6,724 citations of ASTM standards as the basis of national standards or as references, or adopted as national standards.
  • The Standards Expert Program, which annually hosts standards professionals at ASTM headquarters for one month, is now in its seventh year. In 2011, standards experts from national standards bodies in Malaysia and Jordan participated in the program.
  • ASTM International continues to engage MOU members in standards development through virtual meetings. Recent virtual meetings include an orientation for staff members from the Ministry of Development Brunei Darussalam, a presentation on biodegradable plastics for more than 50 participants from 11 nations and a presentation on the modeling of concrete for 51 participants from seven nations.
  • Global cooperation staff members have been involved with industry and standards body representatives in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia through virtual conferences and meetings, workshops, presentations, training sessions and industry events. Also highlighted in Cendrowska's report was the ongoing work with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation through the fall 2011 conference on sustainable construction. ASTM President James A. Thomas participated in outreach activities in India, including a reception held during the ISO general assembly.
  • Liu Fei, ASTM's chief representative in China, updated the board about recent outreach there. The ASTM China staff made several visits to the China offices of multinational corporations and other organizations, discussing the ASTM standards development process, copyright policy, proficiency testing and standards activities.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, director of external relations, reported on ASTM's outreach in academia.

  • The 2011 Jumpstart Your Career campaign was relaunched before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year with an email targeting more than 1,700 faculty members of colleges and universities nationwide. The campaign is aimed at helping students expand their classroom learning and develop marketable skills through exposure to the field of standards. As of the end of September, student membership totaled more than 5,500 students.
  • ASTM sponsored a project grant program in 2011 with $500 mini-grants awarded to assist university students in completing graduate or senior capstone design projects referencing ASTM standards. Two winners received grants. Two graduate scholarships were also awarded in 2011; the awards go to graduate students who have demonstrated high levels of interest in or involvement with ASTM International standards.
  • The 2011 Professor of the Year award was presented to Theodore Steinberg, Queensland University of Technology, for his work in teaching students about standards and the standardization process over the course of his 20-year career. Steinberg is active in ASTM Committee G04 on Compatibility and Sensitivity of Materials in Oxygen Enriched Atmospheres and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of ASTM International.
  • ASTM members and staff continue to receive invitations to speak about standardization on the campuses of major universities. Recent events have occurred in Pennsylvania, Guyana, the West Indies and India. In addition, graduate students from the University of South Florida planned to attend the November 2011 meetings of Committee G01 on Corrosion of Metals.

Corporate Communications

Barbara Schindler, director of corporate communications, demonstrated the new website for ASTM Standardization News, which features regularly updated ASTM news grouped by industry sector; articles are accompanied by sector-specific information about new standards and work items, upcoming meetings and training, and new papers and publications.

Committee on Publications

John Pace, vice president of publications and marketing, presented the motion from the Committee on Publications, a standing committee of the board, for the publication of two new journals on materials performance and characterization, and advances in civil engineering materials. The board approved the replacement of the Journal of ASTM International with these two more focused online journals beginning in 2012. The scope of the materials performance and characterization journal will be theoretical and practical aspects of the processing, structure, properties and performance of materials used in mechanical, transportation, aerospace, energy systems and medical devices. The journal on advances in civil engineering materials will cover topics related to the properties and performance of civil engineering materials such as concrete, asphalt, steel, polymers and polymeric composites, and wood.

Technical Committee Operations

Katharine Morgan, vice president of technical committee operations, brought action items to the board for consideration. The board approved revisions to Part F1, Commercial-Contractual Items in Standards, of Form and Style for ASTM Standards. The list of requirements not to be included in the body of ASTM specifications now includes prices and adjustment of claims as well as settlement and investigation of claims.

Daniel Smith, assistant vice president of technical committee operations, summarized data about ASTM membership trends by category and by government and international participants. In 2011, participant member numbers were slightly ahead compared to 2010, and organizational memberships continued on the upward trend of the past three years. International membership has also been growing. Government members have now been tagged in the membership database so that staff can view trends in federal, state, local and international categories.

Smith also reported on the hybrid meetings project, initiated to evaluate the feasibility of conducting hybrid meetings, their impact on committee meeting objectives, and the dynamics and cost of providing and promoting remote access.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.