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 December 2005 ASTM International News

ASTM President Meets with U.S. Commerce Secretary About CAFTA
Panama Participates in ASTM Standardization
Interns from Chinese Standards Organizations
Caribbean Meetings
Community Outreach
Latin American Workshop

ASTM President Discusses International Standards Collaboration with U.S. Commerce Secretary and Central American Leaders

United States Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez convened a meeting to discuss new opportunities for collaboration in international standards through ratification of the new Central American Free Trade Agreement. At the secretary’s invitation, ASTM International President James A. Thomas, ANSI President Mark Hurwitz, and senior representatives of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua participated in the high-level standards roundtable.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (shown left) is briefed by ASTM President James Thomas regarding ASTM’s working relationships with government and standards authorities in Central America, where ASTM International standards are being used to bolster economic development, facilitate trade, and enhance safety, health, and the environment throughout the region.

Thomas discussed the importance of global participation in the development of international standards by highlighting the strategic relationships ASTM International has cultivated through memorandums of understanding with the national standards bodies of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (a similar agreement is pending with standards authorities in Honduras). These strategic working relationships with national standards bodies in Central America encourage the participation of government and industry technical experts from the region and align ASTM standards with the official policies and commercial interests of their countries.

“Through our partnerships with Central American countries, ASTM standards are being utilized to bolster economic development, facilitate trade, and enhance the safety, health and environmental welfare throughout the region,” stated Thomas.

During a discussion of barriers and challenges to the utilization of ASTM standards, Thomas pledged to work closely with the Central American countries and U.S. trade officials to implement the standards provisions of CAFTA that reaffirm internationally agreed-upon principles and criteria of the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

“As countries align their laws, regulations, and policies to reflect WTO principles and criteria for recognizing and using international standards, they will bolster opportunities for collaboration with ASTM International and level the playing field to ensure the best standards in the world do not incur any unnecessary barriers to their use,” said Thomas.

Thomas invited the technical experts of Central America to participate in the development of ASTM standards that are grounded in the basic values of quality and relevance, but that are blind to national boundaries. In addition, ASTM International provides training in Spanish for those who wish to learn how to participate in standards development activities through using the Internet and other electronic tools. ASTM can also arrange for technical experts to visit Central America to provide training in particular industry sectors. Thomas concluded by pointing out that ASTM International will be sponsoring a representative of the national standards body of Costa Rica to participate in upcoming ASTM technical committee meetings in Dallas, Texas. //

Initiative to Increase Latin American Participation Expands to Include Panama

Efforts by Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates to involve participation from Latin American countries recently expanded to include Panama. Panama’s Julio Davis, of the Panamanian Association of Concrete Producers (APACRETO) and four of his colleagues joined Jim Olshefsky and Jessica Hychalk of ASTM staff in a virtual meeting along with 11 other Latin America members from Colombia, Chile and Argentina to discuss the latest ASTM draft test method for self-consolidating concrete.

Martin Vachon of AXIM, and chair of Subcommittee C09.47 on Self-Consolidating Concrete, led the technical discussion from his office in Cleveland, Ohio. The effort represents the third meeting of this type aimed at providing an opportunity to exchange technical information between members from the Latin American region. It is hoped that the increased participation in standards development from other countries will not only improve the resulting documents, but help speed the adoption of technology in Latin America.

For more information on conducting a virtual meeting or about Committee C09, contact James Olshefsky, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9714). //

ASTM International Hosts Interns from Chinese Standards Organizations

He Ting Guo Dehua
ASTM International recently welcomed Mrs. He Ting of the Standardization Administration of China and Mrs. Guo Dehua of the China National Institute for Standardization for a five-week internship program at ASTM Headquarters.

Both Mrs. He and Mrs. Guo brought a wealth of their own standardization experience to their visit to ASTM. Mrs. He has been with SAC for two years and works within the machinery and materials division on industry and transportation. Her responsibilities at SAC include working with the steel, nonferrous metals and other materials committees. She is a graduate of Tsinghua University where she majored in materials science and engineering. Mrs. He felt that the internship was a great learning opportunity. “I want to learn more about how technical committees are organized at ASTM and also learn more about the electronic balloting and publishing systems,” she said at the beginning of her internship.

Mrs. Guo, who is a graduate of Tianjin University with a major in precision instruments, has worked at the China National Institute of Standardization for 11 years. She works in the library of standards at CNIS and does research work in standards information management. She has also been responsible for overseeing the cooperation agreement signed in 2003 between CNIS and ASTM International. “My two goals in coming here are to learn about ASTM’s technical committee operations, especially how standards are developed, and to learn about ASTM’s business model, how it sells its standards and how it provides standards information service,” said Mrs. Guo as her internship began.

Before returning to their homes in Beijing, He Ting and Guo Dehua attended the ASTM board of directors meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, an ASTM Committee Week in Dallas, Texas, and events in Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. //

Azzara Attends SIM Conference in Trinidad, Speaks at National Quality Awards in Jamaica

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago were the destinations during an October trip for Drew Azzara, ASTM International vice president, corporate development. During the trip Azzara spoke at the 11th annual general assembly of the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM) in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and also spoke at the National Quality Awards Ceremony and Banquet in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Inter-American Metrology System, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was created to promote international (particularly inter-American) and regional cooperation in metrology. All 34 member nations of the Organization of American States are represented in SIM. SIM is committed to the implementation of a global measurement system, in which all users can have confidence, within the Americas.

The National Quality Award was developed by the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica. The purpose of the award is to promote the international competitiveness of Jamaican products and services, and to create a medium for business excellence. Awards are given in many categories including customer focus, human resource focus, process management, organization focus and business results. The two top awards are given for excellence in manufacturing and excellence in service.

In his address at the award presentation, Azzara emphasized the vital role that standards play in measuring quality. “Standards are the underpinning of the quality movement, and the achievement of business excellence,” said Azzara. “Quality management systems provide the framework on which an organization can build its production and marketing strategies. An important part of that strategy is the organized use and application of standards to measure the performance and safety of materials, products, systems and services.”

In addition to speaking at the awards ceremony, which occurred on Jamaica’s National Standards Day (Oct. 14), Azzara also addressed standardization issues, in particular ASTM’s open and democratic standards development process, on Jamaica 106, the major radio station in the country. Azzara said that response to his radio comments was very enthusiastic and hopeful, in that stakeholders learned how they can participate in the development of standards from anywhere at any time. //

Community Outreach

ASTM International Donates Firefighter Safety Equipment

On Oct. 12, during Fire Prevention Week, ASTM International formally presented Personal Alert Safety System devices to the George Clay Fire Company in West Conshohocken, Pa. The purchase of 25 PASS monitors provides all active firefighters at George Clay with new accountability devices, which contain lack of motion and temperature sensing alarms. Shown from left are Robert Bendig, ASTM International’s director of buildings and grounds and John Latanzi, George Clay Fire Company engineer. Latanzi is wearing a yellow PASS device.

ASTM International Sends Building Codes CD-ROM to Cities Recovering from Hurricane Katrina

ASTM International has donated its CD-ROM publication, ASTM Standards in Building Codes, to four municipalities that are recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

According to George Zajdel, manager, sales and marketing, ASTM International, the CD-ROMs were sent to building code enforcement officials in New Orleans, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Gulfport, Miss. and Pascagoula, Miss., all areas that were badly hit by the devastating hurricane in late August.

ASTM Standards in Building Codes includes over 1,340 construction specifications, practices and test methods that are referenced by the International Code Council, MASTERSPEC, NFPA5000 and other code bodies. Standards included in the compilation cover many issues faced by those currently rebuilding, including materials characteristics, design and engineering concerns, installation of products and systems, and testing for structural strength, fire resistance and other performance criteria. //

ASTM International Donates Two Early Literacy Systems to Conshohocken Free Library

On Nov. 3, ASTM International presented two complete Early Literacy Stations, books for the summer reading club and other supporting materials to the Conshohocken Free Library. In keeping with its technical and scientific mission, and to contribute to the local community, ASTM International has supported the Conshohocken Free Library in various ways over the years, with a particular emphasis on the children’s section. The donation on Nov. 3 concentrates on literacy, involving learning stations, and including two complete systems, mobile children’s computer workstations, and other related donations. Shown from left to right are: Dolores Wood, president of the board of trustees, Conshohocken Free Library; John Pace, vice president, publications and marketing, ASTM International; and Marycatherine McGarvey, branch director, Conshohocken Free Library.

ASTM Staff Participates in Latin American Workshop

Two important ASTM initiatives were discussed at a recent workshop on “Structural Concrete in the Americas,” held in Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with the American Concrete Institute’s biannual convention. The focus of this third in a series of workshops was on concrete construction practices in the countries of the Americas.
Jim Olshefsky, staff manager for Committees C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates and C01 on Cement, provided an update to the 80 participants from 19 countries on C01 and C09’s efforts to increase international participation through the use of virtual meetings (see “Virtual Training Session Includes Particpants from Four South American Countries” on page 6) and a new task group formed to translate ASTM cement and concrete standards into Spanish.

The presentation was timely in that ACI recently published its 318S-05 code on Structural Concrete in Spanish and has formed a new committee, 318L, to improve international liaison with countries in the Americas. Participants at the workshop were enthusiastic about ASTM’s efforts to facilitate direct technical feedback on the content of its standards and make available Spanish versions of ACI 318S’s references.

For more information on Committee C01 or C09, contact James Olshefsky, ASTM (phone: 610/832-9714). //

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