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Report from the Field
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FREE Sample Magazine (Type Mailing Address into E-mail Message) | President's Column Archive
 January 2006 From the Editor's Desk
E-mail Maryann Gorman

Report from the Field

Every fall, as the leaves turn and students go back to school, I take an educational field trip of my own, to visit the incoming chairman of the ASTM International board of directors at his place of work.

My first task is to interview the chairman, to learn his perspectives on issues in standardization, from the challenges of technical committee work to the role of standards in international trade. After I get back to my office, my next task is to convey those perspectives in text and pictures to ASTM’s membership and other readers of SN.

It was unusually, phenomenally hot when I went to Skokie, Ill., last fall to meet with Anthony E. Fiorato, who is president and CEO of CTLGroup, a construction materials consulting, testing and research firm. Having never been to nearby Chicago before, I got to town a day early to take in the sights. Quickly, the heat of the day made sitting still a desirable alternative to a tour on foot, and I took Tony’s advice to enjoy an architectural tour of the city by boat along the Chicago River.

Alternately broiling under the sun and cooling off as the boat passed slowly under many of Chicago’s myriad bridges, I realized that most aspects of the urban landscape I was seeing — from the buildings themselves and the hundreds of materials of which they are made, to the roads and bridges connecting them — were designed and constructed to the very standards Tony and I would be discussing in his office the next day. Even more to the point, as the tour guide described a significant problem developers had with one skyscraper’s granite façade, I knew I was hearing about exactly the type of problem CTLGroup employees solve for clients on a routine basis.

In Tony’s office the next (still very hot) morning, and while touring CTLGroup’s laboratories, I saw ASTM and other organizations’ standards hard at work. You’ll see pictures of some of this activity in this month’s interview with this year’s chairman, from the handful of cement paste held by a lab employee to the bridge cable-stay assembly being tested in a multi-story laboratory. While Tony and I talked, ASTM International standards were being used all around us, not only in those labs, but in the offices of CTLGroup’s engineers, geologists, chemists and material scientists, where they cite and work with standards every day. Their expertise is born not only of their education and experience in the field, but of their participation on ASTM and other standards developing technical committees, which is enthusiastically supported by CTLGroup.

I hope you’ll take some time this month to read the interview with Dr. Fiorato. I also encourage you to go to the new Spotlight column, which replaces the People page. Spotlight will continue to occasionally profile ASTM’s members as the old favorite, the People page, did, but we’re adding profiles of the standards they develop to the mix. Wherever you turn in this issue, I know you will be in for an educational field trip of your own into the world of standardization.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

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