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January/February 2010

News of the ASTM International Board of Directors

ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 26-28, 2009, 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 Drive, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610-832-9598).

Finance and Audit Committee

The board voted unanimously to appoint Mayer Hoffman McCann as ASTM International’s auditor for 2009 operations, pension audit and IRS 990 tax report preparations.

The board also unanimously appointed Paul Shipp, Ph.D., to serve as chairman of the 2010 Finance and Audit Committee on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. Shipp is a principal research associate for the USG Corporate Innovation Center in Libertyville, Ill. He is currently active on Committees C11 on Gypsum and Related Building Materials and Systems; C16 on Thermal Insulation; D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials and Applications; E05 on Fire Standards; E06 on Performance of Buildings; E37 on Thermal Measurements; and E60 on Sustainability. Shipp is chairman of E05, a committee of more than 550 members responsible for some 60 standards.

Executive Committee

The board unanimously approved the executive committee’s recommendation that ASTM staff move forward in developing a certification program to include in ASTM’s portfolio of services. The initiative was the result of having received several inquiries, particularly related to new standards development activities, questioning whether ASTM could provide certification to industries that desire an independent, third-party demonstration of compliance to standards and from industries facing regulatory pressures to prove compliance to standards. While no programs have been designed yet, the board’s decision to enable this new capability permits staff to respond to inquiries regarding both product and personnel certification. Click here for more information.

Government and Industry Relations

Jeff Grove, vice president of global policy and industry affairs, reported on a variety of initiatives in his area.

  • ASTM staff recently assisted the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee by organizing a three-part briefing series to provide congressional staff with an understanding of the U.S. standards system, the manner in which the U.S. government uses and references standards, and the impact of standards on global commerce. The event reinforced the efficiency of the U.S. standards system and emphasized the strong public-private partnership in standards development.
  • Catherine Pilarz, vice chairman of the ASTM board and chairman of ASTM Committee F15 on Consumer Products, and Grove represented ASTM International in August 2009 at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Singapore, where regulators met to discuss the regional harmonization of toy regulations and standards. ASTM also participated in discussions regarding engaging the business community in APEC.
  • In October, James Thomas, ASTM president, met with Patrick
    Gallagher, Ph.D., who was then nominated and since appointed as the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Gallagher oversees a NIST annual budget of approximately $800 million and directs an agency staff of approximately 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, support staff and administrative personnel. Today, more than 150 NIST employees are active in 250 ASTM committees or subcommittees. The meeting provided an opportunity to review current NIST standards-related priorities and discuss ways that ASTM can be of assistance in that work.
  • ASTM continues to engage the executives of companies and trade associations and other influential organizations to learn about their involvement in standards development and to seek opportunities to work together on policy and trade issues of mutual concern. Recent outreach initiatives have included General Electric, Owens Corning, Evonik, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

European Public Affairs

Grove also reported on outreach activities aimed at raising awareness of and support for using ASTM standards in Europe.

  • In October 2009, ASTM partnered with Underwriters Laboratories to sponsor a standards and conformity assessment training program during the October ASTM technical committee meetings in Prague, Czech Republic. During the daylong program, ASTM staff and committee members provided insight to U.S. Department of Commerce commercial officers responsible for Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Sweden, Turkey and Poland as well as the non-EU country of Russia.
  • Thomas and Grove visited Brussels and Geneva in October 2009 to meet with representatives of trade associations, corporations, consumer organizations and government officials. Highlights of the outreach visits in Brussels included a high level meeting with European Commission officials responsible for standards, trade and trans-Atlantic regulatory affairs and a meeting with Gaston Michaud, secretary general, at the time, of the European Committee for Standardization. In Geneva, outreach meetings included those with the World Business Council, United Nations staff responsible for standards and technical assistance, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and a meeting with Aharon Amit, general secretary and CEO of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
  • In October 2009, ASTM submitted a statement and recommendations on standards issues to the meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council, a forum of European Union and U.S. officials seeking regulatory convergence in many areas.

Global Cooperation

Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, reported on several areas in which her division is active.

  • ASTM International continues its Standards Expert Exchange Program and hosted four international standards experts at headquarters in October 2009. Pan Beichen from the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Adelaide Leigh of the Ghana Standards Board, Naphtali Pollak, Ph.D., of the Standards Institution of Israel and Ajani Blake from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica each received training about ASTM’s products and processes, attended committee week, and visited various organizations and agencies in the Washington, D.C., area. The experts also participated in a sustainability project, wherein they gathered country-specific information on sustainability practices.
  • ASTM provides technical assistance training to participants in the Memorandum of Understanding program. In 2009, training was provided to standards organizations in Bahrain, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Trinidad and Tobago, and southern African nations. In 2010, technical assistance will be offered in China, Indonesia, Mauritius, Peru and Sri Lanka.
  • Liu Fei, ASTM’s chief representative in China, continues to provide outreach in that nation by attending conferences and meeting with industry and government representatives in China.
  • The Global Cooperation division continues its ongoing outreach and education efforts by hosting international delegations at ASTM headquarters, sending staff and members to events around the world and conducting virtual meetings with memorandum of understanding signatories.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, ASTM director of external relations, described the society’s outreach to academia.

  • 2009 was the Year of the Professor, an initiative to increase the awareness of professors and other instructors about the resources available for them to incorporate standards, and information about standards, into their course materials. As part of the celebration, ASTM awarded the Professor of the Year Award to John T. Germaine, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his use of standards in the classroom, who later presented a webinar for professors on incorporating standards in the classroom. Both he and MIT received honorariums of $2,000.
  • Reed Eppelheimer, a graduate student in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., was the first recipient of the new ASTM International Graduate Scholarship. Jarrod Persun, a graduate student in the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering at Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y., was named the recipient of the 2009 Katharine and Bryant Mather Scholarship, sponsored by ASTM Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates.
  • ASTM staff and members continue to conduct on-campus seminars. Recent campus visits have included those to Catholic University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Calvin College, the University of Pennsylvania and Georgia Institute of Technology. Local college engineering students were also invited to attend ASTM fall committee weeks in Atlanta, Ga.

Corporate Communications

Barbara Schindler, ASTM’s director of corporate communications, updated the board on developments in her department, including improvements to tracking ASTM International’s media coverage, the updating of media lists, video development for technical committees and new content in ASTM Standardization News.

Dudley Award

The board voted unanimously to award the 2009 Charles B. Dudley Medal Award to Alan T. Riga for his work as editor of the 1997 Special Technical Publication 1326, Oxidative Behavior of Materials by Thermal Analytical Techniques. The Dudley Award honors an outstanding publication that has a widely recognized impact on a particular field of ASTM interest and has been documented in ASTM literature. STP 1326 documents presentations from the workshop organized by Riga to discuss the measurement and interpretation of the oxidative behavior of hydrocarbons and polyolefins. Prior to that workshop, oxidative stability was inconsistently measured and reported, and the quality and safety of polymers, petrochemicals, hydrocarbon fluids as well as drugs were compared and often reported inaccurately. The workshop, and especially the award-winning publication, initiated the necessary dialogue and collaborations to forge several consensus-based standards of measurement and consistent interpretation and reporting of the oxidative behavior of many important materials.