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January/February 2011

News of the ASTM International Board of Directors

ASTM International’s board of directors last met Oct. 26-27, 2010, 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

In addition to approving ASTM International budgets and reviewing other financial matters, the board of directors unanimously appointed Thomas Schwartz to serve as chairman of the 2011 Finance and Audit Committee. Schwartz is senior principal, president and head of the Building Technology Group at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Waltham, Mass. He is an ASTM International fellow and Award of Merit winner; he is also a 2006 ASTM Walter C. Voss Award recipient. Schwartz has been an ASTM International member since 1982 and serves on Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings.

Government and Industry Relations

Jeffrey Grove, vice president of global policy and industry affairs, informed the board of relevant government and industry issues and the ASTM International Washington office’s activities in these areas.

  • Proposed legislation known as the Strengthening Pipeline Safety and Enforcement Act is under consideration in the U.S. Senate. The legislation includes a provision requiring the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, to include the text of any standard that it references in regulations to be made publicly available on the agency’s website. The provision deviates from existing federal policy, and ASTM International is working with other standards and code bodies to educate Congress regarding potential impacts on voluntary consensus standardization.
  • In 2010, Congress incorporated by reference a number of the standards and test methods of ASTM Committee D07 on Wood into the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which regulates the amount of formaldehyde permitted for use in wood and related products. ASTM International staff worked with the American Plywood Association and the Composite Panel Association to satisfy the legislative goals of Congress by helping to create a new approach to referencing standards in legislation.
  • In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ASTM International was involved in a program featuring accessibility standards, such as ASTM’s playground safety and accessibility standards, that are referenced by the U.S. Access Board.
  • Working with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, ASTM International co-sponsored a congressional briefing highlighting the potential for increased water efficiency in bathrooms and kitchens through greater utilization of existing standards and codes.
  • ASTM staff is working with the Rubber Manufacturers Association to assist in their efforts to promote the inclusion of ASTM International tire quality standards and test methods in a new global technical regulation being promulgated by the United Nations Working Party 29 – World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.
    ASTM International 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.

European Affairs

Grove continued his report by describing a number of outreach activities designed to raise greater awareness and support of ASTM International’s standards and its standards development process in Europe.

  • Earlier this year the European Commission initiated an open public consultation of the European standardization system. ASTM International provided comments, which are posted on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry.
  • ASTM has become a member of the European–American Business Council, an international business association comprising 70 leading global companies and organizations doing business in North America and Europe. ASTM will become a member of EABC’s Alliance Council and anticipates being active in a number of policy groups addressing such issues as sustainability, green buildings, carbon accounting, nanotechnology, life sciences and electronic health care.
  • In 2010, ASTM staff conducted more than two dozen outreach visits with European Union trade associations, corporations, government representatives and standards development organizations.

Global Cooperation

Teresa Cendrowska, vice president of global cooperation, reported on the activities of that division.

  • As of the board meeting, ASTM International had memorandums of understanding with 70 national and regional standards organizations. Since then, two more have been signed.
  • ASTM continues to offer technical assistance training to MOU partners, having worked with Indonesia and Peru in 2010 and conducting virtual training sessions with representatives of standards groups in Latin America.
  • In 2010, ASTM International greeted special guests and delegations from standardization bodies in nations such as Chile, China, Israel and Pakistan.
  • The Global Cooperation division has been particularly active in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, providing training and speakers for industry events, meeting with industry organizations, working with regional organizations, planning and conducting workshops, and identifying and facilitating membership opportunities.

Academic Outreach

James Olshefsky, director of external relations, highlighted ASTM International’s activities in reaching out to academia to help students and professors explore and understand the value of standardization in technology, business and trade.

  • ASTM’s student membership is now more than 5,200.
  • In 2011, student members will be at the center of an ASTM International campaign, Jumpstart Your Career. The campaign will seek to attract substantially more student members through new offerings and media, including a student video contest focusing on the use of ASTM standards; increased funding for project grants to help fund graduate or senior student design projects; podcast interviews with students discussing their experiences with standards and an increased presence on social networking sites.
  • ASTM International continues to engage with the WISE program (Washington Internships for Students of Engineering), having sponsored a student in 2010 who wrote a paper on oil spill policy and standards; Olshefsky said that ASTM will again sponsor a student in 2011.
  • In 2010, ASTM granted two scholarships of $10,000 each to Ph.D. candidates working in the fields of plastics, and fatigue and fracture, and three $500 mini-grants assisting university students in completing their graduate or senior capstone design projects.
  • ASTM members and staff continue to engage in campus visits, talking about standardization and ASTM’s processes with students at universities from Illinois to Latin America.

Corporate Communications

Barbara Schindler, director of corporate communications, reported on her department’s initiatives.

  • The “About ASTM” pages on the ASTM website have been redesigned and reorganized to include a main video as well as video archiving, links to news stories about ASTM International, new sections on “Governance” (mission statement, board of directors information, etc.) and “Responsibility” (information on community outreach and sustainability efforts), links to ASTM’s electronic newsletter for members, and access to new brochures and presentations for general use.
  • A task group has been formed to reorganize and redesign the online presentation of Standardization News. The intent of the revamp is to create subject-matter gateways that will allow users to find news and other aggregated ASTM content (such as meeting information, publications and new standards) in their areas of interest; develop a database that will house and organize all SN content back to 2000; and develop an improved SN search tool drawn from that database.

Committee on Publications

John Pace, vice president of publications and marketing, reported that the Committee on Publications, a standing committee of the board, recommended that the seventh edition of Manual 1, Manual on Significance of Tests for Petroleum Products, be named as winner of the 2010 Charles B. Dudley Award. The board unanimously approved this recommendation.

Certification Programs

The board approved the establishment and bylaws of a new ASTM International Committee on Certification Programs as a standing committee of the board. ASTM staff has been working with industry to develop product and personnel certification programs, some of which will become active in 2011.

Committee Operations

Katharine Morgan, vice president of technical committee operations, reported the addition of a new section in the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees that addresses member responsibilities; she also noted that the new language would be incorporated into information provided to new members on the ASTM website.

The board approved a revision to the bylaws of the Committee on Technical Committee Operations that would reduce that committee’s membership from 12 to nine members, and that would also allow approval of bylaw amendments at a COTCO meeting or via a letter ballot.

The board also approved revisions to Part F4 of the Form and Style Manual for ASTM Standards, which covers the use of trademarks and specific sources of supply for apparatus, reagents and materials in ASTM standards. The revisions reflect ASTM’s new capability of offering certification for products and personnel.

The name, scope and structure of a new main committee, F43 on Language Services and Products, was approved by the board. The new committee, requested by departments in the U.S. military and supported by several language organizations, will develop standards in areas such as job performance testing and translation output to address the quality of services and eliminate the variability of translating products.