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March/April 2010

Your First ASTM Meeting

What to Expect at Your Initial Standards Development Gathering

When you attend your first ASTM International meeting, what will it be like?

Committee meetings may be held during an ASTM committee week or independently. If a committee meets during a committee week, you can expect to see 17 to 25 different ASTM committees meeting with anywhere from 800 to 1,400 volunteers participating.

The ASTM International registration desk is a hub of activity and should be your first stop. Here you can pick up your name badge, meeting schedules and other information. This area also displays relevant ASTM publications, provides access to computers with Internet connections and photocopy machines for attendee use, and is a good place to connect with ASTM staff members who can help you with meeting questions and requests.

Depending on the size of the committee, the meeting schedule may include multiple concurrent meetings. You may be interested in the entire agenda of a particular meeting, or you may have a narrow focus on a particular agenda item. You should feel free to “come and go” based on your interest and objectives.

All ASTM meetings are chaired by an ASTM International technical volunteer. Typical agenda items include discussion of new work items, ballot results, standards status review, interlaboratory study work, task group activity reports and symposia or workshop planning. The Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees require that all negative votes and comments received on a ballot must be reviewed and addressed by the committee, and a technical committee meeting provides an excellent forum in which to do this.

Meetings are attended by a diverse group of industry representatives, including manufacturers, users, distributors, testing laboratories, academicians, consultants and government personnel. ASTM staff members are also present at meetings to provide any needed support or guidance related to ASTM policy.

There is no charge to attend ASTM International standards development meetings, and all are welcome. All ASTM meeting attendees have a voice and are encouraged to participate in meeting discussions. The Regulations and Robert’s Rules of Order govern technical committee operations and meeting procedures.

The ASTM “jargon” may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but in no time you will be conversant in the language. There are a number of helpful resources for new members on the ASTM Web site. In addition, the committee’s staff manager at ASTM is always a good point of contact as are the committee’s officers (look for those with green officer badges at the meeting).

An ASTM meeting is an excellent venue for you to learn about and influence the standards that impact your organization and industry. It is also a great environment for technical exchange, professional development and networking with other professionals in your industry. We look forward to welcoming you at a future meeting.

The Regulations can be found by clicking here.