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New CEN Secretary General Elected

During the 30th General Assembly of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), Hermann Wilhelm Ahls was elected the committee’s new secretary general. In his new function, Ahls will head the CEN Management Centre in Brussels and administer the daily work of CEN. In particular, the secretary general ensures that CEN works toward its mission and fulfills the objectives set by the administrative board. Ahls is currently director for worldwide escalator engineering at Otis Escalator GmbH. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and formerly worked for Company Herbst as project leader for special constructions. In 1989, Ahls joined Otis and undertook various functions such as head of the development department and director for manufacturing and logistics in Germany and the United States. Until his election, he was convenor of the European Escalator Code Committee and has actively participated in standardization in a CEN technical committee as well as at the International Organization for Standardization.

Baldrige Award Expands to Include Nonprofits

The United States’ Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program will soon include nonprofit and government organizations. Currently, the award has five categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education and healthcare. The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a private-sector organization, has raised an endowment of more than $18 million to help support the award program and will raise additional funds to support this new category assuming additional federal funds are provided. The program may begin to solicit applications for the award from nonprofit organizations in 2006.

Committee Moves Forward on Revisions to National Standards Strategy

The U.S. National Standards Strategy Committee held its third meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22 to discuss the progress made thus far toward revising the National Standards Strategy for the United States. The first-ever NSS was approved in August 2000, and called for a regular review to determine whether new situations dictate strategic revisions and offer new opportunities; the National Standards Strategy Committee was established to consider these revisions. Twenty-two representatives of the standards and conformity assessment community are currently participating on the committee, which has been divided into four subgroups to tackle various elements within the NSS. Each group delivered a draft report with recommendations for potential revisions. The subgroups will report back to the NSSC in November with their input and begin to coalesce their respective work into a draft revision. The NSSC is planning an opportunity in early 2005 for the public at large to review and comment on the revised draft NSS, and will communicate this opportunity broadly to encourage the greatest possible participation. The American National Standards Institute’s board of directors is expected to give final approval to the revised document in May of 2005. For more information on the NSSC or to submit input, contact Joseph Tretler, business director, standards facilitation (212/642-4977;, or visit the NSS Web site.

Mass Metrology CD-ROM Now Available in Spanish

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology is distributing a Spanish-language CD-ROM providing training for the calibration of mass standards used for testing commercial measuring equipment. The free multimedia CD-ROM covers the same content taught in NIST’s one-week basic mass metrology course for public- and private-sector metrologists. It duplicates an English-language CD-ROM released last fall. Both CD-ROMs include interactive activities, knowledge quizzes, examples, video demonstrations, and specialty graphics and photos for specific products. The two CD-ROMs reflect NIST’s commitment to advancing uniformity and harmonization in mass calibration measurements — critical to domestic and international commerce of everything from animal feed to automobile parts. Private and public sector metrologists interested in receiving the CD-ROM should contact with name and mailing information. Please stipulate “Spanish-language version” in the request. The English-language version is still available.

Nanotechnology Standards Panel Holds First Meeting

Approaching how to find a common language within the rapidly expanding realm of nanotechnology was the task at hand during the first meeting of the American National Standards Institute Nanotechnology Standards Panel held in Gaithersburg, Md. Nearly 100 representatives of the academic community, legal profession, industry, government, standards developers and other subject matter experts gathered on Sept. 29-30 to solidify the goals and mission of the panel, and then shifted gears to tackle the pressing need for agreement on a nomenclature and terminology structure and supporting standards. Many of the stakeholders in the nanotechnology industry feel that nomenclature is the fundamental building block for progress within this industry. Some definitions do exist now, but there is not always consensus on what they mean. Having a common, and agreed upon, language will be essential to any standardization effort.

Copyright 2004, ASTM International