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ASTM International President Katharine Morgan Keynotes Major Conference for Standards Professionals


Today, Katharine Morgan, the president of ASTM International, gave the keynote address at one of the largest annual global gatherings of standards professionals. Excerpts of her speech, given at the 67th conference of SES (The Society for Standards Professionals) in Nashville, are below. The entire speech, “From Transactional to Transformational,” can be watched at the ASTM International Facebook page.


“How do we build a strong, long-term foundation for the standardization community?In general, I think the answer is threefold: We must be outcomes-focused.  We must be partnership-oriented.  And we must be innovation-driven.”


“First, Standards Development Organizations are shifting from being driven solely by outputs to being focused more on outcomes. […] ASTM International is no longer just a publisher – we’re a problem solver. We’ve grown from being focused solely on developing high-quality, market-relevant standards, to supporting people who have specific outcomes that they want to work with us to achieve. This is a big evolutionary step.”


“As the demands from our stakeholders become more and more complex – as they have in recent years – the solutions also become more challenging. […] As individual organizations, we can only go so far. A growing number of problems are so big and multifaceted that standards developers must work together as partners to solve them. […] Partnership-oriented approaches are needed in longstanding industries like petroleum, and they are perhaps even more critical for emerging industries [like additive manufacturing and drones].”


“We as SDOs must be more innovation-driven than ever before. In the past, standards followed innovation. But today, the standards and innovation communities are being pressured to work in tandem in order to ensure the fastest, smoothest path to commercialization.  […] Early engagement will lead to a roadmap that integrates both innovation and standardization together. […] The technical quality and market relevance of any standard is directly proportional to the strong participation of entrepreneurs and innovators. […] We need to simply draw more visibility and attention to the strengths of SDOs […] Many of the organizations in this room have made the investment necessary to keep pace with emerging technologies.”

From Transactional to Transformational
“If I were to sum it up in one phrase, […] it means moving from transactional to transformational. […] We can and are embracing the fact that all of our activities must become less rigid and siloed, and instead, more dynamic, flexible, and more outcomes-focused. We can and are exploring new roles and new partnerships to ensure that we can meet our respective missions in the years ahead.  And we can and are learning from each other about how to support innovation and other major societal developments.”

Click here for a biography and high-res photo of Morgan. Follow her on Twitter @ASTMpres.

About ASTM International

Committed to serving global societal needs, ASTM International positively impacts public health and safety, consumer confidence, and overall quality of life. We integrate consensus standards – developed with our international membership of volunteer technical experts – and innovative services to improve lives… Helping our world work better. 

About SES

SES - The Society for Standards Professionals was founded in 1947 as the Standards Engineering Society, a not-for-profit professional membership society dedicated to furthering the knowledge and use of standards and standardization. SES is unique in that it is the only organization in North America committed exclusively to this effort. SES provides a neutral networking forum where standards users and developers can come together to address mutual issues, opportunities, and interests in ways that work to the benefit of everyone involved with, or affected by, standards. The Society’s worldwide membership includes standards developers, users, managers, and information specialists from industry, government, standards developing organizations, trade associations, and academia. SES is the member body for the United States and Canada in the International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN) and a member of the American National Standards Institute.

Media Inquiries: Nate Osburn, tel +1.610.832.9603; 

Release #10616

August 7, 2018

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