ACIL Hones Strategy for Success
Building on the momentum created since hiring the new management team in 2009, the ACIL Board of Directors met in Westerly, RI on July 18 and 19 to uncover qualities special to ACIL, then build on these qualities to craft a strategic plan that bolsters our already successful financial and membership development/retention efforts by identifying and expanding services and developing programs critical to our members’ success.
After discovering that one of ACIL’s greatest assets is relationship building, the leadership turned this into our first goal: to strengthen the myriad of internal and external relationships (see ACIL Wheelhouse picture above) through ACIL programs, meetings and other member services, including advocacy initiatives. As an organization of owners and senior management, understanding this aspect of our identity allows us to increase our relevancy and better serve the laboratory community. Specifically for members, an objective under this goal calls for the development of at least one “must have” anchor program in each section, striving to make membership a requirement of doing business.
Next the participants discussed the vital role of communication, developing the second goal to focus member attention on blasting ACIL’s communications into the 21st century, including surveying ways that individuals and organizations currently collect information to build relationships and make business decisions, then incorporating that into all ACIL communications.
Underscoring the importance of the ACIL information portal (web site), which serves as an organization’s virtual headquarters in today’s electronic age, the group chose to elevate the “renovation” of the current web site to the third goal slated for completion prior to the 2012 ACIL Policies and Practices Conference. To ensure that the new portal meets all expectations and specifications for dynamic input and output, staff plans to team with members who already have significant expertise in this area.
To continue to “pay it forward,” ACIL plans to create a new ACIL Young Leaders Group, led by the current ACIL past president with participation from other past presidents, to strengthen the connection between members and increase the opportunity for access to the ACIL brain trust, an idea generated when current Board members remembered how other senior ACIL members years ago helped them to solve laboratory problems.
Another great idea emanating from this meeting includes the identification and procurement of an ACIL-based supplier of financial management services to assist laboratories to negotiate the changing economic environment much in the same way that they use SESCO to assist with personnel matters now.
You will begin to see changes resulting from this strategic planning meeting almost immediately. For those who have not attended an annual meeting recently, expect to hear from ACIL leaders who operate testing facilities in your discipline to personally invite you to the New Orleans annual meeting in October. Also, the upcoming meeting (see article at right) includes an abundance of planned networking opportunities to increase exposure to new information and people, and better welcome new members into the ACIL fold.
Special thanks to the ACIL leadership: President Trevor Boyce (Microbac), Past President John Molloy (H2M), President Elect Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner), Rich Rietz (Retlif), Jim Kuhn (Atlantic), Judy Morgan (ESC), Lars Reimann (Eurofins), Steve Elliot (Materials Testing), Steve Vanderboom (Pace), Mike Violette (Washington) and Tom Zierenberg (Microbac) for devoting the time, energy and significant brainpower to chart ACIL’s course over the next few years. To view the strategic plan, click here.
First Lab Accredited Under New NACLA Recognition Procedure
On July 27, 2011, GeoTest, Inc. became the first laboratory ever accredited using the new ACIL/NACLA Guide 1825, which incorporates sector-specific technical requirements for construction materials testing into the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation evaluation procedure, allowing laboratories to meet AASHTO R18, NISTIR 7012 and ISO/IEC 17025 requirements with one accreditation. Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (L-A-B), currently the only accreditation body (AB) recognized by NACLA to provide this expanded scope, provided the accreditation for GeoTest.
While this route to accreditation took 6 to 8 months and required additional work from GeoTest, especially since they moved from AASHTO-only to the most rigorous ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, it resulted in enhanced technical proficiency. According to GeoTest President Greg Schmidt, “This accreditation process helped us improve our quality assurance and testing processes as well as our personnel training program due to the robust requirements of the standard. In addition, the standard’s requirement for greater complexity in record keeping and documentation gives senior staff a better understanding of the process to further improve organizational efficiencies.”
ACIL CEO Milton Bush noted, “This is the culmination of ACIL’s many years of hard work with the ABs and NACLA to begin to reduce redundancy in accreditation. Now a laboratory can meet both international and domestic standards for construction materials testing with one accreditation, reducing costs to end users while improving testing.”
After 2 years spent developing a construction materials evaluation and recognition procedure based on the 2009 NACLA/ACIL Guide 1825, which compares AASHTO R18, NISTIR 7012 and ISO/IEC 17025, NACLA recognized L-A-B to accredit to this combination of requirements this Spring, and has another AB in the pipeline to receive this recognition later in 2011.
An ACIL member since 2001 with $2 million in annual revenues, WI-based GeoTest, Inc. employs 24, and has provided construction materials testing and engineering for the heavy highway and commercial construction markets for over 15 years.
E-Coli Outbreak in Europe Leads to Congressional Scrutiny
In June, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill to combat E. coli, calling on Congress to fund the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and pass new meat safety legislation. According to John Bode, consultant to the ACIL Food Sciences Section and a lawyer and expert on food legislation, Gillibrand is quite capable of getting this legislation into the Farm Bill.
The current bill requires slaughterhouses, producers and grinding facilities to use independent testing facilities with annual contracts to prevent companies from firing laboratories as retribution for too many positive E. coli test results, and requires foreign providers to certify completion of E. coli testing with secondary domestic testing to verify results.
A notice for rulemaking on this matter is currently under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Three New Videos Unveiled
Look for three new videos in the coming weeks on www.independenttesting.net to educate the general public and Congress on the role of the independent laboratory to protect the public health and safety, especially important now that global markets have become a firm reality. The first three videos cover the food, environment and consumer products areas with two more videos slated for production at the annual meeting in New Orleans, one for construction materials and another one on membership benefits.
Filmed at the Policies and Practices Conference in Washington, DC last March, the new 3- to 4-minute videos follow a similar format to the “Value of Independent Testing” video. CMET section members interested in participating in the upcoming video should contact ACIL COO Richard Bright.
The membership video, conceived at the strategic planning meeting, is open for participation to all corporate members, so bring your stories to the New Orleans annual meeting about the important contribution that ACIL membership’s unique benefits make to your business.
Committees and Sections
If you’d like to get involved in the sections, contact Tony Anderson for the call-in information to join the section’s monthly teleconference.
Construction Materials (CMET) Section
James Kuhn, CMET Chair, and Milton Bush, ACIL CEO, recently met with Chris Bowker, Executive Director of the North East Transportation Training and Certification Program (NETTCP) to explore a possible partnership to provide a personnel certification program to ACIL CMET members. The NETTCP fits well with ISO/IEC 17025 personnel requirements and totally complies with FHWA requirements. All CMET members are welcome to participate in the monthly section teleconference calls. The next scheduled teleconferences are August 11 and September 8, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Environmental Sciences Section (ESS)
The ESS continues to monitor proposed changes to the Service Contract Act as an opportunity for ACIL to provide input to the Department of Labor to more closely follow the job descriptions and prevailing wage rates for environmental laboratories. If legislation is submitted, ACIL is ready to respond. Progress with the third party accreditation initiative continues, awaiting a scheduled meeting with the New Jersey Governor’s Environmental Director while moving forward to meet with the National Governors Association.
ACIL submitted a letter to New York State against adoption of the new NELAC standard. As a result of considerable comment, they are considering phasing in the 2009 standard. North Carolina is trying to pass legislation regarding the deregulation of environmental rules with far reaching consequences for laboratories and stakeholders if it passes. Initially vetoed by the governor, it has now returned to the legislature. The next monthly teleconferences are on August 25 and September 15, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
Food Sciences Section (FSS) formerly Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry (MAC)
After the FSS leadership attended an FDA listening meeting on the FSMA, including a presentation by David Eisenberg (ANRESCO), they submitted a statement now included in the docket as part of the official record. The section is monitoring Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s E coli legislation following the E coli outbreak in Europe, anticipating legislation leading to more rigorous regulations that require states to use accredited laboratories for food testing (see above). On June 20, 2011, ACIL sent a letter to the FDA regarding laboratory methods, asking to resume meetings between ACIL and FDA as agreed at the 2010 annual meeting. We await a reply to proceed. The next FSS teleconferences are on August 17 and September 21, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
Conformity Assessment Section (CAS)
The CAS has several ongoing initiatives, including the preparation of the ACIL China Position Statement regarding barriers to trade when doing business with China. A draft has been circulated for comment and will be discussed at the upcoming IEEE-EMC face-to-face section meeting in Long Beach, CA (see below). The CAS continues to monitor activities related to Offender Tracking Systems at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Test requirements are currently under development.
Smart Grid Task Force (SGTF): As part of CAS activities, the work of the SGTF continues to grow with numerous monthly teleconference calls. ACIL members recently took part in the SGIP meeting in Montreal with ACIL becoming a fully voting member of the SGTCC and SGIP by meeting SGIP voting requirements through its dedicated participation in the SGTF. For a summary of the Montreal meeting, click here. We need help to tackle the large volume of work undertaken by the task force. Interested in becoming a member? Contact Don Heirman or Tony Anderson.
PT Program: The 2011 Test Solutions WD EM-18 (1GHz to 18 GHz) Round Robin Proficiency Test was completed on July 15 and the report has already been issued to participating laboratories. New rounds for both the York CNE III (150 KHz to 1 GHz) and the Test Solutions WD EM-18 artifacts will begin shortly. Find further details and registration information about the ACIL member accreditation body endorsed PT program on the ACIL web site or by contacting ACIL Executive Section Officer Tony Anderson.
The next CAS meeting is August 15, 2011 at 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. PDT at the IEEE-EMC symposium in Long Beach, CA at the Hyatt Hotel in Room Shoreline A. The next teleconference call will be September 21, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
Here We Grow Again!
Welcome to these new members. To learn more, click on the company name to visit their website or on the contact name to send an e-mail.
Food Sciences: Avomeen Analytical Services, Shri Thanedar, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103
A full-service chemical testing laboratory, Avomeen Analytical Services specializes in investigative analysis, deformulation, emergency services and expert witness testimony. From our newly renovated headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI, Avomeen uses a proven set of analytical and testing services to solve a wide range of technical problems, including product failure analysis, contaminant identification, unknown material identification, competitive product analysis and patent infringement litigation.
Associate Member: Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, Inc. (PJLA), Tracy Szerszen, Troy, MI 48084
PJLA offers third-party accreditation services for testing and calibration laboratories with a commitment to meet and exceed client requirements for quality services. They are a fully recognized accreditation body by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and by the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) to provide testing and calibration accreditation services.
Associate Member: LTC Financial Partners, Dan Cahn, Kirkland, WA 98033
LTC Financial Partners is one of the largest and most experienced long-term care insurance agencies.
Affiliate Member: Measurement Control & Automation Association (MCAA), Cynthia A. Esher, Williamsburg, VA 23185
MCAA offers its members – suppliers of process controls – statistical benchmarking programs in the areas of sales/bookings, operations, compensation, customer satisfaction and general management issues. Key programs include sales training, education and networking as well as market forecasts.
In This Issue
ANNUAL MEETING FOCUSES ON NEW ERA FOR LABORATORIES
Join old and new members alike at the 74th ACIL Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA this October for leadership programs geared to both current and future top executives, featuring a mix of speakers, roundtables and panel discussions on the 21st century laboratory as well as increased opportunities for networking among members.
The CEO track provides education on buy/bid/build analysis, US and international water markets, growing future leaders and includes an economic forecast. Future leaders receive sales and leadership training, education on new technologies important to laboratories and becoming a lean, green organization. Both groups join together for an intensive discussion on social media and its place in the laboratory business. For details on the schedule of events, click here.
Don’t miss this fun and informative event!
ACIL 74th Annual Meeting
JW Marriott Hotel
New Orleans, LA
October 9 – 12, 2011
ACIL LAUNCHES NEW PUBLICATION
To capitalize on the tremendous resources of our growing number of associate members, which provide equipment, supplies and other services to the laboratory industry, ACIL plans to publish “ACIL Marketplace,” a biennial compilation of insights into new technologies, new ways to improve business efficiency and professional guidance in core areas of a laboratory’s business. Information will be divided by discipline to facilitate use. Look for the first issue this Fall. Associate members contact Tony Kozak with appropriate material for inclusion in our inaugural issue.
NACLA addresses domestic specifiers, regulators, accreditation bodies (ABs) and laboratories at its annual general meeting and forum on ISO/IEC 17025 and 17011, discussing how NACLA recognition supplements international recognition to satisfy US specifier/regulator requirements, including the evolution of standards leading to changes in the accreditation community and AB processes. Presenters include Joseph Bransky, Automotive Industry Action Group, Sandusky, OH; Michael Rafalowski, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC; Douglas Leonard, Laboratory Accreditation Bureau, Fort Wayne, IN; and Steven Doty, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona, CA. The meeting will be held at:
National Harbor Hotel
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
Thursday, August 18, 2011
8:00am – 2:30pm
For more details, including registration information, click here.
As a precursor to the extensive “renovations” to the ACIL web site in the coming year, we have upgraded the current site to expedite updates to member company contact information, membership application and invoicing, and customer searches for laboratories.
Prospective customers can now search for a laboratory by state, zip code, company name, section designation, or any combination of the four with search functions and directories linking directly to the database of member information. Now that the database feeds the entire web site, we hope that you will review your company information for accuracy, including the description of services. If changes need to be made, email them to Beth Horan.
THANKS TO ACIL ANNUAL MEETING SPONSORS
Pace Analytical Services, Inc.
Edward S. Babcock & Sons
Weck Laboratories, Inc.
Friends of ACIL
ACIL Newsletter Staff