acil-shn Archive [Jan/Feb 2012] [01/16/12]
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ACIL Moves Toward Future Prosperity

Our landmark strategic planning session in July 2011 not only set our direction for the next few years, but also revealed ACIL’s greatest strength--building and cultivating relationships among our internal and external audiences, as noted on the ACIL relationship wheel published in the August issue of this newsletter, with substantial progress already underway to develop anchor programs for each section, strengthen ACIL’s government relations effectiveness, provide outreach to new audiences, including future leaders, improve meeting formats to attract more participants and create a new ACIL web site to enhance communications.

The section-specific anchor programs both meet member needs and generate significant non-dues income to ACIL.  For example, in conformity assessment, the proficiency testing (PT) program for EMC is pursuing accreditation to ISO/IEC 17043, which will drive additional laboratories to use the ACIL PT program and increase revenue generated.  In construction materials, ACIL is developing its own personnel certification program for both laboratory and field personnel, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration and Northeast Transportation Technician Certification Program (NETTCP).

Advocacy remains an anchor program for food and environmental sciences.  The Food Sciences Section (FSS) incorporated accreditation and recognition language in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as passed by Congress and signed by the President.  Already in 2012, FSS stalled implementation of user fees that would have imposed significant costs on member customers with no significant benefit.

The Environmental Sciences Section made significant progress on the non-governmental accreditation initiative, particularly in New Jersey (NJ).  In December, ACIL sponsored an extremely well received accreditation body workshop for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that will provide the basis for moving forward in 2012.  Another advocacy win in 2011, ACIL gained voting rights on the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel for conformity assessment laboratories.

To further strengthen ACIL’s relationships with the Federal, state and local governments, we have reengineered ACIL’s Government Relations Committee, using competency-based appointments that require committee members to possess knowledge of specific industries, issues or relationships.  The first 2012 meeting is scheduled for January 30th in Washington, DC.  This committee will focus on four main issues:  accreditation, unfair competition, procurement and international trade with its main goal to increase the use of third party commercial laboratories.  Guest speakers at each meeting include legislators, regulators or other experts who will address the above issues.

Finally to support the entire strategic plan, increased communications efforts are planned, highlighted by a complete overhaul of the ACIL website to be unveiled at the March 2012 Policies and Practices Conference.

Also in 2011, we “rebranded” the ACIL Mid-Winter Meeting as the Policies and Practices (P2) Conference, bringing ACIL members together with legislators and regulators to discuss public policies, and providing educational sessions on business practices affecting the laboratory industry.  The event was so successful that the Board of Directors, based on member feedback, decided to expand the program to one-and-one- half days in 2012 with more emphasis on business practices, organizing the meeting to minimize member time out of the office.

The 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans reflected ACIL’s realigned strategic direction, for the first time offering two educational tracks, appealing to both leaders and future leaders of member organizations.  Attendance results demonstrated that the program content and ability to network with current leaders as a way of building business into the 21st century attracted future ACIL member company leaders.  

The ACIL 2012 Annual Meeting will continue this tradition as well as celebrate our 75th anniversary with a special meeting in New York City that includes a keynote from the New York Fire Department Chief during the 911 attack as well as a VIP tour of the new 911 Memorial.  In addition, Walter Poggi (Retlif) and John Molloy (H2M) are preparing a book detailing ACIL’s history with space for congratulatory letters from government, associated organizations, colleagues, members and other supporters.

For more information on these and other ACIL section, committee and board activities, check the member’s only portion of the ACIL website.

ACIL 75th Annual Meeting Takes Shape

A memorable 75th anniversary celebration awaits ACIL members in New York City, October 6 – 9, 2012.  Our Program Committee, led by Allison Mackenzie (ES Babcock), is hard at work focusing on providing the educational opportunities that you have come to expect at an ACIL meeting, combined with expanded networking opportunities while seeing the sights of New York.

As you know, the former New York Fire Department Chief is slated to speak to us about 911.  In addition, we are planning a special VIP tour of the 911 Memorial, a gala awards dinner, optional group tickets to Broadway shows and a possible boat tour of famous New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  This year, the section meetings happen on the first day with educational sessions featuring prominent ACIL members and other experts in human resources, technology and laboratory operations mixed with networking events to follow.

Walter Poggi (Retlif) and John Molloy (H2M) are assembling a commemorative anniversary book with comprehensive documentation of ACIL’s past 75 years, including a summary of ACIL’s early years, congratulatory letters from related organizations (government agencies, associations, accreditation bodies, etc.), charter members, past presidents, award winners and milestones with space for members to purchase pages for congratulatory advertisements as well. Check your email in the coming weeks for more information on placing congratulatory advertisements, or contact Beth Horan.  For those interested in providing additional financial support for this special meeting, contact Richard Bright, who plans to distribute information on corporate sponsorships in March.

ESS Begins Partnership with EPA

To promote a partnership between our industry and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Sciences Section (ESS) has planned a workshop on February 15, 2012 through ACIL’s Independent Laboratory Institute (ILI) to assist EPA’s Office of Water in updating wastewater test methods 624, 625 and 608.  Held in Arlington, VA from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm, the workshop will identify changes to make in each method to benefit from advances in analytical technology since the methods were last updated many years ago.

An industry initiative to assist the EPA in improving environmental monitoring methodology, workshop participants will consider adding potential new analytes and matrices and using an analyte/matrix approach, and identify existing data that verifies method suitability and any remaining data gaps. Where the effort is successful, the expanded relationship with EPA will lead to expediting updates of current analytical methods and the development and adoption of new testing methodologies, promoting improved data quality and increased laboratory productivity, and eliminating the need for EPA to spend scarce resources developing validation data that already exists in the laboratory community.

This ILI workshop presents a unique opportunity for members of our industry to work with our colleagues, both inside and outside of government, to improve the quality of the nation's environmental analytical data and laboratory productivity. The success of this important industry initiative will help us improve relations with key members of the environmental testing community, including government, the technology innovation community and the laboratory sector.

ACIL members interested in participating in the workshop, contact David Friedman (703-389-3821).

Sponsors Increase Investment in ACIL Growth

As a means to keep dues low while continuing to provide high quality programs and other valuable member benefits, ACIL has created two new levels of sponsorship with Agilent Technologies becoming the first ACIL National Champion and Teledyne Instruments and Waters Corporation joining at the ACIL Partner level, requiring $30,000 and $15,000 of annual support respectively.

A significant increase from previous contributions, these sponsors will enjoy additional exposure in ACIL commensurate with the level of sponsorship.  Thank you to these sponsors for demonstrating their allegiance to the independent laboratory testing community and investing in ACIL’s metamorphosis.  In the coming weeks, we expect more outstanding contributions from additional sponsors, joining Agilent, Teledyne and Waters, as ACIL's largest supporters.

Seal of Excellence Underway

Sign up now for the 2012-2013 Seal of Excellence Program, offering an effective, third party tool to benchmark and market the quality of your laboratory services while meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, Section 4.7.2, with feedback from the program’s client survey tailored for your use with your company name and contact information.

Redesigned 3 years ago for use by laboratories in all disciplines, surveys are available now to distribute to top clients with certificates of participation issued in October 2012 and program participation running through October 2013.

To find out more about this program, originally conceived for the Environmental Sciences Section, then expanded to include the Food Sciences Section and now open to all ACIL members, contact Marlene Moore (302-368-1211) or click here

Committees and Sections

If you’d like to get involved in any of the sections noted below, contact Tony Anderson for the call-in information to join the section’s monthly teleconference. Find complete meeting minutes on the ACIL Website in the Members Only Section.

Conformity Assessment Section (CAS)

The CAS continues with several ongoing initiatives, including the preparation of the ACIL Position Statement on State Owned Enterprises (formerly the China Position Statement), which has now broadened to include other industry organizations whose support should strengthen our position with the government on these trade issues.  The section is working on a new draft and plans to have a panel session on several China trade issues at the Policies and Practices meeting in March.

The section formed a new working group within the CAS section to address third party certification issues, which will be discussed at the upcoming Policies and Practices meeting.  The section also formed a new task group to address ANSI’s claim that it is the Conformity Assessment Coordinator for the United States with the group’s first task to approach other stakeholders to join ACIL in its response.

Monitoring continues on the activities of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Offender Tracking Systems and how to test them.  Test requirements are currently under development. The technical work is virtually complete, and the NIJ has accepted the principle of using accredited laboratories and certification by third party conformity assessment bodies.

Construction Materials (CMET) Section

The CMET section continues to work on a national personnel certification program as part of ACIL’s goal to establish anchor programs within the section, and has been reviewing the manuals of the Northeast Transportation Technician Certification Program (NETTCP), which complies with FHWA requirements. Look for a session dedicated to this subject at the upcoming Policies and Practices Conference in March.  This program could provide an economical and already proven alternative to state or other certifications.  To secure FHWA support needed to offer a successful national personnel certification program, section leaders will make a presentation to FHWA at the March CMET section meeting.  This certification program buttresses FHWA program requirements regarding NACLA recognition.

The section is enjoying increased attendance at its last couple teleconferences held on the second Thursday each month at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. The next meetings will be on January 12 and February 9, 2012.

Environmental Sciences Section (ESS)

Progress with the non-governmental accreditation (formerly third party accreditation) initiative continues. The accreditation bodies made a presentation to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in December, which was well received. The task force for this initiative will produce an ACIL position statement shortly. The National Governors Association has asked to be kept informed of developments in New Jersey for possible dissemination to its members.

On another front, the section is gathering information from the membership for a draft letter to address the status of laboratory accreditation in the California.

The ESS is partnering with the EPA in certain upcoming activities. The first is an ILI-sponsored workshop to help the Office of Water (OW) update three of the older wastewater methods. The workshop is scheduled for January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC (see article above).

The ESS monthly teleconference meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. The next meetings will be Thursday January 19 and February 16, 2012.

Food Sciences Section (FSS) - Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry (MAC)

The FSS continues to follow closely the Food Safety Modernization Act implementation, and several industry groups have expressed serious concerns about the act, especially user fees. ACIL filed a petition for revocation of user fees; and commented on the small business burden, arguing for reduced user fees for businesses with less than 500 employees. ACIL has also drafted a citizen’s petition on the user fee notice itself since it’s inconsistent with legal requirements.  The next anticipated FSMA-related work by the FDA is the Preventative Controls rule, expected to begin in early 2012.

In keeping with this section’s decision to make government affairs its anchor program, John Bode will host a special panel session at the Policies and Practices meeting in March on emerging legislative issues.

The FSS meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. The next FSS teleconferences will be January 18 and February 15, 2012.

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.

Environmental Section: SEMTech Solutions, Gary Brake, North Billerica, MA 01862

SEMTech Solutions Analytical Testing Laboratory provides scanning electron microscopy (SEM) services to support a wide range of industrial, academic and commercial markets.  SEMTech utilizes FE-SEMs, EDS, and optical microscopy for materials testing; identification, technical problem solving and future analysis.

Affiliate Member:  Laboratory Science Institute, Steve Vincent, Longview, WA 98632

The Laboratory Science Institute is a 501 3(c) non-profit corporation focused on education, training and research in the laboratory sciences.

In This Issue

Save the Date!
ACIL Policies & Practices (P2)Conference

Crystal Gateway Marriott
Arlington, VA
March 28 – 29, 2012

Registration is open for this 1-1/2-day meeting chocked full of opportunities to improve your laboratory business, including face time with legislators/regulators and business practices gurus.  On Wednesday, March 28th, beginning at 1:00 pm, sections meet and discuss issues with related government officials; on Thursday, March 29th ACIL offers a full day of business-related educational sessions, ending at 4:30 pm.  Take advantage of early bird savings, and register before March 1! Click here for an outline of specific P2 programming.

ACIL’s ACES Publishes Training Program for Electrical Inspectors

In November 2011, ACIL’s American Council on Electrical Safety (ACES) approved a training program for electrical inspectors.  Titled “NRTLs, FEBs and the NEC”, the training program familiarizes local electrical inspectors with Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs), Field Evaluation Bodies (FEBs) and their relationship to the National Electrical Code (NEC).

ACES submitted the training program to the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) to use at IAEI quarterly educational sessions around the US.  After IAEI approval, electrical inspectors attending the courses will receive Continuing Education Units (CEU) in order to maintain their own certification.

NACLA Expands Scope

The National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA) amended its bylaws on January 4, 2012 to expand the scope of its recognition capabilities to consider recognition in areas such as those covered by ISO / IEC 17020, General Criteria for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspection (1998).  This change provides for NACLA’s recognition expansion into critical recognition areas that closely parallel those in the laboratory community.  For more information, visit www.nacla.net.

ACIL Awards 2011 Scholarship

After considering 60 applicants, the ACIL Scholarship Committee awarded the 2011 ACIL scholarship to Jordan Davis, pursuing his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology and serving as an intern at ACIL member Atlantic Testing Laboratories in New York for the past 4 summers.  Congratulations to Jordan for earning this scholarship and attaining a cumulative GPA of 3.62. 

If you know applicants interested in the 2012 scholarship, applications are being accepted through April 6, 2012.  Click here for more information and to access the application.

Payroll Tax Cut Extension

On December 23, 2011, Congress approved a 2-month extension of the employee-side payroll tax cut in the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011.  The 2-month extension, for January and February 2012, gives lawmakers additional time to negotiate a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012.

The IRS instructed employers to implement the reduced payroll tax rate as soon as possible in 2012, but no later than January 31, 2012. For any Social Security tax over-withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in employees’ pay as soon as possible, but no later than March 31, 2012, the IRS advised.

Call for Honorary Members

Know anyone who has been active in ACIL, but is no longer fully employed in the scientific, engineering or testing business? Send names to COO Richard Bright to nominate them for honorary ACIL membership, granted by the ACIL Board of Directors.

In Memoriam

Gladys Berchtold
1922 – 2011

The laboratory community lost an outstanding member, ACIL Fellow and Truesdail Award winner on November 9, 2011.  Founder of Standard Laboratories, a long-time ACIL member, Gladys Berchtold grew the company to over 750 employees in 16 states with global partners in four countries.  The first woman president of the American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM) and past chairperson of the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), Gladys earned her chemistry degree at 19, then worked for Union Carbide and tested coal for Godwin Laboratories in West Virginia (WV) while teaching chemistry and physics at Bluefield College.  A WV native, Gladys’ family established a scholarship fund in her name at the University of Charleston.

Thank You Sponsors!

Once again, a sincere thanks to the industry sponsors below, who provide particularly generous support to enable us to offer exceptional ACIL programs.

ACIL National Champion

 

ACIL Partners

 

ACIL Newsletter Staff

Editor
Adrienne Bush

Contributor
Milton Bush

Production
Beth Horan