acil-shn Archive [Nov/Dec 2011] [10/01/11]
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From the Editor

Below are selected presentation synopses from the ACIL 74th Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  At the end of each article is a link for members to access the speakers’ visual aids if available.

Keynote: Seven Principles of Success

Successful Canadian publishing entrepreneur Peter Legge shared his seven principles of success with over 100 ACIL members to kick off the 74th annual meeting in New Orleans, attributing 85 percent of success to attitude, and the importance of following through, displaying creativity, showing appreciation and keeping your word.

His seven principles include:

• Do what is required (resourcefulness, inventiveness, creativity, etc.)
• Carefully select the 5 people you spend the most time with
• Never waste a day
• Seek out mentors
• Set big goals and dream big dreams
• Guard your integrity

He cautioned the audience to avoid ruin stemming from ego, greed, alcohol, drugs and illicit sex, and encouraged them to aim high, take action and be persistent, quoting a study that shows becoming world class takes 10,000 hours of practice.

Information Technology: Is Your Information Safe?

Director of Information Technology (IT) at Eurofins Jake Gibson outlined his 5-step program for maintaining IT security, starting with establishing a corporate policy to provide a framework of acceptable use (see NIST publication SP800-50) and then reviewing the steps of: secure, monitor and respond, test, and manage and improve to keep your company’s information safe.

Ingress points provide the biggest area of exposure, e.g., internet connections, web site, VPN, email, wireless connections, mobile devices and USB drives, recommending only company-owned assets on VPN, including mobile devices, so that you know the device has anti-virus software or other appropriate security.

He cautioned members to control physical access to servers, switches, routers and wall ports as they can provide access without a password, and to implement his top three security measures:  download security updates (Microsoft offers “Patch Tuesday”), keep laboratory equipment isolated, use updated anti-virus software and use a firewall.

For more information on Jake’s presentation, click here.

Mentoring and Transitioning Leadership

Long-time ACIL member Bill McGinnis, current president and CEO of NTS and one of ACIL’s leaders for over 20 years, elaborated on changes made to the NTS corporate culture to accommodate the company’s recent change in leadership, noting that to accomplish a smoother transition they needed to pay as much attention to the psychology of Jack Lin’s exit as to the financial split.

Bill also noted that transformation requires cultural change, formal planning, measurements of success, and commitment to continual personal and professional development, hard work, persistence, courage and appreciation for the gifts of the individual, remarking that mentoring is not about telling, it’s about listening, according to the NTS motto: “Teachers appear when the student is ready.”

As the incoming corporate leader, Bill and his management team identified core values that created a more collaborative culture, including emphasizing the importance of respect for the individual and viewing NTS as one enterprise, stopping internal competition between business units. To view Bill’s entire presentation, click here.

New Technology Panel

This 5-person panel covered topics including new trends in laboratory equipment, software as a service (SAS), moving accreditation to the private sector, developing value added services and new government regulations impacting laboratories.

Dr. Charlie Carter, vice president of quality, technical and support services for TestAmerica, discussed new equipment and instrumentation, noting that while new instruments are more reliable, methods need to catch up to reduce false negatives and positives. For more on Charlie’s presentation, click here.

Co-founder of Promium Scot Cocanour touted the benefits of cloud computing, including quicker implementation and built-in redundant back-up, and using SAS to enable laboratories to reduce LIMS infrastructure expenses on in-house systems (both for development and use of electrical power). For more on Scot’s presentation, click here.

Vice President of Technical Support for Accutest Dave Speis discussed the current economic situation’s impact on accreditation, making states open to relinquishing state-run programs to save money, and proposing options such as licensing accredited laboratories at a reduced fee.  To view Dave’s presentation, click here.

Denys Oberman, founder of Oberman Associates, encouraged laboratories to expand into value added services for current clients, including risk management, brand protection, regulatory assistance, emergency response, testing during product development and disaster preparedness. To view Denys’ presentation, click here.

General Counsel for Microbac Laboratories Cabot Earle discussed new government requirements, including displaying a unionization poster in all workplaces as of January 31, 2012, adding the cost of health care to every employee’s W2 as of January 1, 2012, levying a 35 percent tax with a $5 million exemption to death/estate taxes in 2011/2012 and the possibility of expansion into other countries resulting in double taxes, once in the country of origin and a second time when the money enters the US.

Buy/Build/Bid: An Innovative Analysis

Derek Coppinger, NTS Senior VP for Corporate Development, shared how NTS staged its successful reinvention, not only thriving during the recession from 2007 to 2011, but doubling in size.

First, the company made a conscious decision to grow; then management carefully selected an executive team to lead the effort, focusing on developing productive relationships between team members, identifying member strengths/potential contributions and removing politics from the process.

The expansion/acquisition evaluation and decision making process used a balance score card, a short form business plan, various metrics and a corporate strategy map that outlined short, medium and long-term opportunities and allowed the team to manage its portfolio of growth over various time horizons. To learn more about Derek’s presentation, click here.

Creative Tension: A Leadership Discipline for Sustained Growth

The key to generating the creative tension needed to sustain growth lies in writing and communicating a corporate vision and strategic plan, according to Dr. Shawn Wolf, president of Outside Force Consulting, enabling the organization’s “what” and “why” to become a positive motivator for change.

As the one responsible for generating creative tension, the organization’s leader must be involved, have meetings and understand what employees are doing and feeling, striving to channel outcomes to the preferred future instead of maintaining the status quo, or allowing momentum or results of events and issues to lead to expected or alternative futures. To learn more about achieving your preferred future, click here to view Shawn’s entire presentation.

Selling Has Nothing to Do With Selling

Rick Farrell, an expert on selling, advised the audience to reverse the traditional flow of sales information to create trust and value, replacing providing information about your company (which is easily found on the internet nowadays) with questions used to understand the prospect’s problems, striving for an even exchange of information.

To combat inertia, the biggest competitor to buying, take prospects through an analysis of change (or buying) versus no change, using a neutral, balanced, transparent approach to find the truth in order to build trust and differentiate yourself through the quality of your engagement.

Rick suggested 6 questions to use when selling:

1. How long has this been a problem?
2. What have you done to fix it?
3. Who else is aware of this?
4. When you went to existing suppliers and shared your frustration, what response
    did they give you?

5. How does this stack up against other problems you’re facing?
6. With or without our assistance, have you decided to fix this problem?

Social Media/Social Business

The luncheon speaker, Toby Bray, founder of 360 Sales Focus, showed how the information age has affected today’s sales process, creating parity between businesses and clients as referral marketing combines with social media and providers join online communities of interest to meet prospects and better serve clients.

To identify appropriate communities of interest, use search terms in Google alerts, then participate in these communities to develop connections with early stage prospects, making sure to align interests (i.e., have engineers speak with engineers) and provide context relevant to prospects and clients. Also, advertising on Facebook works well to attract college graduates; use LinkedIn for senior people. To view Toby’s presentation, click here.

LEAN Best Practices for Laboratories

Founding sponsor of the Manufacturing Executive Institute Alan Dunn related LEAN manufacturing principles to laboratory operations to provide a fresh perspective on improving process flow and eliminating waste to free capital and improve cash flow, which increases a laboratory’s value.

LEAN laboratories are efficient in terms of cost and speed, but emphasize throughput, smoothing the workflow by cross-training employees to reduce bottlenecks. These laboratories value even the lowest level employees as work process experts, using them to help reprioritize.

Possible areas for increasing throughput include designing a new laboratory layout, moving to smaller batches, creating work cells, eliminating manual logs and reducing paperwork and approval requirements, so that it more closely follows the sample. For more information on Alan’s presentation, click here.

Improvements in Productivity and Profitability

Rachel Bryden Janetta, Chairman of the Board of Test America, Inc. traced a number of statistics demonstrating that without productivity improvements via automation, process improvement and IT advancement, the environmental testing industry would have been unable to survive.

Revenue per employee statistics over the last 20 years show an average annual increase in productivity of almost 6 percent, but during this time all labor, healthcare, shipping, supplies and facility costs increased significantly, forcing the industry to continuously improve to keep costs down. While clients demanded “faster, cheaper and quicker” data delivery, the industry responded by attracting brilliant scientists and engineers to drive technical improvements and innovations to meet increasingly complex client demands and improve productivity.

Rachel concluded with a query, wondering how environmental testing transformed from a highly regarded expert service into a commodity, and challenged the ACIL membership to educate clients about the true value of services. For Rachel’s full presentation, click here.

Strategic Analysis of Water Markets

Click here for a link to this presentation.


The Involvement of Laboratories in Natural Disasters


Click here for a link to this presentation.


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)

Ray Klouda (Elite Testing) reviewed Smart Grid activities including ACIL becoming a voting member of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (see “Smart Grid Win” article at right) with ACIL Consultant Don Heirman running as a candidate to become a voting member of the Smart Grid Testing & Certification Committee (SGTCC). More volunteers are needed to stay current on the many SGTCC teleconferences with identification slated for the next teleconference. Tony Anderson announced that the next round with the York CNE III 150 kHz to1 GHz begins at the end of October and that laboratories signing up for the PT Program before the end of the year will enjoy 2011 rates. Harry Hodes (Acme) is researching accreditation of ACIL’s PT Program.

The section discussed the possible creation of two subsections—one for EMC and one for product certification. Mike Violette (Washington Laboratories) will contact the section’s product certifiers to collect discussion topics for future section telephone conferences and ask UL to appoint someone to the CAS. Peter Unger (A2LA) gave an interesting presentation on EMC laboratory deficiencies with the conclusion that the high percentage of deficiencies for test procedures was due to the highly technical nature of EMC testing. The next CAS teleconference call is scheduled for Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. EST.

Construction Materials (CMET) Section

The section’s discussion of the ACIL Strategic Plan included selecting one CMET section member to serve on a committee for each of the three goals. They are:  Jim Smith (Advance Testing) on the strengthening relationships goal, Doug Leonard (L-A-B) on the stakeholder communications goal and Bill Colavecchio (UL) to identify someone from UL who works on the UL web site.  A discussion on attracting CMET suppliers to ACIL led Jim Smith to volunteer to begin identifying prospects and circulating a list among section members. The CMET personnel certification program in conjunction with NETTCP moved forward with Jim Smith coordinating sending manuals to Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner), Steve Elliott (Materials Testing) and Greg Schmidt (Geotest), and the section requested development of a white paper to show the program benefits to the states. The next conference call is scheduled for Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST.

Environmental Sciences Section (ESS)

The section discussed the ACIL Strategic Plan with an emphasis on improving internal ACIL communications and the web site.  David Friedman reviewed progress on the ACIL-EPA partnership with the EPA Office of Water and Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, which requested ACIL assistance to prioritize updating of waste water methods, and demonstrating that non-mercury thermometers are acceptable when running flash point tests.

Dave Speis (Accutest) reviewed progress made on the nongovernment accreditation initiative in NJ and its expansion to other states with Cabot Earle (Microbac) chairing a separate task group to lead the expansion. The group targeted states with easily modifiable programs, severe budget problems or governors in favor of externalized testing with an ACIL coordinator assigned for each one.  States and coordinators are: Judy Morgan (ESS), NC; Steve Vanderboom (Pace) and Judy Morgan, MN; Bruce Godfrey (Curtis & Thompkins), CA; Jack Farrell (Analytical Excellence), FL; Doug Leonard (L-A-B), KS; and Milt Bush and David Friedman in VA. Coordinators are to identify the current accreditation structure and the decision makers in each state's government.  Dave Speis is developing materials to describe how states might implement a nongovernment- based accreditation system.

The ELAB Laboratory Management Workgroup is developing recommendations to EPA on improving the laboratory accreditation process, using the ACIL Nongovernmental Accreditation White Paper as a source of information. The section discussed possible topics for the 2012 NEMC, including improving monitoring organizations’ communication to Congress and the general public on the importance of environmental concerns. The next regularly scheduled ESS conference call will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2011, 11:00 a.m. EST.  

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

As its anchor program, the FSS discussed a managed blog to post common problems and assign an expert to post answers for the membership, archiving responses to develop a reference bank for members. Lars Reimann (Eurofins) noted that ISO does not accept the AOCA’s new policy. Future discussions will include ways to participate in developing a more acceptable method. Peter Unger (A2LA) presented the top ten nonconformities of FSS laboratories. Discussion of the ACIL Strategic Plan resulted in Tom Zierenberg (Microbac) joining the committee working on strengthening relationships and Denys Oberman (Oberman Associates) joining the committee working on communication with stakeholders. A section participant for the web site committee will be identified at the next teleconference on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. EST.

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.

Enviromental Sciences: Shealy Consulting LLC, Laura Shealy, Lexington, SC 29072

A 25-year-old woman-owned small business, Shealy Consulting, LLC has coordinated hundreds of toxicity identification evaluations, refractory toxicity assessments, and site specific metals studies in the southeast as well as the western US and Canada; and has presented at numerous technical conferences and given dozens of workshops on a broad range of issues. Shealy Consulting services consist of whole effluent toxicity testing, site specific development for metals and toxicity identification evaluations.

Associate Member: CETAC Technologies, Jeff Forsberg, Omaha, NE 68144

CETAC products and services are used in every industry where rapid and accurate determination of elemental trace levels is required. Major industrial segments benefiting from our product-based solutions include semiconductor manufacturing, environmental analysis and petrochemical manufacturing.  Our advanced products and services include:

• Liquid Sample Introduction Systems for enhancement of sensitivity or the introduction of
   small volume samples
• Automated Sample Handling Systems for increasing productivity in the analytical laboratory
• Solid Sample Introduction Systems for the analysis of solids without sample dissolution
• Stand-alone Mercury Analysis Systems for determination of mercury in aqueous samples
• Peripheral Devices and Supplies for the general enhancement of qualitative and quantitative
   analytical determination in the laboratory

Associate Member: Entech Instruments, Susan Moore, Simi Valley, CA 93065

Entech Instruments manufactures scientific laboratory equipment for GC and GCMS Inlet Systems for volatiles analysis.

Associate Member: GVS Filter Technology, Mike Eggers, Indianapolis, IN 46268

GVS produces a wide range of standard items, filters or components, to satisfy client requirements for quality and safety without encountering the high costs of creating new production systems.

Adjunct Member: Chicago Tag & Label, Barry LaBeef, Libertyville, IL 60048

Founded in 1946 as a small tag manufacturer, over the years Chicago Tag & Label has evolved into a leading national supplier of custom tags, custom labels and label-form combinations. Our company's commitment to innovation, design and value has resulted in the production of various tags, labels and forms that are used on an extensive variety of applications throughout the US.


In This Issue

And the Survey Says. . .

Feedback from our 74th annual meeting in New Orleans confirms that we’re on the right track, tallying the highest meeting attendance numbers in years with 120 participants, and an average survey award of 4.5 out of 5 when comparing the value of attendance with the cost of the meeting. Top presentations for generating new ideas included Rick Farrell on selling, Jake Gibson (Eurofins) on IT security, Bill McGinnis (NTS) on transitioning future leadership and our technology panel.  On the technology front, both the IT security presentation and the technology panel received top marks on helping members improve their businesses. As we strive for a perfect score of 5, we hope that you will join us on March 28-29 for the 2012 Policies and Practices Conference in Washington, DC—a mix of government-related and business practices sessions (see below).

Save the Date!
ACIL Policies & Practices Conference

Washington, DC
March 28-29, 2012

Expanded to 1-1/2 days for 2012, this conference begins at 1pm on March 28th, including section-specific meetings with government officials and others important to section activities followed by business practices sessions on March 29th, ending at 4pm.  For more specific information on the Policies and Practices Conference, click here to view the announcement sent earlier this week.

Newcomer Feedback

After belonging to ACIL for 20 years, Jim Smith (Advance Testing) decided to attend his first ACIL meeting in New Orleans.  After raving about the 74th annual meeting, he added, “Nancy and I had a wonderful time at the event.  The friendships, camaraderie and business relationships we encountered at the event were second to none.  My only regret is that I waited so long to attend my first ACIL event.”  Thanks, Jim, and we’ll see you again soon!

Smart Grid Win

After almost a year-long struggle, ACIL persevered and gained voting rights on the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel in August thanks to Don Heirman’s efforts on ACIL’s behalf. Modernizing the electric grid with information-age technologies, such as microprocessors, communications, advanced computing, and information technologies to develop a smart grid presents a unique business opportunity for ACIL conformity assessment section members, who are now positioned to capitalize on this. Thanks to Mike Violette (Washington Laboratories) for working with staff to identify and hire Don Heirman to assist ACIL with this important effort.

FHWA Accepts NACLA CMET Recognition for L-A-B

On October 7, 2011, the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) formally accepted the National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA) awarded Construction Materials (CMET) Recognition to Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (L-A-B), including this announcement on its web site.  After participating in the evaluation process, FHWA found that NACLA’s CMET recognition satisfies its regulation titled “Quality Assurance Procedures for Construction” 23 CFR 637 paragraphs 637.209 (a) (2), (3), and (4).

In Memoriam

Former ACIL Executive Director from 2000 -2008 Joan Walsh Cassedy died on October 6, 2011 and was buried in Washington, DC on October 13, 2011.  She is survived by two daughters and one grandson. ACIL mourns this terrible loss.

Dues Increase for 2012

After four years without a dues increase, the ACIL Board voted to raise dues 4 percent across all membership levels for 2012. ACIL has already streamlined its operations to economize funds, so the increase is required to tackle the work needed to continue to move the organization forward. In addition, since we have depleted reserves, we are asking for a voluntary capital contribution to replenish this account. ACIL Chairman J. Trevor Boyce further explains the rationale for the increase in his letter enclosed with your upcoming dues invoice.  For a sneak peak at his letter, click here.

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.

ACIL HR Webinar a Success

On September 15, 2011, ACIL presented its first education webinar on Human Resources Management with our HR management consulting firm, SESCO.  According to Sara Sabers (Eurofins), the hour long session provided her with new information on protecting her company from legal troubles as well as providing a refresher on other important and valuable HR information, and was “well worth the time spent.”  Sara also learned that as a benefit of ACIL membership, Eurofins and all ACIL members receive free consulting services from SESCO. ACIL plans to conduct future webinars on other business practice topics.

ACIL Exhibits at IEEE

Tony Anderson, ACIL Section Executive Officer, represented ACIL at the IEEE-EMC meeting in August in Long Beach, CA, receiving positive feedback on our growing presence from ACIL CAS members and generating several strong membership leads, including ORACLE, Atlas Compliance & Engineering, Timco and ETS-Lindgren.

NACLA Education Seminars

ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation
Uncertainty of Measurement
Construction Materials Testing
November 28, 29 & 30
Indian Rocks Beach, FL

These seminars may be taken separately or in combination.  For more information, click here.

ISO/IEC 17025 Internal Auditor Training & Measurement Uncertainty Workshop

Houston, TX
December 14, 15 & 16, 2011

ACIL members receive a 10 percent discounted day rate, increasing to 25 percent if over 14 ACIL members attend. Click here for more information and registration information.

International Trade Conference

Hilton BWI Airport Hotel
1739 West Nursery Road
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
November 9-10, 2011

Organized by the US Department of Commerce, this 2-day conference focuses on exports to Southeast Asia, highlighting markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The conference includes country commercial briefings, focused seminars and interactive export preparedness workshops. For questions or additional information, call: 410/962-4539, email:, or click here to register.

UILI Update

The ACIL Board decided not to join UILI this year because it has provided little value to date. UILI mistakenly reported this ACIL decision as due to budgetary reasons, which is not the case.  If you require further clarification, contact ACIL COO Richard Bright.

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 meetings.



ACIL Newsletter Staff

Adrienne Bush

Milton Bush

Beth Horan