acil-shn Archive [Nov/Dec 2012] [11/28/12]
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From the Editor

Below are selected presentation synopses from the ACIL 75th Annual Meeting in New York City.  At the end of each article is a link for members to access the speakers’ visual aids if available.  To view photos of the meeting, click here.  To view photos of the banquet, click here.

ACIL Leaders Panel

Past and present ACIL leaders Walter Poggi (Retlif), Steve Vincent (Laboratory Science Institute), Trevor Boyce (Microbac) and Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner) shared insights on the state of the industry and its impact on ACIL, noting new trends such as reduced government encroachment on the laboratory business with movement toward outsourcing to address public sector budget issues, a change in laboratory ownership from small, family-owned businesses to more large companies, venture capitalists and foreign owners, and a shift from viewing laboratories as providing professional services to commodities.  The continuing issue of unfair competition from government and universities still lurks, but ACIL’s tool kit developed over its 75-year history helps to fight this.

Panelists shared opportunities for new business, including water analysis related to fracking and suggested that laboratories focus on sources of energy with rising prices such as liquid gas in Ohio.  To exploit new opportunities for government business, trust is paramount, leading to increased interest in 17025 accreditation and other ways to show independence such as ACIL’s new independence mark.

All panelists lauded the commitment, dedication and contributions of ACIL members with Steve Vanderboom (Pace) commenting that he learns something at every meeting that pays for his annual dues, sometimes a comment on another laboratory’s success pays for 10 - 15 years of Pace’s dues.

Ethics in Free Enterprise vs. Government Entities

Does big government or big business promote an ethical society?  Elizabeth Ames, co-author with Steve Forbes of Freedom Manifesto, explored this age-old question concluding that free enterprise promotes both ethics and efficiency if allowed to work properly.  She notes that our inherent distrust of markets has led to more and more government, now accounting for over 40 percent of GDP, which is strangling the free enterprise system.

Free enterprise, our system of open markets, competition and choice, has given our society its moral foundation, promoting values like cooperation, personal responsibility, respect for individuals and accountability, according to her.  Free markets are moral because, first and foremost, they encourage meeting the wants and needs of others, channeling self-interest and a desire for profit into behavior that benefits society, and unleashing creativity and innovation to create abundance.

To view Elizabeth Ames’ entire speech, click here.

Keynote Speaker - 911

ACIL hosted Tom Von Essen, NY Fire Department (FD) Commissioner during the 911 terrorist attack, to learn about leadership from one of the foremost authorities.  Tom stressed the importance of good communication and dependence on all levels of leadership for a smooth running operation, noting that he had to rely on instinct for many decisions during the first days of the recovery effort, since solid information was not available.

The NYFD lost many leaders that day, hampering its efforts to lead the recovery effort, and felt the impact of a lack of communication because the circumstances interfered with radio operability.  Tom celebrated the advent of new mass communications technology that now allows leaders to quickly get information to the people, and is still in awe of the support of the tens of thousands who assisted the NYFD in its recovery efforts, from the retired mechanics who came to fix trucks to the 80 outside fire units that responded.

Transition Planning Panel

John Molloy (H2M), Bill McGinnis (NTS) and Steve Vincent (Laboratory Science Institute) shared lessons learned when transitioning to new leadership, including giving successors the opportunity to prove themselves, focusing on the emotional process for the departing leader and selling when the timing is right to maximize laboratory value.

To view presentations, click on the speaker’s name: John MolloyBill McGinnisSteve Vincent.

What Fueled Pace Analytical’s Growth?

Pace’s founder Steve Vanderboom delivered a heartfelt presentation that wowed a packed audience experiencing one of the greatest values of ACIL membership—learning from other members.  Values define growth drivers:  In Pace’s case, these were to pursue opportunities and continuously improve, which have made Pace the second largest environmental testing company in the US with 4-5 percent market share.

Best practices and more efficient equipment allows Pace to keep up with the competition, and a penchant for customer service (learned from working in his father’s drive-in) has translated into no customer lawsuits in the company’s entire 34-year history.  Infrastructure is key in integrating a network of laboratories and maintaining consistency.

To view Steve’s presentation, click here.

US Economy’s Current Performance and Near-Term Outlook

According to Stephen Fuller, an economist and professor at George Mason University, we are now recovering from the 2008 recession, although the pervasiveness and misunderstood depth of the downturn have led to a slower recovery than originally anticipated.  He predicted recovery for 2014/15, maintaining the status quo in 2013 while the economy regains equilibrium, and advocated for less government involvement to develop a healthy economy.  For more details on his presentation, click here.

Employees as PR Tools

Owen Rankin, an executive vice president at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, discussed turning the trust in your employees and corporate reputation into a competitive advantage by consistently communicating corporate values through several sources and relying on technical experts within your company to communicate your message since they are twice as trusted as CEOs.  According to Owen, both transparency and corporate reputation are emerging as trends for trust in business.  To view Owen’s presentation, click here.

Fostering Leaders

Julie Jansen sees leadership as the process of influencing people to work toward goals, and common sense, intuition and self awareness create effective leaders.  She advised attendees to always monitor one’s own judgments and emotions and conduct a personal self-debriefing after important interactions.  Leaders take high risk, seek responsibility, behave more entrepreneurially, set more demanding goals and have solid communications and team building skills.  For more information on this presentation, click here.

Wellness Program Workshop

After hearing many times at ACIL meetings how wellness programs both reduce the cost of absenteeism and health insurance premiums, especially with weight loss and smoking cessation programs, ACIL retained Dick Tillmar not only to speak at this meeting, but to provide a manual for laboratories to develop their own wellness programs.  To learn more about Dick’s presentation on changing employee behavior to promote wellness, click here.  The last part of this shows how to develop your own wellness program.  To view sample wellness surveys, click here.

Effective Team Building

ACIL human resources consultant, SESCO sent Vice President Jamie Hasty to share the keys to building effective teams--commitment, ethics and trust.  She advises building relationships to increase commitment and trust, and notes that mentorship programs increase an employee’s success integrating into a team.  For more information on Jamie’s presentation, click here.  To access SESCO’s Effective Team Building Workbook, click here.

Committees and Sections

If you’d like to get involved in any of the sections, members may use the call-in information in the section report below to join the sections’ monthly teleconferences, which are also listed on the ACIL Website. Find complete meeting minutes on the ACIL Website in the Members Only Section.

Construction Materials & Engineering Testing (CMET) Section

Addressing the ACIL strategic plan goal to develop anchor programs within each section, CMET is proceeding with its personnel certification program, including investigating 17024 accreditation, and hiring a consultant for the section to expedite program development.  (Secretary’s Note:  Past ACIL President and highly regarded CMET consultant Jerry Weathers has been hired to assist the section with this.)   As a result of joint ACIL/NACLA outreach to the states, Ohio has expressed interest in an ACIL soils personnel certification program.  Steve Bowser (Bowser-Morner) volunteered to follow up with Ohio DOT personnel on this.  The section decided to offer the ACIL/NACLA Guide 1825 for free on the ACIL web site with Doug Leonard (L-A-B) volunteering to create a draft of recent changes for section review.  The section elected Greg Smith (Geotest) as the new CMET chair while Jim Kuhn (Atlantic) moves into his new role as ILI Chairman.  The CMET Section meets by teleconference on the second Thursday of the month.  The next teleconferences are on December 13, 2012 and January 10, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET. To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code:  224 5248#.

Conformity Assessment Section (CAS)

Chairman Mike Violette (Washington Laboratories) discussed CAS’ two anchor programs—Smart Grid and the recently accredited ACIL Proficiency Testing (PT) Program, both outgrowths of goals in ACIL’s strategic plan.  On Smart Grid, members need to complete Don Heirman’s survey to determine interest in ACIL becoming an ITCA.  On the PT program, Section Executive Officer, Tony Anderson, is completing a survey of members planning to use the program in 2013.  To keep members abreast of C63® activities, ACIL will post the C63® Newsletter on the CAS page of the website.

Mike reported on an intiative in Southeast Asia to adopt a conformity assessment mark, which will be the subject of a future workshop possibly at the 2013 P2 Conference.  Other P2 Conference program ideas include the China position statement; updates from NIST, FCC and OMB; and ACIL ITCA activities.  Mike volunteered to serve as the CAS representative on the ILI Board of Directors.  The next CAS teleconference meetings will be held on Thursday, November 28 and Thursday, December 19, 2012.  To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code:  224 5227#.

Food Sciences Section (FSS)

Chair Tom Zierenberg (Microbac) discussed ACIL’s efforts to rescind the FDA re-inspection fee and how it benefits laboratory customers and their trade associations, serving to elevate both ACIL and its members.  Members discussed the confusion surrounding the need to register with the FDA based on the 2002 Bioterrorism Act, which requires food manufacturers to register.  Mike Olson (ACIL) will research this issue for ACIL members.  The section discussed the disparity between different FDA field laboratories and reviewers, in particular the analytical package requirements.  John Bode (ACIL) continues to meet with FDA to resolve this issue. 

In response to CFSAN’s presentation at the 2012 P2 conference, ACIL met with them and toured their College Park, MD facility, leading to the inclusion of non-government laboratories to validate its new pesticide method and possibly future validation of a method for pesticides in dietary supplements.  The section also plans to contact AOAC to revise its Bacteriological Analytical Manual to allow laboratories greater flexibility with equipment and test kits to minimize costs without compromising results.  During the FSS discussion of the 2013 ACIL P2 Conference, the section plans for Mike Olson to present a review of FDA structure, missions of internal organizations and FDA’s reporting chain.  The FSS meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. ET. The next FSS teleconferences are December 19, 2012 and January 16, 2013.  To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code:  224 5248#.

Environmental Sciences Section (ESS)

David Friedman (ACIL) discussed ongoing efforts to continue collaborating with EPA via ILI, including incorporating Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) into EPA water testing methods, addressing the helium shortage and providing assistance to EPA's ORCR regarding releasable cyanide and other methods.  The latter two items will be addressed at the next ILI workshop on December 11th and 12th.  David will contact SPE vendors to attempt to identify one to champion a future ILI workshop on this subject.

Milt Bush (ACIL) discussed progress on the Non-Governmental Accreditation Initiative, noting that ACIL continues to make inroads in New Jersey and Florida. In California, ACIL surveyed laboratories to collect information on the state’s current laboratory accreditation program.  (Secretary’s Note:  Since the meeting, ACIL sent a letter to the California Department of Health summarizing the survey results.)  The section is also drafting letters to EPA’s Office of Water requesting revision of its drinking water regulations to allow states to accept third-party accreditations, and APHL to clarify misconceptions of ACIL’s position on third party accreditation.

The final portion of the meeting included members sharing information to improve laboratory operations.  Bob Wyeth (Pace) described Pace’s employee training program; Robert Alessi (DLA Piper) discussed hazardous material disposal, contract review and liability; and Judy Morgan (ESC) shared green laboratory practices.  The ESS monthly teleconference meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at 11:00 a.m. ET. The next two teleconferences will be on December 20, 2012 and January 17, 2013.  To call in, dial 1-800-377-8846 and use meeting access code: 224 5368#.

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 Corporate Member: IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group, Mansour Samadpour, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group offers analytical services tailored to the meat industry, fresh produce, agricultural products and consulting.

Environmental Sciences Corporate Member: Atmospheric Analysis & Consulting, Inc., Sucha Parmer, Ventura, CA 93003

Atmospheric Analysis and Consulting Inc. (AAC) is a full service air quality analytical laboratory providing analytical services for: ambient air, remediation land fills, stack emission monitoring, vapor intrusion, composting and custom research projects.

Environmental Sciences Corporate Member: Suburban Laboratories, Inc., Jarrett Thomas, Hillside, IL 60162

Suburban Laboratories specializes in environmental sampling and testing services with special emphasis on drinking water and wastewater.


In This Issue

Save the Date!

Policies & Practices (P2) Conference
March 20 - 21, 2013
Arlington, VA

This meeting provides a 24-hour whirlwind of information on government relations and business practices to improve your laboratory operations, culminating in an afternoon of Hill and regulatory agency visits.  Join your ACIL colleagues for this fun and informative meeting in our Nation’s Capital.  Stay tuned for more details.

Information Security Training

December 17, 2012, 1:30pm ET

Cabem Technologies presents a virtual workshop on IT matters including policies and procedures for enhancing physical, network and data security.  Contact Beth Horan to reserve your space and/or receive more workshop information.

Smart Grid Workshop

ACIL solidified its position as a primary supporter of the US Smart Grid Interoperability  Panel (SGIP) with its 2-day Smart Grid workshop led by Don Heirman with presentations from several ACIL members.  The workshop attracted 28 attendees, including representatives from NIST and ANSI as well as Rik Drummond, chair of the SGIP Testing and Certification Committee (SGTCC), and covered the roles of the many participants, reviewed the Interoperability Process Reference Manual, comparing it to ISO 17025, and shared perspectives from power utilities, regulators, laboratories and accreditation bodies.  This tremendously valuable workshop scored between 4.5 and 4.75 from survey respondents with Rik Drummond noting, "This (workshop) with the open information sharing was great!"

Advanced Testing Hosts Vietnamese Visitors

Jimmy Smith (Advanced Testing) hosted two senior managers from the Vietnam Ministry of Standards, providing a comprehensive tour of his world-class facility in Campbell Hall, NY, to assist the Vietnamese government in expanding capacity and capabilities to accommodate its country’s rapid growth.  These visits and exchanges demonstrate to our trading partners the structure, integrity and quality that US industry represents. “Brand USA” is well-regarded internationally, especially in the technology sector.  Thanks to Mike Violette (Washington Laboratories), ACIL’s resident Asia expert, for arranging this meeting.  For more details on the visit, click here.

2012 Annual Meeting Feedback

The survey results are in.  Those who had the good fortune to join us in New York City just reiterated what we heard at the meeting—a fantastic event with great educational sessions and copious amounts of networking opportunities.  Highest marks go to our three member-speaker sessions (transition planning, leaders panel and Pace’s growth) which averaged a whopping 4.66 out of 5!  Overall, participants gave the educational sessions a 4.3.

On the meeting format, 83% preferred the additional networking activities, and 68% preferred the section meetings at the beginning of the meeting.  Staff plans to take this into account for future meetings.  Thanks to everyone for responding.

More Feedback Needed

At the annual meeting, many members discussed the value of ACIL in growing their businesses.  In order to quantify this important aspect of ACIL membership, we need to hear from you!  Please click here and take a moment to complete our 7-question survey.  Thank you in advance for your help.

John Molloy Receives Leadership Award

Congratulations to ACIL Past Chair John Molloy (H2M), named one of “Those Who Make a Difference” by the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island for his longevity, support and guidance to the business community.  As an engineer, manager and corporate leader at H2M, John has demonstrated sustained leadership and vision, supporting the company’s growth from a single office to a regional firm with five New York area locations.  Congratulations, John, on this well deserved accolade.

Jim Kuhn Ascends to Presidency

In September, Atlantic Testing Laboratories named Jim Kuhn company president, one of only three in Atlantic’s 45-year history.  Starting with the company in 2004 after college, Jim worked his way up the corporate ladder to his current position.  Congratulations, Jim, on this wonderful accomplishment!

Walter Poggi Receives iNARTE Certification

Past ACIL Chair and founder of Retlif Testing Laboratories, Walter Poggi, demonstrated the knowledge, proficiency, education and experience in electromagnetic compatibility and use of EMC/EMI principles in electronics and electrical design to receive certification as an iNARTE “Master EMC Design Engineer.”  Congratulations, Walter, on this impressive achievement!

Kudos to Don Heirman

SGIP Plenary Chair Steve Widegren lauded ACIL Smart Grid Consultant Don Heirman for his key contributions to the IPRM implementation working group based on his test laboratory expertise and industry involvement in US and international accreditation activities and their underlying standards. Don also championed important EMC considerations in testing, acting as a liaison to assure close cooperation between the SGTCC and the EMIIWG.  Good work Don!  Thank you for working tirelessly on ACIL’s behalf.

New Bylaws Approved

ACIL members voted to approve revised bylaws in September.  In case you did not get the August memo, these changes allow for membership suspension for non-payment of dues at 90 days into the fiscal year, consideration of task force chairs for Board of Directors positions and multiple 3-year terms as an at large director on the Board.  Thanks to Steve Elliott (Materials Testing) for chairing this task force and to Cabot Earle (Microbac) and Joan Sterling (Intertek) for assisting him.

Training:  Understanding ISO/IEC 17065

Presented by A2LA
Holiday Inn, Frederick, MD
January 23 - 24, 2013, 9am - 5pm
$745 for members, $795 for non-members
Click here for more information

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

Adrienne Bush

Milton Bush

Beth Horan