ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Board Welcomes NIST Director Dr. Patrick Gallagher

New York, Dec 18, 2009

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was pleased to welcome Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as a special guest speaker during this month's meeting of the ANSI Board of Directors. The year-end meeting was held on December 3 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC.

Dr. Gallagher’s luncheon address focused on the critical and strategic importance of standards for our nation’s top priorities. From SmartGrid and Greenhouse Gas emissions to health IT and cyber security, standards and technology have a prominent role to play in meeting the goals of the new U.S. administration.

“Today more than ever, standards are a big deal,” Dr. Gallagher explained. “With headline issues like smart grid and cybersecurity bringing standards, conformity assessment, and above all, interoperability to the forefront, the standardization community is in the spotlight.”

Dr. Gallagher proceeded to share an anecdote involving a discussion between Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and President Obama on standards to support our nation’s smart grid.

“If Secretary Chu and the President can discuss smart grid standards for half an hour, it is clear just how focused this administration is on the importance of what we do.”

But with increased attention comes participation from new stakeholders and new questions about the system and procedures that are currently in place. Dr. Gallagher urged openness, cooperation, and active outreach to encourage participation from non-traditional players. Using the analogy of a small town that experiences a sudden influx of newcomers, Dr. Gallagher explained that the townspeople can have two possible reactions: they can “circle the wagons” and try to resist new ideas and the potential for change to their familiar environment, or they can be open and inclusive, sharing experiences and insights with their new neighbors.

Specifically, he recommended the involvement of the researchers, idea makers, and entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of technological development. Their experiences and insights, he concluded, would surely add value to the standards development and harmonization processes. Dr. Gallagher further noted the role of technology solutions as a key aspect in addressing economic issues.

Dr. Gallagher’s remarks led to an interesting group discussion. Key points included the use of OMB Circular A-119 in offering guidance on the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act as well as the need for better coordination across government agencies with regard to participation in the standards development process.

“On behalf of the ANSI Board of Directors, I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Gallagher for joining us at this year-end meeting,” said Mr. Cote. “His remarks provided great insight and truly underscored the importance of the standardization community’s many efforts to meet the needs of our nation. We look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with him as he embarks on his new path as NIST director.”

President Obama nominated Dr. Gallagher as the fourteenth director of NIST on September 10, 2009. The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Gallagher’s appointment in November. [see related article]

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