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ANSI Hosts ISO Secretary-General Robert Steele for First Official U.S. Visit

New York, Mar 09, 2009

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was pleased to host Mr. Robert Steele, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), during his first official visit to the United States this week.

“International standardization is all about people, and I’m thrilled to be here to meet with many of the key stakeholders from the U.S. standardization community,” said Rob Steele.

In addition to meetings with ANSI governance and management staff at the Institute’s Washington, DC, headquarters, he visited several U.S. government agencies, offering a valuable opportunity to discuss the alignment of ISO’s standards and development directions and activities with U.S. strategic and technological priorities from a number of different perspectives.

On Tuesday, March 3, he spoke to the ANSI ISO Council (AIC) about his views on ISO as an organization and its direction for the future. As ISO works to develop its strategic plan for 2011-2015, Rob Steele urged active participation by the Institute and its Federation of members to help shape the priorities for action during the coming years.

On Wednesday, March 4, he met with ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia and other members of the Institute’s management staff to discuss the U.S. standardization system, ANSI’s accreditation program for standards developing organizations, and U.S. support of ISO initiatives, including the strategic plan and the ongoing developing country program.

Following this meeting, Rob Steele sat with Art Cote, chairman of the ANSI Board of Directors, and other Board officers and governance leaders to discuss topics including the ISO business model, outreach to academia, and stakeholder engagement in ISO and national standards bodies (NSBs).

Rob Steele’s visit continued on March 5, when he provided luncheon remarks the ANSI Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting.

“The work that ANSI does within ISO on behalf of the United States is an absolutely vital contribution to international standardization,” he explained during the luncheon. “And what a contribution you make – with leadership roles in 124 technical committees spanning a huge range of subject areas, the thoughtfulness and the depth with which the U.S. gets involved is exemplary.”

In addition to his time with ANSI leadership, Rob Steele sat with a number of U.S. government agencies on March 5-6. These meetings included a discussion with the staff from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where the Secretary-General spoke on his background in the standardization industry and detailed some of his plans for ISO. Jeffrey Weiss, USTR senior director of technical barriers to trade, and Julia Doherty, USTR senior director of non-tariff measures, shared their perspectives on several ISO initiatives.

During his visit to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) International Trade Administration (ITA), he met with Michelle O’Neill, acting under secretary for international trade, to discuss ISO’s work in the social responsibility arena, the efforts of the ISO Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO), and the relationship between standards and public policy – both within the United States and elsewhere in the world.

A trip to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) brought discussion on the work of ISO Project Committee (PC) 242, Energy management. Jim Quinn and Paul Scheihing of the DoE Industrial Technologies Program shared details on related initiatives, including the Superior Energy Performance Partnership, which aims to improve energy efficiency in U.S. manufacturing plants. [see related article]

Finally, he sat with the staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to discuss ISO strategic issues and directions. NIST staff then took Mr. Steele on a tour of their facility, providing him with information on NIST’s role in the U.S. standardization system.

“Speaking for both myself and my colleagues at the Institute, we are delighted to have spent the past few days with Rob as he begins the third month of his tenure as Secretary-General,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “It has been an informative and enjoyable week for everyone involved, and we look forward to a continued close working relationship in the months and years to come.”

Mr. Robert Steele assumed the position of ISO Secretary-General on January 1, 2009. For more information, see this ANSI Online news item:

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