Stephen (Steve) Oksala—an insightful leader whose long-range planning efforts supported the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the voluntary standards system for several decades—passed away at home on October 22, 2023, surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 79. ANSI mourns the loss of Steve, a wise and impactful figure in the standards community and a friend to many, and extends heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.
Steve’s career in standards began at Unisys (originally Burroughs), where he was the director of standards and regulatory compliance. Following this tenure, he became vice president of standards for SCTE, and president of Oksala Consulting. He was also editor of Standards Engineering, the journal of SES – the Society for Standards Professionals, where he led the journal to a new focus on critical legal issues including patents, antitrust, and other legal news relevant to standardization.
Steve was an active and influential member of ANSI’s Board of Directors, providing his insights, wisdom, and long-range planning vision to ANSI for several decades. His many contributions to ANSI included participation in the Consumer Interest Forum (CIF), ANSI ISO Council (AIC), International Policy Advisory Group (IPAG), Intellectual Property Rights Policy Advisory Group (IPRPAG), and the Committee on Education (COE). Steve served as vice chair of ANSI’s Board, and chaired the Conformity Assessment Policy Committee (CAPC) and the National Policy Committee (now the National Policy Advisory Group).
One of Steve’s most impactful contributions to the voluntary standards community was serving as leader of the group that produced ANSI’s National Standards Strategy for the United States in 2000 (now the United States Standards Strategy), and later as editor for a revision of the Strategy. In recognition of his extraordinary dedication and achievements, Steve received ANSI’s Edward Lohse Information Technology Medal in 1999, George S. Wham Leadership Medal in 2009, and President's Award for Journalism in 2015. He was also recognized with ANSI’s Meritorious Service Award in 2022. He has twice won awards in the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day paper competition, as well as SES’s Leo B. Moore Award.
“Steve was an incredible mentor and leader in the ANSI community who deeply understood the value and benefits of standards,” said Fran Schrotter, ANSI senior vice president and chief operating officer. “His in-depth and nuanced knowledge of the international standards system benefitted the U.S. greatly. Without a doubt, his leadership helped to guide the trajectory of ANSI, and continues to have an impact to this day. What’s more, Steve was a kind, wonderful, and thoughtful person, and so many in our community considered him a good friend. He will be greatly missed.”
Learn more about Steve’s tribute and services.