In this episode, we share some audio that didn't make it into a previous episode for one reason or another. This episode's topic is standards development. We join the conversation as Brian sheds some light on the standards development process and how you can get involved.
AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript
Season 3, Episode 12: From the Cutting Room Floor – Standards Development
Recorded: June 10, 2022
Released: July 26, 2022
Hosts: Brian Johnson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Manager and Kim Swanson, Communications Manager at AASHTO re:source
Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics.
Transcribed by Kim Swanson and MS Teams
[Theme music fades in.]
[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to AASHTO re:source Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials, testing, and inspection with people in the know. From exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management. We're covering topics important to you.
[00:00:18] Kim: Hi. I'm Kim Swanson. And in this episode, we're going to share some audio that didn't make it into a previous episode for one reason or another. The topic today is standards development. We join the conversation as Brian sheds some light on the standards development process and how you can get involved.
[00:00:39] Brian: We're always going to run into situations where we don't know what's going to happen. Right. And that's all you can do is do your best and work together and communicate. So we'll do our best to do that. And we don't have all the answers. That's the other thing I think people need to understand. And that's a funny thing about standards development, too. And I just saw something like that yesterday, where. Somebody was asking me a question. This was somebody on staff was asking me. Well, why did this happen in these standards? Was it because the standards developers thought this, that or the, you know, making this conjecture that sounded really good and really thoughtful. And two of us who were involved in in have been involved in standards development for a while. We just said we don't know, and they probably didn't think of it.
[00:01:27] Brian: It you know it's like sometimes that happens [Kim: Hmm.] like don't assume that every standard is so well crafted and well-tailored that it is perfect. And there was so much thought put into every single sentence and it was handed down by the all-knowing beings of the of the committee. Well, anybody in the committees understands that they don't know everything either and they know what they know and hopefully collectively. Over time, we can get it right, but the reason why these standards have to get updated every eight years and ASTM and regularly whatever the interval is for any other standards development organization is because number one, things change over time. Technologies come out while I was change and we're talking about thermometers, you know certain States and mercury thermometers. So, guess what you have to figure out an alternative well that drives change in the standards. That's good. That gets us to a safer. Probably more accurate in some cases. Definitely more accurate in some more responsive for certain because you compare how slow a mercury thermometer reacts compared to how quickly a digital one reacts. So even though it seemed at the time like things were not what they wanted, you know if you're a mercury thermometer proponent, you ended up getting something was probably better than what you had. But anyway, outside of that things changed over time and you need to change with it. The standards need to change with it.
[00:02:53] Brian: People learn new things all the time. Some total tangent here. I was having a conversation with somebody the other day. This was maybe a month ago and there was an older, older gentleman and we were talking about education. And. This person said, do you think? That people today. No more than people in my generation knew, and I said. Of course. [Kim: Oooo.] And he was taken aback. And he's like, what I how can you say that? And I said we have learned more as a society. Through all of the research that has been conducted from when you were in school to when my kids are in school, we know more.
[00:03:42] Brian: We know more about the world we live in. There have been more studies done there, have more things have happened, more experiences have been had. We know more collectively than we did then. And he sat there, and he was like, all right, he's like, I could buy that. But it is hard. It's hard to parse that out. I know people always think like, Oh well, back in my day. Things were better for this, that and the other reason, and there may be some truth to some things. But society moves on. Changes are made.
[00:04:12] Kim: Yeah, I will say collectively sure collectively. [Brian: Yes, collectively.] You know, I think individuals that is a different story. I think collectively we know that more. So, I would agree with that because I've initially I was like no individuals don't necessarily know more. Uh.
[00:04:28] Brian: Right, right. [Kim: Right.] Individuals. It's a crapshoot and it always has been, right? Like you can't. You can't say like, oh well, you know, like, I'm not saying I'm smarter than that person. I'm I. I'm pretty sure I'm not. But you know, same concept though. He's been on the planet a lot longer than I have. He's read a lot more. He's seen a lot more. He's experienced a lot more than I have. So sure, he should know more. I know. And I want maybe infinitely more than I knew when I was twenty. [Kim: Yeah.] Yeah, you know about everything, about relationships, about certain subject matters. About myself. You know, it's sorry we're getting deep on this one, [Kim: Huge change in here.] but I think it's interesting just how things change, and you have to change with them. Standards have to change as we learn more technology advances and. Uh, you know, improves materials improve based on studies that have been done, all that stuff changes and we need to change with it.
[00:05:29] Kim: So, what can if our listeners are intrigued by the standards development process? This is obviously not part of this episode of what was, but how can individuals get in on this development process for AASHTO and ASTM if they're like, well, I know more if they think they know more than the people that are developing these standards, how can they share that knowledge, and how can they get involved?
[00:05:52] Brian: Well, I would love it if they would get involved and I wish more people would get involved because we need, we need people with good experience and there have been times where I've worked with people and I'm just blown away by how much they know and I say please, please join ASTM, become a friend of the AASHTO Committee on Materials and Pavements. Share your knowledge so that we can, uh I what is ASTM's tagline? Helping our world work better is a ASTM tagline. This is not a commercial for ASTM, but I think that that says at all we need to stay involved with standards development if we have knowledge to share so that we can get things right that's what we want to do. We want to be as accurate as possible we want to advance the science advance the accuracy of our measurements so that engineers can make better decisions. Designers can make better decisions. The public safety can be improved, things can be done faster, better, easier, whatever it is, whatever the goal is, we get there through sharing our knowledge and getting studies done and then having the knowledge learned, reflected in the standards.
[00:07:13] Kim: All right. Well, do you think there's anything else we need to cover? Do you want in a couple different tangents? But is there anything else that you want to convey to our listeners in this episode?
[00:07:24] Brian: Man, you know, I think about this kind of stuff a lot. What? You know what's coming down the line? What's the impact going to be part of our change management process is thinking about that, who's going to be affected and how are they going to be affected and how do we get their input. So I would say as much as we need your help knowledgeable people out there, your help in helping make the standards better, we need your help in making our processes better as well. So if you have any feedback for us. At any time on what we do, we'd love to hear it and we love to have you involved, so please let us know and same goes for the podcast. If there's something you like, something you don't like, share that with podcast@Aashtoresource.Org. That inbox is far from full. It has plenty of storage left. Drop us a line. Let us know what you think.
[00:08:17] Kim: You are bound and determined to get [Brian: One day.] someone to actually email that email. That email address, send an email to that email address.
[00:08:25] Brian: Yes.
[00:08:25] Kim: I think we should maybe if you I feel like we could maybe send somebody a prize if they're the first person with a real thing. I feel like we could send them something.
[00:08:36] Brian: Well, there before we do that, I have some ideas of some shirt designs that I'd like to explore or mugs or hats or whatever it is. And I think when we make that. Stuff. Then we can have a prize for somebody. But until that day, I don't want to make any promises we can't keep.
[00:08:57] Kim: I yeah. I'm. I'm not saying you can, but I mean, Brian and I do monitor that email address and I am in charge of all of the promotional SWAG. So, I'm just going to leave that for our listeners to. To infer what they want to infer.
[00:09:15] Brian: Sounds good to me.
[00:09:16] Kim: Alright, thank you for your time today, Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation.
[Theme music fades in.]
[0:09:21] Announcer: Thanks for listening to AASHTO re:source Q&A. If you would like to be a guest or just submit a question, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Brian at 240-436-4820. For other related news and content, check out AASHTO re:source's twitter feed or go to aashtoresource.org.
[Theme music fades out.]