We dig deep into the ASTM standards development process and learn about some possible changes to ASTM D3666.
AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript
Season 3, Episode 9: Talking Standards Development with Glenn Waite
Recorded: June 23, 2022
Released: July 5, 2022
Host: Brian Johnson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Manager
Guest: Glenn Waite, Western Rock Products
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 Descript.com
[Theme music fades in.]
[00:00:00] Announcer: Welcome to AASHTO resource 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. Now here's our host, Brian Johnson.
[00:00:21] Brian: Welcome to AASHTO re:source Q and A, I'm Brian Johnson. And today we have a guest who's here to talk to us about standards development, from their specific experience. And give us a little insight into some of the changes that are taking place in ASTM D3666, which is a standard that's relevant for laboratories that are testing asphalt products and asphalt mixtures. So, our guest today is Glenn Waite from Western Rock Products, a CRH Company. Did I get that right, Glenn?
[00:00:54] Glenn: Yes.
[00:00:56] Brian: Welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:57] Glenn: Thank you, Brian. Appreciate you allowing me to be a part of this.
[00:01:01] Brian: Yeah. So, Glen is in Cedar City, Utah, which is in what part of the state is that?
[00:01:07] Glenn: Well, actually that's where our Accredited lab is in Cedar City. I'm based out of St. George Utah. So, in the Southwest part of Utah. I've been in involved with, testing, both commercial, from QA standpoint, as well as QC for the last 30, some odd years, although a couple of years ago I did change responsibilities. And I'm now directly involved with aggregate production. Yes. We felt like a quality control guy might be a good person to put in aggregate production. So, I've been serving in that capacity for the last couple of years.
[00:01:43] Brian: When I met Glen, I was an assessor. I was visiting his laboratory in Cedar City, which is why I mentioned that town, even though it's not where Glen is now, but he was managing a, I guess I was an asphalt mixture plant at the time, wasn't it?
[00:01:58] Glenn: Well, I can't remember. what year that was. I had a, a commercial testing lab from 1997 until 2002. And, we had several labs that were accredited at that time, basically from Southern Idaho down to Southern Arizona. And then that company was acquired. By the forerunner of CRH. And at that point, then it became a QC lab for an asphalt production, but also concrete, an asphalt and, soils.
[00:02:31] Brian: By the time this episode comes out, we will have already released an episode about laboratory names and your company is interesting. So, your company is part of a I don't even know. I was looking at some of the different associations or affiliations of your company. And there, it seems to be a construction company, uh, you know, a global materials company. How is that all organized?
[00:02:57] Glenn: Yes. So CRH is cement road, stone holdings, based out of Dublin, Ireland. And we are a part of the America Materials Group, which some other big companies that are part of that group is APAC. Tilt con Shelly. So, it's, uh, among the largest, the company, the largest aggregate producers in the world, asphalt concrete as well, usually, you know, one, two or three, something like that, but they also have cement plants. Uh, Ashgrove cement is part of, our affiliation or company, however you want to call it, but there, it's worldwide. They have, uh, facilities in Ukraine. You know, we have people there that, uh, apparently, we're working to help, uh, stay out of harm's way and, uh, Philippines and Brazil and all over the world. So, it's a, it's a big company, but we are just our, our little area covers Southwest, the Utah central Utah.
[00:04:00] Brian: Okay. we're going to talk about standards development. So given your background, Glenn. What made you interested in getting into standards development in general?
[00:04:09] Glenn: Well, it was something actually very specific. I joined around this time in 1999. In fact, uh, Seattle was the first meeting that I attended in 1999, which we just of course attended last week, uh, where we had the opportunity to, to visit. But at that time, I had the commercial laboratory, And, we're getting word that D 1559, the Marshall, preparation of samples and stability flow was going to disappear. I mean, I didn't really understand how or what the mechanics were, but it was one that we were using, and we were an accredited lab. And so, I got looking around and talking to people and they said, well, you know, why is it going away? And, and so that started the conversation and, I can't remember who it was. It might have been Dave Savage, that said, well, why don't you come be a part of ASTM? And I said, well, what?
[00:05:03] Glenn: I'd heard the letters, and was somewhat familiar, but. Uh, so he explained, well, you know, anybody can join, and we have committees, and all of those standards are maintained by a specific committee. In this case, it was the D04 committee. And, uh, you mentioned that. Standards have to continue to be developed if they don't after eight years, if there's been no change after eight years, then that standard just disappears. Now it's still available, but it's, it's no longer maintained. I mean, I didn't realize that at the time, but so that's what got me involved. Uh, I joined ASTM in, uh, as I say, I think it was June or July of 1999 and joined the D04 which is the road and paving materials and the C09 committee, which is concrete and concrete aggregates. And so just been, involved with that standards development over the course of time, I became, uh, involved with those subcommittees.
[00:06:03] Glenn: Uh, every standard is assigned to a, a subcommittee for oversight and I took on certain standards, to review, to keep them updated. And I became and was involved as chair of a couple of different subcommittees. And then, uh, in 2016, I was, elected to be the chairman of the D04 committee and served there for, for two years. And currently I serve on the D04.95 subcommittee, which is the subcommittee that oversees these standards and quality control, quality management, standards that ASTM has.
[00:06:43] Brian: Well, yeah, that's quite a path, from new member to, to chair of the committee. Do you remember back when you went to the first ASTM meeting in Seattle, how that experience was for you as a new member?
[00:06:56] Glenn: Well, needless to say I was lost. Prior to that meeting, I had started received ballots. Of course, back then everything was a paper, and I wasn't quite sure. I mean, you know, I really reached out a couple of times, to Mr. Savage, who at the time was in your role, and, uh, so just, you know, started doing those and, and really look with anticipation. That first meeting, when I got there, I was completely lost. I attended the subcommittees that, I had, some of them I had at the time of my application. I had joined others. I didn't know that I hadn't, but I could attend. And any member can attend any subcommittee. But I'd vote, although I didn't know whether I had to vote or not, because in ASTM, you have two classifications, you have voting members and you have non-voting members.
[00:07:47] Glenn: And depending on the type of classification that you have, if you are a producer or a user, a general interest, and whether there are other members from your organization, your business, your company that have votes determine whether you vote or not. So was just attending the meetings and like drinking out of a, out of a fire hydrant. You know, there's a lot of, information and, but I found it extremely interesting and stimulating to be around, other people that were as concerned and passionate about the standards. So, at that first meeting, when we got to the D04 20. I can't remember. Oh, 4 20, 25, 21. Whichever one has that have that D 1559 standard, you know, brought up, well, you know, what's going on. And that's where I really got my education as to what ASTM is and how things work. And so, it was very productive meeting, but, but mostly it was just to be around people that were passionate about standards. Because I was, and, and still am now. But yeah, completely lost. By the time we got to December, as I remember the meeting was Orlando might have been in New Orleans. I can't remember, but my feet better on the ground. And, and then, yeah, just continued to, to, uh, be involved.
[00:09:03] Brian: Yeah. Now, do you remember from your first meeting to when you became either a vice-chair or a chair the first time, do you remember how long that took? Or what put you into that position?
[00:09:15] Glenn: Well, prior to becoming a sub chair, I again had taken on a couple of standards to be the task group chair, as we call it ASTM D3549, the, uh, sample Heights of Marshall pucks, or gyro, I guess. And, Voids, in C09, I, I was the point person for the slump test C173. I think it is anyway. So, I can't remember when it would've been in the early two thousand. I took over as the sub chair of D0430, which is the sampling. And in fact, as you might remember, you replaced me as that chair. In fact, you might have served as the vice-chair when I was,
[00:09:59] Brian: I think I, yeah, I think I was vice-chair and then chair and we had sort of a rotation going on between, uh, me, me, you and Dave.
[00:10:05] Glenn: So, after that time, I think I was about three years. I was elected to be the vice-chair of D04 of the subcommittee. And that took over. The oversight of some of those other subcommittees. And at that point, then I think when I passed the, the torch or passed the Baton onto you, and that was for two years. And then again, from there two years as the chair, and then, uh, of course it was replaced by Becky McDaniel who served her term and unfortunately has passed away. And now of course, Maria, Knake you from your business is the current chair and doing a marvelous job. She just did a great job. This last meeting.
[00:10:46] Brian: Yeah, she did.
[00:10:47] Glenn: Your organization is very much involved in ASTM, and I think that makes it a much better organization.
[00:10:53] Brian: Yeah. It, we like it too, because we, you know, it's so important to our customers that those standards be maintained. You know, just like the issue you were having with D 1559 back in the day with the Marshall there have been other situations where people are worried when a standard goes off the books or out of publish, you know, D422, which is the soil hydrometer. That was probably the latest and the one that's caused the most stir over the last few years when it went out of publishing, and we still get questions. When are you going to stop accrediting for that? Or when do you expect everyone to transition over to the new version of the hydrometer? And we've actually covered that a couple times in the podcast, but there's still a lot of people using it. Now we had the same thing with D1559, where we accredited for years after it stopped being published while the committee was trying to develop the new replacements that D6926 and D6927, where they, they split the standard up.
[00:11:55] Brian: So those kind of things happen in ASTM. And a lot of it is because of the direction of the Committee. Uh, or the direction of the subcommittee, right? How much of the personality of the, the main committee D04 gets kind of passed down through the subcommittees or policies, procedures get, you know, sort of governance, uh, occurs that way.
[00:12:15] Glenn: Well, so there is an executive subcommittee D04.90, uh, which all of the committee leadership is on it as well as the subcommittee chairs and vice chairs. So, there's some coordination, you know, the thing is D04 really is quite a diverse committee because, you've got people that are on there that come from the aggregates industry. You've got people from the liquid binder that really don't maybe have much dealings with the, a aggregates you've got asphalt mixture that maybe, you know, someone got cold mix. So, it's quite a big umbrella organization and they're a lot of. Diverse ideas and different standards. I'm on D04, but I don't really participate in any of the subcommittees that deal with liquid asphalt, because I just don't have any expertise in it. And so, the executive subcommittee is what helps provide that harmonization and standardization? There are policies, procedures that are developed that, then govern the subcommittees, but then ASTM, in general, has policies and procedures. You know, I mean, there's certain things that you have to have in standards.
[00:13:25] Glenn: There are certain things that you, you can't put in standards. Some standards are SI units only. If that's the case, you're not allowed to use inch-pound. Uh, we don't have any standalone inch-pound standards. That's not available. We do have dual standards. So, what's the form and style. You know, what wording do you use? Standards have to be in the active voice, no passive voice. So, you don't have coulds and shoulds and woulds and may you have shalls and musts and those types of things. So. That's what the leadership, you know, helps to, to follow up on that. You've got notes that aren't mandatory. I mean, they're in standards, but they're not something that are mandatory. There are certain notes that have to be in standards. And it's quite a detailed operations, as far as that goes and the D04.90 exec subcommittee oversees that.
[00:14:18] Brian: You just went through a, a bunch of different form style, uh, you know, rules of, of how to write a standard or read a standard. confusing is that for people who are using the standards and, you know, you've train. I'm sure countless people in your time, have you found it to be confusing for people to understand all the ins and outs of standards, you know, like rules about notes being non-mandatory or, or certain terms, you know, that what's the difference between a should and, and a shall things that seem apparent to us as being kind of mired in standards, develop. But maybe not so much to people outside.
[00:14:56] Glenn: That really is the point of why standards need to be updated or kept current because not only does technology change, but also, people's understanding of that standard. In fact, that's something that, that we really particularly in D04.95, and I think other subcommittees rely on your organization and others, uh, accrediting bodies that go out. And watch people, run the test and from your, myriad observations of laboratories around the states and even the world, you come across a lot of. Things that appear to be, uh, at least we want to know about that could be misunderstandings or these don't understand what the standard is. Have an example. I mean our own laboratory. In the C128, which is the fine agg um, specific gravity and absorption test, there are two methods. To determine the specific gravity and then absorption is that, uh, one method allows you to use a separate sample to determine the absorption from the specific gravity sample at SSD.
[00:16:04] Glenn: The other method does not. And, uh, we were doing the other method and when we had the last inspection, we got a deficiency because when we were reading the standard, we came across that absorption and didn't realize that it was in the parts only that the one method was and not in the other. So, we took the hit and, and we get that information then from you for other standards here, this last meeting we got through the subcommittee to change. The C 1 28 to allow the, uh, absorption to use that, uh, other method, which is with the pycnometer. Now it'll go to the committee, and you might, we might want to talk about that, about how that goes from one place, another, but at some point, the committee will vote on that and, hopefully that will become part of the standard. So, the, the point is. It clarifies. And the work that your organization does helps us dramatically to find out are the people doing what, what we're saying? Or do they not understand what we're saying? So how do we clarify it? How do we fix it? And so that really makes it a quality process continues to improve as we go along. And hopefully then. Fewer and fewer companies make fewer and fewer mistakes because they better understand. And we're better writing the standards than we have in the past.
[00:17:21] Brian: That is a big part of the process is having that feedback loop of, uh, you know, what are people doing in the field? How are they interpreting the standard? Are there conflicts? Is there confusion? And then that's another benefit of us staying involved with ASTM. I often wonder about that when I'm at ASTM meeting and they see so many of us there, you know, spread out among all the committees. You know, what we're trying to do is, is try to make sure we can avoid a lot of this ambiguity and the standards so that the process can be more standardized. And there are less conflicts and more consistency with the AASHTO standards. That's another aspect of it. It is interesting, but I feel like every time we train somebody, In our organization on anything. And they start looking at the standards. There are things that we have often taken for granted as just being, hey, this is the way it's done. This is how I was trained. That's my interpretation of that language. And then you see something strange, from an outside perspective and you say what's going on there and then they explain, and you say, ah, I would've never read that that way. Okay. I see an opportunity for improvement there.
[00:18:27] Brian: You wish that it was always more consistent and clear. I do like when those things happen, because it just, uh, it makes you think about things differently. It just kind of, uh, opens your mind to possibilities and helps. I mean, it creates more work of course, but it's good work and its work that we all enjoy, you know, being involved in standards, development, and it leads to something positive. So that's, that's great. Now let's talk about your, um, One of your many ballots in the works right now. So Glen signs up, you know, often in the meeting, if you're sitting there and somebody says, Hey, does anybody want to pick this one up? You know, there'll be some silence. And then Glen will say, ah, right, I'll take it. Glen's got quite a few irons in the fire right now with different, ASTM subcommittees on and standards that he is working on. But one thing that I'd say he's very close to finishing up. Right now, is a change on ASTM D3666, which is in subcommittee D04.95. Glen, what are the main objectives of that ballot?
[00:19:26] Glenn: Again, D3666 is our standard for quality basically. Uh, I really like that standard because that's kind of our calling card in the industry, you know, to agencies, to, to customers is we know what we're doing. We're worth what you're paying, that type of thing. And it's kind of like the good housekeeping seal of approval or the gold star I used to get on my head when I was in kindergarten um, and so that's the standard says, well, here's how we measure. To determine that you are a good company. I mean, that's kind of the gist of it. And then we have organizations like yours that go out and verify and say, yeah, you know, Western rock quality control runs a good organization. You can have reliance in the results that you get. This standard really gives us the, to be able to say, yeah, we know what we're doing. And even though we don't necessarily like the results because you know, quality control is part of a producer, not, not a standalone that says, hey, take, take the results of this, you know, take it or leave it type of thing. We got people we have to deal with. But the idea is that they know they can have confidence that even though we don't like the results, we know that that's what they are.
[00:20:36] Glenn: And so, we make adjustments as we need to. So, this standard has lots of different things. It's, it's kind of the, uh, equivalent to the AASHTO R 18. it's the quality system. So, the standard's been on the books for many, many years. Uh, and so it's just in the process of, of making some revisions. Although this time there are some major revisions. One of the things is we're changing actually even the name of the standard because we've moved from bituminous kind of to asphalt. So, in the standard, uh, and the ballot goes out to everybody again that receives it and you can see the original wording. You can see that the changing words we're proposing dropping. You know, things that we're adding, whatever it might be. One of the biggest things is, is we've clarified. And, and I want to say also that one of the reasons we want to do this is to try to reduce ambiguity, to make it easier for people in your industry, to be able to read the standard and see, yeah.
[00:21:36] Glenn: You know, Western Rock is meeting these standards. Well, the, the less ambiguity there is. The better. You're able to say that, you know, I mean, you had a situation that says you got to be professional engineer. Um, yeah. I mean, that's pretty easy. You either, either are, or you're not, but we also have the standard that you don't have to be a PE, but you have to have commensurate experience in education. Well, what exactly does that mean? Doesn't tell us in the standard, it leads it up to, to you people to make that, uh, so it behooves us to want to tighten that up as much as we can to put that in there. And so that's one of the things that we're addressing in this standard is. Explaining what really does it need to be, to be a lab manager? One of the things we're wrestling with, of course, you and I, and Mr. Savage met, at the meeting to talk about, well, we put in there, it's got to be a full-time employee. Well, what exactly does that mean and who exactly can fill that role? And is there only one type of person? So, we're putting some wording in there to try to tighten that up.
[00:22:38] Glenn: Some deal with training. What is acceptable method to train your people? So, the different things like that, the biggest change I would say is that we're clarifying is what exactly does it mean? What do you have to do to be accredited for D3666? And we're clarifying it, meaning that one can't just be accredited for D3666. It has to be one of four subfields of which two exist now. And we're adding two more. So, to be accredited in D3666, after this standard, if it's adopted, you would have to be accredited in aggregates or asphalt mixture or asphalt binder or emulsified asphalts. At least one, and that then would show up in your accreditation.
[00:23:26] Glenn: You can be accredited in any of the four of them. And as, as I brought up in the last meeting, I think there are actually six agencies in the United States that are currently D3666 accredited in all four subfields. And so then other sections that deal with those new subfields and equipment, um, Training records, all those types of things are involved in that standard. So, we've bitten off quite a bit. And as you say, though, we're, we're really surprisingly close and it comes back to the idea is we got to get everything done. We got to make some change at least in eight years. And we're at, we're still in year five. And so. The prospects are really good that in the next six months to a year, these new proposed changes will go into the standard. And then of course, everybody that has that D3666accreditation now has to start using that standard. And, and you start accrediting to that standard.
[00:24:26] Brian: Yeah. And I think those are really good changes that are going to be, widely accepted. And, you know, D3666 is important for so many laboratories. And in particular, the Federal Aviation Administration, which requires ASTM D3666 accreditation. For any laboratories, either doing, I think it's either Q QA or QC. I think both of them apply or airport projects. So that's a critical one for them. I think these are going to be easily, you know, a lot of things that you just mentioned are considered to be no brainers, uh, for most of us in the industry, but, but certainly clarification is needed so that if our accreditation body is reading the standard, we interpret it the same way as any of the other accreditation bodies do. or any of the other associations or, specifying agencies that are looking at, uh, conformance to this standard. So, uh, and,
[00:25:17] Glenn: and the subcommittee that, that your interpretation is in agreement, or that we agree with the interpretation. And, and if we don't, then that again, provides us a reason or another need to change the standard and say, well, this is what the subcommittee meant, even though it wasn't what we said. Now we realize there's some ambiguity there, so we tighten it up and send it out and goes through the process all over again.
[00:25:39] Brian: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And we do run into that with some standards too, where it just isn't moving quickly enough to address the ambiguities. And we have to make decisions based on our understanding of the intent, and another good reason for us to stay involved is we're there for those conversations. We may have even written the ambiguous text. Uh about it. And that happens too. Right? We write things we think, oh, this is pretty clear. And then, you know, five years later you say, oh, I wouldn't have looked at it that way. And, and somebody else did. And then you've got an issue that needs to be resolved. But, Again, all part of the process and very good stuff. So, thank thanks for, uh, working on that. D3666 ballot I think people are going to really like it.
[00:26:19] Glenn: And again, you and Mr. Savage have had a lot of input into that as well in our little task group.
[00:26:26] Brian: And so, we keep referring to Dave Savage. So, Dave Savage runs another accreditation body. That's based out of Florida. Dave was my former boss. At what it was AMRL, you know, AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory at the time and used to run the accreditation program here. So that that's who we keep referring to back there. But yeah, in Seattle, Dave is also really involved with D04.95 and a lot of other D04 standards. So, he, Glen and I sat down, and I wish I had had my phone set on to record that conversation because we talked about all sorts of different topics related to this. And we really got in the weeds. And it was a, it was a good conversation, but let, let's wrap this one up.
[00:27:09] Brian: Uh, Glen, I've kept you for quite a while. Thank you for your time today. But, but one last word that I'd like to, to have you provide is, you know, we talked about how you got involved with standards development, and where that's taken you. Uh, what would you say to other people who are in the industry either maybe new to the industry or wondered about getting involved? Aren't really sure if it's right for them. Uh, what kind of advice would you give them?
[00:27:35] Glenn: My advice would be to, to get involved. I think it, of course comes down to what your involvement is in the industry, but a lot of it is, you know, a passion, um, Where, like I say, I got involved because I was using those standards. In fact, I have a, I can have a voice, you know, things I don't like I can propose to change. Uh, so lab testers, can, can be involved. QC managers. I mean, I would say anybody involved in, in asphalt should get involved because at least. Those things that you're using on a day-to-day basis. If you feel like you got some control over, or you can have some input into it, man, that's a much better feeling than saying, see, I got to run this test again today. And this is stupid, you know, or this doesn't make sense or rather than put up with it, it kind of comes down to voting. You know? I mean, the other thing is if you're not voting, why, how can you complain about something? If you have the opportunity to be, become a member of ASTM and have a voice.
[00:28:33] Glenn: If you choose not to do that, we'll, don't complain about it because you have that opportunity. But I don't mean to sound negative. It's been one of the most enjoy. And, uh, fulfilling experiences in, in my career of over 35 years of doing what I've been doing. Not only because of the things, you know, being able to feel part of the work that that I'm responsible for, but also to meet people like you and others, that throughout the industry, people that, uh, are just as, uh, concerned about, and maybe just as concerned the other way than I am, but, um, the diversity of opinions and people and ASTM is international. And, you know, we get people that from all over the world that are coming, uh, or at least participating. And so, yeah, it's just, it's a great, great thing. I have never regretted. Even with all the assignments and responsibilities that I've taken on over the years, I've never regretted being a part of ASTM.
[00:29:31] Glenn: It was real joy to be able to be again in person after two and a half years to see, see all you, my friends and colleagues, and to be able to rub shoulders and both in meetings and, and, you know, ad hoc meetings. And so, yeah, get involved. You won't regret it and you can join, you know, it's not like you've got to have somebody say. You know, I nominate so and so to join this, you can be a part of it and you might find other things, your hobbies, you know, they've got things about drones , you know, I mean, it's not just road and construction materials, that, uh, you might find to be of interest. And again, to have a, a say in, in how those standards developed is, is priceless. In my opinion,
[00:30:14] Brian: I agree. Thank you for that wrap up. After this discussion, I kind of feel like we ought to wrap this up by going over the administrative deadlines and where the next meeting. Uh, like we do in all the all the subcommittee meetings. Uh, but I'll, I'll skip that. I don't think anybody else want to hear that, but if they do want to try an ASTM meeting out for D04, they can actually join us in New Orleans in December. Uh, so if you go to ASTM.org, you can check out where those meetings are. And if anybody has any questions for follow up with you after listening to this episode, how can they get in touch with you Glen?
[00:30:46] Glenn: They can call me, direct, 435-668-2135 for my email address is GLENN.WAITE@Westernrock.com.
[00:31:03] Brian: All right, Glen. Thank you so much for your time today and for all the information it's great having you on.
[00:31:09] Glenn: Thank you.
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