IEST: Building on its strengths
Innovation, agility, flexibility and personalized service enable IEST to pursue its mission
By Julie Kendrick, CAE, Executive Director, IEST
Giant conglomerates and mergers dominate today’s corporate world. Therefore, it is not surprising that not-for-profit organizations too are feeling economic and marketing pressures to follow the path of expansion into new areas. The challenge is to build on existing strengths while avoiding the often ruinous temptation to become all things to all people. The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) is an example of technical growth based on a well-established foundation of expertise. IEST possesses four major advantages in its mission to provide outstanding education, standards, and recommended practices to the industries served by it: innovation, agility, flexibility, and personalized service.
Based on its experience and stature stemming from a long relationship with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as the Secretariat of ISO Technical Committee (TC) 209, Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments, IEST petitioned the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for admission as a founding member of the United States Technical Advisory Group (U.S. TAG) to ISO Technical Committee 229, Nanotechnologies (ISO/TC 229).
Ably represented by its delegate to the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 229, Dr. David S. Ensor, IEST Fellow and director of its Nanotechnologies Standards and Practices Committee, IEST speaks for the interests of the contamination control industries that it serves and provides ISO/TC 229 with expertise gained from IEST’s global leadership in publishing standards and recommended practices.
Nanotechnology, as defined by ISO, is the science of engineering matter at the atomic and molecular scale, about 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. It was used in the production of $30 billion in manufactured goods last year-a number expected to grow to $2.6 trillion by the year 2014. The use of nanoscience expands daily into new fields and new products so disparate that unsafe practices, misdirection of efforts, and waste of resources are among the likely end results of such rapid and unstructured growth.
To paraphrase author Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” The nanoscience world desperately needs to define where it’s going and the best routes to take. Therefore, IEST has begun intensive work on a “Nanotechnology Roadmap” to establish a detailed plan for the guidelines, best practices, and standards that will be needed for the myriad disciplines that are-or will be-involved in nanotechnology. To this end, IEST has established a new working group of experts and other interested parties, which recently convened at the 2006 IEST Fall Conference.
“Although nanoscience is extremely diverse, the IEST ‘Roadmap’ will not deal wholly in generalities. It will definitely be meaty and have a great degree of specificity,” commented Chuck Berndt, IEST Fellow and communications vice president. “Some of the finest minds in the world gathered in November and spent two days brainstorming, writing down ideas, and taking on assignments. It was exciting.” The next meeting is scheduled in conjunction with the annual meeting of IEST (ESTECH 2007), April 29-May 2, in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and is open to all those interested in the development of nanotechnology.
Another IEST strength is its agility. ISO/TC 142, Cleaning equipment for air and other gases, was reactivated to address the various standards in the world dealing with the same topics in gas cleaning technologies. The large number of different national standards worldwide is a serious problem in that the proliferation of standards often forms a barrier to trade and prevents fair competition. The filtration and separation industry needed to be represented by an active ISO Technical Committee producing standards for the benefit of end users, manufacturers, designers and governmental authorities.
The ability of IEST to “turn on a dime” without losing footing, stability, or forward motion came into play upon learning that ISO/TC 142 was being revitalized after many years of inactivity. IEST used its nimbleness to act quickly and successfully apply to ANSI for accreditation as the Administrator of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 142-just in time to send a delegation from the United States to the first meeting of ISO/TC 142 in Milan, Italy, in early 2006. IEST Senior Member and former Education Vice President Philip Winters chairs the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 142 and is the head of the United States delegation to ISO/TC 142.
IEST is a technical society founded more than 50 years ago; therefore, flexibility does not always come easily. Traditional ways of doing things can be both a blessing and a curse in a world where change is constant. Fortunately, a commitment by its volunteer and staff leadership to keep current with technology has allowed IEST to offer many of its same services and educational opportunities, but in ways that fit today’s workplace and lifestyles.
For example, the venerable peer-reviewed Journal of the IEST, which has been published continuously for nearly 50 years, has become an exclusively online publication. Moving beyond print media was the result of in-depth study that focused on three questions: Who are the Journal readers? How can writers of technical papers be assured that their work is available to a large readership? And how can IEST incorporate into the Journal 24/7 access to technical material needed by students and researchers?
The Journal of the IEST is published online twice a year. Subscriptions, which are free of charge to IEST members, include access to archived technical papers from past issues. The most recent 20 years of archived papers are available, with 10 additional years of papers scheduled to be posted each year until all papers are online, providing a wealth of information and a well-documented history of technical developments.
IEST has also maintained a fluid approach to change in establishing its online “Access the Experts” short courses, and in the evolution of ESTECH into a compact yet comprehensive educational experience-with ESTECH 2007 marking the event’s 53rd consecutive year.
Above all, IEST considers personalized service to be its primary strength. IEST knows that information exists in numerous locations and in limitless quantities easily accessible to its members and colleagues. Therefore, the volunteer and professional leadership of IEST work in partnership with one another to answer questions, mentor, and assist workers in the disciplines IEST represents. IEST leaders are approachable through the many networking opportunities provided by IEST. Our mantra: IEST members are not an interruption of our business; they are our business.
Julie Kendrick is the executive director of IEST, a position she has held since 1997. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, and has attained the distinction of Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives. Kendrick is a member of the Association Forum of Chicagoland, for which she conducts study groups in association policy and governance for CEOs working toward obtaining CAE recognition. She is also a member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives.