CHESAPEAKE, Va.—D. Thomas Marsh, president of Chesapeake-based Centrotrade Minerals and Metals Inc., has given nearly a quarter of a century of service to the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Marsh has been a member of ASTM's board of directors since 2011, and he is also the 2014 chairman of the society's Finance and Audit Committee.
ASTM showed its gratitude to Marsh in late February by naming him chairman of ASTM Committee D11 on Rubber, making him one of the most important rubber testing and standards authorities in the U.S.
As D11 chairman, Marsh has oversight over approximately 340 committee members—all among the top technical experts in the rubber industry—and 222 international standards for rubber, rubber products and systems and services appropriate to rubber technology.
In addition to his duties on Committee D11, the Board of Directors and the Finance and Audit Committee, Marsh is a member of ASTM Committee F23 on Protective Personal Clothing and Equipment.
According to Marsh, committee chairs serve ASTM by providing support and guidance to committee members in the voluntary consensus standards development process. They achieve this through interaction at the Main Committee, Subcommittee and Task Group levels, he said.
“Chairmen have the privilege of working within and between each of these groups, alongside some of the industry's best and brightest technical contributors,” he said.
During the first decade or so of his professional career, Marsh said, he used ASTM test methods and standards daily, working in various technical posts for medical device and consumer rubber goods manufacturers.
“When I moved from manufacturing to raw material sales, I felt it was important to gain a better understanding of the standards development process as it related to our products and those of our customers,” he said.
He lauded the vast network of technical experts and support staff at ASTM. “Relationships forged through membership in ASTM have proven invaluable to my career and to the success of our company.”
The work of Committee D11 and other ASTM committees is constant, Marsh said. Standards are reviewed every five years, though often they are revised sooner to address technological advances or shifts in material.
“Within ASTM, standards development is a continuous process of identifying, crafting, revising and maintaining,” he said.
Currently, there are 12 standards in various stages of development within Committee D11, according to Marsh. While each standard is significant, two of the more important are a new specification for antimicrobial medical gloves and a new method for the dimensional effects of gaseous hydrocarbon environments on elastomer materials, he said.
“Knowing how certain environments affect performance aids manufacturers in selecting base polymers best suited for specific applications,” he said.
The ultimate significance of ASTM, according to Marsh, lies in its relevance and timeliness to the industries it serves.
“As a voluntary consensus organization, ASTM provides a platform for the open exchange of industry- and product-specific needs by recognized experts to produce standards that are scientifically based, consistently applied and collectively maintained,” he said. “That platform is supported by skilled and dedicated staffers, up-to-date IT tools and a member-focused management team.”