CHESAPEAKE, Va.—For D. Thomas Marsh, ASTM International held a fascination from the beginning of his career in the rubber industry.
"Chalk it up to an inherent curiosity and desire to be part of the development process," said Marsh, who joined ASTM in 1990 and will serve in 2017 as chairman of the ASTM International board of directors.
Marsh, president and CEO of Chesapeake-based Centrotrade Minerals and Metals Inc., became fascinated with ASTM standards since he first started using them as a laboratory technician in the early 1980s.
"Having used the standards and specifications in the early years of my career, I wanted to understand how the standards were developed, maintained and revised," he said. "I wanted to know who determines the need, how the parameters were selected and the limits were set.
"Once I became involved, I quickly realized that ASTM provides access to a vast network of experts who are willing to share their experience, as well as a variety of learning and leadership opportunities," Marsh said. "Your participation is welcomed and appreciated.
From that point on, I was hooked."
During his 27 years with ASTM, Marsh has served on several committees relevant to the rubber, latex and carbon black sectors. Concurrent with serving as chairman of the ASTM board, he is also chairman of ASTM Committee D11 on Rubber and Rubber-like Materials. Committee D11 has given him a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the organization.
In a recent interview in ASTM Standardization News, Marsh stressed the importance of standards in supply chain management.
"The decades-old commodity mindset focused on compartmentalization—raw material, manufacturing, marketing, sales and so on," he said in that interview.
"Today, our idea of the supply chain doesn't fit these neat little compartments," he said. "Today's value chain represents a continuous process that encompasses sustainability, renewable resources, risk management, conflict minerals identification, asset management, waste disposal and so on."
Marsh said that materials standards in the rubber industry makes supply chain management not only easier, but possible.
All producers and users of rubber and carbon black are strongly represented on the relevant ASTM committees, and the standards issued in those areas have the benefit of their input, he said.
"As far as standards focusing on the rubber, latex and carbon black sectors, 90 percent have been updated, approved and published within five years or less of their previous approval date," Marsh said. "And most of the remaining standards currently have active task groups working on updates.
"This constant process of review and revision provides a level playing field for producers and manufacturers, and ensures users and consumers of receiving the best possible materials," he said.
Standards for recycled rubber materials have become a crucial part of ASTM's activities, according to Marsh.
"A few years ago, both the rubber and carbon black committees were approached by new members to initiate activities focusing on recycling," he said. "As a result, brand-new standard definitions have been developed and approved for the carbon black industry."