By Lucie Passus
An article reprinted in the spring 2001 issue of ASTM International’s Business Link, on a research project entitled “The Economic Benefits of Standardization,” built the case for companies to support standardization. Some highlights from this article emphasized the following:
- Short- and long-term cost-savings and competitive benefits are achieved by companies who participate in the development of standards.
- Standardization correlates to cost-reduction and increased profit. For example, cooperation among competitors to develop standards helps reduce duplicate work and increases buyer confidence, which can result in more acceptance and use of products.
- Competitive advantage is gained through early access to information and insider knowledge.
The points of this article confirm that the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) continues to be on the right track in its effort to cultivate and be part of the standardization and specifications work that groups such as ASTM International and AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) coordinate.
GMA members understand the need to work with their customers, their allies, and the industry at large to define certain sets of standards and specifications to enable the continued use and reliability of the products GMA members manufacture and/or distribute. In a free market economy, at first glance, it may seem to be a dissonance to work alongside academia, non-profit organizations, and government entities to develop standards and specifications surrounding our members’ products. However, these efforts actually complement and help grow economic opportunities for our members. In fact, it is to the detriment of a company’s financial health to opt out of participating in such efforts.
GMA is proud to collaborate and partner with other industries, non-profit organizations, government, and academia to find ways to set standards and create specifications for the proper care and use of geosynthetic materials. GMA is a friend of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Materials (SOM) Tech Section 4e on Joint Materials, Wood, Bridge Bearings, Geosynthetics, and Insulation Board. GMA is also actively involved as a friend of the AASHTO National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) Geosynthetics (GTX & REGEO) Technical Committee. In addition, GMA is a long-time member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and the ASTM International Committee D35 on Geosynthetics.
State and local initiative
Recently, GMA representatives met with department of transportation (DOT) officials and the officials from the North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia environmental departments. The dialogue between the industry and the aforementioned departments focused on the acceptance and use of geosynthetic materials and the statesâ€™ respective specifications on geosynthetics.
In North Carolina, GMA members met with that state’s materials engineer, Christopher A. Peoples, P.E., and his colleagues. GMA also met with the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources. In Pennsylvania, GMA members met with chief materials engineer, Robert D. Horwhat, P.E., and his staff. GMA seeks to work collaboratively with state DOTs to provide the industry response and comments to their state specifications and to encourage state DOTs to update and revise their specifications to conform to the AASHTO M-288 specifications, and to reflect the new products technologies that continue to change the landscape of geosynthetic materials.
The next state GMA visited as part of its state and local government initiative was Georgia, where GMA members met with Jeffrey Crown, branch chief, and Chuck Mueller, assistant chief, of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division-Land Protection Branch. GMA members also met with Erin Hames, deputy chief of staff for policy in Gov. Nathan Deal’s Office, and with Russell McMurry, chief engineer for the Georgia DOT. Prior to these meetings, Georgia DOT and GMA partnered on Aug. 18 to host a one-day National Highway Institute (NHI) workshop (Geosynthetics in Roadways) for Georgia DOT employees.
Addition to GMA Executive Council
GMA recently welcomed Huesker Inc. as its newest member of the GMA Executive Council, which is a membership level open to all GMA member companies. Huesker joins the following companies on the council: Crown Resources, GSE Environmental, Nilex Inc., Polymer Group Inc., Tensar International Corp., Propex, TenCate Geosynthetics Americas, Thrace-LINQ, TRI/Environmental, and Willacoochee Industrial Fabrics.
GMA Fall Lobby Day
GMA is hosting its biannual lobby day in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18-19. GMA members and allies are encouraged to attend the spring and fall lobby days to support the industry. Registration and additional information can be located at: www.gmanow.com.