Get involved and volunteer within your committee. Participating in the standardization process is not only about working with standards, it's also a great way to learn and apply your leadership skills.

It can be hard for new standardization professionals to understand the amount of work a committee puts forth to get a small change approved in a standard. Being part of the process and later leading a project yourself is very fulfilling. Participating at meetings and listening to the discussions between committee members is a great start. There are a lot of opinions expressed during meetings, so take notes and do your own research before offering your own opinion or making a recommendation on a subject.

A good way to become engaged with a committee and its members is to volunteer and work with task groups, as that is where all of the work is done. Task groups are small groups of committee members who discuss a very specific subject and recommend changes for the committee or subcommittee to consider and vote on. Usually, task group members are highly experienced individuals, but if you are not an expert on the subject discussed, the experience will serve as a great training opportunity.

Last but not least, reviewing ballots and voting is important to staying in good standing with the committee and tracking the upcoming changes to the standard.

I find the member training offered by ASTM very helpful. You can find those offerings under your ASTM account. Also, the staff person for your committee will be a great resource for answering questions or directing you to the correct person if they do not know the answer. Your colleagues and mentors who are familiar with the ASTM process are also great resources.

Margarita Takou, Ph.D., P.E. is the Technical Resource Manager for the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Structures and Applied Mechanics from the University of Texas at Arlington and is a licensed Engineer in the state of Texas. Margarita chairs three ASCE Committees and is the Secretary of the ASTM C13 Committee on Concrete Pipe. She received the President Award from the ASTM C13 Committee and was selected to participate in the ASTM Emerging Professionals Program. She is highly involved with other national organizations as well.

Margarita Takou, Ph.D., P.E. is the Technical Resource Manager for the American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Structures and Applied Mechanics from the University of Texas at Arlington and is a licensed Engineer in the state of Texas. Margarita chairs three ASCE Committees and is the Secretary of the ASTM C13 Committee on Concrete Pipe. She received the President Award from the ASTM C13 Committee and was selected to participate in the ASTM Emerging Professionals Program. She is highly involved with other national organizations as well.

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