How the Trump Administration might reconstitute the FAA?

katherine morgan
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Katharine Morgan, President of ASTM International

The Next FAA Administrator?

One of the most heralded FAA innovations of the past few years has been the revision of 14 CFR Part 23. The abandonment of the old “prescriptive,” detailed requirements to performance-based airworthiness standards depends on the ASTM standardization processes to define the appropriate standards for a new aircraft element. A concept conceived and implemented durin
g the Obama Administration might take another iteration during the Trump Term.

ASTM, like RTCA, has heavily participated in technical aspects of many FAA rules [coincidentally before 1938 in order to obtain insurance, an airplane owner would go to Underwriters Laboratory to get a “certificate of insurability”]. As an international standard-setting organization, the

astm safety standards

Conshohocken, PA based organization has developed over 12,000 ASTM standards, including hundreds on aerospace materials and related criteria (as listed in ASTM web page plus many others) and an even larger number listed by These voluntary consensus standards are recognized globally as THE measure of product quality, health and safety, as well as a host of other critical elements of quality. The organization does its work in an open and transparent process and using ASTM’s advanced IT infrastructure to establish test methods, specifications, classifications, guides and practices.

ASTM has promoted a new President and she has articulated some very interesting thoughts.

1. The new ASTM President

Katharine Morgan Becomes President of ASTM International

On February 1, 2017 Katharine Morgan became ASTM International’s president when Jim Thomas, who served in that role for 25 years, retired. Here is an interesting interview with Ms. Morgan and her full biography and links to recent interviews/op-eds from The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, The National (UAE), and more.

katherin morgan astm biography

Katharine E. Morgan is president of ASTM International, one of the world’s largest organizations for the development of international voluntary consensus standards. With three decades of experience in increasingly strategic and managerial roles at ASTM International, Morgan is a respected leader in the global standards community. After earning her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, Morgan began her career at ASTM supervising the standards development work of several technical committees. In 1990, she rose to become a director, overseeing several managers and their respective committees.

Morgan was named general manager of the Technical Committee Support department in 2001. In this role, she oversaw several areas, including symposia, workshops, international activities, committee services, meeting services, and contract management services. In 2007, Morgan was appointed vice president of Technical Committee Operations. In this position, she directed a 50-member team, leading efforts to create, track, evaluate, and adjust strategic business plans for each of the division’s units. In addition, as part of ASTM’s senior leadership team, Morgan helped guide ASTM’s overall policies, finances and partnerships.

Morgan is one of the world’s prominent voices on standardization related issues. She is a member of the American National Standards Institute’s Board of Directors, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Executives, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization, the Society for Standards Professionals (SES), the American Society of Association Executives, and former member of the Standards Council of Canada’s Standards Development Organization Advisory Committee.

Morgan also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Click here for a high-resolution photo of Kathie Morgan

Editorials by, interviews with and articles about Kathie Morgan:

Kathie Morgan, an Executive Q&A in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Katharine Morgan, Vicepresidente Ejecutiva de ASTM International, an article in Colombia’s Noticreto

High-quality standards help ensure our safety, an op-ed by Kathie Morgan in United Arab Emirates’ The National

Understanding Standards of Safety Certification for America and Its Children, an op-ed by Kathie Morgan in an “Early Childhood Safety Supplement” of USA Today

Experts Share What’s Most Important to Kids’ Safety at Home, a Q&A session with experts, including Kathie Morgan in an “Early Childhood Safety Supplement” of USA Today

2. Morgan’s interview

Days before her investiture with ASTM, Ms. Morgan was interviewed: What will Trump mean for business self-regulation?

Here are some interesting quotes from that Q&A session:

  • “I think it’s hard to predict anything at this point under the Trump administration — very difficult,” Morgan said during our Executive Q&A published in the business section of Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. “My world is voluntary consensus standards and that’s at the core of what ASTM does. We don’t create them. Our members create those standards and the government is actually an active participant in standards development projects.”
  • “It’s a fascinating thing. In the U.S., we call it the public private partnership, so the government is working with private industry and in a non-profit organization like ASTM to create voluntary consensus standards. We work in 90 different industry sectors, so anything you can think of, there’s probably an ASTM standard somewhere at work.”
  • “One of our priorities in 2017 is going to be getting to Washington. We have an office in Washington and we have some staff there and we’re just a train ride away. We’re going to be down in Washington meeting with some new faces, introducing ourselves, explaining ASTM, explaining standards and the roles [government] plays in the public-private partnership. Some people will know a lot about it and others, depending on their learning, will know nothing. So we are going down there, creating these relationships again and listening, and understanding what the priorities of the agencies are. There may be some new priorities with the new administration. You may see some shift in priorities.”
  • “Well, sure, because it’s always a budgetary issue, although the government would never be able to replicate the process ASTM has in place — the infrastructure that we’ve been able to build and the technology that we’ve employed to run this machine and develop standards. They would not be able to replicate that, so it behooves them to participate.”

Yes, there is no evidence from the Trump White House to support the HEADLINE’s suggestion; it was meant to be provocative. ASTM already participates in the FAA’s works and its role in Part 23 will be substantial. Many of those who have been suggesting major changes to how all of government and the FAA, in particular, might find the ASTM-ization of the FAA intriguing and a minor variation of Ms. Morgan’s role in Part 23. The purpose of this juxtaposition of Ms. Morgan’s ASTM elevation with her Trump Administration insight and with the ASTM-FAA historic relationship is to serve as a catalyst for thought within and without the FAA.

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