American National Standards Institute
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private nonprofit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide. For example, standards ensure that people who own cameras can find the film they need for that camera anywhere around the globe.
ANSI accredits standards that are developed by representatives of other standards organizations, government agencies, consumer groups, companies, and others. These standards ensure that the characteristics and performance of products are consistent, that people use the same definitions and terms, and that products are tested the same way. ANSI also accredits organizations that carry out product or personnel certification in accordance with requirements defined in international standards.
ANSI's operations office is located in New York City. The ANSI annual operating budget is funded by the sale of publications, membership dues and fees, accreditation services, fee-based programs, and international standards programs.
Prior to 1918, the following five founding engineering societies had been members of the United Engineering Society (UES):
- American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE, now IEEE)
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME, now American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers)
- American Society for Testing and Materials (now ASTM International)
At the behest of the AIEE, they invited the U.S. Department of War, Department of the Navy (combined in 1947 to become the United States Department of Defense or DoD), and Department of Commerce to join in founding a national standards organization. This ultimately led to the formation of the American Engineering Standards Committee (AESC) on May 14, 1918.
Paul G. Agnew served as the first permanent secretary and head of staff in 1919, stating the AESC began with high ambitions but little in the way of serious organization. In the first year of operation, the AESC ran on a budget of $7,500, and staff was limited to one executive, Clifford B. LePage, who was still serving for the ASME. However, operations hastened, and by 1921 the first American Standard Safety Code was approved for use. In 1928, the AESC became the American Standards Association (ASA) after realizing it had grown well beyond its committee status.
In 1931, the organization became affiliated with the U.S. National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The IEC was inspired by the Resolution of the Chamber of Government Delegates at the International Electrical Congress of St. Louis in September 1904. The group of scientists and engineers strove for internationally accepted electrical and electronics standards, officially forming the IEC in 1906.
In 1966, the ASA was reorganized and became the United States of America Standards Institute (USASI) "in response to identified needs for a broader use of the consensus principle in developing and approving standards; making the voluntary standards system more responsive to consumer needs; and strengthening U.S. leadership internationally." The present name was adopted in 1969.
Developed over a period of several years, ANSI approved the first National Standards Strategy for the United States (NSS) in August 2000, designed "to improve U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace while continuing to provide strong support for domestic markets and key quality-of-life issues such as the environment." The document outlined "the key principles necessary for the development of standards to meet societal and market needs, and a strategic vision for implementing these principles nationally and internationally."
Membership and organization
ANSI is classified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
ANSI's membership comprises government agencies, organizations, corporations, academic and international bodies, and individuals. In total, the Institute represents the interests of more than 125,000 companies and 3.5 million professionals.
The 2014 Chairman of the Board is James T. Pauley, with S. Joe Bhatia serving as President of ANSI.
A couple of elements of this article are reused from the Wikipedia article.
- AESC Minutes, 14 May 1918. American Engineering Standards Committee. 14 May 1918. p. 1.
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