AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast

Mail Call! (February 2024)

February 06, 2024 AASHTO resource Season 4 Episode 36
Show Notes Transcript

AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript

S4 E36: Mail Call! (February 2024)

Recorded:  January 16, 2024

Released:  February 06, 2024

Hosts: Brian Johnson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Director; Kim Swanson, Communications Manager, AASHTO re:source 

Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics. 

Transcription is auto-generated. 

[Theme music fades in.] 

00:00:02 ANNOUNCER: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials testing and inspection with people in the know.  From exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management, we're covering topics important to you. Now here’s our host, Brian Johnson.

00:00:22 BRIAN: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q&A. I'm Brian Johnson.

00:00:26 KIM: And I'm Kim Swanson. And we have another mail call episode. It's been a minute since we've done one of these, Brian.

00:00:32 BRIAN: Yeah, it's been a while, but the the mail has not stopped. I can tell you that there are always questions coming over e-mail and through phone calls and sometimes we have other topics to discuss on the episode. So we don't get around to knocking out some of these, but I've compiled a short list of common questions I've gotten recently that I thought we should just cover today. Hopefully that will help people.

00:00:56 KIM: All right. So we're gonna start with the first one, because that's a very good place to start. Why don't I see my laboratory when I log into my account?

00:01:07 BRIAN: Yeah. Now I got this question recently from somebody who was overseeing multiple laboratories and they logged in one day and didn't see one of them. And what ended up happening is that somebody else at their laboratory had asked us to change the login so that they could manage something about the account. So we did. But the other person didn't really. Realize it. So then when they logged in they could not see it. So I guess the the key here is to make sure you're communicating with everybody on your team about who has the login and how you log into the account and to know that we only do have one login per account. That I know that is unusual as far as, uh, companies that have a website are concerned. Usually there are multiple logins per account possible, but believe it or not, even with that limitation, it's often difficult for laboratories to remember who has the login or like.

00:02:12 BRIAN: How to log in So what or or to update information when somebody leaves. So I think that would really get out of hand.  If we did have a bunch of logins floating out there, so I don't know, I know we want to change it eventually to allow more logins, but I'll be curious to see how.

00:02:30 KIM: That goes to this point as well. I will say that if you think that you you need 2 logins or need to have two people access. Really think about if you actually do and perhaps the other person.  Just needs a specifier. Access is what we would call that, so that would be private specifier access. So you can have somebody in your company, maybe a quality manager. Future if you're overseeing a few labs request to be a specifier in our system, and then you can see most of the details about that company, but you won't be able to request services enter data, make changes, but you can at least monitor it. So if that's why you have multiple log like logins, or you're monitoring a couple of different accounts.  That might be a way to go as opposed to having the specific login so.  You know, and so you're not micromanaging all the stuff there. So that might be an option as well. So just to think about that, that we do have those tools available, there are limitations with those tools, but that might be better use of everyone's time, maybe not though.

00:03:39 BRIAN: If you ever are in this situation where you don't see it, just reach out to us. You know, just general info@AASHTOresource.org e-mail will do the trick.

00:03:50 KIM: Yep, all right. Next question, can I get accredited before my laboratory is open?

00:03:59 BRIAN: Yeah, this is the old chicken egg question and I I will tell you it is. Theoretically possible to get a laboratory accredited, but it is very difficult. You can't be completely non functional like you, you you can't be an idea of a laboratory and get accredited, but if you like, let's say you're about to start a project, you need to get the project.  Have accredited you've got all the staff, equipment, everything in place. Ready to go. You've got your QMS written. You just need to get the accreditation before you start the project. That's OK, you can do that and there may be some things we have to follow up with you on afterward, but you will have to demonstrate that your staff knows how to perform all the tests that the equipments in conformance that the QMS is in place. People have been trained all of those things that we can evaluate in that time. And at the end of the process, we'll follow up on some other things we weren't able to check because it wasn't totally functional yet.

00:05:04 KIM: OK, so I'm going to say I went on a roller coaster of thoughts as you were talking if you couldn't.  See it in. My face so.

00:05:10 BRIAN: I could see it in your eyes.

00:05:12 KIM: Sorry, listeners, you don't get, you don't get that view. But so my initial reaction was like I can answer this question. No, you can't do that. And then you said yes, kind of and I was very surprised. But I do want to make a point. Of saying what you described was more of a temporary or Project Pacific laboratory, which is already kind of. Based for lack of a better word, when an existing accredited laboratory that is already existing, it is not a brand new laboratory that is not attached in any way shape or form to a different laboratory. Am I correct in that clarification or am I way off base again?

00:05:54 BRIAN: You're not. You're not way off base. I would say it'd be highly unusual to not be a project laboratory and be able to pull that. Off. So we did.

00:06:02 KIM: Have an episode this season or late last season about. Something with like management reviews or internal audits for a brand new laboratory because there are requirements that you need to do them so often and that was kind of I think one of the things that you were alluding to that would follow up later that you can grant accreditation. But so we have I'll link to that in the show notes. Once I remember specifically what that is. So you can listen to that.

00:06:21 BRIAN: That's correct.

00:06:27 KIM: For more details, but are there not other things?  How do you? There other requirements that would require your laboratory to do some testing to know that I'm just confused when you said that, so maybe we're gonna need a new whole episode just about that. Where I'm because I'm confused on how that's like a brand new laboratory could get accredited without actually have done any testing. Five year prior to that, just.

00:06:56 BRIAN: They would have to show us evidence of.  Any conformance that we're looking for like like the internal audits really can't be conducted. If you've ever done any work before, right? Like what are you even auditing? Same with the management review. We wouldn't have any data on their curing facility stability for example because they're it takes a certain amount of time of operation for us to be able.  To tell if that's.  But but like I said it it is, it is highly unusual. But it is possible if they were fully operational now what now? What really happens in these situations when we get those questions is somebody has an idea that they want to start a business. And they say, well, I can't get any work until I get accredited. So then they request the assessment. Knowing that they don't have a laboratory yet, that's a totally different scenario and that is a hard no. You don't have it like you have nothing like.

00:07:51 KIM: OK, OK.

00:07:54 BRIAN: You say, hey, come and assess this. While we were planning on renting this space and I'm planning on hiring these people and I'm planning on buying this equipment that is a come back later.  And talk to us when you've done some work and figured out what you're actually trying to do, because what would happen is we would go there, we would charge you because you've just now wasted our time getting to your laboratory that doesn't exist.  And you would not get accredited anyway because you don't have anything to show us. So we we it's really important that we understand what's going on at that laboratory or whatever it is before we show up. Now we had a a recent situation where somebody submitted a request.  Just for assessment and upon making some very simple inquiries about. Where is your laboratory located? Can you send us a copy of your quality management system? It was apparent that there was no laboratory and there was no staff in there. If there were only thoughts of what it might be at this point. So that was like. An easy situation to say no, we are not coming to your.

00:09:03 KIM: OK.

00:09:05 BRIAN: Facility because we don't have any confidence that there will be like there. There's such a low success.

00:09:12 KIM: MM.

00:09:12 BRIAN: Probability for that activity that it's just better that we don't do it.

00:09:18 KIM: Yeah, I think that's what I initially was just thinking. And the question was that part of it, that it wasn't a thing. So and it's more Gray area than I thought anyway.

00:09:27 BRIAN: Yeah, it can be some Gray area, but ideally we're accrediting A laboratory that's already competent, right? So like you, you can, and you can do work without accreditation. You just can't get the big contracts that you're after. But I do get. I do get a little worried when we get those inquiries because I think, OK, well, what is this person's intention? Are they planning on just getting contracts and then never doing any work? And then if that's the case, what are we even accrediting?  And we don't want to do that. We don't want to accredit shell laboratories. You know, and just have like, somebody that just as a middle person that that gets contracts and then Subs it out and and then we because we don't have credit for the work conducted by the subcontractor.

00:10:10 KIM: I think that answers that question. Is there anything else before we? Move on to the.  Next one, because I know I think it does, but now I'm confused.  Overthinking it. Some lovely good to you.

00:10:17 BRIAN: No. Hopefully, hopefully I didn't confuse people with that. One, but I I I think the the the real thing to focus on here is that you have to have a laboratory first before you can get it accredited. So the the one the one like Wiggly answer part that I started with was more like this is a laboratory that is ready to get to work. They know what they're doing. They probably are. What I described sounded like a project facility where you're it's an offshoot of an already accredited competent laboratory. It would be again, it would be highly unlikely that somebody who has never been accredited. So you know some company has never done this could just say, yeah, we're going to do this because we're probably going to find all kinds of problems.

00:10:47 KIM: Yeah. OK.  Yes, yes, yes.

00:11:04 BRIAN: Yeah, and lack of understanding of what accreditation means and what a laboratory does.

00:11:08 KIM: Yes. And I think for. And correct me if I'm wrong, for a laboratory seeking accreditation, they are required. If it's their very first assessment, they're required to submit their quality manual ahead of time. For laboratories that are seeking accreditation. So you definitely need that part of the puzzle before you can even get anything done before we even.  Have the call to schedule the appointment to schedule the assessment if I'm correct.

00:11:36 BRIAN: That's right. And and you, you have to have an understanding of what your organization looks like, right? So if you are somebody who is trying to get accredited based on intention. That's just simply not going to work. I mean, you can't say. Well, we'd like to accredit you based on us having a professional engineer in charge because I I fully intend to hire one. That's that's not gonna fly.

00:12:02 KIM: That also is why the corrective action if you're accredited and why you're responding to your non conformities, the corrective action can't be well, I'm going to do this. It's we need evidence. We need evidence that you have done it so we don't accredit even existing laboratories for standards for the.  Intent. It's what you've actually done, and we need proof of that.

00:12:23 BRIAN: Yeah, the the tense of your verbs is important in the correct fashions. It it really needs to be in the past when you say that we have done this, we have taken this action. Unless we're asking for a plan of action for a certain thing, and then you can that. But that's a very specific thing. And if you have never gotten accredited, I don't want you really thinking about that too much.  Because we need to stick. Stick to the basics.

00:12:50 KIM: Yeah. And I will say I will say I found the episode, it was season, the for the policy, the FAQ policy for new laboratory, internal audits and management reviews. I said it was this season or last season I was way off. It was season one episode 39, so that was.

00:13:09 BRIAN: Ohh wow.

00:13:10 KIM: Forever ago, so I apologize for misleading everybody of saying this season because in my head it was, but apparently it was also season one. So I'll put a link to that in the show. Notes for everybody though, but all right.  Moving on.  To the next question, do I need to request an out of sequence assessment because it has been more than 24 months since my last assessment.

00:13:38 BRIAN: Yeah, that I do get this question every once in a while because people get nervous when it takes too long for the tour to arrive.

00:13:46 KIM: Yep. And I will say sub.  Variation of this is I need to get an assessment right away because my accreditation AASHTO accreditation is going to expire. That is a false statement. AASHTO accreditation doesn't expire. But if you're. Nervous because it's been 24 months and you're thinking your accreditation is going to expire, you're wrong. Your accreditation does not expire.

00:14:08 BRIAN: It's exactly the same question. You know, it it it's it's a concern that something's gonna run out. They're gonna lose accreditation.  And because we haven't been there, so they get nervous and they wonder if they need to get somebody out there right away. That and and they don't know what we want to be there in that time frame. Right. But sometimes, you know, we're still believe it or not, we're still recovering from the post pandemic tour impacts because it takes a long time to get through our tour. There are also issues when we see a big increase in customers in a certain.  Area or if we have a loss of staffing unexpectedly, those can all impact the tour, but as long as you submit your request form when we solicit you to do so and you get assessed when all of the other people in your area get assessed, you'll still be able to maintain your accreditation and you don't have to panic.

00:15:03 KIM: Yes. And I will say in January 2024 so January this year we had a webinar about kind of behind the scenes look at scheduling assessments and we did go into that a little bit. So I'll put a link to that and it will possibly be some audio you'll hear in a future episode of the podcast. I might just take the audio from that, but I will link to that. It is on our YouTube channel as well.  And their website but I will link to that and that answers more of those questions and goes into a little more depth on that. I'm trying to see what's the next question, OK. I know we have asked answered this question before, but I'm going to ask for the Cliff notes version of it from you.  Brian, how long does it take to get accredited?

00:15:49 BRIAN: The question is kind of an off shoot you the question that we talked about earlier about, you know, do I need to be open before I can get accredited? Often people are anxious, you know, they're trying to bid on a project. They need to get accredited. And and they need it right away, but it it really does take a few months to get accredited. So usually the the biggest delay is in getting an assessor to your laboratory to carry out that assessment. And then once that happens, you're issued your report and you get some nonconformities. To resolve often, and then that starts the process that could be up to 60 days. It could be a little bit longer if you have things that are still waiting to be resolved after that 60 day period. You know right then I'd say at best you're looking at three months and that would be if everything is working out really well, which I would not count on. So I would say three to six months would be more reasonable and achievable. So if you are in agency that is looking to hire somebody.

00:17:02 BRIAN: And I know this happens at some airports. Where they have turnover of their contracts and the expectation is that laboratory is going to be able to take over whatever the new person that or new company that won the contract will just show up that one day accredited. That's not really how it works. So it would, it would be good if you are such an administrator to have some six month. Expectation of obtaining accreditation once they assume. That contract, because it would be very difficult for them to just show up and be accredited at the same time, since we don't offer an umbrella accreditation and and even if we have a temporary extension of a site facility, there is still a process associated with that. That does take quite a bit of time.

00:17:50 KIM: Yeah, we did answer this question in full in season one, episode 31 FAQ. How long does it take to get accredited? So we go into all the details there and I'm sure in some other FAQ and mail bag episodes or mail call episodes, I'm sure you've gone over this a lot, but I we get this question so frequently, I think it is definitely worth discussing again so. All right, moving on.

00:18:15 BRIAN: This last one, this is not a question that I get no one has ever come out and asked this, but I can tell that there is a lack of understanding of the importance of this particular issue and at the the question that no one's.

00:18:24 KIM: OK.  OK.

00:18:29 BRIAN: Thing is, when you come to the laboratory, are you just checking for conformance to standards or are there other things that matter, such as the behavior of the employees that you are working with? And the answer is yes, that does matter. So what what that is all about is. Do we have a code of conduct? For laboratories that we interact with and there's just an expectation of professionalism on some level with our clients, if we go to a laboratory and they are acting in a hostile way towards our staff members or if there's some safety related issues.  That are identified by our assessor. They have the authority to end the assessment and we may not be back depending on how things are handled at your laboratory so.

00:19:28 BRIAN: Well, if you are a laboratory looking to get accredited and you think well, we're pretty good at our job, but I don't know how it'll go because the people that we, you know that work in our laboratory often are filling you know fill in the blank. Are they bad? Description of their behavior. Then you'll need to tighten that up before you have us come in, because you you want to put your best foot forward and show us that you're a professional, serious laboratory. Before we get there. And if you do get, if you do get into a situation where we have to leave because of something. That that has happened. Like I said, we might not be back. And that means that you will not get AASHTO accredited, so if you need to be AASHTO accredited. You don't want to be in that situation.

00:20:24 KIM: The safety of our staff that's going into your laboratories is really important. So if they feel unsafe because of your staff's behaviors. That's a hostile work environment, the our our assessors are in the field for most of the year. And so your laboratory is their working environment. And so if it's a hostile working environment or an unsafe. Working environment, we do empower them to make that call of saying this is not OK. This is not acceptable and you know, again there's a course of action that has to happen, but they they can and. Will leave the situation if they don't feel safe or it is not. There's a question of integrity or physical safety or all of that, or sexual harassment. All of those fun, fun things, you know, that is our that is the office for most of our assessors. That's their. That's where they spend most of their time. Than your facility.

00:21:19 BRIAN: And that doesn't mean that your facility has to be exactly the same as our facility, but there's certain minimum expectations that we have going in and and it's not just about the behavior, it's also about.  Certain other safety risks that that could exist, like exposure to chemicals, exposure to 111 thing that comes up a lot and this is for the concrete laboratories, is not hoods that don't work or no hood. Under the sulfur in the sulfur capping area where you get a really just obnoxious odor throughout the day, I'm not saying CRL will just end the assessment. I don't know what will happen because that's them. But you know, there is an expectation in the. BRIAN: Standard that you have a working hood to evacuate those fumes. So our expectation as the accreditation body is that you that you do that and that it's effective. So sometimes we'll have issues. We've been talking about this recently quite a bit among our our team, what how do we know.

00:22:30 BRIAN: Because you can't smell the the digital file or you know you when when we get like we the only thing we could think of. That isn't too onerous is to get a video showing that the something wafting up, you know, like a a piece of, you know, tissue paper or something like that, getting sucked up through there to show that there is some, some pressure, evacuating whatever the. The fumes are because we can't tell unless we're there. If it's a problem, really. But. We saw one the other day that it just looked like nothing was happening and that the hood was really high and it was. It was big, but it was weak and it just made me think like I don't, I don't know, like as much as I don't want to make. It too painful the the corrective action process and I want to make sure we get it right. It's very hard to tell. If it if it's in conformance, but if we see like a repeat issue, then we're we're a lot less likely to take your word for it. If you say that it's working.

00:23:38 KIM: That makes sense. I will say. I remember some conversations in the past about like even the temperature of the laboratory, how that is not only requirement in some standards that there is a certain temperature range, but it's also, you know, can be a safety issue if it's really too hot in the summer or if it's really too cold in the winter, it can be all. So you know a safety issue and a personnel thing and not just for the integrity of the samples and the results that you're getting. So there, there's a whole lot of things encompassed in that.

00:24:07 BRIAN: That's right. And and it it is important to know that we aren't. We aren't going in there performing an OSHA assessment, so there's no overlap with that. But we're just talking about like what are any any requirements that are stated in standards or in the Astro accreditation Procedures Manual, which is where that temperature.

00:24:14 KIM: No, no.

00:24:27 BRIAN: Requirement falls in or just.  Our our norms of safety for our staff if those are violated, those would all be concerns that we would be worried about. But yeah, you mentioned any kind of sexual harassment. Obviously that's not acceptable, but we would also say that any sort of intimidation or.  If our staff feels unsafe in any way or or feels like they're trying to be.  Bullied in a way that is is beyond just making a simple explanation of why you might do something a certain way that we think crosses the line. And then we would also consider canceling that assessment.

00:25:13 KIM: Is this covered in our refusal of service policy?

00:25:17 BRIAN: Vaguely covered in our refusal of service policy, but we we have that written pretty broadly so that it.

00:25:18 KIM: OK.

00:25:26 BRIAN: It it's very that was that was a lesson learned in policy writing for me is that you really have to be careful not to be too specific because when often when we run into situations where we're we're talking about refusal of service, it's something we haven't thought about yet like somebody is going to do something that we couldn't have imagined they would think to do. So you do want to be a little bit careful not to be too specific about exactly what would constitute a problem. I think there were. There have been issues in the past where there were borderline situations they they could have gone either way and I, you know, my my thought is that I would err on the side of saying no, I don't want to subject our staff to that, but that everybody's different as far as that goes, like whoever the person making the. Decision is might have a different decision based on what they think is acceptable and what they don't, but yeah, I guess that's the case. There's probably people who would be a lot more restrictive than than I would be too. You know, it could go either way.

00:26:31 KIM: I think everyone has the same expectations and we do a good job of training our assessors and our called the analysts of knowing and being able to make that call and have the autonomy to say this is crossing the line and I'm uncomfortable now and all that because that it applies to, I mean we were talk. Thing about behaviors and I was thinking more in lab, but that also deals with you know the quality analysts who are just dealing with people over the phone or via e-mail that we can also you can cross the line with the behavior that way as well.

00:27:01 BRIAN: Yeah, and and actually what you said just made me think of one of the things that has been stated over the years, it like not often, I don't want people to get the wrong impression. This doesn't happen all the time. This is a rare occurrence that we have to talk about these issues. But I think it's important that everyone understand that this is the way it is. We've had people say. Well, I don't think. This kind of person should show up at that laboratory.  And it and whatever you fill in the blank with whatever is in your head. And my answer is, well, if you think that should be the policy, then we were. No one is going to be coming to that laboratory because that that is not acceptable in any way to to us as an organization that we have to somehow. How change who shows up at your laboratory for you to treat them with respect? If that's if that's your expectation, then this is not the right program for you. So I want to make sure that's extremely clear to everybody who's listening to this.

00:28:09 BRIAN: Any thoughts Kim?

00:28:11 KIM: I have a. Lot of thoughts and none of them are going to make it in the podcast, so we're going to just keep those thoughts to myself on that. But yeah, I I agree that respect is one of the our core values and we expect our.  Their customers and laboratories that we work with to show our staff the same level of respect that we are showing them. So I think that is a mutual understanding and not too much to ask. So I'm happy that this is not a common occurrence where we're always talking about these kinds of issues. But it I think you're right that it is something that we do need to make sure that people are aware of and that the expectation is set so everyone knows what could possibly happen if they are. Not respectful, and our staff feel like they're in an unsafe situation at your laboratory or daily, even dealing with it over the phone because I know we have given some quality analysts the guidance are all quality analysts that you can end a conversation. If you're getting yelled at or if you are not being talked to respectfully, you can. End that conversation.

00:29:21 BRIAN: Absolutely. And and I actually just talked to the quality analyst about this this week and and I said you know if if somebody is. Being disrespectful or it's just arguing non-stop. You just say, OK, you know in your head you think, OK, this person is not going to conform to the requirements and then to them you can just say it sounds like you're not going to conform to the requirements. We will just not offer accreditation to you for that and and that's the end. And I mean, if I've had those conversations with people and and this is so I'm known as being reasonable. That is like one of I think that would probably be on my tombstone one day as he was reasonable.

00:30:01 KIM: Yeah, I can see that. That checks out, yes.

00:30:04 BRIAN: Yeah. And one one thing about being reasonable is you get that reputation, then people think ohh, that means that you'll let me do whatever I want. That is not the case, so I I had a person call me and say, well, you're, you know, you're reasonable. This is what I want to do. And I think that's OK and then say.  No, that's first of all, that's there's also a misunderstanding that everyone does that everyone does it this way. And I said, OK, well, I'd, I'd say that we have a little better understanding of what every everybody does because we have over 2000 laboratories in our program year 1 laboratory and you might know a few people, uh, in the industry and and I'd, but I'd say we probably have a better handle on that than you. So I'm going to go with our experience over yours and that one. And we'll also look at the standard. And the standard says this. So our expectation if we're going to credit you for this, is that you abide by that.

00:31:02 BRIAN: And then the person said, well, you know, I understand that. But I'm still not going to do it. And say, well that's fine. But we're just not going to credit you either, so just understand that you know, as long as we're on the same page with that, it's OK and it and it doesn't upset me to say that. So. So like that's the one hard thing. I think when you're getting into those discussions with people is you can't let that get under your skin. You just have to say, OK, they've made their position. Clear. I'm going to make our position clear if we don't agree, that's fine. We don't have agreement. We're not going to credit them.

00:31:34 KIM: Yeah. And I think some of those, whenever I hear stories of people like arguing a point of the standard or something like that, it's like arguing with your quality analyst or your assessor about that isn't going to be productive for you because that is what the standard is. And our staff is. judging you based on the requirements of the standard. Or the AAP Procedures manual. It's not like we're making this up as we go, so if you're on, if you think that's the wrong part of the standards, wrong. You're in the power to get involved and make a change to that standard that it, but that doesn't start with arguing at the at the the assessor or the quality analyst that starts with getting involved with ASTM or getting involved as a friend of AASHTO. So to impart your what you think should happen with the standards because again, our staff is just. Enforcing the requirements of the standards they're not creating. I mean, there's sometimes that we do have a handbill in it, but we're not doing that in the laboratory. So again, if you don't like a requirement of the standard, then most of the time they have the opportunity to be involved and you know, try to change it for the for however they want.

00:32:43 BRIAN: Yeah, you're absolutely right. There are mechanisms in place for making changes and and getting those.  Thoughts considered by whoever those organizations are setting the standards and and and yeah, we've written standards here and there and contributed to them, but it always goes back to the review by that committee on whether they get through like, for example, the grinding the ends of cylinder standard so. For the most part, we wrote that standard in our office, but it.  Is not going to become a full standard until it gets the approval of all the state DOT's in Asheville and and that that process really worked. So I thought, hey, we have a great standard. I'm sure it'll go right through. Well, no, it didn't, because a couple DOT's looked at and they said I like this for the most part. But I've got a couple changes and then.  They made their changes and then a couple of the dot said, well, I don't really agree with those changes. I'd like to see it say.

00:33:42 BRIAN: This and then at the end of the process here we are about to issue the full standard and now it's had a lot of people's hands in it and and it's a consensus standard now and the consensus standard gets you what you want, which is a more widely accepted standard for use by a lot of laboratories so.  And I'm sure once it gets out, there is a full standard and we started crediting for it. We'll get even more feedback, which would be great and it will continue on its development to a more acceptable standard moving forward. So yeah, it it's all part of the process and and everybody can participate, but.  It's not, you know, it's not the Brian Johnson accreditation program. It's not the Kim Swanson accreditation program. It is the Astro accreditation program. So we we, we do rely on it with all these things we're talking about. If there's disagreements, discrepancies, we do have a an appeal process and we do have an oversight committee.

00:34:42 BRIAN: So we would if if there was something really contentious, we'd definitely bring that up to their attention and and somebody could even say I would like this to go to the the. Committee for review because we're having such a a problem with how unreasonable Brian is being that we definitely want to take that forward.

00:35:03 KIM: Yes, OK. Good to know. That's that. Is that my path forward if you're being unreasonable for something, I should just. OK, great.

00:35:08 BRIAN: That is your path forward as well. Yeah. Well, no, you have a different path forward. You can go to HR or or talk to my manager and say that we have a problem that needs to. Be addressed.

00:35:18 KIM: Yes, because you're known for being unreasonable for sure.

00:35:20 BRIAN: That's right.

00:35:22 KIM: All right. Well, I think we covered way more than what you intended with this mail call episode, but is there anything else that you get in your inbox that you feel like we need to discuss that we haven't yet?

00:35:35 BRIAN: Not today, not today, but there will always be more.

00:35:38 KIM: There will always be more. I will grant you that. And if our listeners have a question you want to answer, want us to answer on the podcast e-mail podcast at astroresource.org, which nobody ever does, but during that I'm sending it out there.

00:35:50 BRIAN: Nobody ever does, even when I get solicitations from people who want to help us with the podcast, they somehow go to my regular e-mail and I don't know how that happens.

00:36:05 KIM: That's really funny. Yeah. Nobody ever uses that e-mail address. So I've been getting got we have gotten really great feedback from listeners, but they're always to our personal emails. I feel like we're in person and it's not necessarily to that e-mail account. But you know, I'll still monitor it daily. It's fine.

00:36:23 BRIAN: Yeah, I check it all the time and all I see is our bills.

00:36:27 KIM: Pretty much that is pretty much.  All I see as well or just like, oh, it's finished processing to go and do something with it. So yeah, but nothing for actual listeners. So again, if you want to brighten our day, just say hi. Say hi, guys. I'm listening from and send that to podcast at astroresource.org and. That will literally make our week. I can guarantee. If you want to spread some joy, e-mail that. Account and just say hi I'm. I've listened to the podcast before. You don't have to say it's good. You just say that I heard this episode and that would be amazing.

00:37:01 BRIAN: I agree. I would take a scathing criticism.  Over nothing.

00:37:06 KIM: Yes, like again with you guys. I would take that too. Like, oh, at least we have someone's actively engaged here. They hate us, but they're actively engaged.

00:37:16 BRIAN: They hate us. But they listened.

00:37:18 KIM: But they listen. I hope that doesn't describe many of our listeners, but.  I'm sure there's a couple.

00:37:24 BRIAN: Yeah, probably.

00:37:25 KIM: All right. Well, I did want to remind everybody that we have our 2024 Asha Resource Technical Exchange, March 18th through the 21st. In Boston, MA, so go to AASHTOresource.org/events For more information and to learn how to register and all that fun stuff. But we have a lot of great session. Planned on the agenda and you can see what the agenda is in the session abstracts, but there's over 33 sessions planned and it's over four days. It's going to be a great time. So hopefully again go to AASHTOresource.org/events For more information on that.

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00:38:04 ANNOUNCER: Thanks for listening to AASHTO re: source Q & A. If you'd like to be a guest or just submit a question, send us an email at podcast@aashtoresource.org or call Brian at 240-436-4820. For other news and related content, check out AASHTO re:source's social media accounts or go to aashtoresource.org.