Sharing Knowledge and Collaborating at 86th IEC General Meeting
November 15, 2022
UL Standards & Engagement proudly sponsored the 86th General Meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), held Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 in San Francisco. Throughout the week, our leaders and staff gave presentations at several in-person events and technical meetings alongside experts in international standardization and conformity assessment.
A legacy of collaboration
This year's meeting theme, the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encouraged mindfulness of how standardization can support achievement of the goals. In coordination with the timing of the meeting, UL Standards & Engagement released its report on an assessment of its entire portfolio of more than 1,400 standards on the ability of each to address one or more of the SDGs.
Terrence R. Brady, president and CEO of UL Research Institutes and board chair of UL Standards & Engagement, spoke at the opening ceremony, linking the early work of the IEC and Underwriters Laboratories toward the safe deployment of electricity in the late 1800’s to the present as the two organizations work to affect the safety of today’s new and emerging technology. UL Standards & Engagement Senior Advisor Kevin Lippert also spoke during the opening ceremony in his role as U.S. National Committee President.
Helping to advance gender diversity in standards development
Sonya Bird, director of international standards at UL Standards & Engagement, spoke at the Tri-National Delegation Meeting, held in conjunction with the National Committees of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Bird, who serves as vice president technical of the U.S. National Committee to the IEC and the U.S. representative to the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB), gave an overview of the work taking place within the SMB. She also shared information on efforts related to improving diversity within the IEC, with special consideration on gender diversity, stakeholder diversity, and geographic diversity.
Bird also spoke at the Women at IEC Luncheon alongside several female leaders in standards and conformity assessment. This event sought to continue and grow the participation and leadership by women in IEC. Discussion was celebratory of the achievements thus far, while recognizing there is more to be done to increase the numbers of women participating in the IEC’s work, as well as greater gender responsiveness within the content of standards.
Phil Piqueira, vice president of global standards at UL Standards & Engagement, joined a panel of global
experts to discuss the role that businesses can play in helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In his remarks, he discussed the new report published by UL Standards & Engagement assessing the potential impact of each UL standard on its ability to address the SDGs. He noted that by developing products conforming to these standards, companies are helping to drive their achievement. Further, he recommended that companies employ a genuine, top-down approach to SDG-supportive initiatives to ensure their success.
David Steel, executive director of UL Standards & Engagement, welcomed guests at a reception hosted by our organization and shared insight into how we’re working to make the world safer, more secure, and more sustainable through standards development and collaboration with international partners. He shared overviews of UL Standards & Engagement, the UL Research Institutes, and UL Solutions and how the three organizations work with one another under a shared mission.
Other UL Standards & Engagement team members were present for in-person IEC technical committee (TC) meetings throughout the week. At the meeting for TC 72, the technical committee for Automatic Electrical Controls, Standards Program Manager Joe Musso received a plaque in honor of his many years of service as secretary of the committee. As Musso moves into the role of assistant secretary alongside Senior Standards Specialist Valara Davis, International Senior Standards Specialist Grace Roh will step into the role of secretary for the committee. Davis and Roh were also present for the meeting of TC 108, the technical committee for the Safety of Electronic Equipment Within the Field of Audio/Video, Information Technology and Communication Technology, where Davis serves as secretary and Roh as assistant secretary, as well as TC 61, the technical committee for the Safety of Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, where they serve as assistant secretaries under Secretary Randi Myers, standards program manager at UL Standards & Engagement.
“The technical committees were happy to meet face-to-face again after not being able to meet these past few years and connect and deepen our relationships and collaboration,” said Roh.
As representatives in the Young Professionals Programme of the U.S. National Committee to the IEC, International Standards Specialist Grace Callahan and Engineer Project Associate Chris Schmid joined more than 85 young professionals from 46 different countries in an immersive, week-long workshop organized in conjunction with the General Meeting.
“Participating in the IEC Young Professionals Programme was truly an unforgettable and monumental experience in my professional career,” Callahan said. “I was able to observe the work of the IEC in action, collaborate with other young and emerging professionals from around the world, and make lifelong connections and friends in the industry.”
“Attending the 2022 IEC General Meeting in person was a fantastic and rewarding experience that allowed me the opportunity to connect with and learn from colleagues, both old and new,” Schmid said. “The experience was especially unique, as I attended the previous General Meetings virtually and can now meet face-to-face with other young professionals I had only previously met virtually.”
At the closing reception, Piqueira addressed attendees, speaking to the importance of inclusivity in standards development as a pathway to drive more comprehensive and sustainable standards positioned to help address the UN SDGs.