Technical Committee Member Spotlight: Chuck Kurten
April 10, 2023
Our Technical Committee (TC) members make up a core component of our Standards Development Process. TCs are responsible for developing and maintaining consensus-based UL and ULC standards, following the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
Each TC is required to represent a balance of interests, with members from nine different stakeholder categories: producers; supply chain; commercial/industrial; general regulators/authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ); government; testing and standards organizations; consumers and international delegates. To help assure fairness, our goal is for none of these categories to represent more than 33.3% of the TC membership. Active member participation is critical to helping maintain this balance and advance the standards development process.
Our Member Spotlight series highlights the contributions of TC members who play a key role in standards development. Today’s spotlight is in honor of Chuck Kurten.
Meet Chuck Kurten
Chuck Kurten is a principal engineer in Energy & Industrial Automation at UL Solutions, with 38 years of experience in working with wiring devices. He is the author of the article, “Receptacle Grades: What Do They Mean?,” which appeared in the January/February issue of IAEI Magazine, a publication of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). He is also a member of multiple UL technical committees, as well as several international TCs organized by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), United States National Committees (USTAG) and the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations in the Americas (CANENA). In addition, Kurten is a committee member on the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE) Committee of Testing Laboratories (CTL) Expert Task Force 4 for INST, as well as a member of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and NFPA 70 National Electrical Code, Panel 18.
Why did you decide to join a Technical Committee?
I’ve been involved in many technical committees throughout my 38 years of experience working for UL Solutions in the Wiring Devices area.
Overall, I find standards development and committee participation rewarding both on a technical basis and on a personal level. Being able to work with others on a collaborative basis, with a common cause of protecting both life and property from electrical hazards, is thrilling and provides a sense of accomplishment in improving the safe use of electrical products. Along the way, I’ve developed both personal and professional relationships with members around the world.
Overall, I find standards development and committee participation rewarding both on a technical basis and on a personal level. Being able to work with others on a collaborative basis, with a common cause of protecting both life and property from electrical hazards, is thrilling and provides a sense of accomplishment in improving the safe use of electrical products. - Chuck Kurten
What value do you see in participating on a committee?
I believe the value is purely up to the individual. You decide what to make of it. You can choose to be a member. You can choose to be an active participant. You can also choose to lead. It’s purely up to you and what you decide to make of it.
From my own personal experience, I found it to be valuable both from a career development and on a personal level. My involvement enabled me to expand my technical competencies and skills as a technical member of the global community with a voice on both domestic and international standards development. In each standards development theater, I have personally progressed to different levels of participation. These levels include Technical Expert and International Committee Chair. Each level along this journey has enhanced my technical abilities and personal skill set.
What are your goals for participating in the development of standards?
My ambition is to always remain humble. Always accept other people's points of view and concerns. Be open-minded. Standards development is entrenched in scientific study. Whether utilizing laws of scientific principles or even simple common sense, these touch points reflect like a prism, identifying different safety hazards and concerns. The goal is to achieve a balance between foreseeable hazards and preventative measures to limit safety risks.
What value do you think standards bring to global safety?
Standards are a means of communicating a uniform set of requirements to be applied consistently and equitably on like products. This provides a framework for achieving global economies, efficiencies, and practical applications to assess a product’s construction.
Thank you for your many years of service, Chuck. Your time and contributions to standards development make a daily impact around the globe, helping us in our mission of working for a safer, more secure, and more sustainable world.
If you are interested in joining the standards development process for UL and ULC standards, there are several ways to participate:
• Apply for TC membership: TC membership is contingent upon participation, as active member participation is critical to helping maintain a balance of interests and advance the standards development process.
• Subscribe and follow a standard: Subscribe to receive up-to-date information on new standards projects, standards for public review, recently published standards and more. You can elect to receive activity notifications and get involved without being a member.
• Propose changes to a standard: Submit a proposal or request to attend a meeting.