A2LA Today December 2019 Newsletter

In This Issue...

Tech Forum Registration Now Open!

A2LA’s annual Technical Forum will be held at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, VA on April 26th-29th of 2020, and if you register before March 1st, you can save 30% off the at-the-door price. The A2LA Tech Forum is one of the largest multi-disciplinary events in the accreditation industry and will be attended by leaders and decision-makers from over a dozen industries, including automotive, environmental, pharmaceutical, and calibration. The 2020 schedule is packed with sessions led by a wide array of industry experts, as well as Q&As, committee meetings, networking events, an awards dinner, and more.

Attendees will have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with A2LA staff and assessors, advisory committee members, government bodies, specifiers, and other industry professionals. If you are looking for visibility and marketing opportunities, A2LA is also seeking sponsors and exhibitors for the 2020 Tech Forum. These key partners help us improve the Tech Forum offerings each year, and in return receive enhanced visibility and brand recognition.

Prospective attendees can view the complete Tech Forum schedule and register early at a2la.org/tech-forum, and prospective sponsors or exhibitors can download a detailed prospectus at a2la.org/tech-forum/sponsors.  Remember, A2LA members get a special discount on Tech Forum registration, so be sure to visit the A2LA member portal for instructions about how to access your member pricing. If you are considering becoming an A2LA member, be sure to sign up before the Tch Forum to take advantage of your discount. For more information about A2LA membership, visit A2LA.org/membership.

Eurofins Lancaster Labs Celebrates 40th Year of A2LA Accreditation

In December of 1979, A2LA printed up a particularly noteworthy accreditation certificate. The recipient was Lancaster Laboratories Inc. (now Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental, LLC) and the certificate number on the documents read “0001.01”. Through forty years of growth and change, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental has remained a loyal, valued A2LA customer and industry partner, and still proudly sports certificate number 1.01, though their scope and capabilities have grown dramatically since it was first issued. The two organizations have a closely linked history and share a commitment to accreditation as a tool for advancing laboratory quality.

Lancaster Laboratories was founded in 1961 by Earl and Anita Hess. The organization spent several years focused on research and development for agriculture, but in 1970 the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and a greater cultural focus on the environment created an opportunity for Lancaster Laboratories to expand into environmental testing. Dr. Earl Hess, who was a member of the Executive Committee for the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL), as well as head of their Government Relations Committee throughout the 1970’s, was instrumental in executing ACIL’s mission to create a nationally recognized laboratory accreditation system. A2LA was founded in 1978 in response to this newly defined need for comprehensive third-party laboratory accreditation. As a firm believer in the value of accreditation, Earl Hess had Lancaster Laboratories accredited by the fledgling A2LA in 1979.

Throughout the intervening years, Lancaster Laboratories saw steady expansion and became widely acknowledged as an exemplar of laboratory quality, receiving awards and recognitions from the local community and from national publications. Although standards and guides have changed and new standards have been developed since A2LA and Lancaster Laboratories began their relationship, these transition periods have been taken in stride thanks to collaboration from the staff at both organizations. In 1995 Lancaster Laboratories became the first environmental testing laboratory to be accredited to ISO Guide 25, “General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories,” an accreditation issued to them by A2LA. Lancaster Laboratories and A2LA also collaborated on the creation and application of the NELAP standards for environmental labs, and A2LA supported Lancaster Labs in becoming accredited to new Department of Defense standards that were developed based on NELAP standards.

Lancaster Laboratories was purchased by Eurofins in 2011 but remains accredited to both ISO/IEC 17025 and the DoD environmental accreditation program through A2LA. Although staff has changed at both organizations over the years, their professional and personal relationship remains strong. “They always go the extra mile and help us understand new regulation, ensure that we are approaching things correctly, and resolve any concerns (though rare) that we have had.” Remarked QA Director Dorothy Love, “We have collaborated over the years through numerous audits, and since we are geographically close A2LA has brought staff here during audits as a training tool. They are always quick to respond to questions or challenges, and when we have had critical needs to add certifications, they have helped us out.”

A2LA looks forward to an exciting future with Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental, and remains committed to providing exceptional accreditation services to customers old and new. We value Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental not only as our oldest customer, but as a trailblazer in the environmental testing space  and a paradigm for laboratory quality.

New A2LA Blog Coming in 2020

In January of 2020, A2LA will be launching a new company blog! Visitors to A2LA.org will find new posts each month, with content related to the accreditation industry, international standards, the role of accreditation in life and business, and A2LA as an organization. Our goal is to help share valuable information in a format that is more visible and easier to access, which will benefit both our accredited organizations and other parties interested in the content we produce. Once the blog has launched, visitors will be able to sign up for notifications and receive an email each time a new post is published.

Posts to the A2LA blog will be composed by our knowledgeable staff, providing a clear, consistent, and reliable resource. We are eager to provide the type of content you are interested in, so if you have a request or recommendation for a blog topic, please reach out to us via marketing@A2LA.org.

Cannabis Customer Corner

As the legalization of cannabis continues to be adopted by additional states across the United States, it is important to ensure that the public can be confident in the resulting products that they may now legally use.  A2LA is committed to ensuring quality and compliance in this industry, as evidenced by our participation in industry groups, support of state regulations, online and in-person training, strategic partnerships, and publishing free educational content. To demonstrate why accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 is important in the cannabis industry, as well as why A2LA’s cannabis testing laboratories have chosen A2LA as their go-to provider, we sought feedback from Dustin Newman, CSO of Institute of Food Safety and Defense.   

• Can you give me a summary of your company?
The Institute of Food Safety & Defense (IFSD), based in Centralia, WA, was the first I-502 certified laboratory in WA to receive ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation. We serve the food, beverage, brewing, agricultural and cannabis industries. Praxis Laboratory, dba for our cannabis testing, sits on the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) Cannabis Task Force and our team members participate in the Analytical Work Group and the Proficiency Testing Work Group. Praxis Laboratory works collaboratively with other I-502 labs in the state to contribute to the bodies of literature on a variety of topics. We also work with industry stakeholders to provide guidance to our state legislators.

• How did your company get involved in the cannabis testing space?
While our initial goal was to serve the agricultural, food, beverage, and brewing industries, we realized there was clear and present need for a conscientious and experienced laboratory in the cannabis market.

• Why did your company initially choose A2LA over another accreditation body?
Initially, we were drawn to their presence in the accreditation industry. A2LA has an excellent reputation when it comes to working with laboratories on becoming accredited and maintaining this status.   

• What are some reasons why you have remained an A2LA customer?
The accessibility of A2LA’s extensive resources is valuable to my staff and me.  In addition, they have staff that are knowledgeable on their respective programs. 

• What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential or current cannabis testing laboratory as they look into accreditation?
Invest in a robust quality system, as well as an experienced staff with a broad array of specialties.

• Why did your company choose to obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation even though it is not required by your state’s regulations?
The Washington state standards are a good foundation and we at IFSD strive to provide reliable, credible data to our consumers in a nascent industry where many are new or unfamiliar with quality assurance testing. We believe the cannabis sector should be held to the same high standards that govern other consumer products. The recent outbreak of vaping-induced lung illness is just one example of why strong legal protections must exist as well as rigorous quality assurance protocols. ISO/IEC 17025 compliments and augments the state framework in place and will guide us as cannabis testing matures.

We are always working towards continuous improvements in our processes, systems and analytical testing and are pursuing our Department of Ecology accreditation. Our team looks forward to this post-prohibition future!

New Employee Announcements

Since the last edition of A2LA Today, we have welcomed several new staff members to the A2LA team!

  • Garrett Ghafir joined the Materials Testing & IB team in October as an Accreditation Officer. Garrett recently graduated with his B.S in Engineering Management from York College of Pennsylvania. Garrett is excited to bring his engineering background to the team and to sit alongside his cousin, a fellow Accreditation Officer!
  • Luana Chaires joined A2LA this December as an Accreditation Officer for the Calibration Team. Luana recently graduated from St. Edwards University where she majored in Political Science and minored in International Studies. Luana has traveled around the world during her college career and is excited about A2LA’s global outreach!
  • Natalie Seidel joined the Life Sciences team as an Accreditation Officer in late November. Natalie recently graduated from Towson University where she majored in cell and molecular biology and minored in bioinformatics and biochemistry. She has experience as a research assistant at both Towson University and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Natalie is passionate about the life sciences industry and is excited about joining A2LA!

We are happy to have Garrett, Natalie and Luana join our growing team and we look forward to seeing where their A2LA career takes them!  If you or someone you know is interested in employment with A2LA, please check out our openings on our career page to learn more about any available positions or sign up for our job alert notifications at www.A2LA.org/careers.

Employee Milestones:
•Christina Urban, Accreditation Officer – 1 Year
•Luis Zuniga, Business Development Assistant – 1 Year
•Mike Hart, Sr. Accreditation Specialist – 15 Years
•Liz Smith, Contracts Administrator – 15 Years
•Dylan Lyon, Accreditation Officer – 1 Year
•Thomas Flynn, Digital Marketing Coordinator – 1 Year