In This Issue...
- A2LA Staff Appointed to International Leadership Roles
- Sampling Field of Accreditation
- Cannabis Customer Corner
- New Employees and Milestones
- New & Updated Documents
► A2LA Staff Appointed to Leadership Roles in Accreditation Cooperations
By Evin Hodges, Content Marketing Coordinator
One of the many things that sets A2LA apart from other accreditation bodies is our wholehearted commitment to improving and developing the accreditation industry in general. We pride ourselves on having the best-informed and most insightful team in accreditation, and A2LA staff members are recognized for their expertise, holding places in countless committees, professional organizations, and regulatory bodies. Recently, Trace McInturff, Adam Gouker, and Robert Knake were all appointed to leadership roles with international accreditation cooperations, where they will be directly involved in decisions that affect accreditation bodies as well as the organizations they serve.
From left to right: Trace McInturff, Adam Gouker and Rob Knake
A2LA Vice President Trace McInturff now serves on the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) Executive Committee and is chair of the APAC MRA Council. A2LA General Manager Adam Gouker serves as chair for one of APAC’s two Technical Committees. APAC is a new entity formed from the merger of the former Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) organizations. APAC is instrumental in managing and expanding a comprehensive mutual recognition arrangement among accreditation bodies in the Asia-Pacific region. The APAC MRA plays an important role in international trade across the Pacific, and the expertise that Mr. McInturff and Mr. Gouker bring to their new roles will be instrumental in ensuring the benefits and reliability of accreditation to all parties associated with APAC.
A2LA Accreditation Manager Robert Knake was appointed vice-chair of the Multilateral Recognition Arrangements Committee and Group at the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC). Much like APAC, IAAC promotes cooperation and consistency among accreditation bodies, but specifically within the Americas. IAAC works to establish a region-wide system of multilateral recognition arrangements among accreditation bodies across different countries and regions. Mr. Knake’s role will be directly related to developing and maintaining these multilateral recognition arrangements (MLAs), which will have a broad impact on accreditation bodies and accredited organizations across the Americas.
A2LA is proud to have so many staff members recognized as subject matter experts and entrusted with decision-making roles by the wider accreditation community. The three recognized here – as well as many others at A2LA – have made a personal commitment to the industry and have taken every opportunity to expand their perspectives and use their expertise to benefit fellow professionals and accreditation in general.
► A2LA Announces Stand-Alone Sampling Organization Accreditation Program and Sampling Field of Accreditation
By Anna Williams, Senior Accreditation Officer
A2LA is pleased to announce the creation of a sampling field of accreditation. Laboratories currently accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 for testing will be able to establish an additional scope of accreditation in the sampling field. In addition, A2LA will be able to accredit stand-alone sampling organizations (SASOs) to ISO/IEC 17025:2017. A2LA is the first Accreditation Body in the United States to offer accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for SASOs, as well as the option for laboratories to get accredited in the sampling field of accreditation in addition to their respective field(s) of testing.
In addition to other changes made in the 2017 version of ISO/IEC 17025, the definition of a laboratory was expanded to cover organizations that sample for subsequent testing. Accreditation Bodies throughout the world have been looking into accreditation of SASOs, and A2LA decided to put together this program in order to fill several needs in the various industries that they work in.
“A2LA has been contemplating a standalone sampling program for a number of years and we felt the time was right to put this together to aid those markets in need of standalone sampling.” said Trace McInturff, A2LA Vice President, Accreditation Services.
► Cannabis Customer Corner
By Anna Williams, Senior Accreditation Officer
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, 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 Beth Cantrell, Vice President of Confidence Analytics.
Q – Can you give me a summary of your company?
A – Confidence Analytics was the second certified lab in Washington state, and the first lab to test a sample for the legal market. The package and label for that batch of cannabis was put on display at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry. Five years later, Confidence is an industry leader focused on streamlining processes and putting out high quality and accurate data. Beyond just testing samples, the Confidence team participates with the legislature and other government bodies. The team also participates on the ASTM cannabis testing committee in order to help develop intelligent guidance in the cannabis testing space, an area that is lacking as a result of prohibition. In the coming months, Confidence is expanding operations and opening a new testing facility in California to serve the nascent legal market there. The team is very excited about the changes and future in the industry.
Q – How did your company get involved in the cannabis testing space?
A – The founders, Nick Mosely and Bobby Hines, were connected to some of the major figures in the medical market involved in the transition from medical cannabis to the regulated recreational market. With Mosely's science background and Hines' legal background, they were urged by the community to get involved, as the members of that community saw the future of lab testing as a place where their expertise and capability would be needed. Mosely and Hines decided to take the leap and submit an application for a license. The first few years included a lot of changes and storms for a startup company to weather. Confidence has been lucky to have a great team that helped build that startup company from the tiny lab of less than 1,000 square feet to a multi-state organization.
Q – Why did your company initially choose A2LA over another accreditation body?
A – A2LA is a widely recognized name, known for the quality of assessments and the accreditation that they provide. Confidence's Quality Manager Cristi Crofton and Vice President Beth Cantrell both had experience with the assessment process before joining the team at Confidence. Their experience led them to choose A2LA as their Accreditation Body.
Q – What are some reasons why you have remained an A2LA customer?
A – The A2LA online portal is a great resource for A2LA customers. It really streamlines the process of responding to assessment findings, paying for fees, and accessing resources. A2LA also has some of the shortest wait times between completing your assessment findings and receiving your scope and certificate. There was no need to email the assessment team and follow up for weeks on end. It was straightforward and done shortly after all the paperwork was complete. A2LA staff and assessors help to keep the daunting task of ISO/IEC 17025 compliance as easy as possible by responding quickly and proactively providing assistance.
Q – What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential or current cannabis testing laboratory as they look into accreditation?
A – Take the time to review both the legal requirements of the state and the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation process. Try to find as much overlap as possible and create standard operating procedures and documentation that will work for your business needs across both sets of requirements in order to streamline as much as possible. Start the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation preparations as early as possible and make sure to give your company the time you need to make sure your procedures work for your business as well as to limit the number of findings that will need to be addressed after your assessment. Lastly, understand the cost of quality and what the quality objectives are for your company to make sure you set goals that work.
► New Employees and Milestones
By Natalie Rhoderick, HR Generalist
New Employee Announcements
Since the last edition of A2LA Today, we have welcomed several new staff members to the A2LA team!
- Evin Hodges joined the Marketing team in late June as a Content Marketing Coordinator. Evin received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in English from Hood College. His recent experience includes time spent as a Marketing and PR Manager for North Star Digital, where he was responsible for creating a wide variety of content, including website articles, press releases, and blog posts. He is very excited to bring his passion for writing to the A2LA team!
- Ron Sacco joined the Calibration team as an Accreditation Officer in July. Ron’s most recent experience includes time spent as a Mechanical Testing Technician/Quality Representative for Touchstone Testing Labs, an A2LA accredited lab. He is passionate about accreditation and excited about coming onboard with A2LA!
- Renee Delauter joined A2LA this September as an Accreditation Officer for the Life Sciences Team. Renee is passionate about educating others on prevention rather than treatment – she even spent one year in AmeriCorps teaching students about nutrition, healthy eating and promoting FoodCorps. After her time in AmeriCorps she moved to a Marketing and Operations Manager role with Potomac Sprout Company where she assisted with managing staff, marketing initiatives, collecting lab samples and ensuring smooth production. Now she is excited to step into the world of accreditation!
We are happy to have Evin, Renee and Ron 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 current 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.
- Alex Sexton, Accreditation Officer – 1 Year
- Brandy Rowe, Billing Specialist – 20 Years
► New & Updated Documents
By Carrie Whitaker, A2LA Quality Manager
A2LA is excited about the documents revision project that has been underway since our last newsletter announcement! Your access to revised documents as an accredited CAB within the Customer Portal (Touchstone) has been A2LA’s priority, but efforts will soon extend to our public website.
While under website transition, there may be a short period during which no documents appear as we perform and verify the update. We will be working diligently to ensure the transition occurs as quickly as possible. Once complete, a more targeted volume of documents will be available for public access and everything published will be easily accessed without the need to perform document searches.
We plan to complete this website transition very soon and would like to sincerely thank you for your positive reviews and constructive feedback.