A2LA Today December 2018 Newsletter

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In This Issue...


A2LA Veterans Hiring Initiative

By Lauren Bisson, A2LA HR Manager

In 2018, A2LA launched a veteran hiring initiative to attract, hire and retain veterans and military spouses in the workplace.
Many individuals who dedicate their entire career to the military may not have the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree, ultimately disqualifying them from many jobs in the workforce after their transition to civilian life. Additionally, spouses of military personnel may have had to sacrifice their own career to support their husband’s or wife’s frequent relocation while in service.

A2LA has found that many individuals with a military background bring with them hard-work, dedication and the ability to be team-oriented, all of which are highly valued within the organization but are not only learned through attending college. To provide career opportunities to military personnel, A2LA evaluated its current recruiting and hiring process to ensure that the positions that were made available were attractive to the military community. As a result, A2LA revised some of the requirements for positions within the organization to allow for substitution of applicable years of military experience in place of education requirements, which ultimately opens doors for military personnel to be considered as qualified candidates.

Veterans Day 2018 was a significant milestone for A2LA and its veteran program, which included the publication of a new section on the A2LA career page dedicated to veterans, as well as the rollout of a custom-made veteran recruiting video, which highlights the stories and careers of some of A2LA’s current veteran staff.

In addition, on Sunday, November 11th, in honor of Veterans Day, several members of A2LA’s staff traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in a 10K run & 2 Mile Walk. Veteran employees were also given additional paid time off this year on Veterans day to celebrate and honor their sacrifice and service.

When any new employee comes to A2LA they are met with a culture of innovation, teamwork and a family/friendly atmosphere. A2LA provides new employees with a tailor-made mentoring program, allowing those that come from the military to be successful even if they do not have direct experience in the accreditation industry. A2LA also offers its employees an employee assistance program (EAP) that has specific veteran-friendly benefits that focus on helping military personnel with their transition from the military, any personal or health issues that are a result of serving in the military, as well as access to tools and resources that provide guidance on how to utilize military benefits after retirement.

For more information on our veteran program or to inquire about employment opportunities, please visit the A2LA Veteran Career Page at www.A2LA.org/veterans.


A2LA is an EEO/AA/ADA/V employer.


Remembering Alex Klein

By Trace McInturff, A2LA Senior Director Accreditation Services 

Mr. Alex Klein passed away on October 15, 2018.  For those that did not know Alex, he was very active with A2LA for almost 30 years serving in a variety of positions and functions.  

A2LA was first introduced to Alex in August 1988 when the laboratory he was responsible for, ArcelorMittal – Indiana Harbor, applied for accreditation with A2LA.  After a few months Alex was intrigued to learn more about A2LA and accreditation and volunteered to join the Accreditation Council in November 1989. He went on to serve as the Chair of the A2LA Accreditation Council from January 2005 to 2013.  Alex also served on the A2LA Board of Directors for ten years, was an A2LA Member and a Criteria Council member and was also an active member of the A2LA Materials and Transportation Advisory Committee (MTAC), Reference Material Advisory Committee (RMAC) and the Proficiency Testing Advisory Committee (PTAC).  Alex was also an A2LA Assessor since June 2011.

The following was published in Alex’s obituary with Maher Funeral Services:

“Alex earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters Degree in Materials Science from Northwestern University. He contributed his talents and energy since 1975 in the Quality Department of Arcelor Mittal Steel. For the last 11 years he held the position of Lead Quality Systems Engineer of Quality Assurance Department. In this capacity he supported, trained, and organized activities for many USA plants and the corporate quality department. Alex held Certified Quality Engineer, Quality Systems Auditor (with honor from the Registrar Accreditation Board), Certified Quality Manager (with honor), Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence, and Certified Calibration Technician certifications from The American Society for Quality. Alex shared his knowledge by teaching Metrology and ISO 9000 certification courses at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting Indiana for several years.”

Alex was one of the nicest individuals you could meet, and it was a great honor for me to have worked with him over the many years at A2LA.  He will be greatly missed.


Cannabis Customer Spotlight

By Anna Williams, A2LA 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, 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 Mr. Seth Wong, President of TEQ, an A2LA-accredited cannabis testing laboratory.  

-    Anna Williams (AW): Can you give me a summary of what TEQ is doing in the cannabis arena?

Seth Wong (SW): TEQ is an independent third-party analytical laboratory on the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. We help cannabis growers and product manufacturers monitor and police public health and safety through state compliance testing. TEQ offers analytical services in potency concentration, residual solvent presence, microbiological analysis, and pesticide testing, as well as terpene analysis, environmental monitoring and shelf life studies, and challenge studies. TEQ was the first cannabis laboratory in Colorado to achieve ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. TEQ is also on track to be one of the first ISO/IEC 17025:2017 A2LA accredited cannabis laboratory.

-    AW: Why did your company get involved in cannabis testing?

SW: When we surveyed the market place in 2014, we saw a need for laboratory expertise, superior quality initiatives, and transparency in data. I had been running an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited third-party laboratory for 12 years, Industrial Laboratories (IL), and we specialized in food and dietary supplement chemistry, microbiology, and banned substance analysis. Thus, we were familiar with many of the compounds and analyses that the cannabis industry required, and we were familiar with sample matrices that were prevalent in the cannabis market. Additionally, Industrial Laboratories has actively implemented ISO/IEC 17025 for more than 20 years. Thus, having had experience with the scientific requirements and ISO/IEC 17025 quality system, it facilitated a natural transition into the cannabis industry.

-    AW: Why did your company initially choose A2LA over another accreditation body?

SW: Through our sister laboratory, Industrial Laboratories (IL), we were familiar with the A2LA brand as they had accredited IL for 20+ years. Additionally, we chose A2LA because it had a reputation of being more rigorous than other accreditation bodies and I knew we wanted to be held to the highest and most rigorous standard available. We had set out to raise the bar for quality and establish a new standard and A2LA could help us raise the bar. A2LA also had an extensive client list associated with many national and international brands that are best in class, which served as a referral, and we knew they were providing a quality service trusted by those brands.

-    AW: What are some reasons why you have remained an A2LA customer?

SW: We believe that the feedback we receive on assessments helps improve not just our analytical science practices, but our business practices, as well. A2LA is great about communicating openly so that our lab staff and the A2LA assessors have mutual understandings. We have not always agreed with some of the A2LA deficiencies during audits, but they have been open to hearing our concerns and working through them with us to achieve a fair result.

-    AW: What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential or current cannabis testing laboratory as they consider accreditation?

SW: I would advise them to evaluate what they really want to get out of their ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation. If they really want to improve their laboratory and provide the best possible analytical services and continually build a better more reliable business, then A2LA is the right fit for their organizations. If a laboratory only factors in cost of accreditation, then A2LA may not be the best fit for them.  But buyer beware, discount services often come at a cost; know and understand those costs and what it means for you and your clients.

For any questions related to cannabis testing accreditation, please reach out to Anna Williams at awilliams@A2LA.org.  


ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Transition Reminder

By Trace McInturff, A2LA Senior Director Accreditation Services

As indicated in the past two A2LA Today newsletters and our November 30, 2017 Transition Memorandum,   we began assessing to the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard on April 1, 2018.  New applications received prior to September 30, 2018 have the option of being assessed to either the :2005 or the :2017 version of the standard.  However, please note that any new laboratory assessed to the :2005 version of the standard will be required to undergo an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 delta assessment during their 1-year surveillance assessment to bring them into alignment with the new standard. And, all renewal assessments with Certificates expiring after September 30, 2018 will be assessed to the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard.   This is to ensure that A2LA meets the ILAC imposed three-year implementation deadline of November 30, 2020.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact your Accreditation Services Officer.


New Employees and Milestones

By Lauren Bisson, A2LA HR Manager

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

Christy Urban came on board in October of this year as a returning Accreditation Officer at A2LA. Since the last time that Christy worked at A2LA, she has worked in quality assurance at A2LA-accredited Microbac Laboratories, Baltimore. Christy joined A2LA this year as a member of our Inspection Body and Materials Testing team.

Thomas Flynn came on board in November of this year as A2LA’s new Marketing Coordinator. Thomas graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Communications. He most recently held the position of Communications Assistant for an architecture firm located in Washington, D.C. Mr. Flynn also has experience working in public relations, videography and content writing throughout his career.

Luis Zuniga is A2LA’s new Business Development Assistant. Luis came to A2LA after several years working in a variety of customer service, sales and marketing related positions. Mr. Zuniga obtained his B.A. in Communications from Hood College, Frederick, MD.

Dylan Lyon started with A2LA’s Life Sciences team as an Accreditation Officer this past November. Dylan graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Biology, as well as a Minor in Psychology. Prior to joining A2LA, Dylan spent a few years working at Miracle Corp Products within the Quality and Safety department.

We are excited to welcome Christy, Thomas, Luis and Dylan to the association and look forward to seeing what their future holds at A2LA.

A2LA is always searching for self-motivated and eager to learn individuals to join our growing team. If this sounds like you or someone you may know, visit the A2LA career page to learn more about our curren employment opportunities at www.A2LA.org/careers.

Employee Milestones:

  • Randy Querry, Accreditation Manager:  20 years (October)
  • Karin Athanas, Business Development Manager: 10 years (December)
  • Ash Morton, Senior Accreditation Specialist: 5 years (October)

New & Updated Documents

By Pam Wright, A2LA Quality Manager

The following documents have been updated within the controlled A2LA management system. These documents are available on the A2LA website (www.A2LA.org) through the “Search” tool or may only be available on your customized portal (as appropriate) unless otherwise indicated. If you have any questions about these updates, please contact A2LA at 301.644.3248 or your Accreditation Officer.

Checklists:

C311 – Specific Checklist: Combined ISO/IEC 17020 and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a revised document dated 10/22/18 (A2LA Customer Portal Only). Non-Editorial for:

  • Updated expectations on organizations who conduct international business.
  • Added requirements for each defined personnel type required to participate in assessments.
  • Clarified expectation of relationships of contract/1099 employees.
  • Added requirement to complete at least 40 hours of training.
  • Added requirement for creation of Technical Proficiency Activity Participation Plan.
  • Added requirement for evidence of suitable facilities should the organization not have a physical office.

Forms:

F125 - Flexible Calibration Scope Method or Procedure Request Form is a new document dated 10/11/18.

F336 - Scope of Accreditation Selection List for ISO 17034 Reference Material Producers is a revised document dated 11/8/18. Non-Editorial for a complete rewrite. Note: this is now a mandatory upload document for new applications.

F321 – ISO 17034 Reference Material Producer Process Matrix has been made obsolete as of 11/9/18 and was replaced with A346 - ISO 17034 Reference Material Producer Process Matrix (Assessor Portal Only).

Guidance:

G118 - Guidance for Defining the Scope of Accreditation for Calibration Laboratories is a revised document dated 10/11/18. Non-Editorial for:                                                                 

  • Revised section III.2 and VII to clarify the type of instrument or material calibrated is defined by the parameter.
  • Revised section V to clarify the use of the terms “generate”, “measuring equipment” and “measure”.

P112 – Flexible Scope Policy is a revised document dated 10/11/18. Non-Editorial changes for:

  • Updated for addition of ISO/IEC 17034 reference material producers and proficiency testing providers;
  • Added clarification for calibration scopes as flexible scopes.

R205 - Specific Requirements: Calibration Laboratory Accreditation Program is a revised document dated 10/11/18. Non-Editorial changes for:

  • Added provisions on flexible Scopes.
  • Added transition policy for Scopes that do not reference method and/or procedure.

R102F - Conditions for FedRAMP Accreditation is a new document dated 10/22/18 (Customer Portal Only).

R346 – Specific Requirements: Baltimore Cyber Range Technical Proficiency Activity Information is a new document dated 10/22/18 (Customer Portal Only).

R311 – Specific Requirements: Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a revised document dated 10/22/18. (Customer Portal Only). Non-Editorial for:

  • Added additional document references to Section II.
  • Defined 3PAO personnel, removed the term "key inspection body personnel".
  • Removed referenced to the outdated Notional SSP process, added information on the Technical Proficiency Testing Activity.
  • Clarified in Sections IV and V the qualification process for organizations to receive FedRAMP 3PAO recognition.
  • Updated expectations on organizations who conduct international business.
  • Added requirements for each defined personnel type required to participate in assessments.
  • Clarified expectation of relationships of contract/1099 employees.
  • Added requirement to complete at least 40 hours of training.
  • Added requirement for creation of Technical Proficiency Activity Participation Plan.
  • Added requirement for evidence of suitable facilities should the organization not have a physical office.
  • Clarified requirements for subcontracted companies.
  • Forms F337 and F338 are now required to be completed prior to authorization being granted.
  • Added requirement for PMO feedback to be formally acknowledged through the management system.

R101 – General Requirements: Accreditation of ISO/IEC 17025 Laboratories is a revised document dated 12/7/18. Non-Editorial for changes includes:

  • Removed references to ISO/IEC 17025:2005.
  • Changed responsible Staff person from P to SDAS.
  • Added flexibility under I. Application on language.
  • Added Virtual Site definition.
  • Added clarification to calibration scopes.
  • Corrected reference to Corporate Scopes – R238.
  • Clarification under IV Corrective Action Process between ‘contested’ deficiency and ‘appeal’.
  • Clarified that Extraordinary Assessments are not typical assessments and do not follow a typical assessment process.
  • Per ISO/IEC 17011:2017 added language under XIV and XVI that withdrawn laboratory’s scopes will remain on website for at least 6 months.
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A2LA Today December 2018 Newsletter

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