WASHINGTON — Speaking at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation last week, Mark Grimaldi, president and CEO of Albany-based Equinox Chemicals, told lawmakers the importance of maintaining and updating federal manufacturing standards.
The hearing, chaired by Ben Quayle, R-Arizona, was held to examine the principles of effective standards development, the process by which the federal government, industry and other “stakeholders” promote those principles internationally, and the ways some U.S. trading partners use standards as technical barriers to trade, Quayle said in his opening statement.
“The role of standards is not widely appreciated,” Quayle said. “Standards enable cell phones from different carriers to communicate with each other. They allow microprocessors to operate in computers made by different manufactures. And standards ensure that electrical appliances can be used throughout the United States.”
Grimaldi, who also heads the newly acquired Adco Products division located in Albany, was invited to testify at the standards hearing because of his success in business as well as his knowledge and interest in the area of standards development, said Catherine Glover, Equinox executive vice president for global business.
“The vetting to allow his testimony was about three weeks,” Glover said. “In the end, (Grimaldi) fit the profile of small business success and experience the subcommittee was looking to hear from.”
“We have grown more than 300 percent in sales and 389 percent in employees in the last three years,” Grimaldi said in his testimony, “investing millions in infrastructure and facilities during a period when the rest of the industry was pulling back. It is our ability to compete both domestically and globally that in a very short time has allowed us to excel both in innovation and in manufacturing.”
In speaking to the subcommittee, Grimaldi said America leads the way globally by “setting the bar for existing standards, as well as in the development of new ones, as world markets, products and technologies evolve.”
Grimaldi said the key to remaining in that “pinnacle position” is to ensure that four basic principles in the standards process are maintained and developed: that standards be voluntary; led by the private sector rather than government; that they should be consensus-based; and finally that standards promote the U.S. standard setting system and standards set under that system domestically and abroad.