Essence of Volunteer Leadership

I touched on the importance of ASNT’s volunteer leadership in my October letter. This month, I’d like for you to understand what the impact of that leadership means for NDT and ASNT. Leaders are change agents, resolute in the process and the promotion of movement to the betterment of a circumstance or condition. Leadership comes in many forms—both formal and informal. The spirit and desire to “be more,” “do more,” and “expect more” are hallmarks of a leader. NDT is a field that organically cultivates leaders.

Every NDT professional, researcher, supplier, and educator is a critical link in creating a safer world. Each NDT technician is taught the basic how-tos of performing inspections. However, taking ownership of the impact of those inspections shows a leadership quality to “be more” than just an observer. The NDT technicians I’ve met take pride in the precise and accurate documentation of their findings and understand their vital role in the NDT value chain. “Be more” leaders are driven by personal satisfaction of the quality of their impact on others, especially those they will never meet or see but whose lives will be made better by the fruits of their labor. Every driver that traverses a bridge and every astronaut that safely returns to Earth values and appreciates each NDT technician’s “be more” motivation. If you recall, at last year’s Annual Conference, astronaut Leland Melvin discussed the totality and far-reaching implications of NDT work, in spite of how “small” we may seem from his point of view from space.

The commitment to achieving additional hours of education and experience shown by NDT professionals such as engineers, researchers, innovators, and Level III certificate holders is indicative of “do more” leadership. The world needs “do more” Level II technicians to serve as the front-line defense in identifying potential hazards. Level III professionals interpret those findings and extrapolate key data to strategize an effective remedy. NDT leaders such as Level IIIs write procedures and serve as the quality control, and continue to evolve and respond to new technologies and industry sector opportunities. Researchers and engineers have careers dedicated to digging deeper to make certain that scientific foundations for NDT stay ahead of industry environmental changes. Taking the extra steps to provide the qualitative analysis that effects meaningful and safety-impacting change is why “do more” leadership among NDT professionals is essential.

“Expect more” leaders are evident in ASNT’s involvement in international collaborations. ASNT’s volunteer leaders, such as Marybeth Miceli, featured in the October issue of The NDT Technician, bring a very necessary perspective in envisioning, crafting, and shaping the outcomes of these endeavors. Expecting more doesn’t mean there is a deficit; rather, there is a recognition of limitless potential and a willingness to always keep the mission in motion and at the forefront of NDT conversations.

As elected officers, outgoing ASNT Chairperson Kevin Smith and current Chairperson David Bajula have represented the ASNT membership’s interests in stakeholder meetings around the world. Kevin serves on an NDT education work group for the International Committee for Non-Destructive Testing (ICNDT) and is a board member on the Asia Pacific Federation for Non Destructive Testing. David is on the board of the Pan-American Conference for Nondestructive Testing as well as two working groups therein. Their participation keeps ASNT at the table for industry-wide discussions regarding research, education, higher education, and certification. Kevin, David, and I represent ASNT in ICNDT Working Group 1. The three of us also served as the ASNT delegation for the signing of ASNT’s first MRA (mutual recognition agreement) with the Japanese Society for Non-Destructive Inspection (JSNDI). The details of the JSNDI MRA could potentially yield thousands more ASNT members and ASNT certifications after it goes into effect.

There is an opportunity in ASNT for every member to “be more,” “do more,” and “expect more” through volunteer leadership. If you aspire to make a local, national, or global impact, we have many opportunities for this to be accomplished. Locally, get engaged with your section and position yourself and ASNT as a resource for NDT with your local stakeholders. Nationally, there are councils and committees that could use your knowledge and interests whether you have a passion for research, education, outreach, or presenting technical papers, among other NDT pursuits. To bring your leadership talents to a global reach, you can apply for a board director or officer position to become part of Society-wide decision making. Whether by title or mere presence, ASNT recognizes and respects each member as a leader.

If leadership in ASNT sounds exciting or you want to speak with someone about opportunities that match your interests, please contact Michelle Thomas at, who will direct you to the proper person for your specific inquiry. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your thoughts.

ASNT Executive Director