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Volume 7 · Issue 1 · January 2002


An Interview With RAB’s New President
King: Continual Improvement Is RAB’s Mission

On January 2, 2002, Robert H. King, Jr., joined the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) in the newly structured position of President. In addition, he will succeed Joseph R. Dunbeck as Chief Executive Officer when Dunbeck retires in the Spring of 2002.

King, who previously served as Vice President of Supply Chain NAFTA at Bayer Corporation, has taken on responsibilities that will include enhancing the strength of existing RAB programs, responding as markets demand expansion into new areas and overall general management of RAB, with a marketing emphasis and international focus.

RAB administers the US National Accreditation Program (NAP), which it jointly runs with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). As reported in the December 2001 issue, King agreed to an interview with THE OUTLOOK, which took place several days after he began serving as RAB’s new President.


THE OUTLOOK: What is your general impression of the RAB’s role based on your exposure so far to its mission, its operations and the market it operates in?

King: The role of RAB is to continually improve conformity assessment both in the domestic market and internationally. We will be the recognized leader in this role and will protect our integrity and the integrity of the process by rigorously advancing the credibility of conformity assessment. We will provide a value-added and cost-effective service to industry.

THE OUTLOOK: What do you expect to be the greatest challenge for you having just become RAB’s President?

King: My number one priority is to continue the direction set by the Board of Directors and Joe Dunbeck in forging new partnerships internationally and in strengthening RAB’s domestic partnerships. Being new to the organization means that I must quickly form relationships with my counterparts here and around the world in order to further the mission of the RAB.

THE OUTLOOK: The statement announcing your appointment as President noted that you will be "responsible for enhancing the strength of existing RAB programs and for responding as markets demand expansion into new areas." What do you see as the greatest strengths presently of RAB’s programs and how would you seek to enhance them?

King: RAB’s major strengths are the robustness of our processes and our interest in meeting the needs of the market. Robust and transparent processes will always be necessary to the success of our programs. Our efforts will be enhanced to the degree that we are willing to go wherever the market pulls us to ensure that we continue to serve the needs of our immediate customers and the end-users of our services–the organizations in the United States and worldwide that want a management system registration that will be recognized because of the NAP accreditation mark and will be of the highest value because of their registrars’ accreditation.

THE OUTLOOK: What do you see as potential strengths for RAB that need to be increased or expanded into? What role do you expect to play in those efforts?

King: RAB has the potential to expand into industries not yet served by us in the area of conformity assessment. We also have established a reputation that will allow further expansion internationally. Because my background is in sales and marketing I expect that, under the direction of the Board of Directors, I will set the strategic plan to lead the RAB in its next growth phase.

THE OUTLOOK: You were with Bayer Corporation for 16 years. Did Bayer implement an ISO 9001/2-registered quality management system (QMS) while you were with the company? Did it implement an ISO 14001-registered environmental management system (EMS)? If so, in what ways did the management systems affect you? Do you expect to "bring" your personal experience with QMSs/EMSs and registration with you in approaching your new roles? If so, in what ways?

King: I was with the Polyurethane Division of Bayer Corporation, and we established a continuous improvement process in 1988 that I became involved with. In 1992, as a member of senior division management, I took a leadership role with the process on both the recognition and the communications teams.

We began the journey to ISO 9002 when General Motors initiated its Targets for Excellence program in 1991, and I led the management team for this customer certification. Bayer Corp Polyurethanes then sought QS-9000 registration (with ISO 9002:1994). Since the Customer Alliance Team (customer service) reported to me and I was already involved with the division’s continuous improvement process, I was part of the management team that completed that part of the quality system registration. Because I believe strongly in a process approach to quality management–and the continuous improvement aspect of the process–under my leadership RAB will continue its market penetration based on these principles.

THE OUTLOOK: Your background appears to be primarily in marketing and sales-related activities. This represents something of a change from the background of George Lofgren, who retired as President in 2000. Does this reflect a change in the nature of the roles foreseen for RAB’s President and CEO?

King: RAB is quite fortunate to have developed a strong technical staff under the leadership of both George Lofgren and Joe Dunbeck. I will continue for the near future to have the counsel of both of them. However, the need for the technical expertise at the top, which George Lofgren certainly brought to RAB as its first president, diminished somewhat as RAB developed this strong technical staff.

That shift of emphasis, which I think has been evident under Joe Dunbeck’s leadership, will continue–as my background suggests. My role will be to set the strategic direction for the organization, strengthen the partnerships and serve as the lead sales and marketing representative for RAB.

THE OUTLOOK: What is the message you would like to convey to the community of registered organizations about yourself and the future of the RAB?

King: We view the registered organizations as the ultimate customers for our services. RAB exists to serve the needs of US organizations, from industry to government. Under my leadership, RAB’s mandate will continue to be to ensure that US industry and other organizations understand the value of third-party registration–that is, to build confidence and reduce risk in the arena of world trade. We will enhance the integrity of conformity assessment so that our services will continue to have value in the international community.

THE OUTLOOK: What do you hope to learn from Joe Dunbeck before his retirement?

King: The financial strength of RAB has been established under his leadership, and our Board of Directors has set the direction for the RAB to use this strength to expand into new markets and internationally. I hope to learn from Joe his vision for this expansion, the value of our existing partnerships and his insights into how RAB can work most effectively with the international community of accreditation bodies to further our mutual interests. Joe and I will be working closely during the first quarter of 2002 to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

THE OUTLOOK: When he was retiring, George Lofgren indicated that he was not concerned over the fact that he was leaving without a successor in place because RAB’s staff was very competent and its programs were well-established and no longer required his direct management. Does Lofgren’s description hold true two years later? If so, do you plan to change anything either to reflect your vision of RAB or to identify opportunities for continual improvement?

King: My initial view is that this has not changed. There have been staff changes over the last two years that have further strengthened the technical competency of RAB’s staff. I plan no changes in the immediate future. I feel I can comfortably carry forward RAB’s established vision, and seeking opportunities for continual improvement remains an important RAB goal. I don’t see these things changing.

Due to scheduling difficulties, Dunbeck was unable to provide an interview at this time but has agreed to do so for the February 2002 issue. THE OUTLOOK would like to thank Bob King for participating in this interview and would like to extend best wishes to him as he begins to take over leadership of the body responsible for administering the US registrar and lead auditor training course provider accreditation programs for quality and environmental management systems.

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