Volume 7 · Issue 1 · January 2002
An Interview With RABs New President
King: Continual Improvement Is RABs 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
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 RABs
THE OUTLOOK: What is your general impression
of the RABs 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 RABs 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
RABs 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 RABs
programs and how would you seek to enhance them?
King: RABs 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 servicesthe 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
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
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 divisions
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
managementand the continuous improvement aspect of
the processunder 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 RABs
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 Dunbecks leadership, will continueas
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
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, RABs mandate will continue to
be to ensure that US industry and other organizations understand
the value of third-party registrationthat 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
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 RABs
staff was very competent and its programs were well-established
and no longer required his direct management. Does Lofgrens
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 RABs
staff. I plan no changes in the immediate future. I feel
I can comfortably carry forward RABs established vision,
and seeking opportunities for continual improvement remains
an important RAB goal. I dont 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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