Forging strong ties with a growing membership
Simon Collier, elected in 1965 as the fourth Honorary member of ASQ, shepherded the society during a critical period of intense growth.
The 1952-53 term, when Collier was president, was marked by numerous milestones. ASQ membership increased 22% to nearly 7,500 members, and 11 new sections came into being. The first divisions were formed, beginning with the Textile Division (now the Textile and Needle Trades Division), which received its charter in August 1952, followed shortly thereafter by the Chemical Division. The Regional Conferences Committee was established to minimize conflicts (now the Chemical and Process Industries Division) in scheduling and assist in planning and management. ASQ broke new ground with the first printing of two new classes of publications; these included the first Standards Committee Report, No. A1-1951, Definitions and Symbols for Control Charts, and the first volume in the General Publications Series, Manual on Sampling Inspection by Military Standard, MIL-ST-lO5-A.
Collier's administration was the first to have more than one vice president; three people shared the expanding workload. As membership grew, the Financial Advisory Committee recommended new investment policies to safeguard ASQ's assets. Also during this period, the Section Management Awards Committee was born.
Collier always maintained a close link to members, a relationship that developed during his three terms as executive secretary (1948-1951) and his term as vice president (1951-1952). In the days before ASQ had a full-time staff, the executive secretary was point of contact between the national organization and sections. The day-to-day maintenance of the organization was borne by ASQ's officers and supported by their employers. Such was the case with Collier, who used resources and staff of his office at Johns-Manville Corp. to perform vital services to the Society.
Collier's commitment to the sections was evident in his remarks to the board of directors in May 1953, when he said that the strength of ASQ depended on the ability of officers to make personal appearances at section meetings.
The first Edwards Medal was awarded to Collier in 1959 in recognition of his dedication. It was a fitting honor, for Collier admired George Edwards, and their accomplishments within ASQ had many parallels. In accepting the award, Collier spoke of the importance of the human element in the organization: "Unless we recognize this important element and make the necessary plans to obtain the utmost cooperation from everyone involved, the best results can rarely be obtained, no matter how well we plan our programs."
Collier was trained as a chemist and began his career at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology), where he worked as a rubber chemist and wrote Methods of Analysis of Rubber Goods. He also co-authored Quality Control in the Rubber Industry. In addition, his work with the American Society for Testing and Materials resulted in his selection as an honorary member of that group.
More than 30 years of Collier's professional career were spent at Johns-Manville in Waukegan, IL, and in New York City. He was an early proponent of quality control methods in industry. One of his memorable accomplishments as director of quality control at Johns-Manville was the production of a quality training film that was viewed by more than 50,000 people in over 300 organizations throughout the country.
After retiring in the late 1950s, Collier moved to Los Angeles, where he was a visiting lecturer and assisted in the development of quality, reliability, and management programs at the University of California at Los Angeles. He continued his work with ASQ through the Los Angeles Section, and enjoyed the continued respect and admiration of his colleagues in the quality control profession.