American Society for Quality
The Founding of ASQ Section 0904
Published in the February 1999 issue of "The Quality Times"
Recently I have been researching the early days of our ASQ Section. Through the ASQ Home page (http://www.asq.org) I found the ASQ Archive at the University of Illinois. The web page listed the archive contents which showed Muncie Section correspondence from 1949. Thanks to Jessica Betts, Graduate Assistant to the ASQ Archives, I received copies of these letters. They document the creation of the Muncie Section.
Our history begins with the Indiana Section, now the Indianapolis Section, which was one of the initial 17 Quality Societies that combined to form the ASQC in 1946. In 1949 the Indiana Section had approximately 20 members from the Muncie area.
On January 12, 1949, Hal Parks, Director of Quality Control, Ball Brothers Company, wrote a letter to Simon Collier, Executive Secretary, American Society for Quality Control then headquartered at 22 E 40th Street in New York City. Mr. Parks inquired about the possibility of organizing an ASQC chapter in Muncie. He cited the fact that Ball Brothers Co. had 15 members of the Indianapolis Chapter. Other Muncie firms had five or six members. The 60 mile, 1 ½ hour drive was keeping members from attending meetings.
Other correspondence detailed the procedure for establishing a Chapter.
Mr. Parks again wrote to Simon Collier on March 21 listing temporary officers:
This letter also stated that the Purdue Extensions Service was promoting a luncheon for executives of all Muncie manufacturing firms to promote interest in a Muncie section. Speakers were Art Bender, Jr., Delco-Remy and Marshal Dana, General Manufacturing Manager, Ball Brothers. Art Bender was ASQC Midwest Regional Director at the time.
Letters had been written to firms in Muncie inviting their personnel to attend chapter meetings in Muncie. Hal stated that he had received 16 responses indicating a possible 25 members. Mr. Parks projected a membership of 50-60 without affecting the efficiency of either the Indianapolis or Fort Wayne chapters.
A reply from Simon Collier dated March 30 questioned whether the previous letter was an official request of the Muncie Section to become affiliated with the ASQC. If so, the request would be taken to the Board of Directors at the convention in Boston on May 5 and 6, 1949. Collier corrected Parks reference to the chief executive of the section as President. The proper term is Chairman (now Chair).
A reply from Parks to Collier dated April 12, 1949 stated:1. This is our formal petition to become affiliated with the ASQC.
2. The section will be known as the Muncie Section.
3. The following members of the Indiana Section wish to transfer to the Muncie Section:
Art Bender, Jr, and George W. McDermott will become members of the Muncie Section but wish to retain their affiliation with the Indiana Section.4. Temporary officers were listed (same as the March 21 list). The election of officers for 1949-50 will be held at the April 28th meeting.
5. The fiscal year for the Muncie Section will start on July 1, 1949.
6. A Director will be appointed at our April 28 meeting.
Also noted in the April 12 letter was the fact that 33 attended the first class in Statistical Quality Control on Monday evening March 11, 1949. The nine week course was sponsored by the Purdue Extension Service and taught by Art Bender. Hal Parks expected the 33 to join the Muncie Section at the next meeting.
A letter from Simon Collier dated June 21 officially notified Hal Parks that the Muncie Section became the 34th ASQC Section by action of the Board of Directors on May 5, 1949. Collier apologized for being delinquent in not having notified the section sooner.
Art Bender, Jr. is recognized as a founding father of the Indianapolis Section (1945) and of the National ASQC Organization (1946). He served as Indianapolis Section Chair in 1946-47 and was National President of ASQC in 1955-56. The Indianapolis Section awards an annual Art Bender Scholarship.
Hal Parks and Art Bender are two of the names on ASQ’s list of 253 Founding Members.
Note: The photo of Hal Parks was provided by his daughter Charlene Oleson of Trambuco Canyon, CA.