Opportunities, Threats, and Challenges of Global Trade

April 6, 2017

J. Thomas Chapin, Ph.D

Vice President, Research

Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

Opportunities, Threats, and Challenges of Global Trade

Thursday, April 6, 2017

12 noon to 1:30 PM Luncheon and Lecture

Capital City Club

7 John Portman Blvd., NW Atlanta 30303  Downtown Atlanta

Cost: Lunch & Program for non-members $40.
For ACIR members $30.

ACIR yearly membership $50.

To register click here

The world is literally at out fingertips.  We think nothing of making a call within seconds to nearly anyone in the world – and it often sounds like they’re next door. We think of something that we wish to purchase and from the comfort of our home, it is only a click away with e-commerce and it often is at our doorstep the next day.  In the future it will likely be 3D printed and delivered by a drone within hours.


We go to a grocery store and purchase a fantastic array of food and produce (or have it delivered) without regard to the season or scarcity.  At a slightly longer timescale, we can step into an aluminum (or composite) tube and hurtle at nearly 600 miles per hour at 40,000 feet and be in Hong Kong in less than 24 hours.  People often say that little is made in the US and that is mostly true due to socioeconomic and other complex factors that affect the cost of doing business. Products are designed, manufactured, stored and shipped across the globe from anywhere to anywhere.  It is easy to forget (or ignore) what it takes for all of this to work – this is global trade.


The safety and security of products is often dictated by global, regional and domestic standards and monitored by surveillance systems.  Incidents and accidents occur when this system is compromised, ignored or worse, manipulated with malice of forethought.  This presentation will address a wide variety of topics including acute and chronic safety, cybersecurity, counterfeiting, converging technologies and what lies in the future.  Indeed, global trade offers opportunities for improving our lives, but there are challenges and threats that cannot be ignored.


Dr. J. Thomas Chapin is the Vice President, Research at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). Tom is a UL William Henry Merrill Society Corporate Fellow and Chairman of the UL Fire Council (since 2001). Tom managed UL’s Corporate Research department related to UL standards, testing and certification and surveillance services related to UL’s 20,000 product categories from 2007 to 2014. He now focuses on emerging technologies, safety trends, failure behavior and the evolving definition of safety.


As a trained materials scientist, Tom’s 40-year career has been dedicated to the study of polymer synthesis and characterization, forensic studies, material processing, product manufacturing operation, material degradation aging and fire behavior. Tom joined UL in 2001 after a 21-year career at AT&T Bell Laboratories and 3 years at The Upjohn Co. He has 17 patents in telecommunication product and materials science. Tom has made over 300 technical presentations at conferences and has in excess of 100 technical publications in chemistry, materials and polymer science.


He received his BS in Chemistry with Honors in 1974 from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science in 1977 from the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Connecticut. Tom was the past international chairman of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) Technical Committee, TC 113 on Nanotechnology Standardization for Electrical and Electronic Components and Subsystems.

Most notably, Tom was the senior scientist leading the UL team with the US NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) on the Boeing 787 Battery Investigation.  Tom’s team was also involved in the World Trade Center investigation with NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology) conducting validation studies on the building collapse model.

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