ASQ has really dug in on its support of China, signaling the William Troy leadership era is likely to be marked by bad decisions backed by entrenched inflexibility. It’s not quite a good time to be promoting China, but Troy’s apparently hoping that appealing to the 1.3 billion people of China will offset declines in US membership within ASQ. Heck, I’m guessing on that point, because Troy’s posture makes no sense whatsoever in any other context; I’m at a loss to understand his thinking.
As I reported earlier, Troy and ASQ Board Chair Elmer Corbin gave gushing pro-China interviews to the Xinhua state-run media outlet, to the point that Corbin dissed US politicians and then lied about his prior employer IBM’s experiences with Chinese counterfeiting. This, while a former Lt. General of the Army (Troy) presumably sat next to him. Awkward.
Troy then showed up in the US press and rather than talk about China, used the 9/11 terrorist attacks to suggest his military experience is just what ASQ needs, ghoulishly tacking the dead victims to his promotion his employer. Again… it just boggles the mind.
But it’s ASQ’s new love of China that is most disturbing. As I’ve written before, I’m probably dangerously ambivalent to the takeover of the world by China, since I see it as a foregone conclusion and think maybe we deserve to lose, if only for our hubris. But those pesky human rights abuses still flitter around in my head, so I’m not pro-China by any stretch; I’m just resigned to the Beijing juggernaut, even as I report on that country’s counterfeiting and intellectual property theft. But Troy seems to be mimicking his Chinese pals, rather than those of his former military commanders, since ASQ is engaged in some pretty anti-democratic, nefarious stuff these days; the ASQ under Troy tacks pretty damn close to the stuff China’s central Party office pulls.
So it was just a matter of time for ASQ’s pro-China tilt to infect the pages of Quality Progress, the organization’s top publication. And of course things get weird fast. The latest issue includes an article titled “Tariffs Trigger Trade War: How New Tariffs on Chinese Goods and Foreign Metals Are Affecting US Businesses”. (You can’t get it without being a member, so don’t bother searching.) What’s immediately odd about the piece is that there’s no author; the article ends with a cryptic statement saying that it was “compiled by Lindsay Dal Porto – assistant Editor.” Ms. Dal Porto has only been at ASQ for over a year, and was previously a proofreader for another organization, so it’s fair to say someone else wrote it, but wanted their name left off. You’d think paying members have the right to know who’s writing pro-China articles in their official magazine, but you’d be wrong.
(I messaged Dal Porto on LinkedIn, asking her who actually wrote the piece, but she didn’t reply.)
The article definitely takes a pro-China position, arguing the tariffs are bad for the US without ever once mentioning China’s counterfeiting or theft of intellectual property. In fact, the entire 3-page article sums up the rationale for the tariffs as due to “China’s controversial trade practices.” Three words, and the rest is dedicated to how the US tariffs are impacting US companies. I would not be surprised if the article was actually written by someone from China, and then just republished by ASQ as a favor.
Although, in order to keep its largely conservative readership happy, President Trump’s name appears nowhere in the article at all. That should minimize the hate mail QP will get, I suppose, had ASQ accidentally found itself openly opposing Trump.
What’s absolutely insane is that in order to get a more fair-minded view of the US/China tariff conflict, you have to go to the Los Angeles Times. That’s right…. the liberal-leaning LA Times has more critical reporting on China than ASQ. The world has gone all whacky.
The more I read about Troy, the more “odd” (I’m being polite) he appears to be. He seems to have been an advocate that militaries should be run like businesses (just read this gem, for one), but then applies militaristic, nearly dictatorial approaches to managing a business like ASQ. Under his watch, ASQ has moved to usurp Section funds, censor and centralize member communications, harass and intimidate critics, block publication of works critical of ASQ “pet projects” like ISO certifications or Lean, and refuse to enforce the organization’s Code of Ethics. Not a single one of these points, on their own, would be a public relations win for ASQ, and Troy has overseen all of them at once. In any other organization, he would be been trotted out of his office by security by now, carrying a little box of his desk ornaments. Because he holds an iron-fisted grip over a Board comprised of cowards, toadies and sycophants — each more interested in promoting their own careers than actually carrying out their obligations — Troy thrives, despite dwindling ASQ membership and an increasingly pissed-off rank and file.
To be fair, Troy may merely be following the lead set by ISO itself. ISO has gone all-in on China, accidentally yielding its leadership role in standards development to a clever Chinese government dead set on taking over the role in order to ensure Chinese standards replace those currently in use. The IAF is going along, too, granting powers to the Chinese accreditation body that looks the other way as China publishes tens of thousands of fake ISO certificates under its watch. So ASQ is just another self-obsessed organization that sees throwing itself under the bus of China as a temporary measure to yield temporary benefits. Long term views are for suckers, I suppose.
But ASQ members should know what their leadership is up to, and that includes the publication of articles promoting a country that the US considers an enemy, and which has set as its goal the destruction of the American way of life. As I said, I’m nearly surrendered to it at this point, but others might not be.
Perhaps this is another reason to burn your ASQ membership card before they start forcing everyone to carry a little red book.
(ASQ Chair Jose Benito Flores and incoming Chair Austin Lin have repeatedly refused to respond to reach-out requests by me. It seems, like Elmer Corbin before them, Flores and Lin are happy to allow Troy to continue his path unabated, provided they can personally benefit from the “cred” that being an ASQ Board Chair brings.)
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.