From apprentice to president

Interview with Juan Rosales, President of ANCE and IEC YP Leader from 2010

In April, the board of ANCE appointed Juan Rosales as its new President, the youngest in the association’s history. With this appointment, ANCE, the leading association for standardization and conformity assessment in Mexico, implements its vision of integrating a new generation of leaders in strategic management positions. Considering that Rosales began his career as an apprentice at ANCE, his appointment is an achievement for experts who are committed to a career in standardization.

Image of Juan Rosales speaking at an event
Juan Rosales speaking at an ANCE event

Rosales is actively involved in standardization and conformity assessment work at national, regional and international levels. In addition to his Presidency at ANCE, he is also the Vice President of Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations in the Americas (CANENA) and the head of the Mexican delegation to IEC Technical Committee 61 which covers safety of household and similar electrical appliances.

But what is the career path from apprentice to President? Rosales credits the IEC Young Professionals Programme (YPP), in which he participated in 2010, and his selection as a YP Leader, as key factors in helping to shape his career success.

In the below interview, Rosales explains his career trajectory and how the IEC YP Programme helped boost his career. He also provides his insight on standardization in Latin America and some of the challenges standards development organizations (SDOs) face in the future.

Tell us about your background

I am an industrial engineer with a Master’s Degree in Engineering Administration, actively involved in standardization and conformity assessment for household appliances. I represent Mabe, one of the major manufacturers in Latin America, in my role as Regulatory Intelligence Global Manager.

How did the YP Programme boost your involvement in standardization and conformity assessment work at the national and/or international levels?

Being part of the IEC Young Professional Programme 2010 in Seattle has been one of most remarkable experiences in my professional life. Going back nine years, I was part of a testing lab for laundry equipment. However, after being selected as one of the three YP Leaders, new opportunities arose.

I received an invitation from the IEC National Committee of Mexico to share my experience and ideas for a programme in Mexico which, after several years, has become a strong platform for involving new generations. I also had the opportunity to present my perspective of the YP Programme in regional forums such as CANENA and the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) as well as at many IEC events.

These opportunities provided me with a platform on which to build a career as an expert in standardization and conformity assessment, not only at the local level but also at the international level. Being selected to be a part of the IEC family has provided me with a strong sense of confidence throughout these years.

Why would you encourage potential YPs to participate in the programme?

The standards and conformity assessment landscape needs people with fresh ideas and with a new perspective. The way we do business has changed dramatically in the last five years compared with what we were doing in the last decades. In my opinion, we need to make room for a new generation, for individuals who are committed to building a career in standardization.

The YP Programme provides a perfect starting point for this new generation – the fundamental basis - to build a career. And, of course, it is the opportunity to interact with people from many different cultures.

What recommendations would you give to current YPs to fully leverage the benefits of the programme?

I would recommend taking the time and identifying where they are and trace a career plan of where they would like to be. It may be in a technical or management position, and while responsibilities may be defined by the company where we work, finding a place in standardization and conformity assessment depends on each one of us. It is also important to learn from the best players and find a mentor.

In a nutshell, I would recommend using the 4b’s: be visible (committed, open to support), be heard (take an active role), be asked (work hard to obtain responsibilities) and, finally, become a reference.

How does standardization and conformity assessment impact your work at Mabe?

Mabe is a global company with a presence in more than 70 countries. We believe that standards create markets and that it is very important to participate in the standards development process as well as in designing certification schemes or criteria to be considered for accessing markets.

However, our vision goes beyond market access. We see standards as a vehicle to strengthen the relationship with our consumers, enabling us to offer safer products with better levels of energy efficiency as well as being environmentally friendly. The implementation of standards and conformity assessment enhances the industry and provides better solutions that are accessible to all consumers.

What do you think are some of the big challenges currently facing standards development organizations (SDOs)?

SDOs need to keep pace with technology changes, to improve the efficiency and quality of their regulatory instruments and ensure that the benefits derived from standardization and technical regulations match consumer needs in a timely manner.

In a globalized world, it’s also important that SDOs increase their development of international standards but also respect the particularities of national conditions.

Looking ahead, what are some of the key trends in technology impacting your industry?

Internet of things (IoT) is a trend revolutionizing many aspects of our daily life and consumer products. Household appliances are not exempted. Our industry, like many others, will be impacted by smart manufacturing and it’s important that IEC remains as a standards solutions facilitator in order to smooth the implementation of this trend.

How have standardization and conformity assessment benefited the Latin American region?

Decades ago the region was a fertile field for the development of standards and technical regulations and countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Mexico initially led the effort to increase the regulatory landscape in the region.

Today, the reality is that over 90% of countries in the region have implemented regulations for refrigerators, air-conditioning equipment and so on, in most of the cases using IEC or ISO standards as a basis for testing. This translates into real benefits for consumers since they are now able to buy more energy efficient products, saving money on their electricity bills.