IAS March 2021 Newsletter - Flipbook - Page 10
IAS NEWSLETTER March 2021
Get to know Sergio Ascunce,
IAS Board Member
Mr. Ascunce became a member of the
IAS Board of Directors (BOD) in 2019. He
currently lives in Hialeah, Florida and works
as a Deputy Building Official for the MiamiDade County Building Department. Here are
some insights into his career path and his
experience as an IAS board member.
Q: Tell us about your path to becoming a
A: My journey to becoming a building
official started in the early 90’s during a
downturn in the economy. I had recently
obtained my contractor’s license in
Florida and was getting my business
up and running. With the uncertainty
over where the next check was coming
from, I turned to the public sector. In
the years leading up to becoming a
contractor, I worked with architects and
contractors and learned about the permit
and inspection process. Becoming an
inspector was a natural path for me at
the time. I was looking for the stability
and benefits offered by the public sector.
The local jurisdiction required licensure
as an inspector (this was before the state
began certifying inspectors). Having a
four-year college degree in engineering,
vast construction and architecture
experience and a contractor’s license,
qualified me for the local inspector’s
I spent the first eight years as a field
inspector strengthening my knowledge
of the local codes and learning how
to inspect a variety of construction
projects. As a young inspector I was
privileged to be mentored by one of
the notable building officials in South
Florida. I guess my dedication to the
profession and willingness to learn was
noticed as I was latter promoted to chief
inspector working alongside the building
official in one of the jurisdictions. During
the next four years as chief inspector,
I got the opportunity to review the
department processes and policies
to streamline the permit process and
created procedures for all categories of
staff to follow. During this time, the state
of Florida began to certify inspectors
and created other categories for plan
examiners and building officials. I set a
path to additional licenses by passing my
plan examiner's and building official’s
Having the building official’s certification
qualified me to apply for a job as a
building official for a local municipality.
The opportunity came when a newly
incorporated city in South Florida was
seeking its first building official. I was
hired and got the opportunity to create
a building department from scratch. I
brought together what I had learned
as an inspector and chief in my prior
experience and opened the city’s first
full-service building department on
time. This was a unique opportunity
that afforded me the ability to grow
Q: How / when did you become familiar
A: I became familiar with IAS years ago
while networking with the International
Code Council (ICC) Board of Directors.
During that time, I was an officer with
my state’s chapter of ICC, the Building
Official Association of Florida (BOAF).
The more I interacted with ICC, the more
I learned about ICC and its subsidiaries,
like IAS. One of the first things I learned
about IAS was its Building Department
Subsequently, a former member of the
IAS Board of Directors called me and
offered to recommend my appointment
to the board. I was honored by his call
and his thinking that I was worthy of
such an appointment. I questioned if
I had the qualifications to sit on such
a notable board, but I was up to the
challenge. I knew that from my point of
view as a building official with 28-years
of experience, I had something to offer.
In hindsight, I would have regretted
turning down the challenge.
Assessor Spotlight –
Q: What do you enjoy most about being
part of a BOD?
A: One of the things I enjoy most about
being part of the BOD is listening and
learning from the other members of
the board and staff. As experts in their
field, I listen to what they add to the
various topics of conversation. It’s a real
privilege to be part of the BOD and given
the opportunity to offer what I know and
be able to participate with exceptional
board members and staff.
Additionally, I enjoy getting to know
about the intricacies of the IAS business.
It’s amazing what I have come to learn
in the short tenure as a member. I
have found that IAS is not just about
building department accreditation but
much more. Learning about the various
accreditations offered at IAS to meet
certain industry standards, it’s mind
boggling how much effort goes into the
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of
being a board member?
A: The most challenging part of being part
of the BOD has to be getting up to speed
with the business of IAS to make sound
decisions. I’m the type of person that
wants to know everything quickly and I
have learned over time to have patience
with myself and slow my anxiety. I’m
eased with the fact that I can rely on the
competency of staff to answer questions
and hear their explanations of the subject
at hand. But I’m challenged with making
sure that I ask the right questions to offer
the best decisions.
Q: Do you have any funny or interesting
anecdotes you can share about being an
IAS Board Member?
A: On my first BOD meeting at the IAS
office, I got to meet the staff members.
I learned that I shared a common taste
for Cuban coffee with one of them. What
I found amusing was that I thought
Cuban coffee was something of South
Florida’s Latin community. I wouldn’t
have guessed that someone on the west
coast would use the potent coffee to
make “café con leche” or coffee with
milk, a Latin style latte. The staff member
remarked how difficult it was to get real
Cuban coffee at the local groceries,
so I mailed him a bag of coffee when I
got back home. It was nice to see how
certain customs were growing across the
IAS External Newsletter
Mr. Osman Vural has been doing
assessments for IAS since 2014.
He graduated from Gazi University
in Ankara, Turkey in 1989 as a Civil
Engineer. Following graduation, Mr.
Vural worked for a brief period in
construction projects as junior site
He began working at the Turkish
Standards Institute after finishing
his military service. During Mr.
Vural’s work in the Turkish Standard
Institute he was in the construction project department, and later
transferred to the World Bank project team and was included in
the Istanbul Laboratory Campus construction and development
project. After two years of working on this project, he was named as
a project engineer for the Izmir Regional Directorate of the Turkish
Standards Institute and began working as a control engineer for the
ongoing construction work in the campus. At the same time, Mr.
Vural served in construction and material laboratory as an engineer
and a chief, respectively. During this time, he became interested in
quality management systems and calibration subjects as well.
In 1997, Mr. Vural resigned from his position at the Institute and
set up his own consulting business. From 1997 to 1999, he served
different industry companies as a management systems consultant.
He set up Turkey's 11th calibration laboratory at the end of 1999 and
started delivering industrial-level calibration services with his team.
In 2003, within his group of companies, Mr. Vural formed an
e-commerce company and started the online distribution business
of 21 global instrumentation brands in Turkey. It was the first
e-commerce site in Turkey in the field of instrumentation. In 2004,
he started to operate in the field of conformity assessment and
management systems certification. At the end of 2006, Mr. Vural
set up Turkey’s first private accredited personnel certification
body, which widened his companies' field of service. Until 2014, he
worked on several academic research projects as well. Mr. Vural
also provided several training courses on quality, calibration and
In addition to these duties, Mr. Vural became a member of the
International Personnel Certification Association (IPC) in 2007.
He was elected as a board member in 2010 and was elected the
chairman of the association in 2015, serving two consecutive terms.
Mr. Vural is still a board member of the IPC. In 2014, he founded
the Aegean Management Consultants Association and served
as its Chairman. Mr. Vural also served as a board member of the
Federation of Manufacturer and Businessmen of Western Anatolia
When he isn’t doing assessments for IAS, Mr. Vural enjoys setting
up websites as a hobby. He also produces and presents a weekly
podcast program on management systems and small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs), called Mikro-pedya. A self-proclaimed
motorcycle enthusiast, he currently resides in Izmir, Turkey with his
wife and two children. Here’s what Mr. Osman Vural had to say about
doing assessments for IAS.
Q: What is your favorite part of doing assessments?
A: To be involved in an accreditation assessment is to be in an
incredibly diverse and non-repetitive work environment. Of course,
getting to know new businesses and practices, cultures, and
traveling regularly is also very cool. At the end, you notice that the
best aspect of this work is to provide input which will contribute
to a conformity assessment bodies' processes operating in any
region of the world.
Q: What creates a positive assessment experience?
A: As an assessor, your experience and process knowledge in the
field you are assessing are important. You must also be a good
listener and good observer. In addition, I believe if you understand
the processes well, you can establish maximum communication
with the customer during the assessment. If the assessment team
and the customer understand each other very well, I think the
result is always a positive experience.
Q: How should a customer prepare for an assessment?
A: I don't think special preparation for accreditation assessments
is necessary. An effective internal audit and management review
are helpful mechanisms in both management and preparedness
for the assessment. However, if a conformity assessment body
(CAB) tries to improve their processes only a few days before the
assessment and only focuses on a successful evaluation, we
as assessors, witness their processes are more inefficient and
Q: What is your advice to a company seeking accreditation?
A: I can advise a few things; start by understanding the philosophy
of the accreditation mechanism. Accreditation is not just an
audit and certification. Accreditation is a process that adds value
and provides a scientific trust mechanism to interested parties.
Firstly, CABs need to understand all the related standards and
guidance published and applied internationally in their field.
Secondly, CABs should implement the rules and terms according
to their culture and natural environment, copying someone else’s
quality documentation should be avoided. Thirdly, continually
train employees as it automatically leads to a better structured
management system and a technically competent environment.
Lastly, I would advise CABs to understand their customer’s needs
and choose their technical equipment and accreditation scope
Q: How did you start doing assessments for IAS?
A: In 2011, I was involved in an IAS accredited calibration lab and
personnel certification body. This was my introduction to IAS.
Through the years, I became interested in taking a role in the
IAS accreditation process and I applied to become an assessor.
Then in 2014, I began my on-site evaluation and trainee period.
At the end of 2014, I was assigned to the IAS assessment team as
Q: What is the value of accreditation in your opinion?
A: Accreditation is not only a tool to deliver internal improvement
and to meet regulatory compliance, but businesses show that it
can have a positive effect on revenue. Also, customers perceive
an accredited certification provides value for the money. It is both
a good marketing tool and a control mechanism. It’s also the most
impartial evidence of compliance with international standards
and requirements and proves that CABs have the competence and
impartiality necessary to do so.