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Chris Czyryca

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A Standards Expert Filled with Passion, Knowledge and Pride!

Chris is the President of Collaborative Testing Services (CTS), Inc., a position that he has held for 10 years. CTS is a private company that provides interlaboratory testing programs to a wide variety of laboratory communities, including: forensics, metals, plastics, wine, agriculture, and especially paper, paperboard and containerboard. During his 26 years at CTS, he has held overall responsibility for operations in seven of CTS’ 11 programs during his tenure. Standards and test methods play a key role in evaluating laboratory performance in each program.

He has also been involved in TAPPI for those 26 years, joining in 1994.  He is the current Chair of the Quality and Standards Management Committee (Q&MSC) and has led numerous committees in the Process and Product Quality (P&PQ) and Corrugated Divisions. He has served on two ISO Technical Advisory Groups (TAGS).

The long involvement with standards across multiple industries and multiple standards developing organizations (SDOs) has given Chris a deep appreciation for the high-quality standards maintained by TAPPI.  This, in turn, led him to the creation of an Engagement Task Force from the Q&SMC membership. The Task Force seeks to broaden and deepen the participation in the creation of new standards and the maintenance of our existing standards.


“Come join us and become a volunteer! The benefit is vast in terms of individual, professional, and organizational development.” –  Chris Czyryca


1. What sparked your interest in Standards?

When I first joined CTS in 1994, my boss insisted that I get involved with Standards. It was important to the role he wanted me to play within the company and also to the unique position CTS has within the industry and running the interlaboratory program. It was very important that I get involved and share the information that we collect on the performance of those Standards back to the relevant groups. It was a two-way exchange; we would feed information back to the industry groups that were developing Standards and I would gain tremendous knowledge by being involved.

2. Is there any particular review that has impacted you? Please tell us about your experience.

I’ll share one that shows the folly of youth and why we need new ideas. Sometimes you must accept the fact that your ideas won’t be accepted by the rest of the group. It involves the MIT Folding Endurance Test; I was involved with that very early on. The result of the testing in laboratories can be very erratic because of the nature of the test. It lacks consistency both in the laboratory or in between laboratories. Being a young person with bright ideas and full of new ways of looking at things, I looked at the variation there and decided it would be much better if we reported the results as the law of arrhythmic value of the folding endurance; especially for samples that were above a certain value. However, when you do that it becomes a very nice linear test where you’re able to make the results that come from that testing process look a whole lot more conventional to those technicians. It turns out that no one shared the view that it would be a good idea to move that test for the sole reason of making the statistics. There were certainly things like existing SOPs, existing methods, existing specifications, and government requirements that did not enter my young brain at that point.

This is a situation where I brought a new idea to the table and I was told that it’s probably not the right direction for the industry to proceed. It was a learning experience because it showed the value of looking at things from many different viewpoints and not strictly a technical viewpoint (If you must make the method comprehensible to the actual users). It’s a lesson I carried with me.

TAPPI Methods are wonderful. They are very specific; and they give you a single answer, but we don’t want to overwhelm the audience with technical jargons and requirements that aren’t essential to the method.

3.  Which types of Standards have impacted you in your field?

Recently, the ones that have drawn my interest are tissue Standards. It always seemed like we were lacking in that area. I have always been fascinated with the push to open that section of Standards up, so recently it has been the most interesting work to me. In terms of impact, I would say the actual non-testing methods. For example, the Standard Practices: TAPPI Precision Methods like T1200 that outlines how to formulate the precision in each TAPPI method and T1205 with tools for handling suspected outliers. Even though, we have mainly switched to using electronic documents, those are the ones that sit on the side of my desk in a binder, because of the number of times I refer to them. Once or twice a month I find myself reaching for that binder for terminology, or for a Grubbs’ test and supporting specifications.

4. Why do you think Standards are important? How have you used it in your field?

I’ll talk specifically about TAPPI Standards as it draws a contrast with other Standards that I use in the conduct of our business. TAPPI Standards are in a different class from a lot of other Standards. A great aspect about them is that they are written to give one answer. We have a reasonable statistical expectation that the proper employment of a TAPPI Test Method will yield results that are well co-related with each other. Other Standards require the need to specify perimeters above and beyond the method to obtain an agreement. For example, TAPPI tensile testing for printing papers mentions the specimen width, the speed, and we have reasonable expectations to obtain similar answers from laboratories. However, another type of Standard requires us to specify the type of specimen, the demission of that specimen (flat, round), the speed of testing and where we are taking our yield point. There are many specifications within our interlaboratory program serving other industries. There are also a lot of other specifications that come on top of the Standard test method to achieve results that we can expect would agree with each other.

5. Tell us about Collaborative Testing Services Inc.?

Collaborative Testing Services (CTS), Inc., runs a program that essentially test the testers. Whether it’s industry/professional fields or manufacturing laboratories specific to paper. Plenty of resources are put into the laboratory. Equipment, calibration, maintenance, and people are expensive. Those laboratories also produce our products. They produce measurements, which are integral to the manufacturing process. What our interlaboratory program does is seek to test the testers, so that you have a quality assurance tool for that product in the laboratory and for your measurements. So, if you simply have well maintained equipment it doesn’t guarantee meaningful results. Simply having calibration doesn’t equate to good results. It’s a blend of all those efforts and the quality assurance system for the laboratory that ensures that you obtain good measurements. We serve as the final piece of that process by being the link to the outside world, which lets you know if your laboratory is performing well in comparison with your peers, and therefore producing valuable measurements for your manufacturing process and customers.

6. What would you tell people that have never participated in Standard activities?

Come join us and become a volunteer! The benefit is vast in terms of individual, professional, and organizational development. It’s an investment of time, but there’s a great benefit and need that isn’t burdensome. Getting involved with one Standard is 25 – 30 min of work (at worst two hours) over a five-year period. Hopefully, you have the bandwidth, resources, and support to do several items of volunteering within the Standards’ world. I encourage anyone that has an interest in the subject of Standards to get involved. You’ll find it very rewarding! I have gained professional connections and lifelong professional learning. I’ve also met great people working with Standards. You get to know some on a personal level, which is also very rewarding.


“As much as I appreciate the technical knowledge and professional development that I’ve experienced from TAPPI over the years, it’s the connection with people that really made it worthwhile and I always carry it with me.” – Chris Czyryca


7. Does working with Standards give you a sense of fulfillment?

Sometimes, but not all the time. I do not want to give anyone unreasonable expectations. There’s a sense of fulfillment when you get something difficult over the finish line. There can also be some areas where you’re almost yearning to get that fulfillment. For example, wanting to try again and to see if we can come to a consensus. Even though, there’s a sense of fulfillment, there’s also a sense of striving to do more work. The beauty is in the journey sometimes. I certainly look at the Standards’ process as a beautiful journey and not solely about the destination.

8. Tell us a bit about yourself? (hobbies, education, and passion)

I became involved with TAPPI early on; I was only a few years out of college. I spent a year teaching. I have a military background; I joined the military toward the end of high school and attended college courtesy of an ROTC scholarship.

I have a wonderful family. My wife is a chemistry teacher. Both my sons are involved in science and technology. One is out of the house and one is in college, so we’re revisiting hobbies that were put on the back burner. I’m a huge fan of music; I have very diverse tastes. Pre-pandemic we used to attend music festivals and different music events at least once or twice a month. During my free time outside of work, we would listen to live music in and around Baltimore. We’re fortunate that the area we live in is a thriving music scene.

I also have an interest in outdoor activities, which carried over from my military days. I still like hiking, backpacking, and camping. Since live music events have been closed due to the pandemic, outdoor activities have seen quite an increase in popularity.

9. If you could describe the value of TAPPI membership in one word, what would it be?

Connections! I’m a people person. As much as I appreciate the technical knowledge and professional development that I’ve experienced from TAPPI over the years, it’s the connection with people that really made it worthwhile and I always carry it with me.

Interview conducted/ written by Souadou Camara
Assisted by Mary Anne Cauthen

Special thanks to Editor in Chief: Janet LoBue

Thank you, Chris Czyryca for your contribution to TAPPI!

If you would like to share your experience with Standards, TIPs or ISO TC 6, please write to and the TAPPI Standards team will be happy to interview you.

TAPPI Standards guidelines require that all TAPPI members receive notification of any proposed new Standard or TIPs. This message is being sent to you because you are a TAPPI member; have purchased TIPs or Standards products from TAPPI; or because you have previously expressed interest in this topic.


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