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New York State Annual Weights and Measures Association Meeting and Training School

NIST OWM had the opportunity and pleasure to attend the New York State Annual Weights and Measures Association and Training School the week of June 12-16, held in Syracuse. The New York State weights and measures system is multifaceted in its operations with a state-level Department of Agriculture and Markets/Weights and Measures and 62 county weights and measures jurisdictions. This 57th meeting of the Training School had over 72 attendees with over 36 counties represented. While the Training School is structured to serve the needs of New York State and its diverse counties, it is notably open to all state weights and measures officials.

Jim Willis (Director, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets) introduces Don Onwiler for the NCWM Update
Jim Willis (Director, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets) introduces Don Onwiler for the NCWM Update. 

Included in the attendance were myself and Loren Minnich from NIST OWM, Don Onwiler, Executive Director of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM), and several officials from the neighboring states of New Jersey and Vermont. The New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, Richard Ball, also stopped by the event to show his appreciation and support for the New York weights and measures community. Jim Willis, Director of Weights and Measures at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets said, “I’m proud of our Weights and Measures team here in New York that consists of over 170 professionals at the municipal and state levels. Our training school is growing and delivers quality information for both tenured and new members of the weights and measures profession, as evidenced by the diversity of attendees from within New York State as well as from neighboring states and national NIST and NCWM partners. During the training sessions, we encourage dialogue and exchange of information in order to further learning. When you have a room full of W&M professionals together, it fosters communication where real issues are discussed and paths forward are mapped out, which is great to see.”

Matthew Knight (Monroe County Office of Weights and Measures) gives a presentation
Matthew Knight (Monroe County Office of Weights and Measures) gives a presentation on promoting Weights and Measures in Monroe County.  

The training was well coordinated and comprehensive with over 40 sessions and topics (see below) of interest to the various counties which included presentations, demonstrations, videos, breakout sessions, quizzes, and slideshows of recent field activities where officials commonly work and many ‘lessons learned’ associated with them. Each learning session was structured for 30-45 minutes; however, the wide variety of teaching content and methods made learning fun and easy. The sessions were delivered by officials from over 25 counties. Thus, the range of perspectives made the training even more appealing and interesting. Industry representatives were also invited to speak and share their experiences. All speakers were well prepared, very knowledgeable, and their visibility as subject matter expert (SMEs) has created a peer-to-peer network for New York state counties who may need further guidance or directions.

NYS Training School Attendees
Photo of nearly half of of the 72 attendees of the New York State (NYS) Training School. 

The week-long, in-person curriculum format also provided ample networking opportunities to maintain and foster further professional relationships for all attendees, which is vital to ensure uniformity in understanding and application of standards and testing across all counties. The New York state county officials often talked about how they all are “invested with the community”, and their approach to inspection being one of “Inform – Warn – Enforce”. The New York weights and measures system clearly invests in its business community by helping to educate them, and thus achieving voluntary compliance.

You could see and sense the comradery among the county officials as they interacted with one another sharing their field inspection experiences. The training school provided an environment for mutual respect and support for one another. As Don Onwiler attested “with 62 counties in New York, it is incredibly challenging to achieve uniformity, which this forum provides. It is not just the training that is valuable, but the collaboration and sharing of experiences, ideas and best practices!

Others commented as well:

Loren Minnich (OWM) remarked that “The New York State Weights and Measures Association has put together a very beneficial training program for their inspectors and the surrounding states,  The topics addressed are very relevant to the issues discussed nationally.

Adam Simmins (County of St. Lawrence Weights and Measures) commented, “I have attended the weights and measures school for the last ten years. Our New York State Weights & Measures Association Annual Training School allows us to congregate with a cohort of state and municipal regulators. It provides us an opportunity to learn, teach and hone our skill sets within W&M. Both new and seasoned inspectors can find value in participating in our annual training school.”

Below are a few of the numerous sessions and topics. For a detailed agenda, visit the New York State Weights and Measures website (, under the “Training” tab.

  • Safety
  • Promoting Weights and Measures in the County/Outreach and Public Relations
  • NCWM and NIST Updates and Overview
  • Safe Sampling of Petroleum (from NIST Handbook 158) and Petroleum Quality Program
  • Investigations and Inspections (case studies)
  • NIST EPOs for Testing Vehicle and Axle-Load Scales and Prescription & Jeweler Scales
  • How to Test Coin Counting Machines
  • Weighmaster Licenses
  • Multi Range and Multi Interval Scales
  • Testing Animal and Livestock Scales
  • Conflict Prevention and Active Threat Tactics (de-escalation steps)
Ron Gibson (Seraphin) discussed the use of 5 gallon and 50 gallon provers attached to an open bed truck used for field testing of fuels
Ron Gibson (Seraphin) discussed the use of 5 gallon and 50 gallon provers attached to an open bed truck used for field testing of fuels.
Bill Nebot (NYS Dept of Ag) demonstrates how water pastes are used to determine water levels in fuel storage tanks
Bill Nebot (NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets) demonstrates how water pastes are used to determine water levels in fuel storage tanks.

We are all appreciative of and acknowledge New York State’s effort in building a robust and successful Weights and Measures Training School in its 57th year running! We hope that the continued success of the Training School will help create awareness and spur ideas among other state weights and measures programs as they plan for their own future training activities. Also, other states are encouraged to send representatives to future New York State training school events to gain their own firsthand experience.

Please contact David Sefcik (david.sefcik [at] (david[dot]sefcik[at]nist[dot]gov)) or Jim Willis (James.willis [at] (James[dot]Willis[at]agriculture[dot]ny[dot]gov); phone 518-457-3146) for additional information.

Released June 30, 2023, Updated February 1, 2024