With chapters emerging across Asia and the Middle East and a new International position on its Board of Governors, SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings is rapidly expanding its global reach.
SSPC has made a concerted recruiting effort in recent years for members outside the United States, leading to the establishment of chapters in China, Japan, Indonesia/Singapore, Ontario, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since 2006. An eighth new chapter, in Qatar, is expected to be approved this month.
“I am very excited by the enthusiasm the members of the overseas chapters have shown for their organization and SSPC in general,” said SSPC executive director Bill Shoup. “While they may be competitors, the members put that aside and work toward a common goal of improving the industry in their country or region.”
SSPC, founded in 1950, has been a U.S. organization for most of its history. With the exception of a few local chapters in Canada, the association did not experience much growth of international chapters until 2005.
However, as recognition of SSPC’s QP programs, training and certification programs grew, so did the desire for SSPC members to have a local chapter presence outside the U.S.
The China chapter was established in 2006; the Japan and Indonesia/Singapore chapters, in 2007. This year marked the founding of chapters in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
The Philippines chapter has already held its first event: a day-long symposium and panel discussion on June 10 that drew more than 100 people. The Saudi chapter held its first meeting June 28. The UAE chapter, chartered April 26, held its inaugural meeting on June. 29.
Shoup said the non-U.S. chapters “like the fact that SSPC is easy to work with and we are a down-to-earth organization trying to support what the particular chapter is trying to accomplish.”
1st International Board Member Elected
Last month, SSPC officially affirmed its global intentions by filling a newly created International seat on its Board of Governors. Belgian coatings consultant Gunnar Ackx, managing director for SCICON Worldwide bvba, became the board’s 13th elected member, effective July 1.
Ackx is a certified SSPC Protective Coatings Specialist (PCS) and an SSPC-certified Protective Coatings Inspector. His goal during his Board tenure, he says, is to be able to provide international input and feedback to SSPC. He has called on all international members and non-members for suggestions on how SSPC could improve its international focus.
Also at the board meeting, Russ Brown, global business development manager for Munters Corp., was elected president of the Board of Governors, succeeding Steve Roetter, P.E. of Tank Industry Consultants. Robert P. McMurdy, CEO of Mohawk Garnet, Inc. became president-elect. Derrick Castle, of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a lead instructor for SSPC's Bridge Coatings Inspector program, was re-elected to a four-year term.
SSPC’s success outside the United States is sure to encourage similar initiatives in the future, the association says. Led by training and certification programs, SSPC expects further expansion in the Middle East and Southeast Asia in 2011.
“With this overseas growth,” says Shoup, “I really look forward to what the next five to 10 years brings.”