SSPC, NACE Announces Second Update


On Friday (Jan. 17), SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society announced their second update regarding the organization’s possible merger.

The update involved certificate considerations and answers to some of the bigger questions involving this particular aspect of the merger efforts.

Exploratory Talks

SSPC, founded in 1950 as the Steel Structures Painting Council, is focused on the use of protective coatings in the industry. SSPC’s name was changed in 1997 to mark progress in coatings technology, as well as the addition of new types of construction materials. SSPC is based in Pittsburgh, and has offices in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and China. Currently, more than 16,000 professionals and 420 companies across the globe carry SSPC certifications.

NACE, founded in 1943 and now with more than 38,000 members in 130 countries, is the world’s largest nonprofit of its kind, according to the organization. NACE is based in Houston, with other offices across the U.S., the U.K., China, Malaysia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, as well as a training center in Dubai. Membership with NACE includes specified technical training and certification programs, industry standards, reports, conferences and publications focused on corrosion prevention and mitigation.

In March, the two organizations announced the beginning of merger talks. The following month, PaintSquare Daily News took a closer look at each organization’s history, structure and offerings for the protective coatings and corrosion control industries.

On Aug. 6, the organizations announced the mutual decision to bring McKinley Advisors on board as a guiding entity for the two organizations’ merger discussions, in addition to advising the organizations through considerations related to strategic, financial and cultural barriers, among others.

By October, the reestablished Pittsburgh-based SSPC Steel City Chapter hosted a meeting, announcing that on Oct. 29, a NACE board meeting with the McKinley CEO and two SSPC board members was expected to take place in Asheville, North Carolina. The merger task group was also reported to be planning to schedule additional face-to-face meetings later this year or by January 2020.

Later that same month, joint staff and members of the leadership task group from both SSPC and NACE reconvened to continue possible merger conversations. The meeting reportedly focused on the research and analysis conducted by McKinley Advisors on the potential challenges the organizations would face regarding blending financial structures, cultures, memberships and other components.

Out of 50 interviews—25 NACE and 25 SSPC designated individuals—McKinley reported that leading stakeholder concerns lied with the potential loss of relevance or voice in a larger organization, as well as whether all certifications of both organizations would continue to be recognized and supported.

Ongoing Update Schedule

Moving forward, the organizations have announced that both existing brands will continue to be protected as sperate entities in the marketplace and have agreed that the best model will involve a hybrid structure that includes both corporate and individual membership options and combines the best of both organizations’ value propositions.

On Jan. 10, SSPC and NACE announced their first update, which gave a future overview of both update schedules and a timeline of upcoming discussion-related milestones.

Members are asked to share their opinions about the discussions either through email, comment or through participation in the Town Hall meetings that both organizations will be hosting that the upcoming Coatings+2020 conference in Long Beach, California, next month, and the CORROSION 2020 conference in Houston this March.

Certification and Accreditation Update

According to the update, the SSPC-NACE Task Group has focused on minimizing disturbance to the industry and wants to maintain overall program quality and continuity. In order to achieve these goals, the group has agreed that:

  • All current certification and accreditation programs will continue to be recognized and supported throughout the combination process;
  • Where there are certification or accreditation programs that overlap, a member task force will be created to evaluate the programs and make recommendations to a program committee;
  • Existing certification holders will be allowed to recertify into the continuing program; and
  • Financial burden or economic impact to certified and accredited parties should be minimized.

This means that certified individuals with existing certifications will retain their certifications throughout the transition period, so long as current renewal requirements are met. After the transition period is complete, individuals will be allowed to recertify into the continuing certification, as both organizations agree there should be little to no cost impact to cardholders as a result of program changes.

As for SSPC programs like CAS, PCI and QP or NACE Institute programs like CCA, CIP and NIICAP, the organizations report that the products of both entities will be examined and where there is overlap, bring together the best of both overlapping certifications. Although it is too early to know what the results will be, the following programs have already been identified as overlapping and will be reviewed by task force members:

  • Coatings Inspector Certification Program: Protective Coatings Inspector (PCI) (SSPC), Coating Inspector Program (CIP) (NACE Institute);
  • Coating Applicator Certification Program: Coating Application Specialist (CAS) (SSPC), Certified Coating Applicator (CCA) (NACE Institute);
  • Contractor Accreditation Program: Qualification Procedure (QP/PCCP) (SSPC), Contractor Accreditation Program (NIICAP) (NACE Institute); and
  • Protective Coatings Specialist Certification[HS1]: Protective Coatings Specialist (SSPC), Protective Coatings Specialist (NACE Institute).

The organizations conclude that they are working to make it as easy as possible for certification holders and accredited companies to transition to whatever new format is developed.

“We’re in this to do what’s best for the member and customer, so we’re aiming for a result that is better for them,” report the associations.

The next update is scheduled to be released on Jan. 24 and will involve membership considerations, followed by another question and answer segment.


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Asia Pacific; Business matters; Business operations; Certifications and standards; Coatings; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Industry News; Latin America; Mergers; NACE; NACE; NACE; North America; Program/Project Management; SSPC; SSPC Coatings+ 2020; SSPC NACE Merger; Z-Continents

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