SSPC, NACE Announce Third Update


On Friday (Jan. 24), SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society announced their third update regarding the organizations' possible merger.

The update involved membership considerations and answers to some questions asked by industry professionals regarding this 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 the end of October, a NACE board meeting with the McKinley CEO and two SSPC board members was slated to take place in Asheville, North Carolina. At the time, a merger task group was also reported to be planning additional face-to-face meetings later that year or by January 2020.

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.

The following week (Jan. 17), the associations announced a second update regarding certificate considerations and answers to some of the bigger questions involving this particular aspect of the merger efforts.

According to the update, the SSPC-NACE Task Group was focusing on minimizing disturbance to the industry and wished to maintain overall program quality and continuity. In order to achieve these goals, the group 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.

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.

Membership Update

In the latest round of merger updates, SSPC and NACE reported via emailed press release that no definitive decisions have been made regarding membership concerns at this point.

However, a compromise has been reached, detailing that new memberships would be value-based and provide tiered options with differing values and prices. According to the organizations, “individual members of both SSPC and NACE would automatically enter at the highest value level for the remaining portion of their current membership term at no additional cost, and upon renewal, would have the option of selecting the tier that best meets their needs.”

As for new members, industry professionals would also have the ability to select a membership tier that best suits their needs.

In regard to corporate members, another value-based approach involving multiple tiers would be set in place like what both organizations already offer, and with higher corporate memberships still receiving increased benefits and exposure.

Working as a team, members of both organizations (listed below) have been focused on the mutual benefits SSPC and NACE members, and what the industry at-large would gain from such a combination.

Organization leaders working together through the discussions include Bob Chalker, CEO, NACE International and Bill Worms, Executive Director, SSPC.

Consultants working together through the discussions include Ronald Jacobs, Partner, Venable LLP, Legal Counsel to NACE; Christie Tillapaugh, Director, Cohen & Grigsby, P.C, Legal Counsel to SSPC; Suzanna Kelley, Principal, McKinley Advisors, Third Party Advisor to NACE and SSPC; Jamie MacRitchie, Senior Project Associate, McKinley Advisors, Third Party Advisor to NACE and SSPC; and Jay Younger, President & CEO, McKinley Advisors, Third Party Advisor to NACE and SSPC.

SSPC and NACE representatives working together throughout these discussions include Tim Bieri, Vice President, NACE International, Corrosion Management Engineer, BP; Ross Boyd, Board Member - SSPC, Member - NACE International, CEO, TruQC, LLC; Cris Conner, Interim Chair, NACE International Standards Board, Member – SSPC, President, Utility Service & Maintenance, Inc.; Amir Eliezer, Director NACE International European Area, Director, Corrosion Research Center, Shamoon College of Engineering; Dave Evans, Member - NACE International and SSPC Instructor, NACE International, Coatings Consultant, Evans Industrial Coating Consultants; Jim Feather, Past President, NACE International; Terry Greenfield, President, NACE International Principal Consultant, CONSULEX; Drew Haiko Trustee, NACE International Philadelphia Section, Discipline Lead - Corrosion Control, LTK Engineering Services; Garry Manous, Immediate Past President – SSPC, Vice President of Operations, Atsalis Brothers Painting; Doug Moore Member - NACE International and SSPC Director - Global Product Line, Carboline Company; W. Doni Riddle Board Member - SSPC, Member - NACE International, Sr. Vice President of Sales, The Sherwin-Williams Company; Sam Scaturro, Vice President – SSPC, President, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors; Skip Vernon, Ex-Officio Board Member – SSPC, Member - NACE International, Owner, CLT, Inc; and Joseph Walker, President - SSPC, Member - NACE International, Vice President, Elcometer, Inc.

While the membership component of the merger process is still being evaluated, both organizations report that a second email on the topic is slated to be sent out February.


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

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