SSPC, NACE Announce Seventh Update
Yesterday (Feb. 24), SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society, announced their seventh update regarding the organizations' possible merger.
The update involved education considerations in addition to a question-and-answer forum.
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. By August, 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.
Ongoing Update Schedule
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:
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.
On Jan. 24, SSPC and NACE announced that although no definitive decisions were made regarding membership concerns, a compromise was reached, detailing that new memberships would be value-based and provide tiered options with differing values and prices. A second email regarding the membership component of the agreement is expected to be released sometime in February.
At the end of January, the organizations released a fourth update regarding their standards used by industry professionals worldwide. In the past, the organizations have worked together on 15 joint standards, two joint visual guides and six joint technical papers, among other standards.
In shifting the focus through a merged lens, members have been voicing throughout the discussions that in combining the organizations, it would become an opportunity to renew focus on developing standards that meet the needs of the entire international community of members, asset protection professionals and corporations.
At the beginning of February, during SSPC’s Coatings+ 2020 conference, SSPC’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to continue discussions and bring the creation of NewOrg and NewOrg Institute—both developments have yet to be named—to a member vote.
More specifically, NewOrg is slated to be a 501(c)(6) organization, while NewOrg Institute would meet 501(c)(3) requirements. Each organization will serve specific functions, but members will have access to both entities, and several functions will be conducted by both entities.
Following the decision, SSPC Vice President Sam Scaturro, SSPC Executive Director Bill Worms, NACE President Terry Greenfield and NACE CEO Bob Chalker, along with other members of the SSPC-NACE task group attended the town hall meetings to answer member questions and provide perspective on the next steps.
Highlights of the presentations included:
Speakers of the presentation also added that overlapping programs are to evolve through the efforts completed by subject matter experts within the memberships and not the task group currently working on organizational framework.
After the conference, SSPC and NACE released an update summarizing the board meeting and efforts made at the annual conference.
And earlier this month, a sixth update released revealed what the next steps would be in the discussion process. As reported by NACE in a press release, task group members are pressing forward with compartmentalizing feedback received from members so that all questions, concerns and ideas are addressed prior to a final decision regarding SSPC and NACE’s potential merger.
However, the organizations also pointed out, should everything progress to a member vote where both organizations are in favor of the merger, most changes will take time and not happen immediately. In fact, if combined, the first step would be the combination and transition of new governance and membership structure, which would be expected to happen by Jan. 1, 2021. Yet, integration of both entities’ operations would be expected to extend well beyond that date.
According to the latest update, SSPC and NACE are committed to “delivering high-quality, up-to-date training and educational programming with the goal of producing the very best coating professionals in the world.” The organizations add that if combined, the commitment will not waiver.
Regarding education considerations, members were asked to submit questions for the Q7A portion of the update. However, both entities are still accepting said questions and have reported that they will address them in a future emailed update.
The following are some of the questions and answers provided in the update:
Q1: What will happen to current initiatives related to updating and upgrading existing educational programs?
A1: If the decision is made to combine NACE and SSPC, all current efforts focused on the improvement and advancement of courses and training will continue under each organization without interruption until the combination is complete. Once completed, these initiatives will continue within the new organizations.
Q2: Will existing training licenses and agreements continue to be in effect in a combined association?
A2: The intent is to continue engaging with existing licensees and instructors to meet the anticipated growth in demand of training and education programs.
Q3: Will instructors still be able to teach the courses they currently teach?
A3: Yes. Instructors will still be able to teach the courses that they’re currently approved to teach. If they want to become approved for additional courses, they will need training to address differences in course material.
Q4: What will happen to my certification?
A4: All certifications will still be valid following the combination of the organizations. Member-led task groups will determine what, if any, changes would happen with regard to certifications, including renewals related to overlapping programs.
The next slated update is expected on Feb. 28 and will cover part two of membership considerations along with a question-and-answer segment.
Prior to this update, yesterday, the NACE Board of Directors hosted a meeting where members were slated to vote a decision regarding the approval of the potential merger. At the time this article was published, no information was released on the meeting’s conclusion.
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 at the upcoming CORROSION 2020 (Mar. 16-19) conference in Houston next month.