SSPC, NACE Release Membership Update


Last Friday (Feb. 28), SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society, announced their eighth update regarding the organizations' possible merger.

This eighth update involves part two of the membership component of the agreement, along with a question-and-answer forum.

Previously, in January, the organizations announced that although no definitive decisions were made regarding membership concerns, a compromise was reached which detailed that new memberships would be value-based and provide tiered options with differing values and prices.

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. 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:

  • 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.

The week after the organizations released part one of the membership considerations update, 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:

  • The operations and staff of SSPC, NACE and the NACE Institute would be absorbed into the two entities;
  • All existing members of both SSPC and NACE would become members of NewOrg;
  • NewOrg would be the sole member of NewOrg Institute, but all members of NewOrg would have access to the programs and resources of both;
  • Each new entity requires its own board and governance;
  • Current members of the SSPC and NACE boards would be divided evenly among each of the new boards so that there is equal representation;
  • Three advisory councils would be created to provide strategic input: contractors, owners and global affairs;
  • Overlapping programs that have been identified, such as PCI/CIP, QP/NIICAP, CAS/CCA and PCS/PCS, will be analyzed by special member-led task forces to determine the path forward for each; and
  • If the NACE board also approves moving forward, a member vote would take place sometime between Apr. 3-17.

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.

Also in February, 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 were 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.

Prior to the end of the month, the organizations released their seventh update, which covered education. According to the release, 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 added that if combined, the commitment will not waiver.

Membership Considerations, Part Two

Since reaching a compromise on the shared ideals of each organizations’ membership model, SSPC and NACE have released more information regarding what the model might look like, should the merger be completed.

To bring the update into full circle, the organizations recapped original principles on the matter, which included tiered options with differing values and prices, membership categories and corporate memberships.

In moving forward with updates concerning “NewOrg” and “NewOrg Institute,” the organizations have decided that members will become “NewOrg members,” having full access to both entities, including equal voting and volunteer rights and privileges in both organizations.

According to the release, the hybrid structure will include valued-based individual and corporate memberships where members can choose their level of benefit and corresponding dues. However, individual members will be able to choose between Core and Premium tiers with Premium being the higher of the two and includes select standard downloads, digital library products and publication subscriptions.

Should the merger be approved, all current NACE and SSPC individual members will become members of “NewOrg” Premium Individual Membership for the remainder of their current membership term starting on Jan. 1, 2021. Upon expiration, members will be able to choose to renew at either the Premium or Core level of membership.

There will be four membership categories for qualifying individuals:

  • Individual membership with a choice between a Premium or Core tier;
  • Students members will have access to a free Premium membership while in college, university or trade school;
  • Young Professionals, new members that join under the age of 35 years old, will have access to Premium membership at a 50% discount for their first three years; and
  • Lifetime membership for members 65 years of age or older with at least 15 years of continuous membership in NACE, SSPC and/or “NewOrg.” Lifetime members will have the option of being Lifetime Core or Lifetime Premium members in exchange for a lump-sum fee structure.

As for corporate memberships, there is also slated to be a three-tiered, value-based structure. Benefits include free individual memberships, conference registrations and prominent marketing exposure at conferences, and training workshops, among others.

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 conference March 16-19 in Houston.


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

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