SSPC, NACE Review Merger FAQs
For its ninth update in a scheduled series regarding the possible merger of SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International, The Corrosion Society, the organizations released a review of members’ frequently asked questions late last week.
Both organizations report that the questions asked by members thus far have aided the discussion task group in recognizing important and impactful aspects of the possible merger.
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 2019, 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.
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.
The 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.
At the time, speakers from the presentation added that overlapping programs are slated 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.
By the end of the month, the organizations released an eighth update regarding the part two of the membership component of the agreement, along with a question-and-answer forum.
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.
The hybrid structure is reported to 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.
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.
Review of Member FAQs Update
Through a series of discussions between member leaders and staff during one-on-one meetings, at chapter/section/town hall meetings, conferences and even in online-based meetings, NACE reports that members have demonstrated interest involving the organizations and the possible merger process.
Topics covered throughout the series of questions received include certification, membership, education, standards and committees, voting, general process and future plans, offices and staff, in addition to governance and representation. The update also includes a list of SSPC and NACE representatives currently working in the Task Group.
To view specific questions and answers to what members have been asking, a summary of the FAQs are summarized here.
New questions and answers are slated to be reported this upcoming Friday (March 13), in a 10th update regarding additional questions received by members.
NACE members will also have the opportunity to hear directly from the task group members and ask questions at the Town Hall meetings during CORROSION 2020, which has recently been rescheduled to take place June 14-18.