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Talks Continue on Potential NACE International, SSPC Collaboration

In September 2019, the joint staff and leadership task group from NACE International (Houston, Texas, USA) and SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), re-convened to continue discussion of a possible combination of the two organizations.

The meeting centered on findings from research and analysis done by third party, independent advisory group McKinley Advisors, which is tasked with helping both organizations resolve potential challenges of a combination. These challenges include blending financial structures, cultures, memberships, and other components.

During the meeting, the task force focused on developing a straw model for the NACE-SSPC combination with a focus on corporate and governance structure, aligning key organizational functions, exploring a membership model, and value propositions.

As part of the effort, McKinley conducted stakeholder interviews with 25 NACE and 25 SSPC designated individuals. Based on McKinley’s research, the leading stakeholder concerns related to the potential loss of relevance or voice in a larger organization, and whether all certifications of both organizations will continue to be recognized and supported.

“If we merge, we will rely on a joint member task force to make recommendations around certifications,” says Joe Walker, president of SSPC. “The task force would work under a set of parameters focused on allowing certification holders to be grandfathered in and to then recertify into a continuing certification, with no financial burden to do so.”

In reviewing the strategic plans of each organization, McKinley found no substantive hurdles that would threaten the proposed consolidation, and the current financial model is sufficient. The legal teams from both organizations presented an overview of possible corporate structures that could provide a suitable framework for a consolidation.

After recommitting to the principle that both existing brands will continue to be protected in the marketplace, the task group discussed a potential membership model for a combined entity and agreed that the best model is one with a hybrid structure that includes corporate and individual membership options and combines the best of both organizations’ value propositions.

“Our members are the lifeblood of our organizations and we agreed that we must work to keep the best of what each organization offers its members,” says Terry Greenfield, president of NACE International. “We also agreed that membership tenure of any individuals or corporations will be carried over. And if a member has been involved with both organizations, the longer term of their two memberships would be applied.”

Membership staff of both organizations are now developing a draft structure based on the feedback from the meeting.

A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to developing a straw model for governance with emphasis on the need to ensure adequate representation for the contractor and international member constituencies. Also discussed was the importance of enabling member leaders to serve out the remainder of their terms, and whether leadership roles and responsibilities would change in any way.

The task group is currently completing its remaining research into considerations raised during the September meeting and will reconvene again in person in early 2020. In the meantime, bi-monthly task group calls will continue. 

Following the next meeting, information will be shared with members of both organizations, and the SSPC board will vote during its first quarter meeting on February 1, 2020. NACE International’s Board will then vote at its first meeting of the year on March 14, 2020, and then the members of both organizations will be asked to vote on or about April 1, 2020. 

In the meantime, questions can be sent to cooperation@nace.org or news@sspc.org.

Source: NACE International, www.nace.org.