Podcast Transcript: How AMPP Was Formed and What It Means for Our Industry

Corrosion experts Terry Greenfield, principal consultant at CONSULEX, and Joe Walker, vice president and general manager at Elcometer, discuss the recent launch of the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP). As recent presidents of NACE International and SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings, Greenfield and Walker share background information and stories on how the merger came to be.

In this exclusive conversation, they also explore potential implications for the industry, as well as what it could mean for standards and beyond.

Source: AMPP, www.ampp.org.

[introductory comments]

Ben DuBose: Welcome in to another new podcast. My name is Ben DuBose, and I’m a staff writer with Materials Performance Magazine and with CoatingsPro Magazine. For those of you who are subscribers and/or longtime listeners, you're probably used to me leading off by calling it a new NACE International podcast. Well, as you may be away, things are changing in 2021. Now that we’re in the new year, the merger between NACE and SSPC, The Society for Protective Coatings, is now complete. Earlier this week, the new organization was officially unveiled as the Association for Materials Protection and Performance, which you can AMPP for short. This is clearly a significant development for the corrosion control and protective coatings industries.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to have some guests on this podcast to try to explain the changes and what the implications are for membership and the broader corrosion industry. To start that miniseries, if you will, we’re going to have Terry Greenfield and Joe Walker on today’s episode — some of the really bright minds in corrosion — to explain the origins of the merger and how all this came to be. Before we play back their conversation, I’m going to briefly read from the official press release about the merger to give everyone listening a little more background about what’s going on, if you’ve not heard already. Here we go:

“To create a unified voice for the corrosion control and protective coatings industries, a new association launched on Wednesday, January 6, at a global virtual event. The new organization, the Association for Materials Protection and Performance, was formed by a merger between NACE International and SSPC, The Society for Protective Coatings. AMPP’s name, logo, and other brand elements were revealed at the event, led by Bob Chalker, CEO of AMPP, as well as the organization’s executive leadership.”

This is a quote from Bob Chalker: “AMPP brings together the world’s leading corrosion prevention and protective coatings organizations under one umbrella. With a vision to create a safer, protected, and sustainable world, the new association will focus on the future of materials protection and performance.”

Now jumping back into the press release: “With more than 40,000 members in 130 countries, AMPP consists of two governance structures: AMPP, a 501(c)(6), and AMPP Global Center, a 501(c)(3). AMPP provides services to members in the areas of certification, accreditation, membership, advocacy, and public affairs, while the AMPP Global Centers focuses on standards, technical and research activities, conferences, events, education, training, publications, and preprofessional programming.”

Here’s a quote from Tim Bieri, chair of the AMPP board of directors and vice president for materials and corrosion engineering at BP America: “No other organization offers the depth and breadth of materials protection and performance information, standards, education, certification, and contractor accreditation programming that AMPP now provides. Through AMPP, we will be able to raise the level of excellence of our professional community and have a greater impact on society through out expanded network of members worldwide.”

Here’s another quote from Joyce Wright, chair of AMPP Global Center and trade manager for strategy and innovation at Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding: “I’m looking forward to bringing together the expertise that’s been instrumental in developing standards, training, publications, and other technical resources that support our members and advance our industry. With one voice, contractors, owners, craftsman, manufacturers, corrosion experts, consultants, and industry stakeholders will do more to protect society across the globe.”

“While the AMPP staff has been working together since October, some program details, such as accreditation and certification, continue to evolve. For the near future, NACE and SSPC accreditations and certifications will remain as they are currently.”

Now a final quote from Bob Chalker: “For years, AMPP’s new combined membership has been aligned in one very important way. Our members are dedicated to protecting infrastructure and assets from corrosion and deterioration. Guided by this common purpose, we will be a stronger, more powerful voice for our industry by working together.”

With that as the backdrop, here’s a conversation between Terry Greenfield and Joe Walker explaining more about how this all came to be. Terry is a principal consultant at Consulex and a past president of NACE, while Joe is vice president and general manager of Elcometer and an immediate past president of SSPC. Here’s Terry.


Terry Greenfield: Joe, do you remember when we bumped into each other and first started talking about this?

Joe Walker: Well, that’s when the bumping into each other became the Big Bump, because it was the two of us. Yes, I remember we bumped into each other. It was actually the second time you and I bumped into each other. The first time was at SSPC’s show in New Orleans in 2018, when the ice storm hit and shut down the city.

TG: Everybody locked down.

JW: We kind of danced around it that time, because both of us had been members of both NACE and SSPC 23 years ago when they were discussing mergers. It kind of didn’t work out. A couple months later, I remember we had the real Big Bump on the show floor at the NACE convention, and that’s when you and I just sat down for an hour. Is this something we want to look at again and go through? Because it was a pretty bold proposition that both of us were suggesting, I remember. Who was president of NACE at the time? I remember Garry Manous was president of SSPC.

TG: It was Jeff Didas.

JW: Right. Jeff. We both had to go to our respective presidents and say, “Do we want to open this Pandora’s Box?” And we did. That was the big bump — big guys bumping into each other at the NACE and SSPC exhibitions.

TG: And it kind of had reverberations into something even bigger, right?

JW: Right.

TG: We’ve gotten to a point that’s pretty amazing. I mean, now we can sit here, and it’s actually happened.

JW: We’re together, and the whole thing has been collaborative. And the best part was, while we were the Big Bump, a full host of members, international members, different areas of interest, from formulators and designers to applicators, contractors — everybody has been represented in this process. I think the merger of the two organizations really was a merger of equals. That’s what we set out for. I’m really pleased that it’s worked out the way — better than we envisions it, I think.


TG: For years, people have approached me, some have even tackled me on show floors, asking why NACE and SSPC couldn't get together. What a great thing that would be. I think, with any change, there’s always those that have apprehension to it. But just getting the right people through this process, this time, we had a really good team that got together to work through what the issues could be and all in a positive way. I was just really thrilled with the overall interactions of those team members and what they were trying to achieve and actually ultimately did achieve.

JW: What really impressed me the most is the way that everybody went in and built consensus throughout the whole process. Now, the funny thing was, as far as the transition teams went, some were members of both organizations, some were not. But yet we all reached consensus, both on an international scale and on the market segment scale. It was really impressive. Now I know that my company is a global company. You work globally. So that global makeup of the new organization was critical, not only to us, but every other member that was part of this process. What I liked is no one represented their own special interests. Everyone represented the membership of their respective organizations. I think we worked through consensus beautifully.


TG: People would talk with the, “How are the negotiations going?” and I was proud to say there were never negotiations. We were all sitting down building something and, as you noted, through consensus, how that was working through. I agree with you, on the international side, I think we’ve really truly become a global organization. We’ve taken very serious, on the board structures and the program committee makeups, that there’s participation on an international level. And significant participation. Not a token participation. I really look forward — I think the future’s going to be bright. Is there any one thing that you had the greatest takeaway from this whole process?

JW: The one thing that really gets me about this new organization is NACE started out as a domestic organization that realized, “Oh, we want to grow so we’re going to go international.” But it was always structured domestically. SSPC was the same way. And this new organization, we’ve totally changed that founding. We’re starting as an international organization with domestic components for every domestic market in the world. So that’s the one thing that really got me, that we were able to create bylaws and processes and teams that, from their founding, it’s a global organization. In our founding documents, we’re global. And all market segments are represented. It was a lot of work. Tim Bieri and Sam Scatturo, Joyce Wright, they’ve really worked hard to take the ball over. I mean, you and I, we were together for the founding of it, but they really took it over from us. What a job they did with the teams. Unbelievable.


TG: That’s why, again, a statement I made many times, that the success of this one relied a lot on all the right people being together this time. From the officers of both organizations down through the staff members through the transition team — whatever we were calling it — I can’t keep track of the different names, but god, what a great group it was. We’ve just had the right people. We don’t want to forget the contributions made by Bill Worms and Bob Chalker. Having them as the respective head of staffs, CEO and executive directors of the organizations, was a huge factor in how this moved forward.

JW: Two real impressive executives, working selflessly toward a common goal. What I saw Bill Worms and Bob Chalker do, they way they worked together so well, I was amazed and inspired by it. I really was. What are looking most forward to with the combined organization?

TG: I see, with everything that’s happened this year, we talk about internationally and that aspect, but a lot of what’s driven that is technology. We’ve been forced, due to the pandemic, to embrace technology to further our collaboration and our goals moving forward. I’ve participated in several virtual conferences, one in Europe. I forget where the other one — I think the other one was global. But it’s different.

There’s a lot of things that you miss. I enjoy face-to-face contact, but the element of being able to make things available, to collaborate internationally easier, has definitely reached much better technology. The technology’s much more supportive of being able to do and accomplish what we would try to do in those goals and environments. I’m looking forward to seeing — and I don’t have a clear vision, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how we continue to go forward with conferences and collaboration for standards and the program committees. If it’s going to be — I think it’s going to be easier for people to participate and provide good feedback and contribute to the overall program. The future — I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.

JW: I am, too. That’s a great point. I really do like to see more members participate in the standards side. So I’m looking more forward to having more international participation through the digital face-to-face network that we’re building out and will continue to build out.

BD: That’s where we will leave things for today’s episode.

[closing statements and advertisement]