Seasoned Veteran Leads Fight Vs. Corrosion

December 2012, Vol. 239 No. 12

Jeff Share, Editor

As the battle rages to prevent the menace of corrosion, the pipeline industry and others will always be able to count on having NACE International at their side.

Strengthened by the experience and talents of its thousands of worldwide experts, the Houston-based organization literally helps write the standards for corrosion prevention.

Directing those efforts as president of NACE International is Kevin Garrity. He currently works for Mears Inc. as Senior Vice President for the Integrity Solutions Division where he manages special projects and develops new markets worldwide.

Garrity has 37 years of experience in corrosion engineering and the application of cathodic protection to buried pipelines and tanks, concrete structures, and marine structures. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.

He has investigated pipeline failures, developed root cause findings and testified on corrosion and materials degradation issues and control mechanisms before the Canadian National Energy Board, the U.S. DOT PHMSA, state and federal courts in the U.S. and the Regulatory Authority in Argentina (ENTE).

Garrity received the NACE Distinguished Service Award in 2010 and the AUCSC Colonel George C. Cox Award for Outstanding Contributions to Underground Corrosion.

In this interview with P&GJ, Garrity discusses his vision for his presidency of NACE International.

P&GJ: What are your goals as president of NACE International, and how will you determine at the end of your term whether you were successful?
Garrity:
My intended goals are to continue to help support NACE International’s global mission of developing and disseminating information on the destructive forces of corrosion and the societal and financial impact that it has on global economies and sustainability.

Our success will be measured in our membership growth and our ability to reach out to worldwide policy makers as we have domestically with state and federal policymakers.

P&GJ: What led you to help revive the Corrosion & Punishment Forum, and how has it been received by members?
Garrity:
Despite significant advances in improving pipeline safety, there have been notable incidents in the past few years that have kept this topic at the forefront of our members’ needs. The Forum is always well- attended at the annual conference and is supported by the regulatory and private legal community so that our members and the public can be fully informed on the changing landscape in pipeline safety and the possible civil and criminal penalties that may arise from pipeline accidents.

P&GJ: How do you see the Forum advancing NACE’s agenda?
Garrity:
NACE International’s mission is “Protecting People, Assets and the Environment” from the Effects of Corrosion.” The Forum affords the opportunity for NACE to ensure its members are informed on the impact of corrosion and the unfortunate consequences of unintended events where corrosion has played a role in contributing to pipeline incidents.

P&GJ: Are there any organizational changes within NACE International that will impact members?
Garrity:
NACE International has enjoyed continued growth despite a challenging economy and our board and its committees have recently completed an updated strategic plan.

We will continue to examine our organizational structure to ensure that we can meet our member’s needs and act accordingly. In 2008 we opened an office in Kuala Lumpur and recently had an opening dedication to commemorate the hiring of a China country manager and the opening of an office in Shanghai.

The KL office has been hugely successful and we anticipate similar success in China. The Asia Pacific rim area of NACE International has provided significant growth and holds many future opportunities

P&GJ: What are the biggest concerns of members, both domestically and worldwide?
Garrity:
Our domestic and international membership needs are not largely different and center on our ability to continue to provide education and training opportunities and fully portable, internationally recognized certifications for corrosion and materials technology.

Our members also want to see NACE International continue to be an industry leader in the standards development area. With 46% of our nearly 30,000 members residing outside of the U.S., international participation in standards development is of paramount importance to our entire membership.

P&GJ: What has changed in the pipeline industry following the incidents of 2010-11?
Garrity:
In my view, there is an increased focus on ensuring that operators are fully aware of their assets and that they can make informed risk-based decisions in successfully managing pipeline integrity and enhancing safety.

P&GJ: Are operators increasing their budgets enough for pipeline maintenance?
Garrity:
Many operators are already spending significant portions of the budgets on pipeline integrity and maintenance activities. I am not aware of specific efforts to increase budgets unless specific needs have been identified.

P&GJ: What pending regulations in Washington, DC are you concerned that could impact operators?
Garrity:
Our major focus in Washington is to ensure that policymakers are aware of the impact of corrosion and the benefits of corrosion- prevention measures.

We want to ensure that those responsible for legislation are considering the best technology available through NACE standards and that our Education, Training and Certification programs are considered to enhance workforce development and support the needs of fully trained skilled workforce to address corrosion issues.

P&GJ: Are you seeing a different relationship evolve between the service sector and operators in regards to battling corrosion?
Garrity:
We are seeing more partnering in the areas of technology development and workflow execution.

P&GJ: What can they do better to protect their valuable infrastructure against corrosion?
Garrity:
It is imperative that consideration be given to the global impact of corrosion and that the cost benefit of corrosion prevention is articulated to the decision makers that may not have a complete appreciation for these benefits.

P&GJ: What in terms of new technologies can we expect in preventing corrosion?
Garrity:
There are many existing technologies that are very effective in the battle against corrosion. Some examples of evolving science and technology in corrosion prevention involve real- time assessments of corrosion activity through sensor technology and nano technology for materials surface treatments and coatings.

P&GJ: What effect is the continuing shale play having on the potential of pipeline corrosion and how is this being monitored?
Garrity:
The shale gas development poses corrosion problems that need to be addressed through available technology. Many non-metallic components are being used to reduce corrosion problems; however, more work is needed to disseminate corrosion-prevention technology in this area.

P&GJ: How did you get into the industry, and what was the career path that led to your current position with Mears?
Garrity:
I am originally from New York City and began working in corrosion as a graduate engineer from NYU Poly. I immediately enjoyed the diversity of projects, industries and systems that I was working on and continue to enjoy that aspect of my career today.

I had the opportunity to join the management team at Mears a few years back and I am grateful for the opportunity to be serving as president of NACE International.

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