TechAmerica finds buyer in CompTIA
After months of being dogged by rumors, high-profile departures and legal battles, TechAmerica has found a final resolution – an acquisition by another technology association.
CompTIA is acquiring TechAmerica in a move that brings the organization more into the public sector and procurement issues. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
CompTIA is best known for its training, education and certification work as well as close ties to small and midsize technology companies. TechAmerica will bring large businesses and public sector work, particularly around procurement issues.
TechAmerica’s public sector operations have drawn a lot of attention lately with the departure of four of its public sector lobbyists, Trey Hodgkins, Erica McCann, Pam Walker and Carol Henton, which set off a legal battle between TechAmerica and the lobbyists’ new employer, the Information Technology Industry Council.
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The two associations announced last week that they had settled a $5 million lawsuit that TechAmerica had filed against ITI.
The acquisition by CompTIA follows an earlier attempted acquisition of TechAmerica by the Professional Services Council that fell through.
It also isn’t the first time that CompTIA has tried to acquire or merge with TechAmerica, said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA. His association has approached TechAmerica several different times over the years.
But the convergence of IT and telecommunications technologies and the rise of new modes of delivering technology such as cloud computing made the idea of an acquisition even more attractive, he said.
There is little overlap between the two organizations. “It is very complementary,” Thibodeaux said.
CompTIA will continue all of TechAmerica’s programs, including its annual Vision market research project that looks at federal spending trends. About 200 TechAmerica members will become premier members of CompTIA. About 24 of TechAmerica’s 30 staffers will continue in their roles, bringing CompTIA’s head count to over 200, he said.
TechAmerica’s president and CEO Shawn Osborne will not move over to CompTIA. The others that didn't make the switch were in duplicative roles, Thibodeaux said.
Interestingly, while TechAmerica’s survival as an independent association hinged on its ability to retain members and membership dues, CompTIA’s business model doesn’t rely on dues. Thibodeaux said that 95 percent of the group’s revenue comes from its training and certification programs.
“We don’t even accept sponsorships for our events,” he said.
This approach protects CompTIA from the ups and downs of the economy and gives it flexibility to find new revenue sources, Thibodeaux said.
In fact, today (Monday) the association announced the launch of an online learning solution called CertMaster that is based on brain science and research in neurobiology, cognitive psychology and games studies, according to their press release.
“We are always looking for new product lines” he said.
The "IT association world within the public sector world" has the well-established PSC and the newcomer ITI, but Thibodeaux doesn’t see a cut-throat competition.
“We take more of a big pen approach, so we’ll be looking for opportunities to work with the others going forward,” he said.
With TechAmerica, CompTIA sees an opportunity to increase its advocacy work on the state and local level, which is where it will continue to use the TechAmerica name to work on a variety of technology issues at that level, he said.
The second big change is the addition of the public sector advocacy work at the federal level focused on procurement issues.
“I don’t think you’ll see any disruption of what TechAmerica has been doing, but we’ll be trying to build and enhance it,” he said.
One board member from TechAmerica’s board will join CompTIA’s board, but that member has not been picked yet. This person will likely be someone with public sector experience, Thibodeaux said.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 05, 2014 at 8:40 AM