CompTIA buys TechAmerica to expand its public sector offerings

Monday - 5/5/2014, 8:59am EDT

A few days after settling its lawsuit against a start-up rival public sector technology association, TechAmerica has been acquired.

CompTIA announced today it has bought TechAmerica to complement and expand its public sector organization.

"Connecting the continuum of companies — from small IT service provider to software to hardware to communications and distribution — allows CompTIA to tell a complete technology story to business, public sector and policy partners, educating audiences about the impact along the information and communications technology use cycle," Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, said in a statement.

CompTIA did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Politico first reported CompTIA's decision to buy TechAmerica.

The combined entity retains the CompTIA name, brand, leadership and board of directors, with a member from TechAmerica's board joining the CompTIA board. The new tagline "The ICT Industry Trade Association" will be added to CompTIA's name to reflect this broader, industrywide focus.

"This is not the merging of two identical organizations. TechAmerica and CompTIA have complementary interests and goals within the ICT industry," wrote Shawn Osborne, president and CEO of TechAmerica, in a statement on its website. "Whereas TechAmerica has been a leading voice of large businesses and the tech public sector, CompTIA has built a strong reputation for workforce training and certification, business education and best practices, and advocacy for small and medium technology companies in the IT sector. Joining forces consolidates disparate segments of the ICT sector under one roof to enhance voice, reach and influence. A single, unified organization for commercial and public sector interests allows us to advance business interests and opportunities as a whole."

TechAmerica has been rumored for the last few months to be on the market after almost a complete turnover in its public sector shop, including discussions with the Professional Services Council, according to multiple sources.

TechAmerica found a suitor in CompTIA, whose focus over the years hasn't been on the public sector in terms of procurement and technology lobbying and education.

CompTIA has been more known for their education to help members grow, workforce certifications and small and medium sized business advocacy. The association also has been a bigger player in the telecommunications world and recently started paying closer attention to cybersecurity with the hiring of former TechAmerica director and general counsel Randi Parker.

"The merging of CompTIA's and TechAmerica's membership bases enables our organization to pursue the best interests of the ICT sector as a whole, eliminating an artificial barrier that has divided efforts in the past," Thibodeaux said. "Moving forward, CompTIA will champion member-driven business and policy priorities that impact the entire continuum of companies from the small IT service provider to the software developer to the equipment manufacturer to communications service providers."

CompTIA has more than 2,000 members and 2,000 business partners.

One former TechAmerica executive called it a "sad day" that was bound to happen. Another industry executive called it a "strange marriage of sorts."

In its release announcing the sale, CompTIA said its current policy priorities will continue to focus on accelerating the innovation cycle; building a 21st century workforce; maintaining secure, open access to the Internet; and ensuring state and federal governments are technologically equipped to address future challenges.

The association said it will examine specific projects in the weeks and months ahead.

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