Neil G. Thompson

Scholar-Executive Fighting a $276 Billion Problem

Inducted in 2005

Always, Neil G. Thompson has been an extraordinary performer. A merit scholarship student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, he was UAB’s Student Engineer of the Year in 1975, the same year he won a Bourziel Scholarship supporting a college senior studying corrosion issues. He became the first engineer to conduct corrosion research in materials science at UAB, earning a UAB graduate research assistantship. He completed his master’s degree at UAB in 1977, and was immediately tapped for a research assistantship at Vanderbilt University, where he earned his doctorate.

Today, Dr. Thompson stands at the wheel of the supremely successful engineering firm Cortest Columbus Technologies Inc., and also serves as vice president for the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE International), the 15,000-member force that shapes infrastructure worldwide via education and standard setting for industries working to perfect structures protective of people and environments. Dr. Thompson plays a central role in NACE technical committees, and chairs the group’s congressional activities committee. He also serves the U.S. secretary of defense as a corrosion task force member of the Defense Science Board. He has expertise touching on fields as diverse as biomedicine and pipelines, and is author of 32 research reports and 72 other publications. He received NACE’s A. B. Campbell Award for young authors in 1988.

Cortest Columbus Technologies Inc. or, familiarly, CC Technologies, is Dr. Thompson’s brainchild. Established in 1985, the engineering/research/testing firm swelled from a two-man entity into North America’s biggest corrosion science group, headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, with eight offices in the U.S. and Canada. Its team of 110 includes 55 engineers and 17 Ph.D. scientists, a unique blend of perspectives enabling CC Technologies to succeed where others cannot. Together they have issued in excess of 350 articles examining materials and corrosion. CC Technologies’ global clientele depend on its specialists in materials evaluation and selection; corrosion control and monitoring; fitness-for-service; and instrumentation and software development. From Mexico to Malaysia, the firm is noted for impeccable science and service, especially in the area of pipeline integrity.

Five years ago, the Federal Highway Administration engaged CC Technologies for a breakthrough assessment of the direct costs of metallic corrosion—costs peculiar to production, to manufacturing, to transportation and infrastructure, to nearly every industry sector. Dr. Thompson contributed substantially to the vast study, which was mandated by Congress. Results showed that corrosion costs this nation a staggering $276 billion annually. In the study’s wake, Dr. Thompson continues to lend his own analytical abilities, and those of the phenomenal research teams he has created, to rein in this runaway threat to our economy.

Dr. Thompson, who has been featured on CNN’s “Summerall Success Stories,” was raised in Birmingham and attended West End High School. His school sweetheart, Terrie Smith, later became his wife and they now have two daughters, Shae and Carlie. While attending UAB, he was employed as a draftsman. Prior to launching CC Technologies, he was a senior research scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute.

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