Spotlight on Tony Posawatz
Please tell us a little more about your background prior to joining Nexeon
I have been most fortunate that my nearly 35 years in the automotive industry have allowed me to spend most of my career leading and working on teams developing exciting new and innovative transportation products for venerable brands like Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel, Vauxhall and even a start-up like Fisker Automotive. The automotive industry continues on a path of intensive change ranging from autonomous driving features to connected car capabilities to shared mobility models. Especially interesting are electrified vehicles that require rechargeable energy storage systems and advancements like those being worked on by Nexeon. The future of mobility will be electric, and battery innovations are at the core of realizing this future that is less dependent on oil.
What are your first impressions of Nexeon after your first few months working with the company?
The world of advanced high voltage automotive traction batteries is very complex with many battery companies pursuing different paths. Nexeon initially impressed me with their ability to provide materials and solutions for challenges that face many of the lithium-ion based technologies. As such, Nexeon is well positioned to work with many different companies and applications. Nexeon is technically advanced and has a strong and adaptive team. It is rightly viewed as a leader in silicon anode development. I am encouraged by the level of interest we are seeing in the technology across a number of sectors.
How important is it for you to be working on something with the potential to make a difference to people’s daily lives?
As we progress through our careers and achieve personal success, you realize that you also have the capability to leave a more enduring legacy. My teams have been recognized with many awards ranging from Motor Trend Car and Truck of the Year as well as both North American and European Car of the Year for Volt/Ampera. There are over a billion vehicles on our planet today, and we expect this number to continue to grow at a dramatic pace. I hope that we can develop technologies that allow us to propel our cars, trucks and vans using domestically produced (and renewable) energy sources that can be stored on-board our vehicles using advanced batteries for electric drive. Nexeon is doing work to helps us realize this future vision. The future is, in fact, where we all will be spending the rest of our lives and the many generations to come hope that our work today will lead to a brighter future for all.
What do you feel you have brought to technology or commercial development at Nexeon?
Taking great inventions and turning them into viable commercial applications is an extremely challenging undertaking. Having a deep understanding of the marketplace and customers is important – but not enough to guarantee success. Taking your technological advancements and translating them into solutions for customers’ existing problems as well as solving for unknown problems is critical for success. Automotive batteries have traditionally been fraught with technical and business challenges ranging from cost, mass, charging times and infrastructure, to range limitations. My background in automotive and technology will hopefully help Nexeon overcome these challenges and better match their technology to the right applications to solve the technical, regulatory and business challenges that auto makers have in providing sustainable mobility to the masses.
Where do you see the future of batteries leading?
Energy storage is one of the most important technologies of the future. With the demand for energy continuing to grow globally and fossil fuels becoming less viable in the future, battery developments are essential to continuing to maintain and improve our quality of life. We all seem reliant on the batteries in our devices and will need more energy storage to support the electric grids of the future. I am encouraged that so many interesting alternatives exist to improve the capabilities of batteries and do believe we will see major breakthroughs within the next few years. Much R&D and capital is being spent, so many opportunities exist for those who develop the next significant innovations to improve power and energy density, for example. It is very exciting to be working with the Nexeon team and I believe that our silicon anode technology will build upon the solid base of Li-ion technology and take it to the next level of advancement.
What lessons have you taken from your previous experience that are relevant to Nexeon?
The team at Nexeon is as talented as any that I have worked with in the past. It is one of the factors that attracted me to the opportunity to serve Nexeon as a Non-executive Director (NED). My past experiences continually remind me that realizing innovations in the marketplace requires teamwork and collaboration. Work to develop strong teams and partnerships almost always bears fruit and reviewing the history of significant innovations confirms this truth. Nexeon is on a good path to nurturing and further developing some key partnerships and will need to continue this track to realize its promising potential.