Power management is a key component for all electronic products. Power technology has, of course, changed significantly over the past 60 years when Inventus Power started up operations. I had a chance to talk with Pat Trippel, President and CEO of Inventus Power, about the challenges the company has addressed over the years.
What are some of the significant milestones that have shaped the company?
Inventus Power is a global leader in advanced battery systems and the largest battery manufacturer in North America, but this did not occur overnight. Some of our market growth can be attributed to certain mergers and acquisitions that have taken place over the years. However, outside of strategic business transactions, the common thread that has truly shaped the company has been innovation and years of acquired market and engineering application expertise.
In the ’90s, when the lithium battery was first commercialized, we started focusing on this revolutionary technology due to its inherent benefits compared to other rechargeable chemistries. I believe this was a significant milestone for our company as today, 30 years later, Inventus Power still specializes in Li-ion battery technology and continues to see many existing and emerging portable, motive, and stationary applications transitioning to lithium-ion.
Over the years, we have also made our way up the power curve. In our early days, we developed standard power supplies as well as small custom batteries and chargers for portable applications. We were once considered to be at the forefront of the mobile-phone market. As new markets began adopting lithium-ion, we experienced a broadening in our portfolio and started developing larger and more complex solutions. Some of the noteworthy standard products that have been developed over the years include our warfighter-worn Conformal Wearable Battery (CWB) in 2012 and our line of U1LiFe Batteries for medical carts in 2013.
We also started developing custom Li-ion battery-backup units (BBUs) for data-center applications in the early 2000s. With the development of these larger and more complex battery systems, our in-house experience and expertise in battery-management-system (BMS) design has increased significantly and become a differentiator for our business.
Today, we’re continuing to broaden our capabilities. We’re expanding our portfolio of standard products as well as developing new battery platforms to support motive applications within the professional cleaning, lawn & garden, and material-handling space, as well as large-scale backup solutions for telecom and energy-storage applications.
Finally, our global expansion and support structure has also played a role in shaping our organization. We currently have manufacturing operations in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, China, and Malaysia and plan to open our sixth facility in Qatar within the near future. Each facility offers a unique value to the company from a regional, market, or customer standpoint.
Inventus Power celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. What are your thoughts about this achievement?
Sixty years is a significant achievement for any business, and I’m very proud to be part of an organization that has such strong roots but also continues to be forward-thinking. I joined Inventus Power four years ago and, though I haven’t been with the company from the beginning, I can appreciate its strong track record of technological innovation and customer satisfaction.
When I became CEO in 2016, I dedicated much of my first year to traveling all over the world to get to know our employees, customers, and suppliers. During this time, I learned so much about our people and capabilities as well as our customer needs and expectations. I quickly understood that Inventus Power held a unique position in the market and my goal since then has been to invest and build upon the company’s engineering capabilities to drive further growth and diversification in the business.
In your opinion, what do you feel has most contributed to the growth and longevity of Inventus Power?
I believe the growth of our business can be attributed to our diversification in product complexity and markets served. In recent years, we have organized our business around key markets and maintained a healthy mix of high-volume/low-complexity and medium-volume/high-complexity products. Knowledge and lessons learned from each market have been applied to others and enabled us to diversify our expertise across a wide range of applications. This has accelerated our growth.
Additionally, our ability to adapt to changing battery technologies has contributed to our longevity. As battery technology has changed and the industry has focused on certain rechargeable chemistries, such as lead acid, NiCd, NiMH, and now Li-ion, we have been able to pivot and change as well.
Do you feel the industry perception of Inventus Power has changed over the years?
Inventus Power is developing a stronger global presence and brand reputation in the industry as we continue to expand into new markets and enhance our experience and capabilities. There has also been a significant improvement in customer satisfaction. Today, we’re seen by our customers as an essential and strategic partner.
What have been the highlights for you during your tenure as President and CEO?
The highlight for me has been seeing our organization rally to overcome challenges. Like many in the battery industry, in 2017, Inventus Power dealt with supply-chain shortages/consolidations for cells and other electronic components brought on by the growing EV [electric vehicle] market. However, we were able to navigate through those times by leveraging our strong supplier relationships and working closely with customers to minimize the impact of these conditions on their business.
We’re now battling a global pandemic and have had to shift our focus and priorities in a way we never imagined to maintain the health and safety of our employees. In addition, we’re meeting the critical needs of our customers, many of whom are building medical and safety equipment that healthcare workers and patients desperately need. I’ve been extremely impressed by the dedication of our employees and their commitment during these trying times.
What excites you most about the future of Inventus Power?
As mentioned earlier, Inventus Power is well-positioned in this global marketplace. The last 60 years have created a strong foundation for success, but we still have the ambition to do more. We’re expanding into new markets and growing our global presence. We’re utilizing our expertise to solve more complex challenges. We’re continuing to invest in R&D to ensure we’re staying ahead of the curve. I expect that you will hear more about Inventus Power for many years to come.
Pat Trippel, President and CEO of Inventus Power, is responsible for strategically leading the global enterprise to ensure Inventus Power is constantly innovating power systems and is at the forefront of thought leadership for their OEM and contract manufacturer customers across the consumer, commercial/industrial, medical, and military and government markets.
Mr. Trippel has a distinguished career that spans over 30 years in the electronics manufacturing industry. Most recently, he was with H.B. Fuller Company as Senior Vice President Market Development. In this role, he was responsible for the company’s Durable Assembly Business, which included the Electronics and Engineering Adhesive businesses. Prior, Mr. Trippel was with Henkel Corp. as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Global General Industries business, and served as the President and General Manager of Henkel’s Global Electronic Materials business.