How did you first learn about Form Energy?
I learned about Form when my wife and I started looking to relocate to the Boston area. Through LinkedIn, I found Form Energy and the company’s description of enabling a 100% renewable grid by developing an aqueous, air-breathing battery. So I got curious and started to put the search bar to work. Through Form’s website, I discovered numerous materials, including the company’s white papers, public statements, press articles and blog posts, which provided more depth on the company’s mission. Many clicks later, I learned about the backing of Breakthrough Energy Ventures and the (then recent) Series C financing round closing. And, of course, I LinkedIn checked everyone at Form Energy with a completed profile. Normal, right?
What made you want to work at Form Energy?
I remember in one of the white papers there was a section discussing the effects of peaker plants and their role in supplementing grid supply and environmental impacts. In that section, it noted how peaker plants are often in socially/economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, which suffer the most from the environmental impacts. That section of the article was a big selling point for me. The technological challenge is steep and striving to make a green world is fantastic, but realizing the social impact on people right now made me feel like “this company cares about people.” Form hasn’t proven me wrong yet.
What are your job duties and responsibilities at Form Energy?
TL:DR, I make things. As a mechanical engineer, I focus on the mechanical embodiment of our technology, transitioning from lab intent to product intent designs. I am responsible for the design, development and execution of the components that I am working on for any given project, whether that be developing a sub-scale test-vehicle or the next iteration of our full scale electrodes or something in between.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the breadth of challenging problems we address and the depth of investigation we go through to solve them. It’s engaging to bring my expertise to a problem, knock it out of the park, then turn around and focus on a new-to-me field and dive into figuring out how I can contribute to a solution.
What is the most important thing you have learned in your role thus far?
It’s OK to not have all the answers. No one has all the answers. That’s not to say it’s OK to not ask for help or seek the answers. Working with brilliant and focused people can make you feel like “I should know more answers” and that can make you feel like an imposter, but you will never gain that knowledge without trying or asking.
How does your position at Form Energy differ from other roles you’ve held previously?
My position at Form is very broad, but I have a clear line of sight to the value I bring to the company. I have a lot of freedom to articulate areas I am interested in and find experiments that allow me to explore those interests and bring value to Form.
How would you describe your time at Form Energy in three words?
Wild, no regrets.
Has anything surprised you about working for Form Energy?
People are so nice! It’s amazing how people are so happy to work with you, answer questions and be so productive when they are focused on a meaningful mission with a company that looks at it’s employees as people. It’s definitely rubbed off on me.
What about working in the energy storage industry excites you the most?
Actively working towards making the world a better place brings me the most joy. It’s fast paced and the demand for energy storage is rapidly growing because it is so vital to achieving 100% renewable energy. Coming from the automotive industry, I know decarbonizing the grid has a massive impact on reduction of vehicle based emissions, especially in the EV sector. The secondary effects of energy storage enabling a renewable grid will allow for industries to decarbonize without disrupting their value stream.
What are your hopes for the energy storage industry?
My hope for the industry is for a variety of technologies on the market, to make it economically viable and scalable to different applications. This will allow energy storage to work in conjunction with renewable energy systems to phase out non-renewables irrespective of scale and, hopefully, location.
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
I love riding my bike, Boston is like an obstacle course. I’m not fast, but it’s hard to be mad on a bike. I’ve been addicted to cars since I could hold a wrench; modifying, fixing, driving, breaking, all the things that make me happy about cars.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
The Things I Misspelled
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Math, but better. Or the guitar. I am trying to learn now and the “learning curve” is a vertical line.