Alternative energy firm reflects state’s pioneer spirit
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
In the words of founder Dirk Spiers, the last 12 months for Spiers New Technologies have been one crazy ride.
The young company, which provides a one-stop solution to battery life cycle management including the “4Rs” of services (repair, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and repurposing) for advanced battery packs used in hybrid and electric vehicles, is in full stretch.
Spiers New Technology is adding new customers, expanding services for existing customers, and developing new products. With more than 40 employees, jobs have more than doubled in a year.
“You can even see it in the parking lot,” said Spiers. “The north building is full. The lot around the new south building (more than 70,000 square feet) is full, and now the company is adding a third facility. It’s starting to be a campus.”
Spiers New Technology made a big bet on disruption in the energy and automotive marketplace and that bet is paying off. Yet, Spiers believes that we haven’t seen anything yet and that the real growth in the market of electrification and energy storage is yet to happen. When it does Spiers New Technology will be poised to pivot and play.
“We are at the beginning of this,” said Spiers. “The OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are making billion dollar investments in electric vehicles. GM, Mercedes, Ford, Tesla and others keep doubling down on electric cars. Mercedes just announced an electric truck in California that is amazing.”
And then there’s solar.
“Just look at what happened last year,” he said. “In some parts of the world it is the cheapest form of energy. People don’t understand yet what a disruption the world of solar is. The Saudi’s are embracing solar energy storage to have a more diversified economy; when Saudi Arabia is doing it, why shouldn’t Oklahoma?”
Spiers New Technologies isn’t betting on a particular technology; the company is betting on a direction, a trend.
“Everything risks being disrupted, including ourselves. The most important thing is balance between exploiting what you have right now and exploration of the new. The minute you start protecting your core there is stagnation. We all know what happened with the Blockbuster’s and Kodak’s of this world. Change is inevitable so better embrace it than fight it. You have to be agile and not afraid.”
Agile and not afraid. Disruption and diversification. It’s true for a company and true for a state.
Oklahoma can be a leader in the diversification and disruption of the energy industry. We are the fourth sunniest state in the nation. We have a lot of wind. There’s opportunity for us at every level. The “Sooners” and wildcatters we learned about in Oklahoma History were all about charging forward, pushing the envelope, and taking risks. Taking big risks fits within the character of our state.
We need to plug into our pioneer spirit and seize the opportunities that lie ahead in alternative energy sources. That’s exactly what Spiers New Technologies is doing.
Did you know?
Half the 8600 GM designers and engineers working on products and controls that make GM cars and trucks move are involved with alternative and electric propulsion systems.
Read the story at The Oklahoman. (Requires subscription)
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Email Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.