This series of interviews is to help you get to know the People of Prospect a little better. The folks highlighted in featured posts are part of our client companies, staff, sponsors, partners and others in our network. Whether it is through breakthroughs in advanced transportation, increased building efficiency or implementing EV fleets that reduce carbon emissions in communities, each of these individuals and their teams work hard to make real change by creating, demonstrating or implementing innovations that will make our lives better.
People of Prospect – Ian McAvoy, President & CEO of Thomson Power
ProspectSV: What motivated you to lead a startup?
Ian: When I was working for Caltrain, I felt there weren’t enough companies innovating in the transportation space. Overall, I felt that a lot of the next generation in the industry was being driven by large multi-national companies that didn’t really have the desire. I just felt that there were so many things to do in innovation and transportation that it was time to start from scratch. I founded a company before this one that was in the same space as well, but our focus became very commercial too quickly. I felt that if it’s not for startup companies who in the very beginning are very nimble and able to create, we’re not going to be innovating, we’re going to be reacting to whatever governments or customers want. In fact, small corporations actually bring you back to your roots because you have to do everything yourself. Being a CEO of a big company and then going from that to being a CEO of a small company with five employees, it makes you honest. It gives you the ability to get back to your roots and you have to be able to use spreadsheets and know how to deal with word processing and I just enjoy it.
ProspectSV: Tell us in 10 words or less how you’re going to change the world.
Ian: Energy efficiency optimization is the technology of the future in transportation.
ProspectSV: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Ian: It’s more about what I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be a professional footballer because that’s what my father was. My mother wanted me to be a doctor, so I didn’t want to do that. I suppose when I was a kid I wanted to build towns; I wanted to design buildings, so I went into architecture and urban planning. That’s one of my qualifications. I saw myself as always being a change agent – a person that could make difference. I want to see what I have done. I like to be able to point at something and say, “Yeah, I did that.”
Thomson Power is a developer and supplier of sustainable energy software and power management systems that dramatically improves the performance and efficiency of electric and hybrid drives in medium to heavy-duty truck and bus applications. The plug-and-play vPCS® adaptive controller and ThomsonDrive® integrated electric drivetrain solutions enable fleet operators to economically transition from conventional diesel engines to hybrid and electric city and school buses, delivery vans and trucks. Learn more at www.thomsonpower.com.