Kelly Jezierski has joined KORE Power from Samsung as our new Director of Sales - Emobility and brings over 20 years’ experience to the team. She is responsible for successfully leading global teams in executing high-dollar contracts and fulfilling market demand requests.
Kelly is joining KORE Power at a pivotal moment as we work to meet the growing demands of the EV space’s growing demand with our available capacity. We are experiencing a sharp rise in the need for quality lithium-ion batteries supplied at a rate that satisfies those growth spikes. We sat down with Kelly to ask her a few questions about her vision for this clean energy transition and her new role at KORE Power.
Can you tell us a little about your experience in e-mobility?
Absolutely, thanks for asking. I have been involved in the e-mobility space for at least a decade. My three most relevant experiences are:
1) Director, Energy Storage at NextEnergy,
2) Independent consultant for industry and academic partners in the energy storage space,
3) Most recently as a Sales Manager at Samsung SDI America.
I also have a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Masters in Alternative Energy Technology, both from Wayne State University. I believe helps me understand the electrochemical side of the space. When thinking of e-mobility, it involves a battery or some form of storage for energy until required for cycling and use.
My intro to the battery industry started at NextEnergy – a nonprofit economic and advanced energy technology development engine in Detroit. NextEnergy had a US Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Agency grant for a little over a million dollars at the time to drive economic growth domestically in the advanced energy storage sector. This was when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds attracted many key battery OEMs and their suppliers to invest in domestic manufacturing sites. There was a lot of activity in metro Detroit and Holland, Michigan especially. Detroit is the seat of the domestic auto industry. The western part of the state has a strong manufacturing base and proximity to core Midwestern hubs like Chicago, Milwaukee, etc. This was a new venture for many of these firms, and they needed help in every way possible.
My team and I spearheaded a comprehensive piece of work where we interviewed and reported findings from over 100 key industry and academic partners to learn more about the industry’s economic, technological, and general supply chain gaps. Our unique approach was to break down the battery cell into its key components – electrodes, separator, and electrolyte – and dive in deeper. For example, who was manufacturing cathodes globally, who had footprints in the US, what was the cost of these materials, what were the supply chain gaps in terms of Tier 2 and downstream suppliers, what did the manufacturing process look like, where was the technology headed, and who could help fill those gaps? It was a very eye-opening piece of work and garnered a lot of attention. Partners on that program also offered financial incentives, job training, and resources to help early-stage ventures move up the rungs of what the DoE calls the “TRL” – tech readiness ladder. I had the opportunity to help a lot of start-ups win some seed funding, develop new channel partner relationships, and in some cases, ready themselves to merge or be acquired by a more prominent, more mature firm. I grew a network of >2,000 professionals in the space and produced a piece of work that was years ahead of its time. It also allowed me to coauthor the “Plug-in Ready Michigan” xEV infrastructure preparedness guideline for the US DoE Clean Cities program.
What led you to join the KORE Power team?
Firstly, let me say that the most critical assets in any company are its people. And I can tell that KORE has an amazing, dynamic, and conscientious team with a diverse array of experience, both in the mining and more on the finished goods sides. The other thing that attracted me are KORE’s great partners. It’s essential to have strong partners to help fortify the supply chain, but also in terms of securing key battery constituents at competitive prices and providing insights as to “what’s next.” Lastly, I am extremely excited about KORE’s planned 12 GWh capacity manufacturing site in the US! This is a huge deal in terms of leveling the supply chain and ensuring that customers receive American-made products of the highest quality, in the safest form, and at the most competitive pricing. When you have manufacturing in your backyard, then all of the other problems related to delays in ports, accidents in transit, and challenges related to force majeure (i.e., COVID-19) induced events dissipate at least in large part.
What excites you the most about the budding electric vehicle sector?
There is a fascinating dynamic going on now in this sector. When I started in this space, there was a significant oversupply problem: There was an excess supply compared to the battery OEMs' manufacturing capacity. There has always been discussion around when the EV space would take off, but the standard view was 2022-2023 or later. Cut to today, and the industry cannot keep pace with demand, and that timeline seems to have shifted a bit to the right. With the change in US Administration, people rely more on e-mobility in megacities, especially the pandemic making people realize that sustainability is imperative. With companies pledging to go 100% electric by a certain year, the time is right for e-mobility!
About KORE Power:
KORE is a leading U.S.-based developer of battery cell technology and integrated solution manufacturer for the energy storage and e-mobility sectors. With clients in energy storage, e-mobility, utility, industrial and defense markets, KORE provides battery products and solutions that are the backbone for decarbonization across the globe. KORE is uniquely positioned to serve these markets as an integrated provider of cells, batteries, and solutions. Commercial production at the KOREPlex is targeted for the end of 2024, early 2025. The KOREPlex will have an initial annual production capacity of 6 GWh of battery cells, which may be expanded to 12 GWh to meet market demand. KORE is headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with operations in Waterbury, Vermont, and Buckeye, Arizona.