4 minutes with… Joel A. Balbien, Consultant, TechNavi

December 29, 2014 |

063d4aeTell us about your organization and it’s role in the advanced bioeconomy.

TechNavi, LLC provides Strategic Advisory services to Japanese manufacturers to interface with US and European high-tech companies. Services range from establishing partnerships with companies that can help complete product development roadmaps to conducting Technology Transfer and Licensing activities.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

My role is to track economic and technological trends, and emerging companies in sustainable chemicals and renewable energy. I have developed a hybrid human and software approach to industry intelligence that leverages my Ph.D. in Economics and 30 years of experience in Fortune 500 energy companies, venture capital, and startup management.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

1. Technological breakthroughs and supportive public policy for economical CO2 recycling at massive scale;

2. Burying the Food vs Fuel and chemicals issue through energy & chemical cropping on marginal land and accelerated utilization of MSW, crop and forest waste streams;

3. Utilization of lignin for high value specialty chemicals

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

The industry needs to embrace simple and market based government policies that create a level playing field for private enterprise to take the lead role in creating a more sustainable energy and chemicals industry & resolving environmental challenges. That means replacing command & control with a simple revenue neutral emission tax.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you.

Public health, energy security, and well being of people

Where are you from? 

Los Angeles, California

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

Economics, with minors in Mathematics and Engineering UCSD

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

Albert Einstein – Don’t accept the status quo and prevailing wisdom

Robert Kennedy – Avoid war unless your country or key allies are directly attacked

Steve Jobs – Focus like a laser on the customer experience

Elon Musk – Multitasking can be an advantage

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

In the process industries, there is limited value to bench scale data and R&D folks cannot design commercial scale plants

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Hiking and Tennis

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

The Biographies of Steven Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Winston Churchill

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo

The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson

Killing Patton, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

Alaskan Wilderness

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Category: Million Minds

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