4 minutes with… Mike Glatz, VP Sales & Business Development, Optimus Technologies

March 25, 2015 |

104a82cTell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Optimus Technologies manufactures the first and only EPA-approved biofuel conversion systems for medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks. Its fuel partners supply B100/B99 and Optimus-grade biofuel to fleets nationwide. Optimus has a simple, bolt-on approach that provides fleets the easiest way to reduce fuel costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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

My priorities for the next 12 months are key to the go-to-market strategy for Optimus Technologies. All focus on scaling our commercially available solution through the following actions:

Build out fuel partner network nationwide, focusing on biodiesel, ethanol and vegetable oil refiners.

Build out conversion system reseller network nationwide, focusing on firms that can sell, install and service our bolt-on conversion system

Scale the number of truck engines supported by the Optimus Vector conversion system

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

ASTM standards for new biofuels that are near the cost of CNG

Increased awareness of CNGs negative impact on the environment (while CNG is better than coal, is it not better than biofuels or hybrid solutions for vehicles)

OEM engine support for ASTM-standard, low-cost biofuel(s)

Nationwide network of ASTM-standard, low-cost biofuel(s)

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

If I could change one thing, I would like to have a nationwide network of biofuel providers that can provide B100/B99 or Optimus-grade biofuel as readily as gasoline and diesel are provided today.

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?  

I want to be part of the next generation fuel industry that develops a low-cost, sustainable solution for on-road use. There are numerous benefits over fossil-based fuels.

Where are you from? 

Born and raised in Chicago. Originally from the Pilsen neighborhood, not too far from the old Comiskey Park. Later moved to the north side where it was a bit of a challenge to be a White Sox fan.

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

I received a BA in Marketing from Northeastern Illinois University and a MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). As an engineering-focused institution, I felt IIT was better suited to my interests in emerging technologies and new product development. Most of my classmates were engineers, so we had some spirited debates.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

From a business perspective, I really admire entrepreneurs that develop a good idea; persevere in bringing it to market; and making it a success. I have been fortunate enough to work with a couple of great entrepreneurs in my career – Ed Kaplan (Zebra Technologies) and Roger Byford (Vocollect).

From a personal perspective, I have learned a lot about the importance of family and life from my dad. He was the youngest in a family of 10 and lost his father when he was 16 years old. He was a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools for 20+ years and has always been an honest man that people can rely on.

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

The right strategic partners can make a big impact in your success. I took a sales/business development role with a company that developed a great technology but was slow to gain market acceptance and generate revenue. I learned that you can accelerate growth by developing partnerships with organizations that could integrate your technology into their solutions and deliver even greater value to the end customer. By taking an approach where every party involved (the end customer, your partners, and your own company) all benefit – you can develop a complete solution-based approach versus one that is only focused on a singular product. This can help differentiate you from your competitors too.

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

I enjoy running – I have completed the Chicago Marathon a couple times as well as some half marathons and shorter charity runs. Training months for a marathon is a lot like growing a business – it is tough and requires a lot of focus and hard work. The reward is seeing the finish line at mile 25 and finishing – it is like landing a repeat order.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

How To Get Off A Desert Island in Six Easy Steps

Good To Great by Jim Collins

Anything about the history of Chicago

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

Biofuels Digest (of course)

Inc. Magazine, Fortune, The Onion

I recently finished No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos (the Bernie Madoff whistleblower)

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

I like visiting New York City. While Chicago is a big city, NYC is kind of like Chicago on steroids. I love the energy of big cities.

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Category: Million Minds

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