CEO Profile: Chris Ball, TGOOD Australia
“Over the next 10 years, it is going to be interesting to see how major market leaders will be challenged by new emerging companies that are allowed to think differently than the ‘way it has always been done,’” said TGOOD Australia’s CEO Chris Ball.
Claiming one of the spots as a “major market leader” is TGOOD Global, the No. 1 prefabricated electric power solutions corporation in the domestic Chinese market. As part of its parent company TGOOD Global, TGOOD Australia is able to provide customers with fast and cost-effective power transmission and distribution solutions throughout the region.
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The company asked Ball to join the team as TGOOD Australia’s CEO in June 2015, an opportunity that was quite well-timed. As the energy industry continues to grow, the anticipation of being able to help shape this growth with a global presence is nothing short of exciting.
“I think we are in the middle of a major shift in what roles organisations will perform in the energy industry,” said Ball. “Operators, end users, suppliers and EPCs all make up the mix of delivering projects; however, the clearly defined boundaries of expertise do not exist anymore.”
A new path in energy
Being offered the position of CEO at TGOOD Australia also made sense for the progression of Ball’s career within the energy sector: With an unblemished reputation and incomparable market reach, the brand was a natural fit for the leader.
After spending six years in account management and sales for the food and beverage industry, Ball joined Shell Australia, where he was first introduced to the “downstream” world of energy, i.e., the commercial trading and selling of energy.
But the ambitious CEO wanted more.
“I wanted to round-out my industry and market knowledge by moving to upstream/project side of the market,” he explained when discussing the role that followed: sales director for Australia and New Zealand industrial solutions at GE Energy.
From there, Ball joined Siemens as the national sales lead, first in the power distribution division and then in energy management before making the transition to TGOOD Australia.
Global presence at a local level
Founded in 2004 by a team of German and Chinese engineers, TGOOD Global’s rapid expansion of power solutions into various verticals has been a focal point of the strategic growth plan from the beginning.
After becoming the first company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2009, TGOOD Global expanded operations to become a worldwide presence: In 2014, TGOOD North America was established as a global engineering centre, with Hong Kong as a hub for globalisation. By 2015, the corporation placed regional headquarters in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Central Asia and South America.
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“Globalisation has always been in the German-Chinese joint venture vision; however, the first milestone was a successful model in a very competitive Chinese market,” Ball said. “The executive board now feels like that can be expanded.”
Taking a customer-centric approach
Establishing a presence in these new territories also aligns with the customer-centric attitude practiced by both the corporation as well as Ball himself.
“The industry has often seen different suppliers try to sell from a global headquarters, but few actually regionalise their business. TGOOD Global realised that to move to the global platform, [we would] need to regionalise with local companies and employees, and listen to the customers on a local level.”
According to Ball, every customer deserves to have expectations exceeded, a value that he shares with the TGOOD team, and one that he is able to expand at an even larger level in his new role.
“I have mostly worked in large multi-national companies with all of their varying internal complexities—during that time, I have always been connected to the customers, and the main message is always the same: Customers are looking for quality suppliers to listen, be responsive and provide cost-effective equipment that meets their needs. I believe TGOOD has the DNA to offer this on a global and regional platform.”
Leading by example
In addition to his experience with strategic management and power distribution, Ball’s approach toward leadership and fundamental core values align well with TGOOD Australia’s corporate culture—and for the latter, one stands out among the rest: integrity.
“Without integrity, all the other values are meaningless. This is very much consistent with my own values—if you can continue to be good to your word with employees and customers, partnerships can flourish,” he said.
“Generally, I can only inspire people if I am passionate about something,” Ball continued, “and I think people can only be inspired if there is alignment of personal and professional values and beliefs.”
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As a manager, Ball prides himself on his ability to adapt leadership styles based on an employee’s individual personality and needs—and he is quick to give credit to those who came before him.
“I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some very talented people who have helped coach and mentor me, support me through tough times, and work with me and others as a team to achieve some special results.”
Likewise, when asked how his prior roles helped prepare him for this new venture, he was quick to give credit back to this previous experience.
“I have a lot of respect for the companies that I have worked for—they have their own unique strengths that they have offered and contributed to help me prepare for my current role at TGOOD,” he explained.
“It is this experience that I continually try to give back to the people with whom I work.”
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere