“Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect.” A Conversation with CEO Marty Neese

Verdangy team picture with women and men. A Conversation with CEO Marty Neese

(Credit: Verdangy)

by | Mar 28, 2023

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Verdangy team picture with women and men. A Conversation with CEO Marty Neese

(Credit: Verdagy)

As CEO of Verdagy, Marty’s commitment to addressing climate change is evident in his extensive career – spending the last fifteen years in the clean energy industry working to make solar and now hydrogen the lowest cost, most economic, and most sustainable choice globally. He is a passionate advocate for the transition to a sustainable, circular economy with the goal of eliminating the concept of waste.

Define your leadership style 

MN: I lead with optimism – mistakes are an opportunity to learn, problems are a chance to make a difference, and defects offer room to improve. As my friends at Toyota taught me “problems are treasure” you just need the will and persistence to dig and mine them. At the end of the day, we are all here as a job, but in every sense – both on a personal and global scale – this work is going to make a positive impact. With this mindset, the narrative shifts to “I get to do this” and I wake up inspired to lead this team in some really meaningful work.

How would you describe the climate and culture where you work?

MN: In my opinion, culture wins over strategy every time. Engaged, motivated and joyful people can solve any problem. A purpose-driven culture, committed to unlocking the potential of individuals and the team, will see the best results. So, at Verdagy, we’re not only united on a shared mission, we also prioritize the building blocks of a strong team: employee welfare & safety, relationships & connection, and growth & learning. These are universal needs and when integrated into the culture of the company you can move people from satisfaction to engagement and to high motivation and the best expression of themselves as individuals and team members.

Define Sustainability in your own words. How does your definition of sustainability relate to the overall goals, values, and mission of the organization? 

MN: At the root, Verdagy aspires to catalyze a greener tomorrow. Within the scope of heavy industrial applications, our driving goals are to reduce LCOH and CO2 emissions while increasing hydrogen output. In the industrial landscape, equipment, output, and power requirements are all on a massive scale. Without large-scale, affordable clean energy solutions, this also means that carbon emissions from these operations are on a massive scale. Verdagy is driven to be part of the solution for the decarbonization of heavy industry. Our eDynamic electrolyzers are designed to maximize hydrogen production while reducing operating expenses – making green energy solutions more attainable and sustainable for industrial applications.

How have you, personally, worked to Align ESG goals and initiatives with your company’s value system?

MN: We ask all new employees to reflect on their “why’s” and the “why” for Verdagy as a whole. We all know the pressing nature of climate change and the need for decarbonization. But beyond that, we are currently seeing the most favorable conditions ever for hydrogen. Our team is here because they want to do meaningful work that makes a difference, and they see this potential in Verdagy’s technology. We ask everyone to come in with an “owners mindset” – acknowledge the role you play in bringing decarbonization solutions to the market and own it. And at the end of the day, waste nothing, and bring all resources, ideas, and opportunities to fruition because that is the only way to reach our full potential and give more than we take.

How do you infuse ESG into professional development for your employees? 

MN: We encourage everyone at Verdagy to invest in their own value. By becoming more knowledgeable about our company, products and services everyone has a chance to become more valuable and contribute to their ideas. We expect Verdagy employees to continuously invest in themselves, with provided resources for knowledge building, such as the Ellen Macarthur Foundation which is leading the transition from a linear to circular economy, powered by renewables. We also keep a library of learning resources that employees are not only encouraged to access but also contribute to

What major industry changes do you anticipate seeing in the next 5-10 years?

MN: I expect that petro-chemical and industrial chemical companies will replace grey CO2 emitting hydrogen production with clean renewable energy-produced hydrogen. This will be a huge step forward in decarbonizing difficult-to-abate sectors of our global economy. Further, I anticipate that we will see a very large shift to decarbonized steel manufacturing and the beginnings of complete transition to clean fuels for our heavy-duty motive sectors (rail, bus, and truck). There is a multi-decade energy transition underway and green hydrogen has a key role to play across many very large sectors.

Share three (or more) pieces of advice you have for new executives.

MN: Two of these are attributable to Toyota but they ring true every day. By way of simple slogans dense with meaning and subtlety:

  1. “Go See, Ask Why, Show Respect” – this applies to all facets of your company and the people who make things happen.
  2. “Problems are treasures” – this is the simplest way to build a learning organization with everyone having the ability to directly contribute and with an eye toward solutions.
  3. Create and reinforce the priorities: Customer, Company, Team, and you. If you lead and orient the “decision-making compass” of the group toward the Customer first and the individual last, decisions will be taken in the right way, with the right mindset, and with the right priorities.

C-Suite Profile

Mary Neese Headshot

Marty is the CEO of Verdagy, a green hydrogen electrolyzer company based in Moss Landing, California. Verdagy is seeking to fundamentally change the way industrial-scale hydrogen is produced in order to massively decarbonize the most difficult sectors of our global economy. Today almost all hydrogen is produced using a reforming process which creates 10X more CO2 than hydrogen. Verdagy is developing electrolyzer technology that will fundamentally change this equation and produce economically attractive green hydrogen at an industrial scale.

Marty Neese LinkedIn

Verdagy LinkedIn

E+E Leader’s C-Suite Series highlights advice, best practices, lessons learned, etc., from executives in the environmental, energy management, and sustainability C&I Fields. Over the next year, our readers will have the opportunity to view first-hand advice from C-Suite Executives across a variety of industries. The conversations will be informational, and personable. You’re sure to take away invaluable advice, strategies, and tips to help you grow as an individual, professional, and entrepreneur.

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