Lionel Selwood

CEO of Romeo Power

Management (Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow), Lean Six Sigma, Supplier Development, Strategic Sourcing and Product Quality Management. His experience spans General Electric where he graduated from the highly regarded Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) and owned Profit & Loss Responsibility as Manufacturing Shop Operations Manager of a High Volume Production Facility and three Fast Moving Innovative Start Ups (SpaceX, Faraday Future & Romeo Power) where he has held various Roles including Director of Procurement, Vice President of Engineering and Chief Operating Officer. Lionel holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University and MPS in Supply Chain Management from The Penn State University.

Where did the idea for Romeo Power come from?

Romeo Power was born out of a relentless Mission to Advance Energy Technology and Vision to End Energy Poverty.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Typically my day has already been planned the night before so a typical day is focused around 3 pillars. As the CEO of Romeo Power, I focus on innovation per unit time, operational excellence, and quality revenue from the business standpoint. The 4th and probably most important pillar is culture. My day is a combination of these four pillars.

We have a big board that is a landscape of our entire Partner Ecosystem. It’s really about identifying the short to medium term advances we would make in a 2-3 week period which ties to our longer term mission and vision. So I pull from that big board along with my executive assistant and direct reports and we plan to do that. You make it productive by making great strides towards daily execution of priorities as well as allocating time to learn and strategize.

How do you bring ideas to life?

You bring ideas to life by pure commitment and refusing to say can’t. That’s really how you do it. Along the way, there will be naysayers and people that say it can’t and shouldn’t be done but you bring ideas to life by showing tenacity and surrounding yourself with the best and smartest people in the world, and having a common vision.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The adoption of electrification across a myriad of industries. I see between 2020-2030 as the electrification decade, where Romeo is at the forefront. Our Partners know that electrification is real and they are excited to bring electrification of their fleets forward with our Technology. What excites me is everyone getting behind electrification; from a regulatory standpoint to fleet managers to OEMs all helping drive expedited adoption rates.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Have unwavering discipline. Days are chaotic and many things can change. Simple but powerful tips are wake up at the same time, keep the same diet and know ahead of time what you are going to wear so you make room for the tough mentally challenging activities which require your full attention.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To realize and understand the importance of family quicker. Especially as entrepreneurs with high potential, we tend to focus on our careers and everything else falls to the side. I would tell my younger self to better understand the importance of my beautiful wife and handsome son because once I realized that everything started to springboard.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I am Batman.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep your true north. Be 20 or 30 years ahead in your mind, body and spirit. Know what you want to do every day and remind yourself where you want to go. What that allows is when you can’t see the other side, at least internally you know its just dark clouds that you will eventually get through. Remind yourself to have your true north at the forefront and build your entire strategy and execution plan to it. Do this daily.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Going beyond the battery pack has really helped us grow the business. It’s not enough to just be a leading-edge battery technology company but really designing solutions with our fleet managers and customers in mind allowed us to design the best systems and most efficient overall solutions at the vehicle level. That has helped tremendously. Also, building partnerships at every level of the value chain. We have been able to build great Partnerships with ePowertrain Providers, Integrators, OEMs and Fleet Managers. We are deeply embedded throughout the value chain.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’ll give kudos to my wife. The best $100 I’ve spent is when my son started an investment portfolio. It resonated with me because growing up in Virgin islands we didn’t have that education. I had no clue what a stock even was. He’s 6 and is watching CNBC, he knows what stocks he owns, what stocks he wants to buy and why.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love the Books App on Apple phones. I really like it because I’m a paper junkie. I still have my books from elementary school. The Books App allows me to read white papers, books, etc. and I can quickly go there and pull things up.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Art of War. In terms of a strategic mindset and an approach to winning a battle, coming out on the other side of your true north, that is one of the best books in my opinion that you can read. One thing that I notice, when you read Art of War you quickly realize that a substantial amount of media/television are based on concepts within the book.

What is your favorite quote?

Dream big. Do better.

Key Learnings:

  • Along the way, there will be naysayers and people that say it can’t and shouldn’t be done but you bring ideas to life by showing tenacity and surrounding yourself with the best and smartest people in the world, and having a common vision.
  • Always keep to your true north.
  • Have unwavering discipline.