Ian Clifford – Director, CEO & Founder of FuelPositive | Clean and Sustainable Carbon-Free Fuel

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About The Guest

Ian Clifford is the Director, CEO, and Founder of FuelPositive Corp. He has over 25 years of experience in the fields of technology and marketing and has successfully led the company to global brand recognition through its unique energy solutions. 

Since 2006, Mr. Clifford has raised over $50 million in equity financing for FuelPositive. He also co-founded digIT Interactive, a full-service internet marketing company serving Fortune 500 clients, which he sold at the market’s peak in 2000.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 03:46 — Ian Clifford’s origin story
  • 07:18 — What was Ian Clifford’s mindset while building something that had never been done before?
  • 13:28 — Why is there so much focus on battery technology in the EV industry?
  • 23:35 — Taking the idea of using ammonia as fuel to market
  • 29:48 — Ian Clifford’s vision for his company
  • 31:50 — Finding the right people to hire or work with
  • 36:02 — What impact does Ian want his company to have on the world?
  • 37:47 — Where can people connect with Ian Clifford?
  • 40:10 — The most significant challenge Ian Clifford has overcome in his life
  • 42:23 — One person who had a huge impact on Ian’s life
  • 44:03 — Ian Clifford’s book or podcast recommendation
  • 46:02 — What would Ian Clifford tell his 20-year-old self?
  • 47:30 — What does success mean to Ian Clifford?

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On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

ammonia, building, people, fossil fuel, fuel, company, systems, world, nord, create, farmers, real, business, produce, technology, incredible, vpn, blue ocean, positive, understand

SPEAKERS

Ian Clifford, Scott D Clary

 

00:00

What is up everybody I’m blading character and as always by my two favorite co hosts of all time and Matthew spine our and Theo ash and together we are stay hot the NFL is crazier than ever this season and

 

Scott D Clary  00:10

we’re gonna break it all down for you the only way we know how with detailed analysis bio takes amazing guests and ridiculous banter.

 

00:18

Stay hot is available wherever you listen to your podcast and on YouTube every single week. Subscribe today.

 

Scott D Clary  00:24

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the blue wire podcast network as well as the HubSpot Podcast Network which has other great podcast like socialite hosted by Steph Taylor socialite discusses all things online marketing, Steph Taylor answers all your business marketing questions, she deep dives into the nitty gritty of online marketing, content marketing, social media marketing marketing strategy for business owners. If any of these topics resonate with you, you’re gonna love the show, you’ll learn things like how to scale your brand on various different social media platforms. Some of the biggest mistakes you can make with your launch of a new product or service are the importance of nurturing and engaging your audience consistently. The importance of having your audience fully understand the problem you’re trying to solve and why it’s important to solve right now, as well as why growing audiences across all social platforms feels so hard. In 2022. You can go listen to socialite wherever you get your podcasts, or at the HubSpot Podcast Network at hubspot.com/podcast Network. Today, my guest is Ian Clifford. He is a director CEO and founder of fuel positive Corp. He has over 25 years of experience in technology and marketing. He has successfully led the company to global brand recognition through their unique energy solutions since 2006. Ian has raised over $50 million in equity financing for fuel positive he also previous to fuel positive co founded digit interactive, a full service internet marketing companies serving fortune 500 clients, which he exited and sold. Now what he’s doing at fuel positive is incredible fuel positive as a Canadian growth stage technology company making their name known because of their commitment to providing commercially viable and sustainable clean energy and fossil fuel alternatives. So they focus on technologies that are clean, economical, and build on what’s easily in place, the infrastructure that’s already in place. They’ve created green ammonia they’ve created environmentally friendly way to create ammonia as an alternative to fossil fuel fuel positive will affect the course of climate change through the practical solutions are implementing green ammonia and other solutions. Well, we spoke about Ian’s origin story, we spoke about his transition from photographer to tech CEO and how he got behind both the Eevee movement when he first built and sold a company that created electric vehicles way before Tesla all the way through to fuel positive and what he’s doing right now, what he’s been doing for the past past several years. So he spoke about his inspiration, as well as how to build a business in a space that is inundated with legacy infrastructure legacy products, and how he manages to basically create an industry a blue ocean, so to speak. So we spoke about some of the the lessons that he’s learned with fuel positive, how he’s taking it to market, how he is lobbying and working with government, how he’s working with farmers, how he’s marketing it through word of mouth, to basically change and shift course correct climate change through some of these practical solutions. And then ultimately, how he built a team around such an innovative company that makes sure that the company the vision and the mission is all successful. So let’s jump right into it. This is Ian Clifford, Director, co founder of fuel positive Corp.

 

Ian Clifford  04:11

Well, you can go way, way back in my life and look at a pretty varied path. But one thing that’s remained really consistent for me is, is a strong sense of environmentalism, a real appreciation for preserving this incredible planet that we’ve been destroying now, profoundly for the last century, and realizing that things, you know, have to change and if they don’t change now, as the youngest generation is telling us, we’re leaving a disaster for for future generations. And so it’s an imperative. It’s an absolute imperative. So, I mean, I can trace it back. You know, during high school and the end of high school, I was very interested in Photography. And I was really fortunate that I met one of Ansel Adams, he assistants back then and and he invited me out to Yosemite, to work with Ansel Adams, when I was about 1718 years old, and, and study with him and just learn about this incredibly rich history of preservation like this, what Ansel was beyond anything else, he was an archivist, like, he was taking photographs of, of landscapes and, and, and nature that that, in many cases doesn’t exist anymore, those views are gone. And, and it created an appreciation for how important it is to preserve and, and better our environment, globally. So and, and I can start and you know, people say, well, it’s so big, I can’t do anything. My attitude is, you know, every little thing that you can do makes a difference. And if we have billions and billions of people pushing towards change, pushing towards environmental change, it’s going to happen. I mean, it just has to happen, whether governments are doing it or not. People can make things happen. And that was, that was a real lesson that I learned from Ansel and, you know, he started he was one of the cofounders of the Sierra Club, they were looking at, you know, how do they preserve these incredible landscapes for future generations and, and of course, for wildlife and, and flora, flora and fauna, across the spectrum. So in that really stuck with me, so, so my career, my career really started as a photographer, I was studying photography in Halifax, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, another real appreciation of nature, because, you know, the east coast was, was at that time very unspoiled. There was incredible tracts of nature. And, and I spent a lot of time doing landscape photography, looking at looking at, again, looking at landscapes that were changing and contrasting those to urban development, which was, you know, kind of out of control, you know, and that was I was seeing that everywhere that I went in the world, there was just this sense that we just had to build and build and build and expand and expand and expand and create massive infrastructure, as opposed to simplifying things. So. So that really started me on on the path to where I am now. It’s taken a number of twists and turns along the way. But but that certainly is the basis of what inspires me today.

 

Scott D Clary  07:37

I was gonna say I love the LLVM. I love the origin story. I love I love what, what drives people. It’s interesting. So you were so you, you got into photography? When did you? When did you pivot that? Because you you’re capturing nature, and you’re capturing, you’re capturing the state of the world through an aesthetic and an artistic lens. But when did you decide, hey, this is too easy. I want to start building companies, I want to start doing something that is going to be the Wild West, I have to figure out how to do it, I have to build this entire new industry. It’s not like you’re a traditional entrepreneur, where, you know, you’re just taking a new product to market and you’ve already seen it done, you’re getting five or six iterations of that product, you’re doing something that new. So why did you decide to build something that was never really I’m assuming, when this started, never been done before? Nothing like it existed? And what was what was your mindset there? And why did you why did you take that first step?

 

Ian Clifford  08:43

Well, it went through a number of different transitions. And I was always kind of a little, a few steps ahead. In terms of what was trending. So my first big pivot was to move from sort of traditional photography into digital photography. And that was before anyone was even considering. I mean, it was before everybody was a photographer, and on their cell phones, so or whatever mobile device they were using. So I was I was already looking at a digital world. And looking at things differently from that perspective. And then early in the 90s. With the, the sort of the this little kind of hint of the internet, myself and several partners started an Internet Marketing Company, which was one of the first in Canada. We built some of the first commercial websites in Canada. So there was a real, just sort of looking at things where things were going, has always been a big part of my interest. So we built that company. We sold it back in 2000 to Quebec core, kind of at the height of the markets and and I really at that point was it reevaluating what I wanted to do next. And interestingly I had a fascination with electric cars for a long, long time. So In 2001, I started an electric car company in Canada. It’s called Zan Motor Company. And we built neighborhood electric vehicles, we sold about 1000 of them in North America made us one of the biggest electric car companies in the world. At the time. Again, we were totally ahead of the curve. So the adoption just wasn’t there. But I became really interested in energy storage and energy, battery technology, but also energy generally, and what sustainable with sustainable production and how to shift our concept of what energy is on a global on a global scale. And that evolved to battery technology that we are still commercializing actually, based based in Texas, interestingly, so that’s a project that’s still very much, very much active, we’re working with a group associated with NASA on that project. But about a year and a half ago, I became really interested in the idea of replacing fossil fuels. So it’s one thing battery electric is interesting. And battery electric is scalable, to an extent, but there’s a lot of issues around energy storage to begin with. And there’s a lot of issues around lithium and, and all the other the elements that go into battery technology today, it’s it’s high as a huge environmental footprint. It doesn’t have the energy density of fossil fuels. So I thought, what can we look at that will that will actually, in the near term, be viable as a replacement for fossil fuels. So I was introduced to, to a scientist and his team at Ontario Technology University, this was about 18 months ago, who were developing a green ammonia system. And I really didn’t at the time, didn’t know a lot about ammonia. I didn’t, my experience with ammonia was like most of us kind of, you know, that weird smell at the skating rink. thing with a refrigeration system that’s not working properly. So I didn’t understand the the scope and learned very, very quickly that that ammonia, as a technology as a material has been around for a century. 80% of it is used in agriculture as a fertilizer. And the industry that manufactures ammonia and has for for the last century is one of the dirtiest industries on the planet, in the sense of from an admissions perspective. So to produce a unit of ammonia in traditional processes is one of the most carbon intense manufacturing processes on the planet. So the idea that you can change that and and create a truly green alternative to the way that something has been done for a century was of great interest to me. And Dr. Abraham Dincer. and his team were, you know, were extremely forthcoming when it came to really educating us in terms of what the viability was. So that got us really interested, we did a tremendous amount of due diligence on the technology. April of 2021, we entered into a purchase agreement with Dr. Dincer and his team to purchase the intellectual property. And and since then we’ve been commercializing it. So this is a you know, relatively new endeavor. But we’ve got up to speed and an incredible pace over the last over the last 12 months. Interesting. It’s almost to the day that we did our name change from the previous company name to feel positive. So it’s really, really new

 

Scott D Clary  13:50

and moving quick. It’s moving like super, super quick. Yeah, no, no t something like, some provide some context, because of course, like you just mentioned, and you’re 100%, right, nobody really thinks of ammonia in the sense of this is going to be the future fuel source that’s going to power anything. I don’t think people have that concept. Most people have the concept of okay, well, let’s get it. Let’s get more EVs on the road. And that’s a great step. And why is you just mentioned a few things like, and I’m not going to, I’m not going to try and reiterate cuz I’m going to miss I’m going to misspeak. But why is there such a focus on battery and battery battery technology for certain carbon emitting vehicles and whatnot, like, like, like, and that’s what people are focused on right now. And there seems to be a wave of Eevee and you have Rivia. And then you have Tesla and you have all these other Evie companies and now you have these government mandates that are focused on EVs. So it seems like the rest of the world is focused on the thing that you were doing several years ago that you found wasn’t actually a solution to any sort of global warming carbon emissions problem. So what there’s a disconnect out there.

 

Ian Clifford  15:00

Yeah, and I guess I mean, you have to look at it from a number of perspectives. The reason EVs are viable, of course, is that there’s infrastructure, there’s a you can charge, you can charge a vehicle. We’ve all you know, we’ve all got outlets in our houses, we’ve all, for the most part have access to higher voltage systems for recharging and that sort of thing. Electricity is ubiquitous. When you’re

 

15:25

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Ian Clifford  16:32

it’s you know, in most in most in many cultures, not but again, not around the world. So And interestingly, because if you look at the numbers of vehicles, electric vehicles that are sold on an annual basis today, it’s still a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of vehicles that are produced and sold around the world. Not to mention the fact that there’s, you know, a couple of billion internal combustion vehicles on the road today around the world, spewing out spewing out emissions, greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying the environment around the world. So those have to be dealt with as well. The thing that isn’t again isn’t understand understood about ammonia is historically it has been used as a fossil fuel replacement. So there’s many examples during the Second World War, for instance, where fossil fuel there were extensive fossil fuel shortages. And engineers understood that in a internal combustion engine, the conversion to burn pure ammonia is relatively straightforward. It’s not unlike a conversion to burn propane or natural gas, for instance. So again, it’s it’s highly viable. But But and then subsequent to that NASA it was utilizing pure ammonia and oxygen as a as a jet fuel in the fastest jets in the world where we’re running on ammonia. But the reason it never had any widespread wide spread penetration was because you were kind of replacing apples and apples because the emissions to produce way ammonia was there was no advantage in that context. But with the advent of green ammonia, you it changed the whole paradigm changes, right. And, and the, the ease of conversion becomes very, very, very significant as a consideration and it’s interesting because, I mean, we have a lot of conversations going on at different levels within government and an advocacy groups and, and the awareness is growing on a daily basis. I mean, the rest of this week we’ve got meetings with with various various agencies within the Canadian government who are really serious about understanding the viability of this so it’s it’s going to happen and it’s happening I mean, it’s you know, I said we started this in seriously about a year ago it is it’s breakneck right right now I mean we we can’t grow this company fast enough to keep up with the interest so

 

Scott D Clary  19:03

I was gonna say so this is because that’s so now you because you found the way to produce this in a much cleaner way that’s that’s the IP that’s like the the secret sauce behind the company and that’s what was stopping ammonia from being adopted? Okay, so this makes a lot of sense now so yes, of course we there was a lot of infrastructure to support evey but of course now you have the now you have the production that can create ammonia with without much of a negative impact. So then this can then you start to lobby government then now all of a sudden the conversation revolves around looking at alternative fossil fuels and that’s when you have vehicles that could use green ammonia ammonia as a fuel source. Okay, understood. Very exciting so you’re so you don’t you don’t you don’t make it easy on yourself either. Like you you jump into stuff like like right at the like, like, it’s like bleeding edge stuff that’s like, you need to you need to build the production out Um, the production line, you have to actually lobby the government and then this, you’re creating your own market for this as you go? Well,

 

Ian Clifford  20:08

you know, for us, we’re taking more of a Tesla Model approach to this, because historically, you know, what happens. In fact, what very often happens is, you know, you’ll get entrepreneurs with really great ideas, they’ll bring the idea forward, but they won’t have a commercial plan, right, they won’t know that a lot. And I’ve seen it a lot. And I’ve done it, you know, I learned from experience that, you know, in order to make a great idea stick, you’ve got to figure out how to manufacture it and manufacture it efficiently and quickly. And with proper distribution and proper support. So that’s a big part of our build of this company is around around those capabilities. And knowing that we can scale this incredibly rapidly, and at a global scale. So one of the big differences to understand and how we’re doing things as opposed to how the industry has historically done things. Gray ammonia, or dirty ammonia has always been produced, sort of at a refinery scale production, right. So the ammonia industry is sort of has been tied to the oil and gas industry for the last century, because they, you know, their ammonia production has been entirely dependent on fossil fuel over the last century, our systems are modular and scalable, they’re small. They’re intended to be deployed with end users as opposed to mass, centralized production and distribution of green ammonia. So what we’re doing is giving initially farmers the opportunity to have a fuel positive system on their farm, utilizing renewable energy, it could be solar on the farm, it could be they could be on a on a renewable grid. Manitoba is a great example. It’s it’s, it’s all carbon free electricity, and very, very low cost, they can produce them in utilizing a fuel positive system using only using electricity, water and air, they can produce all of the anhydrous ammonia they need for fertilizer, they can use, they can produce enough to use for grain drying, so they can replace fossil fuels for drying, drying crops. And they can convert their tractors and combines and other implements to run on the ammonia that they’re producing. So a farmer who was who was an absolute hostage of supply chain and cost variability like insane cost variability we’re talking about in Manitoba farmer who was paying $600 a ton. For anhydrous, ammonia six months ago was paying $1,200 a tonne today. I mean, these are insane. And same with fossil fuel costs, right? And supply. So the supply chains are all screwed up. So what we’re doing is it’s not only revolutionary from a production perspective, but it also creates this independence for the end user. Right. So they’re, they’re off grid, essentially, they’re, they’re able to produce everything they need, to grow crops to produce it to run their equipment, and so on. And that’s, I mean, you can imagine the response that we’re getting in terms of interest, because I mean, farmers are one of the most vulnerable. It’s one of the most vulnerable professions on the planet. Not only is it the weather, but it’s everything else in the supply chain, you’re you’re, you’re deeply affected by. So what we’re doing is we’re saying no, you don’t need that supply chain, you you have the skill, you know how to work with this material. We can, we can make it for you on site where you need it, and you can control your costs. And you can control your supply and, and be remarkably independent. And so we’ve got, we’ve got a number of farmers lined up throughout 2022 for pilot projects. So we’ve got we’re building systems now that will be deployed throughout throughout 2022. And, you know, the proof is in the delivery and the proof is in the system working on farm. And that’s where we’re starting because that’s

 

Scott D Clary  24:17

that’s, I just want to take a second to thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. Now, running your own business means uncertainty is everywhere. So wouldn’t it be nice to have a CRM platform that just works a CRM platform that helps you provide a seamless, connected best in class customer experience? For too long, businesses have had to deal with managing point solutions that slow down their teams, frustrate customers and hit them with hidden fees, hub spots, all in one CRM platform has everything you need to do business, no hidden fees included with a connected platform that’s easy to implement and use. Your teams have all the tools and data they need to spend more time on what matters most creating remarkable customer experiences. Learn how HubSpot can help your business grow better@hubspot.com That’s the date the market. So I was gonna, that was gonna be my question. It’s how do you how do you actually market and sell something that nobody has a concept of so you’re working with, you’re working with farmers first, you’re eliminating any sort of variability of at least from from a field perspective for them. And that would be like your, your proof of concept. And then after you work with these farmers, you you, how do you sort of blow this up on a global level? How do you start to approach new partners approach new government agencies? Is there like a sales and marketing plan for that? Because I, I just find it incredibly interesting. selling something that again, it’s that blue ocean, so when I always think of blue ocean, I come from a software background. So if my questions aren’t that intelligent regarding like fuel and, and fuel substitution, I apologize. But I’m trying to I’m trying to navigate as best I can. It’s a totally it’s a it’s an incredible concept, but it like if you take it back to like a blue ocean strategy. from a software perspective, you look at Benioff and Salesforce, and when he was disrupting, like the Oracles and the Cisco’s. And he was creating the concept of cloud. And then once he created the concept of cloud computing, then he conveniently slotted a product into that, which was, you know, salesforce.com. And that was, that was a true blue ocean. Because at that point, there wasn’t really the concept of cloud, everybody had like a server sitting in their office somewhere, as opposed to using any sort of hosted technology. So that was one way that I’ve seen, and actually the that that story, that use case in the book behind me play bigger, and I love that story. But in a blue ocean like this, where this has been, ammonia has been an option. But it was never a proper alternative because of the manufacturing process. How do you how do you combine a sales and marketing strategy to take this to market to shift people’s perspective of what they used to know about ammonia so that you can eventually because any sort of fuel any sort of fuel company has to at some point, become become the become the de facto, you have to become the de facto source that people always look to? Because that would be that, like, in terms of your vision as a founder, that’s the way you’re going to have the biggest positive impact on the world. But that takes a lot of education takes a lot of, in my opinion, would take time. So how do you actually bring this to market? So that you do get that? That mass adoption of ammonia?

 

Ian Clifford  27:38

Yep. So no, it’s a fundamental question. So we started in agriculture. The reason is 80% of ammonia is utilized in agriculture globally, farmers understand how to work with it. They know the economics, they know the they know that any of the challenges to utilization. So there, they are the immediate market, and they’re huge. I mean, it’s, you know, for us to keep out, for us to keep up with just the 5% compound annual growth rate within Gray, the gray ammonia industry, we’d have to produce 100,000 systems a year, like and distribute those, that’s just to make that’s just to make up for, for the growth in the existing market. So that’s huge. And it’s, it’s an extremely networked industry, in the sense that farmers really talk to each other take care of each other, are, I mean, it’s an incredible social network. So our expectation is that as these systems go out into their into that market, it will spread like, you know, I’m not gonna say wildfire, because that’s a horrible analogy.

 

Scott D Clary  28:46

It’s not a great, great analogy, but I,

 

Ian Clifford  28:49

the idea being that it’ll, it’ll spread it’ll, and I’m not going to use viral either, you know, I’m limited what is our what’s happened to our language, but you understand what I’m saying that the the word of mouth in terms of understanding the viability and importance of this is key, at the same time, we are working on you know, very relevant partnerships as it relates to internal combustion, and that’s both new engine manufacturing and conversion of existing internal combustion engines. Again, well understood you know, not rocket science, emissions can be absolutely controlled and to the point where you know, water vapor becomes your own admission if if combustion is proper in the system. So, that then becomes the part of the sorry, the the part of it that is truly revolutionary here again, is the decentralized nature. So you can take for an example you can take a trucking, a long haul trucking trucking company, right, so they’ve got fuel depots across the nation, and their trucks run a regular schedule. There is no reason why those See those a company like that wouldn’t have a fuel positive system at every single depot, they’d have wind and solar generation, they producing their own fossil fuel, carbon free fuel in, in green ammonia and refueling their trucks. That’s that’s one example. Again, the idea that this becomes such a widespread, decentralized solution that, that provides for that independence. And I think this is something that we’ve learned, we’ve learned this through the pandemic, in the sense that we are so vulnerable to supply chain around the world, obviously. But also, you know, pricing and supply is controlled by, you know, conglomerate type companies that, you know, that aren’t looking out for you and I, they’re looking out for their, you know, for the interests of their shareholders in in a way that is not sustainable going into, you know, going into this, the next number of years and the next century ahead of us, we, we have got to figure out really intelligent ways of moving things down to a much more local level of, of, of supply and demand. And and this is what this system like ours, this is what it entails. And this is what it enables.

 

Scott D Clary  31:20

And where do you see? And what is your vision for the company? Where do you see it going? Where do you see the size of the company, do you? Because it is a blue ocean? Do you almost welcome competitors, because if you see competitors in the space, that means you know that you’re moving in the right direction, and more people are interested or what’s what’s your outlook for the next five years for green ammonia?

 

Ian Clifford  31:42

Well, for us, it’s going to be the growth of manufacturing and distribution of our systems. So we see them being deployed all over the world, quite frankly, we’re building them 20 and 40 foot container platform for the reason that they can be moved around the world where they’re needed, and then utilized on site. For for end user. This is a potentially hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue based on 1000s and 1000s of systems. So it can become very big very, very quickly. And remember, the the market that we’re displacing is a is an antiquated, centralized market, with end users who are desperate for change. So it’s it’s a, it’s a perfect storm in the sense that adoption around that kind of change. makes absolute sense. So getting government support behind this, and I’m not really talking financially, but more on just in terms of of stakeholder interest in importance in getting the message out that this is viable. And and this needs to happen. I think it again, it’s going to spread it already is spreading rapidly. But I think once the awareness once systems are out in the field, once there’s you know, real operational data on this, it will grow dramatically, and we’re scaling with that intent, we expect within the next couple of years will be an out of cereal production into a mass production type environment.

 

Scott D Clary  33:22

And then I would say just a question for the entrepreneur and me and the people that are listening, when you build out a company that is in such a novel, new industry, new technology, new IP, how do you how do you find people for your company? How do you find the right people to work with? Because this is this is this is mind blowing? Like this is again, it’s not something where you can say, hey, I would love if you had X amount of years in the green ammonia field, like doesn’t it doesn’t exist? Yeah. So how do you find the right people that can can make this happen?

 

Ian Clifford  33:57

So again, that’s a wonderful and really important question. And we build, we’re building the team based on the core values of the company. So this is about this company is about change. It’s about, it’s about honesty, it’s about transparency, it’s about all of the important values that we’ve clearly stated. On our website, in every, in every piece of communications that we create, our values are front and center. And that attracts a very particular and specific type of person, right? So if we’re selling, if we’re selling the opportunity on a value base, not just on a technical base, you know, it’s you really have to share the vision to participate in the company. So our hiring process is extremely focused on on on individual values and, and, and really building the team dynamic in such a way that we’re all you know, pulling in Very, very much the same direction. And interestingly, there’s a lot of engineers and scientists who are looking at this space now and have spent a lot of time recently in green hydrogen, which is a direct a direct component, of course of green ammonia. So there’s a lot of people coming through the educational system, who have an awareness and an interest. So, I mean, you know, we’re hiring actively right now. And the quality of candidates that we’re getting is extraordinary, like really, people understanding, you know, that this is mission and value first, and, and, and delivery of product second, and we’ve got, again, from a manufacturing depth and skill sets, we’ve we’ve, you know, we’re building the world class manufacturing team. So it’s all coming together. And and, and as I said earlier, you noted very, very quickly. So and that’s, you know, that’s a challenge in any company in our position is we’re going to be in a very, very rapid growth process over the next, you know, 1218 months, that’s going to be super intense. So, you know, our HR discipline becomes extremely important to build the right team as as we, as we, as we move forward very fast and grow very, very quickly.

 

Scott D Clary  36:21

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Ian Clifford  37:52

Well, I think that I think fuel positive should be taking this this position in history where the shift away from fossil fuel dependency is is viable, meaning that we can take an existing industry and and not shut it down, not chained not make it go away, in the sense that, that the automobile industry isn’t going to go away, that internal combustion engines aren’t going away going away. But the way that they’re fueled the way that we operate, changes dramatically, as well as throughout the agricultural sector, we expect that we’ll have that impact globally as well. Agriculture is a huge emitter of greenhouse gases on many, many different levels, and in many different aspects, that we believe again, we can take some of the core emissions and eliminate those quite frankly, and, and and create this this new and positive way of, of farming that that is sustainable. And we think we can be, you know, an absolutely key aspect of that. So I mean, those as two pretty fundamental legacy pieces, I think would would, you know, that would be that would be profound success for us, obviously.

 

Scott D Clary  39:21

Amazing, no, that’s great. Um, I wanted to, I want to pull out a few, like rapid fire insights from you and your career. But before we pivot, most importantly, where can people connect with you? Do you want to send people to social too if they have questions, you want people to go check out a website so any sort of links social that you want to drop go for it? So people will find Yeah,

 

Ian Clifford  39:48

yeah, I mean, feel positive.com We spent a lot of effort on our websites and and the depth and and it’s a very living site in the sense that it’s it’s evolved have been constantly, we’ve got a really, really active team, building that building that community for us. So that’s the right place to start. I mean, I’m easy to reach, I’m in it feel positive.com. So I’m very happy to take incoming inquiries. But on the website, you know, a tremendous amount of questions are answered and very, very active FAQ section, like, yeah, we’re very, very active. We’re a public company as well. So of course, from from that perspective, we’re transparent. So you can learn a lot about us in that context, that context as well, and social media is building. I mean, the real thing for us is, you know, as soon as our systems in the field again, as soon as there’s something to take a picture of, you know, it’s being it’s such a visual medium. Again, we’re going to focus very heavily on building that story, building community around our end users as well, I think that’s the stories. I mean, this is one of the things that’s so great about the people, and now predominantly farmers who are coming in who are who are really concerned about the environment, who are incredibly innovative in terms of the types of change that they’re willing, and interested in implementing. I mean, these are fascinating people with great stories and histories. I mean, you know, I would love if, you know, it’s one thing for me to talk about the company, but it’s another thing for an end user. You know, what is? What’s the real benefit here? What’s the real experience? And? And that, of course, that will that will, that will replicate itself dramatically as systems right? out in the real world?

 

Scott D Clary  41:43

Very smart. No, you’re 100%. Correct. Like when you when you start getting, it’s always great to create something new. But when you start seeing how it actually impacts the lives of people. That’s, that’s when that’s when it all starts to, like, you start to realize what you’re actually doing. So

 

Ian Clifford  42:01

that’s the joy, that’s the excitement, that’s the you know, that’s the recognition. I mean, you talked about recognition, that’s kind of the recognition of legacy is, is really changing people’s lives in a positive way. And, and enabling that, you know, being part of being part of enabling that is, I think, a real objective of fuel positive.

 

Scott D Clary  42:20

Incredible. Okay, so let’s, let’s go into some rapid fire, just pulling your insights from from your life. So first question, the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your personal or professional life, what was that? And how did you overcome it?

 

Ian Clifford  42:33

Because challenge I, it professionally has been get building the right team, right. So I’ve gone through a whole bunch of different teams in the over the last couple of decades, in terms of the different initiatives and companies that I’ve built and been part of, and it’s, it’s so essential to get the right people. So I mean, I’ve suffered narcissists through various iterations. And once the system has become this sort of this, this is the attitude is that it’s, there’s something normal about it, right? That it’s, it belongs in our, it belongs in our, in our psyche in some way. And I completely oppose that view. I think that there are so many people out there who are good, honest, team building, not driven by ego, that make the best teams and that’s what I’ve got today. In our company. It’s like, again, I this came from learning the hard way, you know, working with people who, who, you know, only cared about their own interests, and really didn’t have the team at heart and didn’t have the vision or values that were necessary. So that that is, that’s been the big biggest challenge. And the biggest learning, I think, through my entire career.

 

Scott D Clary  43:56

If you had to choose one person that has had a huge impact on your life, obviously, there’s been many, but pick one, who was that person? What did they teach you?

 

Ian Clifford  44:04

I think, you know, without getting too corny, I think my parents have provided a real beautiful basis for, again, humility and empathy. You know, they, they were able to listen, they really listened actively. I think that is, I mean, the skill and ability to do that, I think is really important. And also as a business leader, as well. I mean, you’ve got to hear people, you’ve got to be able to hear people and I just tell people, you know, and, and too many, too many people, too many entrepreneurs think they have all the answers. They’re not looking for any support. They’re just want to get their things done. Right. And they’re not, they’re not listening well. So they’ve had a huge impact. Of course, as a young person, you know, working alongside and in the vicinity, even in the aura of, of Ansel Adams, you know, created a real attitude. He was such a humble again, a very high humble, very funny, but very serious person and, and that had a big impact on me obviously as a as a young person, and I hope I’ve carried that sensibility through to where I am today.

 

Scott D Clary  45:16

No, that’s good, that’s good. That’s a smart, smart lesson to just the fact that to be open to learning and to be humble, and to know that you don’t know everything. I think even that that alone is something that can take a lot of people to the next level in their career in their business, whatever. Yeah, no, very, very smart. If you could pick a book or podcast or something that people should go check out, that you’ve enjoyed, that has impacted your life in some way, business or non business, what would that be?

 

Ian Clifford  45:48

Well, as a Canadian, you know, really focus on the entire Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network of information, I think there’s something about Canadian Broadcasting, and it could be I mean, you know, just from the news through to special interests, and so on. So many interesting things. I, I think David’s the work that David Suzuki has done over the years and, and his foundation today is, is a really, really important organization that, that provides, you know, such a broad analysis of, of issues globally, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times, through my career, he’s just, again, a straight talker, you know, direct to the point doesn’t get caught up in the in, you know, all of the politics of things, but it pushes through to the, to the key issues, I think that’s, that’s incredibly important. Another thing that we’re doing, we’re, you know, becoming involved in in the Aboriginal Business Association across Canada, there’s a real important application for our technology in remote communities, so to provide to provide energy and fertilizer and fuel and so on, in communities that are now relying completely on diesel to support themselves. So I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned from, from indigenous peoples across the world. In fact, you know, who have lived and breathed, these, you know, these incredible places that we now call home for for, you know, for centuries and millennia, for much

 

Scott D Clary  47:27

longer than we’ve been here. So,

 

Ian Clifford  47:30

yeah, drop in the bucket in terms of time.

 

Scott D Clary  47:35

If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would that be?

 

Ian Clifford  47:40

Um, it’s a really good question, I would say, I would probably say, you know, probably slow down a little bit, you know, appreciate things a little bit more, I, as a 20 year old, I couldn’t move fast enough, you know, through things, and this had a good good element, and that I was trying to always sort of be ahead of the head of things, which is great, but I, I don’t think I kind of slowed down enough to, to appreciate things. I was lucky as a young person to travel a lot, I would, I wouldn’t say to any 20 year old, you know, get out in if you can, if you have any means, you know, get out to see your country, but, but if you can travel anywhere in the world, and you know, COVID notwithstanding, you know, see this planet, because it gives you such a different appreciation for what it is that we’re all working for here, especially, you know, from an environmental perspective, the more I mean, the great thing today that didn’t exist, then of course, is is is social media and the ability and, you know, Google Earth, you can literally explore the world, but, you know, to get out there to learn about new cultures and different cultures and be accepting, not tolerant, I hate the word tolerant to be an accepting person. And I’ve tried to live my life that way as well.

 

Scott D Clary  49:03

And then last question, what does success mean to you?

 

Ian Clifford  49:07

happiness, peace, calm. Yeah. Balance, you know, the, just that whole sense that, that everything, everything feels right, you know, that that to me is that’s that’s success. And that involves everything from you know, every aspect of our lives if you can, if you feel happiness. You’re You’re so far ahead of most people in the world. And it’s, it’s a real, it’s, that’s my ultimate goal is to feel happy with my life and to feel that I’ve really contributed in some meaningful way.

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