In the next few decades, Detroit and the rest of the US are about to experience a manufacturing renaissance. In a post-industrial world, local production of manufacturing products such as clothing, automobile parts, and furniture will overtake global outsourcing. From San Francisco to Shanghai, manufacturers have adopted a local, rather than a global, model, because of several factors: brand recognition, a local supply chain, and deep ties with city governments and businesses. Detroit, with its long history of innovation and manufacturing capital, is perfectly positioned to disrupt the trend of outsourcing labor to lower-wage-paying nations.
Operating on the third floor of TechTown, LithSafe is pushing the type of innovation in manufacturing that Ford would be proud to see. After close brushes with fires resulting from lithium ion batteries, former firefighters Ronald Butler and Gerald Flood decided to launch LithSafe in 2012. LithSafe is a business that will revolutionize the lithium ion battery safety industry – an industry currently in its Wild West stage of development. Many car companies, including GM, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, and Volkswagon, have already shown interest in their main products, a container and pod that can insulate lithium ion battery fires up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet, the motto of the car industry seems to be, “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it.” Since fires caused by lithium ion batteries have not reached a tipping point in national news, like mass school shootings or terrorist attacks have, no car company wants to be the first one to pull the trigger. Ron and Gerry are changing that through a combination of promoting awareness with consulting and training programs with car companies, as well as partnering with government agencies such as the EPA.
My role is to develop the supply chain and product ecosystem network for LithSafe’s pod and container. This role involves tracking the resources and partnerships that will maximize efficiency for LithSafe. By perfecting LithSafe’s business model, I am helping Ron and Gerry to deliver social good to both Detroit and the world. Through lithium ion fire prevention and awareness, LithSafe will add employment and buzz to Detroit’s community, as well as improve regulation of treacherous lithium ion fires. When Detroit has its second manufacturing renaissance, I’ll be ready. You heard it here first.