Andrew Fox, a globally-renowned serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record of executing disruptive strategies across diverse industries, from technology and media to transportation and real estate. With over two decades of experience under his belt, he has made a mark as a visionary leader, always at the forefront of innovation.
Currently serving as the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Charge Enterprises, Inc., a NASDAQ listed company, he is driving the transformation of the electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure landscape. Through Charge Enterprises, he is making significant strides in supporting the EV revolution and creating a more sustainable future for transportation.
Beyond his role at Charge Enterprises, he is an active member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) and a co-founder of YJP.org. As an early-stage investor, he has invested in more than 40 companies, backing promising ventures such as AllThingsGood, Nutrafol, Li.me, Grow Generation, Thras.io, and SLic.
As the son of a union electrician, he took his company public to offer stock options to workers who install charging stations across the country, reflecting his dedication to creating a company culture that values its workforce and promotes shared success.
Follow Charge Enterprise on Facebook.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Recent acquisition of Greenspeed Energy Solutions
- Financial impact contributing to Charge’s overall mission and growth objectives
- Decision to take Charge Enterprises public and offer stock options to workers
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by on pay. Atlanta’s New standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor, Onpay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Andrew Fox with Charge Enterprises. Welcome, Andrew.
Andrew Fox: [00:00:45] Hey, thank you for having me. Lee Hope you’re having a great day.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:47] I am having a great day. I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Before we get too far into things, tell us about Charge Enterprises, how you serving folks.
Andrew Fox: [00:00:56] Yeah, so, you know, we have a great business model and I’m excited to tell you about it. But really, once again, thank you for having me. We’re at the earliest stages of the evolution and unique companies that build cars, new companies that build batteries. And you need companies that build infrastructure. We build the infrastructure, so we design, engineer, install and maintain kind of critical EV and telecom infrastructure to broaden the adoption of EVs. And, you know, it’s it’s a really exciting time to be in that business. It’s kind of like akin to being at the beginning of the cell phone industry 35 years ago.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:35] So now what percentage of folks have electric vehicles right now?
Andrew Fox: [00:01:41] Oh, it’s still very, very, very low.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:45] Is it? It’s not half, Is it 10%? 20%?
Andrew Fox: [00:01:50] Domestically? No, Domestically, we’re about 5%. 5.5% of all vehicles on the road are EVs. In Europe, it’s higher. But as you can imagine, this is once again, think about the origination of the cell phone industry. The cell phone industry started. Everybody didn’t have cell phones. Most people thought they didn’t need them. And so the same thing is kind of ringing true with EVs is people don’t know yet. You know, maybe their brand doesn’t have a high quality EV, But, you know, Tesla, for example, is the world’s best selling car in 2023. You know, they dominated the car industry. So electric vehicles are coming. It’s just a matter of, you know, we got 200 plus million vehicles on the road today and less than 5% of them are EVs.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:41] Right. But I think that’s going to be surprising to folks because there’s so much conversation about Tesla and electric vehicles and how it’s coming. But it’s just we’re at the beginning of the beginning. We’re not even we’re still on the early adopters pretty much on who are buying these things.
Andrew Fox: [00:03:00] Yeah, teams are just running on the field. You’re in the top half of the first inning with like one out. And the interesting thing is, is that like a lot of industries, it doesn’t the adoption doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a couple of cycles. And so, you know, being this early infrastructure is a key driver. You’ve heard people talk about range anxiety, like, hey, why would I buy an electric vehicle if I can’t find a place to charge it? And and then maybe there are early adopters who get EVs and then they pull into a charging station and it doesn’t work. And that doesn’t happen when you’re refilling your vehicle with gasoline. So what’s going to happen is is between kind of now and the end of the decade, we’re probably going to 5 or 6 x the number of EVs on the road. And it could be more it depends what report you look at. But there’s a report by PwC that says, you know, we’re going to have 27 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of the decade. Um, you’re talking about such tremendous demand for infrastructure and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m building that infrastructure. And, you know, locally in Atlanta, we do business as a company. Our company name is Green Speed and we’re very proud of the men and women that are in the Atlanta region working for us. But this is a nationwide problem. And the benefit of it is, is it’s going to be built by, you know, really solid in most cases, you know, union in some cases nonunion. But it’s going to be these are real great jobs that are being created to build this infrastructure.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:49] And this is one of those things where the charging stations, it’s going to take a rethinking of what recharging is compared to refilling your tank of gas. Right. Because the amount of time, at least now to charge it takes some time. It isn’t instant.
Andrew Fox: [00:05:05] And sometimes there’s so much friction. Exactly right, Lee It’s it’s this is the number one issue is, is that there’s friction for these early adopters and refilling their vehicle. And the the good news is, is that with EV sales up worldwide and this adoption kind of gravitational forces have started to take shape and consumer demand is rising. And so the infrastructure is going to be put in. We’ve got fast chargers now capable of refilling a vehicle from 20% to 80% in under ten minutes. And so what you’re going to see is, is and you see what this alliance that all the automotive makers in terms of the, you know, supporting Tesla’s charging standards, all this friction is going to work itself out when we get into the second and third inning and then in the fourth inning, it’s going to really start to kick. And we’re probably. In at least seven years away until the end of the decade. So we have 20 plus million vehicles on the road. Until you really then start to see the mass acceleration and adoption. And my belief is that this is probably a 25 year cycle to route through all of the combustible engines and and have the vast majority of automotive vehicles on the road be electric or hybrid plug in electric.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:36] Now, do you foresee that the concept of humans owning a vehicle is going to change as well, where like it seems like the younger generation, they’re not as excited about getting their driver’s license to driving. They’re very accustomed to ride sharing. Is this something that’s going to really accelerate when it comes to having electric vehicles where, you know, the cost of the fuel part is negligible and then it’ll become more you’ll see more autonomous vehicles doing these kind of short trips or for the young people where they may not own a vehicle in their life.
Andrew Fox: [00:07:18] You know, that’s a little outside of my swim lane. But here’s what I can tell you. As an American, we like freedom and we have open roads everywhere. You know, America is much different. We’re a car culture. We love our automobiles. Now, truth be told, self-driving is going to be safer and save tens of thousands of lives annually. And so I’m all for that. But I think there’s always going to be because of the way that America was built and how we are spread out, there’s always going to be a culture of independent thinkers who are going to want to drive their own vehicles. And and in certain countries and in certain cities, there’s a lot of validity to autonomous vehicles, especially in transportation deserts and and helping connect, you know, you know, areas that might have been harder to connect. But I think by and large, for the foreseeable future, while self-driving might be a feature that you have in your vehicle, you still want your own red vehicle or somebody else wants their own black vehicle and you want some freedom and independence to do what you want to do. And so while I believe that a lot of young people have the convenience of growing up with Uber. Um, you know, when you have your first job and, you know, you get your first apartment with your great job that you have or, you know, maybe it’s not a great job, but you still want that freedom of being able to go where you want to go. And I don’t think that changes so much. Um, and so, you know, that would be my take on that.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:58] So now as you build out the infrastructure for these charging stations and these partnerships that you’re building around the country, how do you attack something that large where there’s so little infrastructure right now? She just seems like a you know, you eat I guess you eat the elephant. One bite at a time. But how do you kind of prioritize what areas to go in and what regions to explore?
Andrew Fox: [00:09:24] Yeah, it’s a great question. We focus predominantly on solving big problems for the automotive giants. And so we worked on over 20 different car brands, EV Infrastructure last quarter alone. So to put this in perspective, every major automotive company has got an EV strategy and so we’re starting with them inside their 18,000 dealerships. And while we have other projects in other sectors, I think the key to success in any business is focus. And so we focused our attention on serving dealerships and our green speed division, which is in Atlanta, you know, has worked on over 200 dealerships in the southeast region. And so if you want to be successful and you focus having big customers like automotive dealerships is, I think, a great way to start. And remember, we delivered $698 Million of revenue last year. And, you know, in what is our third year of operations with, you know, a very small percentage of that actually coming from EV because the EV market is just evolving.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:37] So how do you work with the dealerships? Like, what are you doing for them?
Andrew Fox: [00:10:43] Sure. So as you can imagine, the only way that electric vehicles are going to be sold from a dealership is that the dealer is going to be able to sell and service an electric vehicle that’s fully charged. And so whether it’s a local Ford dealer or Cadillac dealer or Hummer dealer, each of those dealerships need to have a lot of cases, six figures of infrastructure put in just to be able to sell and service those vehicles. And so we’re putting chargers in the service center, We’re putting chargers in where they sell. And, you know, and some brands are getting very creative and wanting to offer public charging to their customers. And so as you can imagine, we have a lot of different projects going on. We’re also partnered with Georgia Power and they’ve got a program and, you know, we’re happy to be one of those, you know, lucky companies to participate in this program. But there are also the utilities who are getting very aggressive about EVs. And so, as you could imagine, utilities, this is a great opportunity for a new revenue stream for them. Electric bills are going to go up. And so the utilities are also our customers who we’re working with to put infrastructure in on their behalf.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:00] So now you see a sprinkling of charging stations at some shopping centers, some, you know, residential, you know, like apartment complexes, some businesses. Where are some places that you see in the future that are maybe unexpected, that maybe aren’t kind of obvious?
Andrew Fox: [00:12:19] Yeah, I mean, this is also, once again, I think has similarities to the evolution of the cell phone industry. Right now, they’re just putting them in places where, you know, it’s, you know, a critical amenity of sorts in a shopping center. And that experience is is really used to lure somebody into the store in the future. And we actually own a company called EV Depot in the future. If your prediction is correct, potentially autonomous vehicles will wake up in the middle of the night and they’ll go into these depots and recharge themselves autonomously. So that’s one area that I think that is something today we haven’t contemplated yet. But off highways, you know, A, B and C or, you know, off 95 and more rural areas, there might be opportunities to build what will kind of be the filling stations of the future and autonomous vehicles will wake themselves up. The Tesla rig that might be driving itself might pull in there and recharge its battery and and there might be nothing there but a parking lot full of chargers and and there’s legitimately no human intervention. It’s all automated and the vehicle just pulls in there and charges itself. And I think that’s one of many businesses that in the future are going to be realities, much like we couldn’t contemplate the amount of apps that we have on our cell phone today. I don’t think we can fully comprehend the number of business opportunities we’re going to be created around this EV space.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:59] So the charging is going to change from like right now, a lot of them are you have a nozzle of some kind that plugs into a car similar to the way we fill up with gas, but it’ll be more along the lines of where we can lay our cell phone on one of those round disks. And it’ll just so it doesn’t require, you know, an actual removing of something and plugging in, it’ll be you just roll over some sort of charger and it’ll charge that way.
Andrew Fox: [00:14:26] I believe that’s pretty accurate. I think we’re still, since we’re in the top half of the first inning, we can’t really predict how long that’s going to take to bring to commercial market. But I do think that that’s most likely a reality, that wireless charging will be kind of the norm. Now, the infrastructure still needs to be built into the roadways and into the asphalt. And but if I was a betting man, I think that’s the future today. It’s not practical, but I believe that with advancements, it is. And in some of the Nordic countries where they have access to hydropower and so they can afford to lose some of the power in transmission, I think they’re already starting to play with wireless charging, even in building into some of the roadways that can recharge the vehicle as it’s driving over the roadway.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:24] Now, you mentioned the partnerships with dealerships, utilities, but are you also partnering with municipalities?
Andrew Fox: [00:15:34] Well, every municipality, as you probably know this just living in the great state of Georgia is like its own country. And so, you know, with Georgia Power and Brookhaven, we have great relationships. I think in other municipalities the same. But each one is its own kind of relationship. And with projects going on in 40 states, you know, we have to work alongside lots of municipalities. And it is you know, it is one of the areas where we continue to see optimism in terms of bringing this to market. But there’s still a lot of red tape and permitting. And, you know, nothing takes two weeks to do. Everything takes, you know, six months to a year to do in most cases. Right. And it’s nice to have things, you know.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:24] Yeah. Things move at the speed of government, which is not the speed of entrepreneurs like you.
Andrew Fox: [00:16:30] Well, I never talk politics in business.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:34] But when you’re working with the municipalities, are you coming to them with a solutions that for problems that they may not see yet, or are they coming to you with problems that they need solutions for?
Andrew Fox: [00:16:50] I would think it’s a little bit more of the latter in some cases. I think that we’d like to be more proactive, but it’s it’s really not it’s not practical to be proactive when approaching certain municipalities. You just have to do the paperwork, check all the boxes, and then you’re in a queue. And because you’re number 215in the queue, even if you’re revolutionizing clean transportation, you’re still only X number in the queue and you’ve got to respect that process. And so right now, we’re just, you know, we’re respecting the process and cautiously optimistic. And in certain markets, as more and more EVs get on the road, then as the administrations in those local municipalities see the value in it, that, you know, some of the permitting that is, you know, a little bit more aggressive doesn’t need to be aggressive because it’s really still you know, it’s not a very challenging thing to get a permit through if, you know, you’ve filled out all the paperwork and done everything correctly. And so our goal is to just continue to work with every municipality.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:05] And what is their kind of point of entry? Is it like just charging stations at City Hall? I mean, is that where it begins or some version of that?
Andrew Fox: [00:18:13] Well well, maybe in the back of the community hospital for the doctors in the front, for maybe some of the patients at the post office, at the sheriff station, the small businesses want it. And and, you know, you got to figure out who’s paying for it. Right. And so that becomes an obstacle in the current administration. They’ve been very aggressive. And and I think that, you know, both the right should love EVs because it’s job creation and the left can love it because it’s saving the earth. But at the end of the day, like, this is just good business for all involved because of the economic impact it creates. And so the less friction to get there, the better.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:00] Now, can you talk a little bit about how you’ve structured the company in it’s very employee centric and its share the wealth kind of mentality that seems to be part of the values of the organization?
Andrew Fox: [00:19:16] Yeah, I’m the son of a union electrician. I’m proud that we’ve built a, you know, close to $700 million business in a short period of time. And I’m doing it with my workers who are my family and my partners. And so we decided to go public so that we could share with our team members and family members in the success. The good news is when it goes up, everybody’s happy. The bad news is if it goes down, everybody’s angry. And so, you know, you have to, you know, value kind of a long term plan. And our long term plan, since it’s only the first inning, we’re focused on on all this building. And the people who stay with us through the long term are going to see great benefits. And don’t think that happens oftentimes to blue collar workers or blue collar industries. And so it charge, you know, we’re trying to do it a little differently and see the the recipients of all this, you know, effort, not just be, you know, a few, you know, people in a room, but let everybody share in that success.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:22] Now, as a leader, how do you communicate that? Because a lot of like you mentioned, a lot of folks are very kind of security and safety minded and they don’t see or trust that there will be kind of a payoff at the end. And they they have been maybe taken advantage of in the past. So they have some scar tissue that doesn’t kind of open their mind to the possibility of really monumental wealth transfer to them. Doesn’t seem possible because it hasn’t been really happened to them or people they know.
Andrew Fox: [00:20:57] I mean, you know, Paul Williams, our CEO in Atlanta, uses a common he says, you know, I get banged up by the furniture and then I learn my lesson. And so, you know, we’re in the earliest stages of this. Um, we can only do what we believe is best for our team members, and that’s give stock options to them. We will have to work our tails off to make those options create value. And my commitment to our team is, is that I’ll try to give everybody the resources they need. Everybody gets a great salary and if the stock options work, it’s to all of our benefit. But that’s, you know, that’s the cherry on the cake and a little bit of the icing. The best part about it is, is you work with people who show you respect and pay you well. And and then the rest, it has to it has to take time. And it’s really hard. And only people who are really committed, who really want to be a part of a team and really do something different, you know, sign up for it. And those people usually will win, especially when they’re joining a team like we have. And we’re 425 people today. Our you know, our goal is to continue to grow the size of our business. But it’s, you know, every single person is important from our people who are, you know, down driving the truck to the, you know, to the chief financial officer and everybody in between all have a very difficult job to do because we’re only in the top half of the first inning of this. And we have to innovate and be creative and be nimble. But if it works, it’s going to it’s going to pay healthy dividends because it’s not just getting your paycheck, you’re getting stock options. And that’s the main reason why we’re going through this pain of being a Nasdaq company is because we want to share it with our team members. And that takes guts sometimes.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:01] Yeah. And but when you get an attract, the people with that owner mentality, I think a lot of times you get a better product. At the end of the day, you get a better result.
Andrew Fox: [00:23:12] That’s my belief as well. And I think that’s the most important reason to to join a company is because you want to make a difference. And, you know, that’s that’s what I’m all about. You know, I’m definitely, you know, eager to to work every day and prove it to our team members and to to all the people that are depending on us. And I think as it continues to evolve and as the adoption of EV evolves, the cream will rise to the top. And and that’s what I’m banking on for our employees and our stakeholders.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:47] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Andrew Fox: [00:23:52] Just continue to, you know, see the advocates talking about ev, talk about workers rights, talk about, you know, you know, we’re 500,000 people short in terms of workers and just in our industry. And so if anybody’s listening out there and you want to join a great company, you know, log on to our website, charge.us and and more importantly, just be good citizens of the earth. That’s all I need from you. I don’t I don’t have a specific ask. I think, you know, we’re always looking for great people in the Atlanta area to join the team. But, you know, my ask would just be that you have a blessed day and that your listeners know that there are companies out there like ours that are really trying to innovate, but at the same time take care of the people that are getting us there and not just, you know, the investors. And that message rings, you know, true to a lot of people. Then then we’re the great, you know, company to hopefully want to work with or work for.
Lee Kantor: [00:24:58] Well, Andrew, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Andrew Fox: [00:25:04] Thank you, sir. And, uh, appreciate your, uh, your audience listening in today and wish you a great weekend.
Lee Kantor: [00:25:12] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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