Acclaimed as a great die caster, Tony Walsh was the leader of the “Michigan Mafia” who were supposed to build the batteries for Alevo. These people were picked by Jostein Eikeland but they apparently had no clue about battery manufacturing and the company kept failing to deliver on its promises.
At a shareholders’ meeting in December 2015 it was revealed that Mr Walsh was being paid $360,000 annually despite being far behind on the schedule to produce batteries. Indeed, in this video Tony proudly proclaims that Alevo will be producing 12,000 cells per day by July 2015! (at 09:29). At 13:18 he even invites people to “come back 3 years from now” with 2,500 employees producing 2 Gridbanks per hour and 200,000 battery cells per day. In October 2017 the facility was already in Chapter 11.
According to the blog post:
What Went Wrong at Alevo?The biggest single mistake Jostein made was thinking that it would be easy to go from the lab to manufacturing batteries. Instead of setting up an entrepreneurial group of scientists, engineers, and techies working together to get that first production line working, Jostein instead installed an entire team of managers. The bureaucratic drag slowed progress in every imaginable way.Alevo didn’t think they were tackling a big technology challenge; if they had, they surely would have equipped the lab first rather than last. It should’ve been driven by engineers and creative people. It was a terrible mistake to bring in in the top managers from Jostein’s previous magnesium company (sometimes referred to the “Michigan Mafia” within Alevo).There’s a mindset that goes with a manufacturing business where technologies are all figured out. Magnesium die casting has minimal technology risk: it’s mostly business risk. The founding management team were managing business risk, not technology risk.The folks who started Alevo Manufacturing also got off on the wrong foot with the German research folks. This got better when Jostein hired Alan Greenshields (currently CTO), formerly CEO of Fortu (the battery company from which the Alevo battery technology came). Alan was very much harmed in the takeover of Fortu by Alevo, But since he has was hired he has worked tirelessly to get the manufacturing operation working properly.
On alevo.com in December 2014 Tony Walsh’s profile stated:
Anthony Walsh is responsible for manufacturing operations and developing a highly experienced project team. He has 37 years of manufacturing and project experience in magnesium & aluminum casting, major sheet metal stamping, plastics molding as well as battery manufacturing. He served as COO of Meridian Technologies (2007-09) and VP for operations in North America and China. He has a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering, Professional Engineer Status from Ontario and Lean Manufacturing & Six Sigma Training.