Meet the Man Behind the EV Wireless Charging Revolution: HEVO Founder & CEO Jeremy McCool

Meet the Man Behind the EV Wireless Charging Revolution: HEVO Founder & CEO Jeremy McCool

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What happens when you have an idea for a start-up that’s ten years ahead of its time? Well, it helps to have conviction.

Jeremy McCool, HEVO Founder & CEO, knew auto companies would eventually want wireless charging, but it was at a time when they weren’t even really embracing electric vehicles. “I saw it as an opportunity that was different than anything else that anybody else was putting their energy into,” he says.

During Jeremy’s time in the U.S. Army, he helped Middle Eastern countries rebuild their power grids. It was here that he saw the true importance of power. The more auto fleets he talked to, the more he could see a need emerging — wireless charging technology. He started to observe what his few potential competitors were working on.

“I didn't have any resources. I was not an engineer. I didn't have money. I didn't have investors lining up, didn't have a team, didn't have anything,” he says. “I just thought, You know what, I see what these guys have. I think I can do better.” 

With that commitment, he’s making it happen today. HEVO is now partnering with one of the largest automakers. 

Tune in to this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast as Jan sits down with Jeremy to talk about the EV wireless charging revolution and what it will take for tech start-up leaders to break through the silos of traditional auto companies. Hear how Jeremy started his entrepreneurial journey as an 8-year-old (!) and developed his leadership qualities. 

Themes discussed on this episode: 

  • The importance of being able to influence a team as a leader
  • How having conviction helps drive an idea forward
  • How to get through to traditional auto companies
  • The challenges of starting a tech company in an industry where you have no experience
  • How efficiency and time management drive creativity

Featured Guest: Jeremy McCool

What he does: Jeremy is the Founder & CEO of HEVO, an electric vehicle wireless charging tech company. He is a U.S. Army veteran who spent 15 months in Baghdad following 9/11, and he applied the leadership skills that he learned in the military to his tech start-up, which has been at the forefront of wireless EV charging for more than a decade.

On leadership: “If you can’t influence people to join, build something together, to get online with your vision, to move on to the next steps and go through a lot of different phases of challenges and unforeseen things that you would never know about until you got there, then you're never going to do it. Because team is everything. Without team you cannot do anything.” 

Episode Highlights

Timestamped inflection points from the show

[4:05] Lessons from the military: After 9/11, Jeremy knew he wanted to join the military. He eventually worked his way up to U.S. Army Captain and spent 15 months in Baghdad. He shares what his service taught him about leadership.

[5:27] You’re nothing without your team: Being able to influence others to build something with you is one of the single best traits of a leader, according to Jeremy. He shares why team is everything.

[9:06] An 8-year-old business owner: Jeremy started his entrepreneurial journey early in life — very early. He was running a full-fledged business at 8-years-old, riding a paper route and providing lawn services to neighbors. He elaborates on where he got his entrepreneurial spirit.

[15:46] A conviction for wireless charging: Conviction, according to Jan, is authentic leadership at its core. When you’ve got conviction, you can make your vision happen — no matter your skill set. Where did Jeremy get his conviction for HEVO?

[29:01] Breaking through to the auto companies: When auto companies were still unsure of EVs, Jeremy was trying to sell them on the idea of wireless charging. He talks about what it was like going to Detroit for the first time and explaining his tech start-up to auto manufacturers. 

[33:36] Advice for auto industry leaders: Jeremy’s biggest tip for auto industry leaders is to coach the tech companies navigate silos. Traditional automotive companies can be difficult to navigate, so companies like HEVO need guidance to figure out the process.

[39:25] ‘The first of many’: HEVO has a partnership with a major OEM right now, and Jeremy believes this is just the start. More automakers are talking about wireless charging, and he wants his tech company to lead the charge.

[41:42] Why HEVO?: Jeremy shares how his tech company landed on the name HEVO. Brand identity and values played a large part.

[44:03] 21 traits: Of Jan’s 21 traits of authentic leadership, Jeremy says his top two are vision and accountability. Without those, you don’t have a focus.

[49:45]: Remarkable efficiency: Jeremy has a no-meetings-in-the-afternoon rule at HEVO. This allows more time for creativity and efficiency, something he prides himself on and helps him set his days up for success.

Top quotes

[04:44] Jeremy: “What I've also learned through the process of being a leader for 20-plus years now, in all kinds of forms, is that the more that you are able to influence people to do things that are positive, the more they're willing to subject themselves to doing things that are unique to them, are out of their bounds or out of the box of what they've ever done before.”

[07:59] Jeremy: “Set a vision. Create a mission and a purpose around it. Create values, and values that other people are willing to also get on with because the company culture is everything. You can build the greatest product in the world, but if you have a terrible company culture, it's going to destroy everything that you've built.”

[15:46] Jan:  “This idea of conviction — conviction to your beliefs — is quite possibly one of the most important leadership traits because people feel that. It's not something that you learn, it's who you are. It's authentic leadership at its core.”

[26:28] Jeremy: “I said, Wow, all right. These people figured it out. I think I can too. And that is the most naive decision I've ever made in my life, that one single decision. Because there was no way I should have ever thought that decision. I didn't have anything. I didn't have any resources. I was not an engineer. I didn't have money. I didn't have investors lining up, didn't have a team, didn't have anything. I just thought You know what, I see what these guys have. I think I can do better.” 

[31:58] Jeremy: “You can actually do something radical with technology today that you've never been able to do as an automaker. You can now become a technology company. And so many of them are moving away from the idea of even personal ownership of cars and thinking about the bigger opportunities.”