Industry Highlights Shared by BCI Chairman Chris Pruitt at 2023 BCI Convention + Power Mart Expo
The criticality of batteries has never been greater, and Battery Council International (BCI) is prepared to advocate for its members and rapid innovation during this critical era of essential energy storage.
“Our world is hungry for energy and energy security like never before. It’s going to take all of us working together to find solutions [that] help optimize it, conserve it, and sustainably store it,” said Chris Pruitt during his opening remarks at the 2023 BCI Convention + Power Mart Expo. The annual event was held April 23–26 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Pruitt, who is CEO and President of East Penn Manufacturing Co. in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, and Chairman of the BCI Board of Directors, spoke to the largest gathering to-date of battery industry executives at the convention.
Here are highlights of BCI’s busy year, as shared by Pruitt during his address.
BCI Leadership Changes
As BCI prepares to launch its second century in 2024, the Board is focused on ensuring a strong leadership team is in place to move the association forward. Pruitt announced that Roger Miksad had been promoted to President and Executive Director of BCI, effective immediately.
Economic Impact Study Underscores Relevancy, Essentiality
BCI recently released an economic impact study. Pruitt shared a few of the encouraging highlights that prove the industry is thriving and well-positioned for the future.
According to the report [compiled from 2021 U.S. lead battery industry data], the industry:
- Contributed a staggering $32.9 billion to the country’s economic wellbeing, including $13.7 billion in GDP.
- Supports over 38,000 jobs and indirectly supports more than 121,000 jobs across 38 states.
- Pays wages that exceed those of many other industries.
- In 2021, collectively invested nearly $113 million in R&D, continuing to innovate and discover new ways to improve battery performance and potential.
“We have [also] shown resilience in how we handled supply chain disruptions,” Pruitt added. “Our strong domestic supply chain has helped weather these challenges.”
He further reflected on the essential role the industry plays in powering the country. The industry has a U.S. manufacturing output greater than 165 gigawatt hours annually (206 GWh) across North America and remains the largest battery manufacturing industry in the U.S.
“There’s no doubt that the work we champion is critical – job growth, supporting U.S. decarbonization, closed loop manufacturing – these are all a tribute to our unwavering dedication to advancing our social and environmental well-being.”
BCI’s 100th Anniversary
While BCI is aggressively preparing for the future, it’s also celebrating its past. It will begin its second century next year.
“There’s no better time to honor the legacy of the oldest and largest, leading trade association of the North American battery industry.” Next year’s convention in Florida will include special activities and entertainment to help celebrate the milestone.
Powering Governmental Efforts in 2023
Pruitt also discussed BCI’s busy year representing the industry to government leaders. The association has taken the lead on significant regulatory proposals, including lead-related efforts at EPA and OSHA.
“Any one of these programs could have a significant impact on our industry, and BCI is working hard to ensure that any new rules are based on sound science and updated in a rational way to ensure industry can meet them.”
BCI also advocated for new and exciting industry opportunities on Capitol Hill:
- Using an experienced lobbying team to demand investment in growing strong domestic manufacturing industries – like the lead battery industry.
- Working with several BCI members and their representatives to support the introduction of the USA Batteries Act to eliminate the excise taxes on lead oxide, antimony and sulfuric acid. The taxes put the battery industry at a competitive disadvantage to foreign imports.
- Deeply engaging with the U.S. Department of Energy to stress the importance of lead batteries to the nation’s energy storage future. This year’s Innovation and Technology Summit will feature a number of BCI members as speakers.
Further Empowering BCI Members
In addition to environmental and regulatory impacts, BCI has worked to expand and improve member services. Last year, BCI launched the Women in the Global Battery Industry. It has already gained significant momentum. With 200 members, WGBI offers a popular mentor program, participation at international events, and diverse professional development opportunities.
Looking Ahead: Member Engagement and Industry Innovation
In closing, Pruitt shared his strong belief that BCI is leading with forward-thinking strategies to prepare members for change and challenges. He also asked members to increase their involvement with BCI committees, events and activities, all of which will lead to a stronger, unified voice for innovation.
“We must innovate faster, and we must have rapid advances in technology. That’s what will keep us at the forefront of our industry.”
He concluded by thanking BCI members, its board and committees for all they do and for making the BCI convention the largest ever in the association’s history.