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Praveen Penmetsa of Monarch Tractor and Motivo Engineering: “Be aware of product impact”

We need to embody to our children that we cannot wait for each and every person to agree on sustainability. We need to start doing what we can to increase sustainability and support people who cannot. As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, […]

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We need to embody to our children that we cannot wait for each and every person to agree on sustainability. We need to start doing what we can to increase sustainability and support people who cannot.


As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Praveen Penmetsa.

Praveen Penmetsa has over 18 years of hands-on experience in translating creative visions into products for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 50 companies. His formative years were spent building race cars and new mobility solutions under highly compressed timelines and in the last 4 years he has focused his efforts in Agtech solutions. He loves the creative energy that permeates the product engineering lifecycle, especially on seemingly impossible projects. Praveen is CEO of Monarch Tractor and Motivo Engineering. Outside of the office, you will find Praveen at the local racetrack with his vintage BMW.


Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?

Growing up I was always interested in cars and computers with dreams of becoming a race car driver and programmer. Fellow drivers were always complaining about how hard it was to be a race car driver, but I had the epiphany that instead of being a driver and programmer using the car and computer, I could be an engineer of cars and computers and control my destiny and do more. After having built electric robots and cars in early 2000s (pre-Tesla), I realized that we can build cars and robots that are faster, more efficient and safer to the driver and environment. These two epiphanies have shaped me as an engineer and environmental leader.

Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?

Environmental solutions can and should be better technical solutions, business-viable as well as sustainable. I have spent my life coming up with solutions that are great products and provide great experiences AND are sustainable. All of us have a personal connection to our food and food sustainability has been even more fulfilling than electric mobility.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

As an electric tractor company, our mission is a clean food ecosystem that is sustainable. So each and every person is at Monarch Tractor for farm and food sustainability.

We’re empowering farmers to go sustainable by eliminating harmful emissions and reducing the need for herbicides.

We’re also addressing climate change through the electrification of our tractors. Traditional diesel tractors produce roughly 14 times the emissions as the average car. The Monarch Tractor is 100 percent electric and has zero tailpipe emissions.

Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?

Be data-driven on actions. For example, these days our utility and water bills provide a lot of data of our consumption. Being aware is the first step to changing actions.

Support brands that have a sustainable mindset.

Be aware of product impact. Certain products have a disproportionally large impact and we should try and minimize our usage of such products.

Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview: The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

Sustainability should be a core value modeled by parents in daily life. Our children learn from our actions, not just our words. As the parent of a 3-year-old, I am amazed at how my son picks up from my daily actions.

Support the sustainability actions of our children. If our children are pursuing sustainability initiatives, it is not enough to cheer from the sidelines. We should join them in their actions.

We should educate our children on how global sustainability can have an impact on our daily lives.

Climate change does not affect global population equally. Our children can also do a lot to support the population that is affected disproportionally.

We need to embody to our children that we cannot wait for each and every person to agree on sustainability. We need to start doing what we can to increase sustainability and support people who cannot.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

Sustainability is a value that is increasingly revered by customers and they are willing to pay extra, especially if the product is not compromised.

Sustainability cannot be an add-on. It needs to be a company mission and permeate every aspect of the business, product and service.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My grandfather is my hero. He entered my life at all critical junctures to provide advice (sometimes stern) and support whether it was when I was going to college, coming to the U.S. or when I decided to start Monarch Tractor. He played a pivotal role in deploying the Monarch Alpha prototype in India and working with Indian farmers.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Already in the middle of it: Join the Monarch Movement and help create a food ecosystem that is safe, healthy for profitable for global farmers.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

Great ideas are ridiculed at first, then opposed vehemently and finally accepted as being self-evident.

Being a leader is about doing the right things for the right reasons. Its not a popularity contest and I remind myself of that every day.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/praveenpenmetsa

Twitter: @MonarchTractor

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