Community//

Stephen B. Gross of IPSC: “Don’t be afraid of failure ”

Ask your children what it means to be sustainable? Asking children to talk through their understanding of sustainability can help mold a generation that will think about the problem and help develop long-term solutions. I would like to encourage the next generation to explore science or engineering as a career path. To develop a viable […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Ask your children what it means to be sustainable? Asking children to talk through their understanding of sustainability can help mold a generation that will think about the problem and help develop long-term solutions. I would like to encourage the next generation to explore science or engineering as a career path. To develop a viable long-term solution, we need a team of varied backgrounds, including ethnic diversity as well as both men and women, to conceptualize innovative solutions. My third item is to demonstrate what sustainability looks like. It’s not a photo on Instagram or video on Tik Tok. The consequences of ignoring climate change and sustainability will not be solved in one tweet or with millions of “likes”. This will require dedication and education to be successful.


As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen B. Gross.

Stephen B. Gross has served the power generation industry for more than 30 years in executive management, project general management, business development and financial planning and analysis positions. For the past eight years, he has served as the president and CEO for IHI Power Services Corp. (IPSC), growing a fleet of five plants in California to a fleet of over 13 GW (28 plants) across the U.S. IPSC’s assets include renewable energy (wind, hydro, biomass), battery storage and simple and combined cycle plants.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m fortunate to have had some great experiences early on in my career that helped shape my future. In the late 1980s, the U.S. power industry was in a period of significant change as traditional utilities were required to open power generation to competition from independent power producers. This allowed power generation to become a true “business” where innovation and efficiency were rewarded. It was an exciting time where many of the old traditional concepts of organizational structure, responsibilities and expectations were changed. It was very challenging and rewarding to be part of this fundamental shift in the power generation industry and something that significantly shaped my career going forward.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

IPSC’s mission is to be the preferred provider of highly responsive, results-focused services to the power generation industry. We operate power plants (wind, energy storage, natural gas, hydro, biomass, etc.) for our clients, providing guidance and expertise. Ultimately, we operate plants entrusted to us safely, compliantly (including environmental stewardship) and optimally.

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 part of parent brand IHI Corp., we take challenges with climate change and sustainability seriously. As an example, IHI Corp. established a committee led by the company’s president as chairperson. The primary task of the committee is to build and operate a sustainability promotion system. Specifically, our goal is to contribute to carbon-free and recycling societies by providing optimal integrated solutions for each region and customer. One of our sister companies, IHI Solid Biomass Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (ISBM) was established in Malaysia to fully expand the manufacturing, export and sale of solid biomass fuel, or EFB pellets, derived from palm empty fruit bunches. Large quantities of EFB generated during the extraction of palm oil tend to be discarded and unused, resulting in soil contamination and methane gas release due to the high content of moisture, ash and salt making EFB vulnerable to rot. IHI established a method to convert and mass-produce EFB into high-quality, low-ash pellets, which can be used effectively as solid biomass fuel. IHI also developed and is piloting a system to treat palm oil mill effluent and a facility to manufacture pellets from discarded oil palm trunks in Malaysia. Both initiatives will help to utilize palm oil production waste and reduce the environmental impact of the palm industry.

(https://www.ihi.co.jp/csr/english/contribution/sdgsbusiness.html)

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?

IHI Corp. continues to work to reduce the environmental impact of power generation on society at large to combat climate change and address other social issues. We have policies to further refine the ideal direction of environmental management to cultivate new opportunities and pioneer innovative business models. In addition, we will also propose low-carbon and carbon-neutral business, using CO2 emissions throughout the entire life cycle of our products and services as a core metric. For example, in 2019 one of our environmental-related capital investments was to adopt independent air conditioning systems and replace old equipment for IHI plants and offices, which has led to reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

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.

Ask your children what it means to be sustainable? Asking children to talk through their understanding of sustainability can help mold a generation that will think about the problem and help develop long-term solutions. I would like to encourage the next generation to explore science or engineering as a career path. To develop a viable long-term solution, we need a team of varied backgrounds, including ethnic diversity as well as both men and women, to conceptualize innovative solutions. My third item is to demonstrate what sustainability looks like. It’s not a photo on Instagram or video on Tik Tok. The consequences of ignoring climate change and sustainability will not be solved in one tweet or with millions of “likes”. This will require dedication and education to be successful.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure — you learn more from failure than you ever will from your successes.
  2. Believe in yourself — informed criticism is valuable, uninformed opinions are worthless.
  3. Be a good team member — looking out for others is actually the best thing you can do for yourself. People will remember that you were a good team member long after they forget your achievements.
  4. Be as good a follower as you are a leader — understand the challenges your leadership team and the company face and work to support them.
  5. Never give up — you will be faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges at times and you will never know how much you can achieve if you give up.

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?

Very early in my career I worked for a plant manager who was a good leader and friend and saw things in me that I certainly didn’t in myself at that time. He encouraged me to pursue a career in power generation. He remains a friend to this day and I often reflect on the things he taught me many years ago.

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. 🙂

Free education for all and the commitment by all to make it a priority. Education is the great equalizer in a society and when you have those who are denied, for whatever reason, we all suffer.

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

“To whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been very fortunate in many respects and with that comes responsibility to others, both within the company and my community.

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

Follow me on LinkedIn at: https://bit.ly/3mXmnFy. Also, IPSC’s LinkedIn profile provides updates frequently here: https://bit.ly/IPSC-LI.

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Ali Al Kuwari of ‘Msheireb Properties’: “Experience nature together”

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

Women In STEM: “Why you should teach your children about how to use mass transit” with Alexandra Shadrow and Penny Bauder

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

“5 things we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment” With Ryan Mizzen

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.