The path of leadership isn’t something that one walks on; it is the path one paves for oneself by capturing the essentials of the journey and inspiring others around them. Akin to the above characteristics is Jody Paulus, who embarked on a distinct journey and is changing the world with his remarkable skills.
As the CEO of Europlasma, Jody has cultivated a robust and talented team to accomplish its mission and help its customer achieve the highest performance for its products, with a production process with the lowest environmental footprint.
Insights Success caught up with Jody in our endeavor to find “Top 10 Pioneering CEOs to Follow.” We talked with him to understand how Europlasma is providing ultra-thin functional coating for a cleaner world.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Europlasma. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I have a Law degree, but after five years of university, I realized I was never going to make a good jurist. Being degree educated and speaking three languages fluently, I ended up in sales in the financial services industry. After the banking crisis of 2008, I found myself out of a job in London and took stock of my life. What did I want to do and achieve? I realized that I wanted to be involved in technology that would make this world a better place; since then, I have been involved in technology that reduces energy consumption and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When the opportunity came to head up the sales at Europlasma, I jumped, as the low-pressure plasma technology Europlasma excels at has immense potential for the environment. About a year later, I was promoted to CEO, where I divided my team between managing my kick-ass team and global plasma evangelization.
Can you explain the technology?
Europlasma makes low-pressure plasma machines, their processes, and chemistries. In layman’s terms, plasma is easiest explained as the 4th state of matter; after a solid (like ice), a liquid (water), a gas (steam) comes plasma. Naturally, this does not often occur on planet earth, but 99% of the universe is in a plasma state (think stars, nebulas, etc.). Europlasma creates this plasma at ambient temperatures at very low pressure. Europlasma uses plasma as a way to change the surface of various substrates, which can be 3d objects or rolls of fabric. The change in the surface can be temporary to further process the material (bonding, gluing, printing, laminating), or we can apply permanent coatings, where we have dedicated coatings for filtration, medical application, and electronics.
Tell us more about your company and its mission and vision.
The mission of Europlasma is to replace environmentally with the far more sustainable plasma solution. In most traditional coatings techniques, water and or solvents are used to apply chemicals. The resulting wastewater then needs to be carefully purified or disposed of, but in reality, this is often not adequately done. Look at the PFOA and other fluorinated chemistries that er building up in nature. Europlasma’s coating technology is a dry process, so there is no wastewater to dispose of! Also, the number of chemicals we use in many factors is smaller than with other techniques. Our coatings are nanometers thick, typically between 20 and 60 nanometers. To understand how thin this is: your fingernails grow at 1 nanometer per second!
Europlasma also has a wide range of patented chemicals that can replace fluorinated and otherwise polluting chemistries, allowing for more sustainable coatings in a wide range of industries. Also, our technology eliminates the need for drying after or any other post-processing, so the CO2 reduction is up to 80%!
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Plasma Technology industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
The ECHA is currently reviewing new restrictions on the use of so-called forever chemicals and (the PFHx) and their derivatives. These intentions are great, but many industries are already lobbying hard to get exemptions, and in many cases, they make a good point. Currently, there is no other chemistry known that can add oleophobicity (oil repellency), and although not essential in many uses today (outdoor clothing, etc.), there are a few where oleophobic properties are vital. Think about air filtration, where we need to filter out oily particles that can carry viruses etc. Here instead of just allowing the old polluting industry, a real change can be made by banning the polluting process rather than the chemistry. If we can get the filtration industry and outdoor clothing manufacturing to gradually switch to different production processes like nanocating, this world could save tons of emissions, and millions of liters of potable water would no longer be wasted.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Europlasma?
Personally, I am hoping to complete my Global Executive MBA (nr2 in the world now according to the FT!) that got delayed due to the pandemic. I am also looking forward to growing Europlasma as a company and increasing our headcount accordingly. We have to grow organically against competitors with a lot of VC/PE investment, but I think this can be a strength as well. Europlasma is incredibly adept at doing a lot with very little, whether that is time, money, or people. This is a spirit I want to keep while expanding exponentially over the next 5 to 10 years.