Jonas Nilsson in Office: Reflections from our New CEO
With extensive experience after three decades in the engineering and technology sphere, Impact Coatings is delighted to welcome Jonas Nilsson as its new CEO. Jonas’ experience includes previous CEO roles and board positions at growing technology companies. He has been active in the semiconductor, automotive, and coatings industries. Jonas comes most recently from LiU Invest, the investment arm of Linköping University.
Jonas, what are your first impressions? How does it feel to assume the position of CEO of Impact Coatings?
It feels truly great. The foundation is already set – everything is in place to accelerate the development of Impact Coatings. During the last few years, Impact Coatings has shifted from a technology-first approach to putting the customers in focus, offering solutions to their problems. This shift has been made possible by high technological maturity, long industry experience, and local presence.
I am excited and proud to step in at this stage of the journey. For the last 20 years, I have been working with start-ups and scale-ups. Despite a short time on the job, I can already state that Impact Coatings is in a very strong position to grasp the considerable business opportunity that hydrogen presents – as an already existing market is turning green.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Jonas Nilsson?
I grew up in Kolsva just outside Köping, where I spent my first 18 years. In the early 1990s, I studied Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Linköping University. And since then, I have remained in the field.
My previous experiences include CEO and later Chairman at SweGaN AB, CEO of SP Devices AB, and R&D Director at Kreatel Communications AB. Most recently I was an Investment Manager at LiU Invest, the investment arm of Linköping University.
Today, I live with my family in Linköping. I love spending time with them on the water boating, and in winter on frozen water, alpine skiing down the slopes.
What do you consider to be the main strengths of Impact Coatings?
Impact Coatings has been around for more than 25 years. The accumulated competence and experience of the company is paramount. To be able to supply high-tech solutions at scale and reach a commercial breakthrough, a company needs a well-founded platform as its basis. As I mentioned earlier, Impact Coatings has everything in place. I also believe that the business and delivery models are key – as the company can cater to the different production needs of the customers.
Looking at the technology, Impact Coatings’ PVD machine architecture is very competitive and well-suited for tomorrow’s demands – especially with respect to the emerging market of green hydrogen. Its modular design, the ability to change the “coating recipes”, and the flexibility between producing coatings for electrolyzer and fuel cell applications are its main strengths. Altogether, this allows Impact Coatings to be agile and adaptable to customer requirements – which I find to be the competitive advantage of the company.
What is your view on the green hydrogen market? Where does it stand and where will it be in three years?
It is important to stress that the hydrogen market already exists. Hydrogen is used widely in the chemistry industry, for example industrially to make ammonia for fertilizers. Now, hydrogen is expanding into new areas including all types of transportation, powering houses and industries, for example, green steel production, and not least to generate, transport and store renewable energy. Eventually, a greater portion of the total produced hydrogen will be green hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is set to play a key role in the future energy mix. Its growth is independent of other technologies. Regardless of the speed of development, the demand for green hydrogen will be greater than the supply for the foreseeable future, as the full effect of investments is lagging. This creates excellent conditions for Impact Coatings as well as for our industry at large.
What does this imply for Impact Coatings?
Having a proven technology and commercial track record gives Impact Coatings a head start. With two Coating Service Centers already in place and a third one to be opened in 2024, we are well-positioned to quickly respond to market demands. This includes growing with existing customers as well as winning new customers.
Impact Coatings’ reputable customer list demonstrates the competitiveness of the technology, while Coatings Services (that does not require any CAPEX commitment) lowers the threshold for collaboration. These two aspects will be core in offering our technology at scale.
In more general terms, what will be the main areas for the company going forward?
First of all, we will continue to execute the already-started activities with our customers and with the operations globally. I have also set out a 100-day plan, focused on listening to the views and perspectives of employees across the organization, to eventually form my own opinion of the company and the way forward. Getting to know the team in Linköping will be the first step of this plan. Secondly, I will conduct site visits in Germany, China, Korea, and the US. Altogether, these experiences will be the foundation for the priorities for 2024, which will follow the overarching strategy and trajectory that already is in place.
What are you most looking forward to as you assume the role of CEO?
With a few days on the job, I have already met the team in Linköping and I look forward to meeting our colleagues in the other regions. I wish to form a profound understanding of the company from within and contribute with my competence and experience. For me, to step in at this stage of the journey is a luxury. The company finds itself in a fantastic starting position. I am excited to continue to build on the strong development we have seen in 2023, with the establishment of a new Coatings Service Center in North America in 2024 as a key pillar that will further accelerate the development of Impact Coatings.