Hub In Focus: Andy Marshall

Jul 18, 2023

An interview with Andy Marshall, Managing Director, Georgia Cleantech Innovation Hub.

Andy has been an entrepreneur and intrapreneur in climate tech for over 10 years and brings expertise in growth strategy, new product development and launch, and alliance building to the organization. His work leading product teams spans hard tech and software, as well as battery storage, solar, smart grid, and most recently refrigerants. In his spare time, Andy runs with the Atlanta Track Club and coaches youth sports with the Northside Youth Organization.

Tell me about the new role:

I see this role to be like a catcher in baseball. While the catcher is engaged in almost every play, the position is rarely the star.  Instead, the catcher assesses the situation, the hitter, the defense, and partners with the pitcher to make sure a pitch is called the best sets the team up for success on the next play. Yes, the catcher has to get very involved in certain plays (e.g. bunts, steals, plays at the plate), but making sure that the pitcher and defense shine is the primary objective.  I also see a catcher role as a coach that is also on the field. Our organization, like the organizations of the innovators that we serve, is building something new.  As a result, I will be out evangelizing, raising funds, creating new products and services, building relationships and teams, which are all the things that an innovation leader has to do.  Because I am playing the role of “start-up leader” as my day job, I will be able to empathize with and serve our customers and partners better.

What excites you about taking on this leadership now?

First, as an entrepreneur, I have looked to find opportunities where I could gain some leverage and to multiply my efforts. A special set of conditions exist right now in Georgia and the Southeast more broadly that will enable climate tech innovation to take off here with the right spark, and that is exciting to me. GACIH will act as the spark and take advantage of the momentum that has been building here for several years.

Second, having lived the struggles of launching new products, initiatives, businesses in climate tech, I am excited to bring products and services to innovators that will make it easier for them to take their climate-saving idea from concept to reality. I find something very satisfying about minimizing or eliminating the waste in the innovation process and it is something I want to be central to this role.

What is the growth story for GACIH?

As a private-public-academic partnership, GACIH aims to make it easier and faster to create new products/service, lines of business, and start-up companies that drive positive climate impact.  Therefore, our growth story is directly tied to helping our customers and partners to achieve their own growth and impact stories. I am a subscriber to the relentless “customer-first” approach of Jesse Cole and the Savannah Bananas, and if we build a cohort of fervent supporters throughout the climate tech ecosystem here, we will grow and be successful.  I was fortunate early in my career to be in energy storage at its beginning. At that time, every major player was working to create a market for storage in California, which ultimately led to the industry-seeding storage procurements at the major California utilities. In working with the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), a 501c6 advocacy group, I saw first hand how customer-centric ecosystem building efforts can be a force multiplier in driving innovation and market creation. There are a number of parallels between those early days in energy storage and today for climate innovation in Georgia, and GACIH is well-positioned to play the much needed role of ecosystem builder.

What makes Georgia great for climate tech innovation?

Of course, Georgia has world-class universities, an established base of Fortune 1000 companies, job creation focused policy makers, and experienced early stage investors; no innovation ecosystem exists without those pieces. However, what is more difficult to see is the innovators that make it all possible. In my experience this group is unique relative to their counterparts in other innovation hubs such as San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. Georgia entrepreneurs are humble, gritty, and collaborative.  They bring their lived-experience to find the solutions to customer problems, and to create organizations that are built to last.  These people, who are building their own companies or are innovating from within larger organizations, make GA a great place for climate tech innovation. GACIH strives to make it easier for these innovators to bring their climate innovations to market.

What is the best way for someone to engage with GACIH?

To start, follow us on LinkedIn; there, we will post information about upcoming events, share content, and highlight volunteer opportunities. We aim to inform, motivate, and surprise you with all that is happening here around climate tech.