April 23, 2021: Chris Pruitt, CEO and president of battery giant East Penn, was announced as the new president of Battery Council International ahead of the virtual convention held by the council on April 22.
He takes over from Dave Shaffer, CEO of EnerSys, who comes to the end of his two-year tenure at the post.
The new board of directors also consists of: Rick Heller of C&D Technologies/Trojan Battery, who becomes treasurer; Bill Moll from GS Yuasa as vice president, and Terry Murphy from Hammond Group as BCI secretary.
Other directors include Terry Agrelius from US Battery Manufacturing; Silvano Gelleni, Acumuladores Duncan; Thomas Bawart, Banner; Hal Hawk, Crown Battery; Jimmy Herring, ECOBAT Technologies; Brian Leen, Gopher Resource; Larry Keith, ENTEK International; Tony Moore, Clarios; Sergio Moura, Acumuladores Moura; Jerry Pyatt, the Doe Run Company; Jamie Surrette, Surrette Battery; and Dave Shaffer, returning from his presidency of the council.
“On behalf of BCI, we are pleased to welcome an impressive and accomplished group of leaders to the 2021 BCI board of directors to champion BCI’s strategic mission and goals for the year ahead,” said Roger Miksad, BCI executive vice president.
Pruitt, as with East Penn, has a long association with BCI — he joined East Penn as a financial controller in 1986 before becoming CFO in 1999 and president of the firm in January 2018.
Predicting the year ahead, Pruitt said he believed no single chemistry would dominate the energy storage industry and lead batteries had a very strong base for their use, however, he believed that large energy storage would in the end be dominated by lithium.
“Lithium is not going to go away,” he said. “Lead will be able to compete but in different areas of storage.”
Pruitt also reflected on the huge amount of regulatory and advisory work that BCI conducts for its members, saying that advocacy should not come just from BCI but should be part of the whole industry at a company, county, state and federal level.
“We need for all of us to participate and band together,” he said.
Pruitt, as per the ethos of East Penn and the Breidegam family, is very much involved in the local community. He is also on other industry boards including the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. He is also chairman of the board of the Wyomissing Foundation and on the board of Flinchbaugh Engineering.
He has received the Eugene L. Shirk award for Community Builder, the Sydney D. Kline award for Outstanding Community Service and the William H. Doran award for his work with the United Way. He has also been honoured by the Y,MCA for his community service.
Retiring president Shaffer said at the public handover at the virtual meeting: “The past year has provided unprecedented challenges, both personal and professional, for everybody in every industry. I have been incredibly impressed and proud of the way the BCI community came together to support our nation.
“Lead batteries played critical roles in ensuring that transportation, shipping, hospitals, and other essential services stayed operational during the pandemic — and BCI member companies and their employees demonstrated their commitment to serving those needs.”