Team Interview: Kenshi Suzuki, VP of Business Operations and Board of Directors at IHI Terrasun Solutions

Kenshi Suzuki has joined IHI Terrasun Solutions from our parent company, IHI Corporation. He provides a key link between us and HQ while supporting us with his experience and business acumen.

How would you introduce yourself to the IHI Terrasun Solutions community?

‍I’m a serial expat. I’ve been able to live in many different places through my work at IHI Corporation, and I value the opportunity to work overseas while staying connected to Japan and IHI Corp.

That’s an interesting path! How did you join the Terrasun team?

I’ve been at IHI for over 20 years. Normally in Japan we start at one company and work at the same place for their whole careers, and I’ve been at IHI for a long time – but my background is unique in that I’ve moved around a lot within the different business units and companies within the IHI umbrella. First I was in finance; then I moved to overseas sales for boilers, where I stayed for over 15 years. Then I moved into the admin department within the boiler unit, also worked in arbitration and legal. In April I was assigned to move to Terrasun.  

I like to work overseas because the work style is very different from Japan. Decisions can be made more simply with fewer procedures, and it’s easy for me to understand company structure and work efficiently. I enjoy working in smaller units with more connection to my coworkers.

Where have you lived so far, and what was your favorite place?  

I lived in Germany for five years, in Shanghai for 2½ a year in Bangladesh, and one year in Houston, Texas. I like Germany best! Life in Chicago is interesting so far, but with COVID I haven’t really experienced anything yet. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the city.

What is your new role at Terrasun? What have you learned so far?

I have a mission in 3 parts:

  • Work on Terrasun’s financials - that includes working closely with our corporate parent, IHI Corporation.
  • Work on big utility projects. I’m working closely with Ray Saka, VP of Business Strategy and Services, to support our utility scale energy storage work. To get approval for large projects, we need the support of IHI Corporation. So I’m supporting IHI Terrasun through that approval process.
  • Support technical collaboration between IHI Terrasun and IHI Corporation. Terrasun has deep knowledge in energy storage systems, and IHI Corp has broad knowledge in energy management and power controls, so I look for the appropriate people at IHI Corporation who can collaborate with Terrasun for advanced learning and innovation. I’ve worked with many members of the IHI headquarters team for many years, and I’m able to provide a direct connection for Terrasun to our parent company, and help explain what IHI Terrasun is working on to our coworkers in Japan.

What is your first impression of the renewable energy industry?

I still need to study the technology! It’s a business that has a future, for sure. The boiler business is very conventional and traditional, but energy storage is very contemporary and modern. It’s an exciting transition for me. We have a great business opportunity and a chance to succeed.