MARIA THOMPSON:
 




 
 
 
 
 
President and CEO, T/J Technologies Inc., where she is responsible for customer, business and strategic development and assists in team-building. T/J has developed world-class materials for lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells that are on the cusp of some very exciting alternative energy technologies.


WHERE BORN: Michigan.

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “Probably my dad and my husband. My dad is an excellent doctor from U of M and St. Mary’s Hospital. He’s retired now but is still well loved by his former patients, colleagues and students. When Wayne County General Hospital was closing, he brought the doctors together to form a non-profit corporation, so that was my first view of starting a company. He later sold that company to Henry Ford Health System. My husband Levi, chief technology officer and chairman of T/J, is also a big influence and was the impetus for starting the business.”

LAST BOOK READ: “’The World Is Flat,’ by Thomas Friedman.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Creative. Compassionate. I guess I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about words that describe me.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “I think the industry has come to understand – and this is something we’ve been saying for a long time – that new materials are critical for batteries in terms of new markets and applications. Current batteries have been engineered to the point where you can’t get much more power or energy out of them without new materials, and the industry has realized that over the past couple of years, and so now we are getting much more interest in our products. For example, batteries are a roadblock in the mass commercialization of hybrid vehicles. Our technology enables high power, safe and inexpensive lithium ion batteries to be used in hybrid vehicles, in power tools and other large format applications. What’s unique about T/J is that we’re not a battery company, we’re not a fuel cell company, we’re a materials company, and we understand the tradeoffs that have to be made to make these devices effective.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I’d be lost without the Palm Pilot. I dropped mine one day and I was at the store that evening getting another one.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Anyplace with palm trees and a beach.”

FAVORITE HOBBY: “We like to travel. And we bike ride with the kids. We try to do that every evening.”

FAVORITE FOOD: "Chocolate."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m a painter. I paint portraits. I’ve done portraits of the children. I don’t have as much time to do it as I’d like. But both our daughters are good artists. Our youngest daughter is especially interested in art, and so we’ll paint together.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a great mom and wife and someone who made the world better than it was when they found it.”

At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.