Continuing an Automotive Legacy: Meet Steve Ivsan, Head of Program Management
At Xos, we pride ourselves on building durable and reliable vehicles and offering a comprehensive ecosystem of products and services to make commercial EV adoption easier. Beyond our trucks, we’re also focused on building a team of experts dedicated to their craft. This week, we’re welcoming Steve Ivsan to Xos, who will serve as Head of Program Management. Check out the Q&A below to learn more about his background and key initiatives at Xos.
Note: The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Tell me about your background, where you’ve worked in the past, and ultimately what brought you to Xos?
I’ve been working on cars since I was very young with my father, who inspired me to enter the automotive industry.
I worked for Chrysler as an engineer for seven years when I graduated college. The company encouraged movement into different functions and areas, so I started working in supplier quality.
I continued my professional journey into supplier quality and accepted an opportunity in South Carolina for a startup jointly owned by Navistar and Continental Automotive. I spent 12 years with Continental, working in supplier quality and purchasing.
In 2012 I got a call from Tesla. The prospect of working at Tesla was really exciting; this was something I felt I needed to do. I spent three and a half years at Tesla, where I worked in supply chain and helped launch the Model X.
In 2016, I accepted a role at Byton that would allow me to learn more about China’s electric vehicle industry and supply chain. I departed Byton to work for Rivian for a brief period as Chief Procurement Officer, where I built the initial purchasing, supplier quality, supply chain operations, and logistics teams.
My next position started in 2019 at Outrider, which manufactures autonomous terminal tractors and provides automated yard management systems. I was tasked with initial sourcing, finding a test site, and deploying their ERP system.
Before joining Xos, I worked for Lightning eMotors as Chief Procurement Officer in 2021.
What was your first experience with Xos?
I first heard about Xos from Mat Freiheit, who was a colleague of mine while at Byton. When I had the chance to speak with Gio and Dakota, it was clear to me they were looking for feedback and input.
For my next role, I wanted to have that combination of a stimulating environment but also values your experience. I’ve worked for many different kinds of people, so I tend to look for results-driven leaders who promote a healthy, positive culture.
Gio and Dakota are the type of people you want to work for: a high-performing leadership team with high emotional intelligence.
The ground-up architectural platform is here. When you’re manufacturing new products, it needs to be centered around ground-up architecture because you can optimize for electrification.
I also like the space we’re in: Class 5 through Class 8 medium- and heavy-duty. There are better opportunities for margins because you’re not competing with super mass production with passenger cars. There’s also clearly a business case for customers regarding the total cost of ownership (TCO). We’re not just electrifying for sustainability, which is important, but we’re also doing it in a way that makes sense for fleet businesses.
Lastly, the other key aspect is the know-how of building battery modules. If you don’t have an understanding of building batteries at the cell level, you will not be able to develop the best overall product. To know and have your own battery design is a huge benefit — and having that capability in-house is essential.
What are your primary responsibilities?
I’m mainly responsible for:
- Setting up the systems and processes to help the company build and develop a high-quality product faster and at a better cost. I’ll also help the company clearly define the product plan so we can focus on executing it in the best possible way. In addition, I’ll help create a clear definition of what our offerings will be to the market, so we can focus on the offerings that give the best return for customers and investors.
- Helping the company accelerate some of the key systems within the company. I expect that systems implementation will be an important driver of success.
- Defining the product plan, defining the product roadmap, and managing the programs within the company. I’m driving all facets of the organization to meet a common goal — from a cost, timing, and quality perspective.
Outside of work, where can people find you?
My hobbies are limited because I’m a workaholic (laughs). However, my wife and I love watching movies and spending time with our two cats.
My wife and I travel a lot. I’m an avid Peloton user; my health is a big priority. I also still love working on cars.
Adding Talent to the Team
We’re excited to welcome Steve to the Xos team and look forward to seeing the positive impacts of his leadership.
This post may contain forward-looking statements. For details, please see https://investors.xostrucks.com/forward-looking-statements.