Cielo Waste Solutions
Ticker: CMC.CN / CWSFF
Listings: Canadian Securitites Exchange / US OTC
Market Cap: 408 MCAD at time of publication
Share price: 1.05 CAD at time of publication
Industry: Converting waste to renewable fuel
Cielo Waste Solutions recently announced changes to the management team with additions of Lionel Robbins as Chief Operating Officer of Cielo effective April 1, 2021 and the appointment of Raphael Bohlmann as Vice President of Marketing. Mr. Bohlmann was the President of RUEI and has resigned from this position and remains only as Director of RUEI. Lionel Robbins has resigned from his role of CEO with RUEI .
Below you will find the interview transcript between ESG and Lionel Robbins , new COO of Cielo Waste Solutions:
ESG: Can you tell the investor community a little bit about your background for those who don’t know you?
Lionel: I was born and raised in Alberta, Canada, a 3rd generation of Oil and Gas industry families. Wanting to explore options outside of the O&G industry, I started down the path to a Science degree in Computer Information Systems but quickly realized that was not my calling, and landed in the retail automotive industry. Of my time in that business, I found my niche in the finance department and with that experience worked through senior and executive management positions to eventually start my own company in 2006. New start-ups and acquisitions proved to be my true calling, and over the next 14 years I took the role within my partnership to grow and expand the business in many ways. These included expanding into numerous other industries as part of our group. We bought a few existing hotels, and then built some brand new ones to create our own chain in Alberta. We acquired several auto rental franchises, and grew it into one of the largest independent owned franchise groups in North America. With all of the business growth came opportunities to get more into the commercial real estate business, and that had me managing large-scale new commercial builds. Within a decade we had grown our initial enterprise from 1 operation to over 20 unique businesses. My specialties included business planning and forecasting. I built custom training programs for the business (my computer training finally paying off!), and handled all of the financial modelling along with branding and marketing.
ESG: How did you originally find out about Cielo waste solutions ?
Lionel: It’s a great story, actually. I was introduced to Cielo a few years ago, as “a company with a great idea to convert waste to fuels, and they are just starting to get momentum so you should buy some cheap shares”. My friend and business colleague, Raphael Bohlmann was already buying shares and was telling me to keep an eye on them.
ESG: What made you interested in the company ?
Lionel: Shortly after I had first heard of Cielo, I was at a STARS Air Ambulance Board of Directors meeting, in Calgary, AB. (I served on the board for 7 years, just retiring this past fall). Raphael called me while I was still in Calgary that day, and suggested I change my flight home to a later flight, rent a car and head out to Aldersyde (about 20 minutes south of Calgary) to check out the new facility Cielo was building to take their bench model tested technology into a commercial scale-up model. I really had nothing urgent pulling me home that day, so I agreed, and met Don Allan for the first time while he toured me through the facility and gave me a true hands-on look at this technology. I was so impressed with everything I had seen, that when Don mentioned that Cielo was going to be looking to enter into some JV’s to get some full-scale facilities built across North America (and beyond), I flew home later that night and immediately started discussions with Raphael and some of my other business associates, including Eric Leslie, to be a part of this planet-changing plan. That was the birth of RenewableU Energy Inc., to put like-minded business people into a partnership to help fund Don’s plan to take Cielo out into the world.
ESG: What do you hope to contribute with for the continued success with Cielo waste solutions?
Lionel: I feel I bring a few strengths to the table for Cielo. The obvious one was the ability to help put the RenewableU Energy team together, to scale up the facilities. Remember that, at that time in history Cielo’s total market cap wasn’t even ¼ of the cost to build a single plant, and with the technology still not proven out in commercial scale, the desulfurization question not even begun to be addressed yet, and other factors, Cielo wasn’t in any position to attract investors or sufficient finance terms to build their own. Fast forward to today, and I want to take my experience in finance, business development and project management, and put that to work on the Cielo side of the equation to get these facilities built and fully realize the end goal for Don and the Cielo team. On the RenewableU Energy side, is a fantastic group of partners and business people, who are more than capable of fulfilling the commitments made from that end. My passion was to join Don’s team now, and put on my hard hat and safety glasses, and be an integral part of the team getting the facilities built and producing. As I said, start up’s and acquisitions are what I really love. Negotiating feedstock agreements, organizing project managers and construction teams, formalizing finance agreements and making business plans and forecasts, is on my list of duties now and I couldn’t be more excited!
ESG: I’m sure a lot of people in the investor community would like to know how and why you made the change from renewable u to working directly at Cielo and what is your remaining connection to renewable u?
Lionel: When we started RenewableU Energy, as one of the founding partners I wanted to ensure we set the company up to do our part of the upcoming projects. I took the CEO role with that intention, and through that position have worked closely with Don and the Cielo team. One of the asks we had when we signed the very first MOU (for Grande Prairie, AB, my hometown), was to have a single seat on the board of directors for Cielo, to represent our interests and help advance the goals of Cielo in any way we could. That board position enabled me to be even more involved with the day to day operations of Cielo, and Don then asked me to help out with Investor Relations. My knowledge of the workings of Cielo AND the JV side of the operations, would enable me to answer a lot of investor questions without having to run to others for help. At the time, we were still a pretty small company, with a handful of loyal followers so the task wasn’t too time consuming. Of course, as we all know, the investor and fan base has grown exponentially over the past few months and it quickly became a very time consuming job. At that point Don said he was ready to hire a COO, and suggested I apply for the job. I knew that would mean leaving my other position at RenewableU Energy behind me, but if you knew the caliber of partners I am working with on that end you would know that was an easy decision to make.
Lionel continues: I resigned from my CEO position at RenewableU Energy, to just retain my seat on the board and be a passive shareholder going forward. Ryan Jackson was elected as the new CEO later that day, and is already proving why he is the right guy for the job. I love having my investment and partners in RenewableU Energy, but as of April 1st of this year (2021) I had to take those other hats off and be the guy Don needed to have in his corner to look after the interests of Cielo and its shareholders. RenewableU Energy has their part to play in the growth and success of Cielo, and I look forward to working directly with Ryan and his team from the other side of the table to ensure they continue to play that part. Outside of our partnership with RenewableU, Cielo will continue to grow and advance our technology out into the world.
ESG: What do you see Cielo achieving in a 5 year period of time ?
Don has some big goals. He wants to have 40 facilities either operating, or under construction, within the next 5 years. That’s a big plan, but looking at the modular nature of our facility designs the ability to ramp up exponentially year over year is attainable. Those 40 facilities are just in North America, before we even start talking about global expansion, technology licensing, etc.
ESG: Fun facts Do you have any special talent we should be aware of 🙂 ?
Lionel: Well, despite being a “computer nerd” with a head for physics and math throughout school, I actually am a huge music lover. I have been a musician for 37 years now, and when people ask what I play I like to say “everything but a piano”! lol. Not to say I can literally play every instrument, but I’m proud of my stringed instrument collection (guitars, mandolins, violin, banjo, etc), and I am an absolute avid percussionist. Nothing helps blow off steam after a 12 or 14 hour work day, like beating on a drum for an hour or 2 to my old record collection!
ESG: Thanks for your time Lionel we hope to speak with you soon again!
Lionel: Likewise and thank you!
I own shares of this company personally.
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