Potawatomi sees opportunity and responsibility in electric vehicle market


BizTimes Milwaukee: What is Potawatomi Business Development Corporation all about?

Randy Mueller: The Potawatomi Business Development Corporation was established in 2002 as the economic development arm of the Forest County Potawatomi Community. The Corporation exists to diversify the Tribe’s business interests beyond gaming to secure the future of the Tribe for the next seven generations and beyond. Our business holdings include PBDC Federal operations, Greenfire Management Services, Data Holdings, PBDC Travel Centers, PBDC Real Estate Group, PBDC Electric Vehicle Group and Wgema Leasing. We employ more than 1,000 people across the United States. In our efforts to build an economic engine for the Tribe, we are also acutely aware of the importance of supporting the communities in which we live, work and play. 

BizTimes: What opportunity do you see on the horizon?

Mueller: The Forest County Potawatomi Community has at its core an enduring commitment to the environment and building a sustainable and healthy world. As such, we recently created a new business unit focused exclusively on researching and deploying offerings in the emerging electric vehicle technology (EV) space. PBDC is actively establishing a set of commercially viable products and services that will include partnerships, joint ventures, and acquisitions. We believe strategic investing in the EV ecosystem will build a long term and profitable high growth business for the Tribe while expanding their footprint and commitment to sustainability. We look forward to collaborating with multiple strategic partners in the academic, industry, governmental and research sectors to build its platform of EV offerings.

BizTimes: Why are you pursuing this now?

Mueller: Electric vehicle sales in the United States have grown at an average annual rate of more than 40 percent since 2016. By 2035, some of the world’s largest automotive markets will have transitioned to selling only electric vehicles – providing both a glimpse of a greener future and significant economic opportunity. We’ve also observed a growing need for EV technologies across our subsidiaries and will position the new business unit to develop innovative solutions to meet these needs. We own, operate, and service a diverse group of businesses and expect to provide significant synergies pertaining to efforts in the EV market to our subsidiaries. 

BizTimes: What will the EV business unit deliver?

Mueller: The company will take a broad approach to its evaluation of market opportunities, including segments beyond charging and batteries. We are looking at enabling technologies such as merchandising applications, integration applications, software OEMs, and POS integration applications and integrators. This approach aligns well with other EV efforts the Forest County Potawatomi Community has already established.

BizTimes: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a business leader?

Mueller: The best advice I can share as a business leader is the importance of appreciating and valuing your team. They are your most important asset. Establishing a strong culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, personal development, and a sense of community is a critical success factor in business. It’s a challenging hiring market for every business sector right now and I am grateful we’ve worked hard to create a culture that helps us attract and retain talent.  

3215 W State Street, Suite 300    Milwaukee, WI 53208

(414) 290-9490    potawatomibdc.com    info@potawatomibdc.com

Randy Mueller has a long track record of success in leading technology and professional services organizations. Throughout his career, Mueller held various sales, marketing and general management roles across VC-backed startups, private equity held organizations, and Fortune 500 companies, including ATT, Dell Corporation and Hewlett Packard. He is a finance graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. He is also a CPA. Mueller owns six US patents on the development and deployment of internet networking services and SaaS applications.