Ann Marie Sastry
Engineering Professor, Lithium-ion Battery Expert
  "I think that the first thing is to pick a good problem. Pick a problem where you know you'll make a difference if you solve it."
About the Innovator

Ann Marie Sastry believes that engineering can change the world.  As CEO of Sakti3, a startup lithium-ion battery company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she is putting her belief into action. At the University of Michigan College of Engineering where she served as the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical, and Materials Science and Engineering and the director of the Energy Systems Engineering Program, she is training the next generation of change agents.

Sastry grew up in an environment that encouraged a love of tinkering and exploration. She credits her parents with teaching her to "never overlook an opportunity to learn from someone." At Sakti3, she has put together a diverse team of people "from all over the planet" who, like her, value the openness and freedom that America offers to take risks, fail, and start over. Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has called Sastry "a visionary who can make ideas happen."

Why She Innovates

Ann Marie Sastry wants to improve people's lives through technology. Her research is focused on developing a lighter and more energy dense battery that will make the electric car competitive. If she and Sakti3 succeed, then more people will have access to clean energy and the planet will be a little less dependent on oil.

The Complete Interview from
Ann Marie Sastry

Ann Marie Sastry is an engineer working in a highly technial field -- lithium-ion battery research.  However, there is much to learn from her approach to life. Her first lesson--Pick a good problem. As she says, "Pick a problem where you know you'll make a difference if you solve it."  Then divide your problem into its various elements and select a piece of that to work on.  Don't work in isolation and don't work with everyone who is just like you. Collaboration with people who bring different ideas and life experiences to the table is key. Sastry comments that she often asks job candidates what they want said about them at their retirement dinner, but Sastry herself has no intention of ever retiring.

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