Joanna Patsalis was born in the US and raised in Cyprus. Her interest in technology piqued early. Brimming with ideas and intellectual curiosity, she was fascinated with how technology could transform the way we live, interact, and exist among one another

While pursuing her part-time MBA at NYU Stern School of Business, Joanna Patsalis joined FedTech, a programme that connects government technologies with innovative business minds. She began working with the Army Research Lab (ARL) to enhance and commercialise an innovative technology – high energy density power sources that are tiny, portable, and last for decades without the need for maintenance in the harshest of environments. “Radioisotopic power sources have an unfair advantage to current power solutions, which either need to be connected to the grid or require replacement,” Joanna Patsalis stated.

In 2019, Patsalis started Direct Kinetic Solutions (DKS) with the purpose of revolutionising the energy sector by providing reliable and long-lasting solutions across multiple industries such as Internet of Things and Space. DKS’ mission is to become the persistent power solution for future generations. DKS has secured a licence and Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (Crada) with ARL and has won several US Government awards and contracts with the Department of Defence totalling $3.7 million of undiluted funds to further develop the technology. Furthermore, Joanna Patsalis was recently listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Energy Sector.

What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
“My generation experienced a huge growth in technology that is changing in the last decade the quality of our lives worldwide. I am influenced by this new era of technological revolution. I wanted to be part of it, and to advance it to the next level. I want to translate the new knowledge into novel technological products that solve problems for people and make lives better. So, for me, innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of technological development is the way forward.”

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As an individual with a pioneering role, how have you played a key part in bringing about change, and how are these changes enhancing your potential for future growth?
“Today, and probably for the next 30 years, the major global issue is climate change because of carbonisation, not-clean energy, air pollution, global increase of temperature, ice melting and other factors. Clean and efficient energy sources are an approach to resolve this major global problem. As an individual, I wish to play a pivotal role in bringing new solutions for clean and efficient energy source, which will bring a major change for humanity, while at the same time providing very promising growth as an emerging new business sector in the economy. These are driving forces for me to grow personally and professionally, while at the same time addressing and resolving a major global issue.”

What does it mean to be a leader in your industry today?
“Scientists, entrepreneurs, and corporations greatly appreciate the societal and financial potential of exploring new clean energy power sources. Therefore, being a leader in this industry nowadays is extremely challenging. However, where there is a big challenge there is a great opportunity. As an entrepreneur, I find this challenge very fulfilling and meaningful.”

How are your strategic efforts preparing your company for a future that is more sustainable?
“The strategy of our company is to develop a new low energy power source based on the encapsulation of isotopes, which can be used in different sectors. The competitive advantages of these new energy power sources will resolve today’s problems of current energy sources, by providing clean energy solutions, no need for recycling, and provide energy for hundreds of years at steady levels regardless of environmental conditions, without the need of energy storage, among other competitive advantages. These competitive advantages combined with steady production will provide sustainability.”

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As a successful Greek Cypriot of the diaspora, you are an ambassador for Cyprus and Greece abroad. Did your Greek Cypriot upbringing influence your road to success in any way?
“Living away from Cyprus, it gives you an extra motive to try more, to work harder, aim higher, and achieve something much bigger. Being abroad, the challenges are much greater than being at home, and that makes you more passionate and demanding of your goals. You tend to be more of an idealist, aiming noble ambitions for people and society. You consider yourself as an ambassador of Cyprus and Greece abroad, responsible for elevating and promoting your country. These are major driving forces for personal and professional growth and success.”

In your opinion, what impact do diasporic communities have?
“Any success story has a positive influence on the diasporic community and the co-patriots back home. It shows that we can compete at top international level without any limitation. Our success can influence and inspire the youth and aim higher.

“The contemporary Greek Cypriot diaspora has a global presence and an overarching international influence. The Greek Cypriot diaspora today is highly achieving in many sectors internationally, showing that we have the intellectual ability and the drive, and given the opportunity to grow we can be very successful at the international level.”