Phil Bredesen is one of the most well-known politicians in the state, having served two terms as both governor and mayor of Nashville. Lately, though, he’s been focused on entrepreneurial endeavors.
On Monday, he was inducted into the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s hall of fame, and the Post caught up with the HealthAmerica Corp., Clearloop and Silicon Ranch founder.
With the recent announcement of Ford’s project at the Memphis Regional Megasite, Tennessee will be the largest electric-vehicle manufacturing state in the country. As a leader in clean energy, do you plan on entering the electrical vehicle battery or charging station market?
No, I will not be entering that sphere, as I am focused on growing Silicon Ranch. However, I suspect more out-of-state private entities specializing in electric vehicle batteries will be moving here. I will say, I think the legislature should look at spending money on infrastructure to support electric vehicles like charging stations. People wouldn’t buy cars if there were no roads. Why would someone buy an electric vehicle if there aren’t ample, convenient chargers in place? Right now, it's difficult for people with electric vehicles to travel long distances because of the lack of charging infrastructure in place and limited battery life.
In your opinion, do you think the influx of out-of-state investors will displace local investors?
I don’t think out-of-state investors will ever displace or replace the local pool of investors or entrepreneurs. Nashville is a big, small town. With deep roots in this town, I think its legacy players will continue to have an advantage over outside investors looking to break in the market.
Which was more difficult, working in politics or growing your companies?
That’s easy. Politics. Politics is a completely different world with a completely different set of rules, players and personalities. It’s not like being a CEO where you are focused on running the company and can make decisions more decisively. I will say, while politics is the more difficult of the two, it was also rewarding in a completely different, but good, way than entrepreneurship is.
Why do you like being an entrepreneur?
I am a creative person. Creative people like to build things. I like to build companies, make products, create jobs and watch things grow. I've done it a number of times and it never gets old.