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Piconi rings opening bell at New York Stock Exchange

 

Last updated 2/25/2022 at 11:51am

Village News/Energy Vault photos

Robert Piconi, who grew up in Fallbrook, holds the gavel which he used to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, Feb. 14.

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Robert Piconi rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell Feb. 14.

Piconi, who lived in Fallbrook before leaving for college and whose parents still live in Fallbrook, is now the chief executive officer of Energy Vault. The company's initial public offering was part of the NYSE activity Feb. 14, and Piconi was invited to ring the opening bell.

"It was just an amazing day," Piconi said.

Energy Vault stock opened at $11.50 a share. "There's a lot of volatility in that as you go public," Piconi said. "We're definitely going to see some volatility."

That day the Energy Vault stock peaked at $12.50 before dropping to slightly below $10 at the end of the trading session. The stock had a fluctuation of between 20 and 25% during the day.

"We don't really look at our stock in only one day of trading," Piconi said.

"What's really relevant is how we execute and deliver to customers," Piconi said. "That will show up in the stock price."

Energy Vault manufactures energy storage systems. Piconi is a co-founder of the four-year-old company.

"It was just an amazing day for our company to go public," Piconi said. "It's just really exciting. We're definitely ready for it."

Piconi lived in Fallbrook from 1975 to 1988. His father was a Navy surgeon when Piconi was born in 1970 at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. The family lived in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon until 1975 and moved to Fallbrook after Piconi's father concluded his Navy career at Camp Pendleton. His father retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and opened a private practice on Elder Street after having the building constructed across from Fallbrook Hospital.

The Piconi family includes six children. Piconi is the youngest of those six. The four older children attended Fallbrook High School while the two younger children attended St. Augustine High School in San Diego. Piconi was a La Paloma Elementary School student before spending seventh and eighth grades at St. Francis in Vista.

After Piconi graduated from St. Augustine in 1988, he went to the University of Notre Dame, although his college studies included a year in Italy. He obtained a bachelor's of science degree in Italian Renaissance Studies and a bachelor's of business administration in Finance and Business Economics. He then attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received a master's of business administration degree in Management Strategy Finances and Entrepreneurship.

Amoco was the Midwest affiliate of Standard Oil, and Piconi began his professional career with Amoco. His focus was on energy diversification.

Piconi then worked in the telecommunications industry. "I always wanted to get back to the energy because I saw it as such a critical area," he said.

His reputation drew the attention of Bill Gross, who had plans to start Energy Vault. "They had this new idea for renewable energy storage and he invited me to be the CEO of that company," Piconi said.

Energy Vault CEO Robert Piconi, with gavel, celebrates the company's Listing Day and Bell Ringing at thethe New York Stock Exchange.

Renewable energy such as solar and wind often generates more power than is used during generation hours, while energy use is often during hours when generation does not occur. Energy Vault uses a gravity and elevator system to store energy and send that energy back to the grid when needed. Piconi is a co-founder of Energy Vault.

"In four years to become a public company, that's pretty fast," Piconi said.

"We had to do a lot," Piconi said. "It takes a lot of executing, perseverance, fortitude, humility, and it takes a bit of leadership."

The proper team is also critical. "It really starts with people," Piconi said.

In Piconi's case some of the people who helped him build Energy Vault aren't involved in the company itself. "I leveraged a lot of past experience in large Fortune 100 companies," he said.

"All is very good. We have all the capital we need to fully fund our business plan and then some," Piconi said. "We can focus on execution."

Note: Energy Vault's stock was trading at $13.36 Friday morning, Feb. 25.

 

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