Natalie M. King, founder and CEO of Dunamis Clean Energy Partners.
Photo courtesy of Dunamis Clean Energy Partners
Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, LLC, a woman-owned MBE certified full-service leader in the commercial and industrial cleaning, lighting, and electric car charging industries hasn’t stopped paving the way for futuristic, clean energy ideals since the multi-million-dollar energy firm opened in 2012.
Dunamis prioritizes its customers in the manufacturing, government, and healthcare industries while reducing energy costs and giving back and protecting the very environment its customers and future workers live in.
Native Detroiter Natalie King, founder and chief executive officer of Dunamis, spoke to the Michigan Chronicle about upcoming venturing and navigating her way into the clean energy lighting and electric vehicle (EV) charger manufacturer path and why she chose Detroit.
Headquartered at 15101 W. 8 Mile Road, Dunamis features EV charging products including a Wall Mount Level II EV Charger, Pedestal Mount Level II EV Charger and DC Fast Charger.
The company also has smart charging stations.
“We are the first Black- and woman-owned EV charger manufacturer in this country and that is something I am really proud of,” King said. “And we’re going to be manufacturing here in the city of Detroit with city of Detroit workers.”
The Queen of Clean Energy
Before forming Dunamis, King served as co-founder, vice president and general counsel of J King Solar Technologies, LLC, a solar energy integration firm.
With over 12 years of experience in the green energy industry, King is also a licensed corporate and real estate attorney by trade, with 20 years of legal experience. She operated The Law Offices of Natalie M. King, PLC, where she managed a successful corporate, real estate and entertainment law practice. King represented clients in a broad range of public and private industries, including tier one automotive suppliers, nonprofit corporations, construction and facility management firms, health care service providers, municipal corporations, and sports and entertainment ventures. She was also an adjunct professor of Contract and Business Law at Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Liberty University.
King earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School.
“I was a lawyer by trade…from that, I wanted to do some entrepreneurial endeavors and cofounded a solar integration firm,” said King.
“I found a passion for it,” she said of how she found a lane in the green energy space without having an energy or technical background.
When that company dissolved (after running for a number of years) she wanted to continue in that space, for she had a passion.
“We [Dunamis] started as an energy efficiency firm providing energy audits, federal energy audits for commercial industrial properties. … One of our very first projects, when we began, was manufacturing a Toyota tech center in Saline.”
From there, the company continued in a “vertical integration model” in 2015 where she recommended ways businesses could bring their energy bills down using green energy products.
In 2018, Dunamis, which also manufactures LED lights, decided to venture into the EV charging space.
“It was definitely a spirit-led decision,” King said, adding that opening in Detroit was a natural move, although she was asked to move operations to other locations, which would have been more lucrative. “There are many, many whys as to what motivated me to stay in the city of Detroit. We had a lot of opportunities to move outside of the city. We would have gotten started a long time ago if we had taken those opportunities, but I was very clear.”
King said her intuitive voice kept her in the city she was born and raised in. Growing up on the northwest side of Detroit, she said that she believes in the city and she is “excited about where the city has come” and where the city is going.
She added that her company is part of the change when standing up against the impact of greenhouse gas emissions that impact disproportionately Black and Brown communities.
“We are those communities,” she said adding that over the next few years her company will not only be making strides in lowering gas emissions but also boosting economic gains locally, too. “A part of Dunamis’ core values and mission and commitment is to ensure we integrate community engagement in our operations, services and community involvement.”
Clean Energy Jobs for Detroit
Part of that means creating jobs.
“We are going to train them, educate them about this industry and have them make electrical vehicle charging stations,” King said, adding that her company secured an assembly plant near the old Packard Automotive Plant.
Kimathi Boothe, vice president of Energy Operations at Dunamis, told the Michigan Chronicle in an emailed statement that a conversation about starting the company with King began while having a coney dog years prior.
“I remember that conversation quite clearly… but everything since then has been a blur,” he said lightheartedly. “As with previous conversations that have led to successes, Natalie expressed an enthusiasm and conviction about the tremendous opportunity for us to have a positive and significant impact on the health, environment and economy of our community in Detroit and similar communities throughout the nation and around the globe.”
Boothe also noted that King’s vision, sincerity and faith resonated with his own and inspired their “ambitious beginnings” with EV chargers.
“I think our shared faith in God and our commitment to excellence translates to a faith and trust in each other, that is not only complementary but is synergistic,” he said. “I’m able to test the vision, and she’s able to challenge the engineering such that the results meet the high standards and expectations we also both share.”
Boothe added that a typical EV customer is looking for the best driving experience possible, “particularly with respect to convenience and reliability.”
“We know more and more customers consider environmental, social and economic sustainability as critical to that experience,” he said. “As for customers, our EV chargers are designed, priced, and configured to meet the economic and mobility challenges in [Black and Indigenous people of color] communities.”
From training and apprentice programs to continued education and engineering and management roles — “limitless” opportunities for growth are available.
“There is also opportunity for Black and Brown ownership and operations of EV chargers with a goal and path for building wealth in the communities where they live, and that are most impacted by greenhouse gas emissions and poverty,” Boothe said, adding that this year is already shaping up quite nicely for Dunamis. “We are very excited heading into spring of 2022 to be producing best-in-class EV chargers in the automotive capital of the world, for the benefit of the world and its peoples.”