THE MODERN JETSON
It’s a bio designed to give superheroes a complex.
He’s a former Navy SEAL who went on to found a technology company, San Francisco Science; acquired a law degree; holds post-graduate qualifications in German socio-economics from Germany and comparative constitutional law from Mexio; is a fellow of the New York and California Bar Associations; and an Associate Fellow and faculty member at Oxford University’s Saïd Graduate School of Business.
But don’t for a moment think we’re finished.
Gerald Jay (‘Jerry’) Sanders is also the subject of a popular Harvard Business School case study on entrepreneurship (The Jerry Sanders Case), which is taught at the graduate business schools of Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Virginia, Kellogg, Cornell, UC and MIT.
However it is as Chairman and CEO of SkyTran Inc – a cutting-edge NASA Space Act company – that Jerry is playing part mad-scientist, part game-changing innovator.
SkyTran, to use the official terminology, is an elevated, high-speed, low-cost, private rapid transportation system. Doesn’t make sense? Think The Jetsons and you’ll have yourself a clearer picture. “Imagine cute little rocket-like vehicles moving about on an elevated guideway, above the red lights and stop signs and traffic down below,” explained Jerry in an interview recently. “A vehicle that will take you anywhere, without stopping at any station but your own. Without waiting for anyone else’s schedule – you walk up to it, get into it like would a taxi, and off you go. And imagine all this at 150 miles an hour.”
Created by NASA in California, SkyTran is building the first pilot in Tel Aviv and India is likely soon on the agenda. Futuristic as it sounds, Jerry points out that the technology isn’t even radical – it’s been around a while. Unusual is the cost, energy and resource savings it can offer over conventional public transport systems, including the subway. “The New York subway costs USD 2 billion to build per mile. SkyTran, for the same length, is USD 9 million,” he says.
It seems improbable that one man can fit much more into his days and yet, Jerry is also counsel and advisor to a host of non US governments, apart from being an advisor to the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and a member of its Graduate Business Schools consortia for the globalisation of technology development. He also serves as US State Department accredited Honorary Consul for The Republic of Haiti and has, in that role, been instrumental in California’s earthquake relief efforts for Haiti.
When he’s not changing the future of public transport, advising governments or practising law he indulges creativity of another kind: making wine at his own vineyard – Shayneh Vista Vineyards, a California Certified Organic Farmers family winery – where he produces some fine vintages.