PAUL KANTER introduced Interact student
Hemisha Morar, and students discussed the Rotary International Interact
Project, known as HydrAID, which is a program through which portable
water filter systems are distributed to folks living in conditions in
which water is contaminated. The goal of the Interact project is to
raise funds to provide access to drinkable water to as many as 10,000
people for 10 years. A video was shown to inform us of the situation
and the project. Rotary Club of San Jose sponsors four Interact Clubs,
those being at Bellarmine, Lincoln, Santa Teresa, and Gunderson.
BAIRD then introduced today's program. Gene Banman is the CEO of Zero
Motorcycles Inc, one of the new breeds of "green tech" businesses
aiming to stimulate the economy, create jobs while reducing dependence
on foreign oil, and reducing emissions to help solve global warming.
Gene drove up to the stage on his Zero Motorcycle, very quietly as it
Motorcycles manufactures a line of high performance all-electric
motorcycles. The company is Gene's 3rd startup as CEO. Prior to these
startups he spent 15 years with Sun Microsystems where he grew up with
the company as it went from 700 employees to 46,000 and he rose from
Product Line Manager to VP/GM of the Desktop Computer business unit.
has an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University and a BA in Physics from
U.C. Berkeley. He encouraged the students present to be educated in
math and science.
discussed the convergence of technological advances that are enabling
the largest technology revolution in the vehicle business in 100 years:
the move from internal combustion engine power to an all-electric power
train. He talked about how Zero Motorcycles was founded and how the
various backgrounds of the people came together to build a new
business. He discussed the market strategies needed for future success.
His presentation featured a video produced by Blake Mitchell, an owner of a Zero Motorcycle.
says the company, in business just a couple of years, booked 200 orders
in 2008, and shipped 150 units the first six weeks of 2009. He said
that the months April through July comprise the critical motorcycle
buying season - "it's cyclical." Consumers, he said, buy these Zero
Motorcycles for several reasons, including the ability to ride locally
because they are quiet; no servicing needed; very lightweight (about
150 lbs. while the typical motorcycle weighs 250 lbs.); no dealer
involved, and people have become accustomed to purchasing large ticket
items online (the Zero retails for about $7,500).
company's marketing efforts include 80 folks worldwide (30 in Europe
and 50 in the U.S.) who are "demo riders" and whom receive commission
if a sale is made through their efforts.
are 168 lithium cells on each Zero Motorcycle, and manufacturing is
outsourced to existing companies. The company plans to take 400-500
orders this year, and next month will announce a street legal
During the Q&A period, Gene told us that the Zero Motorcycle speed is 45 mph, and that each battery lasts up to two hours.
the conclusion of the program, President Bert presented Gene with a
certificate recognizing the Club's donation to an adaptable swing
(manually operated so thus very "green")in his honor, then Gene mounted
the Zero and quietly rode off the stage.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Next week: our very own CARL SALAS speaks about "greening." So with that in mind, please do not print out this summary.
Until then, I'm gone to recharge my batteries.
Respectfully Submitted By: Brian Adams, Rotary Summary Committee
Photos Provided By: Chris Johnson