Alumni Spotlight: Michael Klein-Urena ‘11

Shortly after graduating from Webb one very happy day last June, I joined a new, green shipping company.  It was so new, in fact, that it didn’t even have an official name.  That came two weeks later, when we filed the incorporation papers for SanSail, Inc.

SanSail is a green shipping company whose mission is to provide environmentally friendly shipping solutions.  Our first project is to build and operate a hydrogen-powered vessel trading wine from the Bay Area to Los Angeles.  I work with ships, which is why I came to Webb in the first place.  Being on the business development side of things, I also work with people, which is fun too!  In short, it’s a dream job.

What attracts me to this stuff anyway?  A lot does.  It’s schmoozing with potential partners, convincing them to work with us.  It’s editing the business plan on a “day off.”  It’s engaging with the experts in naval architecture and marine engineering.  It’s reconciling bank accounts.  It’s finding a way to turn a bad business encounter into a lesson for next time and a great story for later.  I love it.

Of course, there’s always an uncertainty involved with start-up companies, but that’s fine with me.  I’m not sure where I’ll be in five years, but I’m sure it’ll be an adventure.  I might even build some ships along the way!