As the population of the world ages, the number of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or similar diseases will increase, eventually adding to the risk of wandering. There are already several efforts to assist older persons who have gone missing.
In essence, wandering is characterized by locomotive behavior that may or may not be intentional, and it may or may not be something that a person is aware of. This fact points to a very significant issue that needs to be addressed. And with that, Gene Saunders came up with the idea of using the right approach to track down wandering people. He is the founder and the CEO of Project Lifesaver, a leading search and rescue company run by public safety organizations worldwide. It is specifically developed for individuals who are prone to life-threatening wandering behavior.
Gene is an internationally recognized expert in tracking the recovery of people at risk. He has appeared on local, national, and worldwide radio and television programs for his expertise in this niche.
CIO Look caught up with Gene in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Iconic Founders and CEOs to Watch, 2022.” We talked with him to understand how he is driving a transformative change in the public safety sector with his expertise.
Below are the highlights of Gene’s interview.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Project Lifesaver. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I was with the Chesapeake, VA Police Dept for 33 years, retiring as a Captain in 2001. I also headed the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue unit. In 1999, I had the idea to track and locate persons with Dementia, Autism, etc., who wandered and became lost through RF technology. I developed a training and certification program, and public safety agencies began joining the organization. We named this program Project Lifesaver as it saved lives, reduced manpower and cost on searches, and is highly successful.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
Project Lifesaver is a Non Profit 501c3 organization that provides equipment, training, and support to its member agencies in the Project Lifesaver program. It also researches new technology to aid in its mission.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted Public Safety through your expertise in the market.
We have drastically cut down the amount of time, cost, and manpower necessary to conduct this type of search and, to date, have recorded over 3,700 successful searches in an average recovery time of fewer than 30 minutes.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
All the people in our organization believe in its mission, to save lives. It is demonstrated by the willingness to do whatever it takes to assist our member agencies in the mission.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We constantly test new equipment and methods to enhance and improve the mission.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the Public Safety sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
Public safety is looking to do more with less and a more pronounced shift to technology to accomplish its tasks. We stay in contact with our members as to their needs and work to incorporate them into our equipment and methods.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Project Lifesaver?
Project Lifesaver will continue to test and adopt new equipment methods and technology to aid its members in an even better approach and solution to this ever-increasing problem.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Public Safety sector?
Look to the problems in the sector and come up with methods and solutions to assist in the ever-changing role of public safety.