John Zapolski

Principal

John Zapolski designs and builds businesses to have a positive impact on society and culture. Through his practice, he seeks to reconcile creativity and discipline, craft and finance, art and science, profit and social good, technology and humanism.

Prior to joining SYPartners, John created STEAM Carnival, a live entertainment brand and traveling spectacle that inspired kids to invent with science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In 2009, he cofounded Fonderie 47, a fine jewelry and timepiece company developed to remove and destroy assault weapons from conflict zones, upcycling the materials and transforming them into meaningful, elegant accessories. While becoming one of the largest private funders of small arms destruction in the world, the company’s work was widely recognized for its beauty and impact by media and awards committees including the New York Times, Forbes, the ONE Club, Wired, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, and the Grand Prix D’Horologerie de Geneve.

John also created Management Innovation Group, a consulting firm that worked with Global 500 companies to develop new techniques and technologies for business growth. He previously led customer research and user experience functions at Wells Fargo and Yahoo!, respectively. Also a committed educator, John has developed and taught courses on innovation, design strategy, and entrepreneurship in UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and in the School of Visual Arts’ MFA program.