by Eric Cohen
From theatre and music to green technology and micro transportation, Matthew Gillian is a true Renaissance Man. Defined as “a person who has wide interests and many areas of knowledge,” Renaissance men, like Matthew, are making differences in their community. After 10 years in the music industry, Matthew’s interest in green technology led him to create Inspiration Transportation, which aims to provide Fresno, California’s most under-served families and individuals access to transportation services.
After the birth of his son, Matthew recognized that his work in the music industry wasn’t allowing him to nurture his son properly. He began to look for new opportunities while driving for Uber and Lyft. That’s when the lightbulb went off: he realized he could provide personal transportation for those in need while giving him the time needed with his son. “I learned that people weren’t going to doctor appointments because they didn’t have transportation alternatives. Or they’d arrange for transportation, and no one would show up. I needed to find a solution for this forgotten part of the community,” Matthew explained. “My company allows people in low income and rural communities to make a reservation and know the cost – before the trip. And because it’s with a small company, they know the drivers and develop a relationship with them. They also know we’ll show up when we say we will.”
Matthew had a nurturing family that provided him the opportunity to experience culture, technology, and creative opportunities. Wanting to pass these opportunities along to his son, he created a business that’s turning his dreams into reality – hoping his actions will inspire his son. “I started from the ground up running my business out of my car. And since my car was my office, it needed to provide everything an office can provide. I decided to go with an EV, so I could work while I charged. It also allowed me to go beyond the antiquated model of paying for gas. Why do that when you can plug in?”
As someone who looks beyond antiquated models, Matthew is excited about wireless charging. “I’m always looking forward and thinking, ‘what can we do tomorrow that we’re not doing today?’ Plug-in charging is not the future. With vandalism being such a large problem in Fresno – causing the city to hold back on implementing plug-in chargers – wireless charging is a great alternative. Not only is it less prone to vandalism, it’s safer and much more convenient than plug-in charging.”
Matthew is someone who “puts money where his mouth is.” As a partner in the city’s new City Center, he is responsible for ensuring EV owners will have the ability to charge while visiting the new facility next year. City Center is a 9-acre campus that will include over 160,000 square feet of buildings serving as a one-stop shop to provide people with a pathway out of crisis through a front door. As a shared campus, it will bring together more than 20 different organizations all focused on meeting people’s emergency needs. “The City Center project is an opportunity for partnership and collaboration, and for us to show that we are forward thinking here in the city of Fresno. I’m hopeful that being forward-thinking continues to permeate typical bureaucracy that we’ve seen here for decades.”
Wireless charging is definitely forward thinking.