It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Jerry Jung, former CEO at Michigan CAT and longtime MITA and AUC member. Jerry also was Chair of the State Transportation Commission from 2010-2015. His contributions to our industry will never be forgotten.
Jerrold Mark Jung, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, entrepreneur, philanthropist, conservationist, sportsman and dedicated friend, passed away July 14, 2022 having lived an extraordinary life. Born May 27, 1953 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Jerry’s series of life achievements began at an early age growing up in Birmingham, Michigan.
Jerry’s energy, initiative and business savvy first became evident as a child when he founded a snow removal business—prompting a neighbor to declare that he wanted to purchase shares in “Jerry Jung, Inc.” Upon graduation from Seaholm High School in 1971, he attended the University of Michigan, then went on to Tulane University, where he graduated in 1975 first in his class, summa cum laude with honors in Economics, followed by Harvard Business School. He was also the recipient of countless awards and honorary PhDs.
Jerry’s prolific business career spanned decades and industries. His expertise in airline operations led him to develop patented software that has since evolved into the world’s premier passenger revenue optimization system. In 1982, he succeeded his father and grandfather at Michigan CAT as CEO, achieving unprecedented success. Later, he started Landfill Energy Systems providing solutions to convert landfill methane to electricity, delivering tremendous environmental benefits. He also founded Oak Adaptive with the mission of optimizing complex workflows within organizations. In business, Jerry always had a knack for combining vision and pragmatism.
A force of nature for nature, protector of the pollinators, and active environmentalist and conservationist; Jerry affected change with his passion, his ideas and his hard-earned resources. Among his numerous tireless efforts, Jerry worked with the Birmingham Public School Board, advocating for the preservation of a community nature center. He served on the Board of Trustees for the National Wildlife Federation, State of Michigan Transportation Commission, the Michigan Colleges Alliance and the Michigan League of Conservation Fund. Jerry held many strong beliefs about environmental policies, particularly with respect to ending the harmful effect of corn ethanol on acres of wild-life habitat (the website Rethink Ethanol covers his conclusions about this topic in detail).
Distinguished, dynamic, calm, and always a caring friend, Jerry was an unparalleled listener with an arsenal of jokes for every occasion. His tremendous generosity was rivaled only by his desire to embrace those with diverse perspectives. Jerry’s heart knew no limits, and he was bold and enterprising in all his pursuits. His family, friends, and associates will fondly remember his enduring passions for sailing, tennis, golf, skiing and gardening.
Jerry’s adoring family was his ultimate pride and joy. He will be eternally cherished by his devoted wife Emily, his children: Jacob Jung (Ai), Claire Trainor (Andy), Julie Rasmussen (Alec), and his grandchildren: Emma & Ruma Okada Jung, Thatcher & Teddy Trainor, Ace, Nell, and Kip Rasmussen; and his siblings.
In lieu of flowers or donations, please honor Jerry’s life by brightening the lives of others with a smile, kind words and a generous spirit—and by protecting our planet by planting trees or learning about and growing pollinator gardens.
A memorial service for friends and colleagues is being planned for the future. As those details become available, MITA will pass it along to the membership.
MITA would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Jerry’s family and friends during this difficult time.