Founder, Senior Principal / Denver
With profound sadness, Populous announced the passing of Jerry Anderson on September 25th, 2018.
Jerry was a pioneer in the sport architecture industry. Over a four decade career, Jerry led the design and operations of the world’s most prestigious venues and sporting events, including the NFL Super Bowl, Olympic Games, NCAA championship events and the FIFA World Cup. Jerry impacted nearly every professional and collegiate sports league, and, as one of the foremost authorities in the sport and special event industry, he was widely recognized for his trailblazing experience in the planning and design of venues and events.
“Jerry made an indelible mark on Populous’ global presence, but more importantly, his work is etched in the memories of billions around the world,” said Earl Santee, FAIA, Populous Americas Managing Director. “He was a respected colleague, a friend to so many and a leader for us all, and we will greatly miss him.”
Jerry received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Montana State University, and he received his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He invented the modern-day industry of major event planning beginning with Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium and continued to work on every subsequent NFL Super Bowl.
As his renown grew, Jerry built large teams that successfully planned, delivered and operated events such as the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA, the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. In total, he was involved extensively in the delivery of 13 Olympic Games.
Following the success of the 2002 Salt Lake Games where Jerry was the Managing Director of Venue Development, he joined Populous and opened the firm’s Denver office. In the ensuing decades he led a team of event architects, planners, operators and accreditation experts that grew with clients such as the National Hockey League, NCAA Final Four and College Football Playoff.
As a Populous co-founder and leader, Jerry created the firm’s event and accreditation practice and grew the firm’s Denver presence to its current staff of nearly 50. He also served as Chairman of the firm’s Board of Directors and under his chairmanship, Populous has had some of its most successful years in its 35-year history.
“When you think about Jerry’s career, he had a roster of clients any professional would envy. But he was the consummate professional, and what grounded him every day was bringing leadership to the event teams as they prepared and delivered life’s most memorable moments,” Santee said. “As we reflect on what it means to carry Jerry’s torch forward, it’s an incredible legacy and a roadmap to leave for generations to come.”
“Few people are more synonymous with the Super Bowl and more a part of the NFL events family than Jerry. The list of ways that Jerry made the NFL — and everything he touched — better is extraordinary,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events & Club Business Development. “Though we will miss him dearly, his legacy will shine on.”
Jerry was recognized for his comprehensive Olympic career by being selected to participate in the 2012 London Olympic Games Torch Relay. Reflecting on being a torch bearer, Jerry said, “I’ve had the honor to connect with the Olympic spirit in many ways over my career – from our venues, to athletes, to staff, to spectators, and to communities. But this was truly one of the most amazing and thrilling experiences of my Olympic journey – to connect so closely to people through the power of the torch and the flame.”