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Jesus Delgado-Jenkins
Most Creative People 2017

Jesus Delgado-Jenkins

Chief Merchandising Officer, 7-Eleven

For making Slurpees fly

In July 2016, a six-rotor drone, toting a special insulated box, took to the air carrying Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, and a few more items, all from a Reno, Nevada–area 7-Eleven. It was the first commercial drone delivery to a U.S. home—part of an ongoing pilot program helmed by merchandising head Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, a onetime Treasury Department CFO under George W. Bush. When he arrived at 7-Eleven in 2010, Delgado-Jenkins pushed to stem a decade of customer attrition by launching an innovation group, increasing private-brand offerings, and adding new prepared-food items. He also began experimenting with delivery, which was already such a departure from 7-Eleven’s 90-year-old business model—building a store pretty much anywhere someone might desire one—that the prospect of drones wasn’t so outlandish. “It just seemed natural,” Delgado-Jenkins says. The test program, a partnership with Nevada drone startup Flirtey, has expanded since that initial flight, with more than 70 airborne deliveries completed by the end of 2016. 7-Eleven is closely studying data for the GPS-based app that drone-delivery customers use to place orders, which heavily favors the chain’s 7-Select private-label essentials: from coffee and sliced pizza to nighttime cold- and flu-relief medicine. “We don’t do things unless they have the potential for scale,” Delgado-Jenkins says. “We believe there’s potential to do daily drone deliveries. We need to do more testing, but so far, we’ve had success.”

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