Sambhav (Sam) Sankar joined The Nature Conservancy as Senior Advisor for Conservation Technology in 2016. Sam’s mission is to develop strategies for harnessing innovative technologies and business models to advance the Conservancy’s mission.
Sam came to The Nature Conservancy from General Electric, where he served as Senior Executive Counsel and Director of Environment, Health and Safety. There, he led a global team responsible for GE’s EHS compliance and environmental performance. During his tenure, Sam’s team overhauled GE’s EHS management systems and the structure of the 1800-person function. The team also created GE’s digital EHS initiatives group, which works to take advantage of robotics, wearable devices, additive manufacturing and other technologies while also preparing for the risks these technologies create.
Before his time at GE, Sam practiced environmental law at the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources division, where he was lead counsel on cases involving every significant federal environmental statute. He also practiced intellectual property law at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. From 2010 to 2011, Sam served on a presidential commission created to learn the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He built and led the team that investigated the technical reasons for the Macondo blowout. His team’s findings are detailed in two books that are available online.
Sam began his professional career as a design engineer with Radian International, an environmental consulting firm. He has served as a law clerk for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, where he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Before acquiring a desk, Sam worked as a machinist, boat captain, and divemaster.
Sam holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Cornell, an M.S. in environmental engineering from Stanford, and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley. He lives in Washington D.C. with his daughter (8), his son (14), and his wife Amanda Leiter, a professor of environmental law.