Promise & Mentor Awards

Every year, during its Future Leaders Dinner, SSPI presents three young satellite professionals with its Promise Award in recognition of their potential to play a leadership role in the industry. Promise Award winners have demonstrated initiative, creativity and problem-solving skills that made a positive impact on their company's performance. Team-building, communication skills and peer respect are also important criteria. 

SSPI also presents a Mentor Award to an executive who is recognized for fostering young talent, both within his or her own organization and throughout the industry, and also for volunteering time and energy in support of the industry.

SSPI has announced the 2016 Promise Award Winners and Mentor of the Year! Click here to read the official release.

2016 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Dr. Jennifer Dawson, Space Systems Loral (SSL). Jennifer joined SSL in 2010 as a Senior Spacecraft Systems Engineer. In that position, she performed critical analysis of satellite design and led teams in design, test, and anomaly resolution. In particular, she led the mechanical design and environmental accommodation team for a NASA-hosted payload. Jennifer became Product Assurance Program Manager in 2015 and was one of the youngest employees at SSL to ever take on this position.

Pascale Dumit, SES. As a Manager of Spectrum Management and Development at SES, Pascale manages spectrum matters both at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is responsible for the development and protection of spectrum assets for select SES projects over the Americas. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a natural leadership as well as an inherent ability to bring together various parties and drive collaboration among them to achieve successful results.

Erin Feller, Boeing Network & Space Systems. During her time at Boeing, Erin has led space and ground architecture studies aimed at revolutionizing the future of the industry. She has consistently demonstrated her strong communication and leadership skills both within the company and with government customers. Erin has led several critical programs at Boeing, recently including one of the company’s largest business orders for 2016.

 

2016 Mentor of the Year

David Myers, President & CEO, DataPath, Inc. As President & CEO of DataPath, David Myers is leading a renewed, privately-owned company that emerged after a spin-out from publically traded Rockwell Collins. In addition to product and market innovation, he believes the core foundation for any successful company is a highly collaborative culture. To foster this culture, David regularly walks the factory floor and holds skip level lunch meetings, so he can hear first-hand what “real people” think about their jobs and how the company is doing.

2015 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Jennifer Salmon, Space Systems Loral (SSL). Jennifer Salmon joined SSL as a Test Verification Payload Engineer in 2006, just after graduating from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She demonstrated her talent as a leader in planning and coordinating investigative passive intermodulation testing of a very complicated antenna configuration that pushed the power limits of SSL’s test range.

 

 

Sarah Thomas, The Boeing Company. Sarah Thomas serves as Boeing’s military liaison for the Department of Defense space and ground systems in Colorado. She is responsible for ensuring that changing mission needs are understood and communicated to the Boeing business units that serve them. She is the youngest employee and first female employee to serve the company in that job.

 

Ethan Lucarelli, Wiley Rein LLP. Working in Wiley Rein’s Telecom, Media and Technology practice group, Ethan Lucarelli has become a specialist in regulatory, policy, privacy, security and transactional matters related to satellites, broadband, and both international and domestic information and communications technology (ICT).

 

 

2015 Mentor of the Year

Chris Stott, ManSat LLC US. Chris Stott founded ManSat in 2000 and was instrumental in the formation of the SpaceIsle initiative, which established the Isle of Man as a major domicile and corporate service provider to the commercial space sector. But for Chris, doing business and doing good for the next generation are inextricably linked.  He set up the ManSat Fellowship to give students from the Isle an opportunity to fully explore the industry he loves.

2014 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Adriel Carreno, Boeing Network and Space Systems. As the Missions & Programs Business Development Lead for Civil Programs, Adriel works with Boeing’s customers and across numerous Boeing business and product groups to develop innovative, resilient, and affordable mission solutions and architectures.

 

Paloma Field, GCI Communications Group. Paloma Field was the primary engineer on a complex and geographically diverse VSAT network that covers the entire State of Alaska and regions of the Gulf of Mexico – while returning to school to earn a Master of Science in Project Management.

 

Erin Weber, Hogan Lovells. As lead negotiator and contract manager for many satellite programs, Erin's work at Hogan Lovells has expanded to cover all aspects of global satellite system procurements, transactions, insurance and financings.

 

 

2014 Mentor of the Year

Dr. David Whalen, Department of Space Studies, University of North Dakota. While at UND, Dr. Whalen has mentored and taught countless students, and is known as the faculty member who will go the extra mile to help the next generation.

2013 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Sunali Chokshi, Section Supervisor, Space Systems/Loral. During her seven years at Space Systems/Loral, Sunali has been on the fast track: working in a series of positions of increasing responsibility as a Test Engineer, a Project Responsible Engineer, a Unit Manager and is now a Section Manager. 

 

 

Emma Hinds, Technology Analyst, The Tauri Group. Emma is a serious space and satellite policy maven, with stints at the Space Policy Institute, Office of Management & Budget, NASA and Booz Allen Hamilton already behind her.

 

 

Sarah Warren Rose, Lead Engineer, Mechtronics/Guidance Navigation, and Control, Interorbital Systems. A mechanical engineer by training, Sara is a relentless innovator in both the physical and digital worlds, who holds numerous patents in the field of Rotary Engine development. 

 

 

2013 Mentor of the Year

Clayton Mowry, President, Arianespace, Inc. In a career bridging government, the nonprofit sector and the launch business, Clay Mowry has developed a reputation as a trusted and capable leader as well as an approachable and supportive mentor for the next generation.

2012 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Brian Mengwasser, Engineer, Innovation Projects, SES. A young engineer renowned for his ability to quickly develop analytical tools to unravel complex problems, Brian developed software to manage help manage a year-long crisis and is also known for his ability to develop innovative ideas, articulate them clearly, and build support on both the engineering and business sides of the company. 

 

Nicole Robinson, Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications, SES Government Solutions. The youngest vice president in the history of her company, Nicole Robinson has been instrumental in helping SES Government Solutions promote its services to one of the toughest customers on the planet.

 

Karen Yasumura, Government Affairs Manager, Intelsat General Corporation. As a young military legislative assistant on the staff of a Colorado Senator, she helped to lead an effort to draft language creating a more efficient system for absentee voting by deployed soldiers, then worked to organize a coalition involving the Defense Department, the Postal Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs and state governments to make it happen.

 

2012 Mentor of the Year

Richard Wolf, Vice President, Telecommunications & Affiliate Support, ABC Television Network. Richard is described as a quiet leader and a man who combines humility, professionalism and deep caring about the industry and the people who make it up. "He showed me what a real broadcaster is,” said a friend who started his career at the same time. "Attention to detail and commitment, never looking for a quick exit but making sure all the T’s were crossed. It taught me the proper mindset in a way that inspired me to work hard and better because of the example he set.”

2011 Awards

Promise Award Winners

David Giger, Director, Dragon Spacecraft Development and Director, Dragon Propulsion, SpaceX. David serves as lead Director for Dragon Spacecraft Development. While leading that demanding program – on which much of the company’s future depends – he also serves as Director of Dragon Propulsion, which makes him the top engineer responsible for the design, development, test and flight of the Draco hypergolic engines used for attitude control on the Dragon spacecraft.

 

Adam Maher, Mechanical Systems Engineer, Spacecraft Systems Engineering, Space Systems/Loral. Working on Loral’s next-generation spacecraft bus platform, he quickly evolved as the technical lead, despite being the team’s youngest member. "Adam has an exceptional ability to learn and adapt to new situations gracefully," wrote his manager. That grace under pressure makes Adam a young engineer to watch in the years ahead.

 

Rohit Iyer Seshadri, Senior Member, Technical Staff, Hughes Network Systems. In four short years, Dr. Rohit Iyer Seshadri has made his mark at Hughes, the world's leading provider of satellite broadband for home and office, and of managed network solutions for business and government. He helped develop an extremely complex and accurate performance prediction model for the system, and went on to make major contributions in 16-APSK modulation equalization techniques, which were incorporated into the design.

 

2011 Mentor of the Year

Tom Eaton, President, Harris CapRock. Tom Eaton, President of Harris CapRock, is recognized across the industry for a remarkable track record in positioning businesses for their next phase of growth. But inside the company, Tom is just as well known for the Rising Stars program, which he launched in 2009. The program identifies young leaders within the company who are making their mark in the satellite services field and demonstrating their commitment to customers through service and innovation.

 

Honorable Mentions

Tyler Moeller, Senior Engineer, Level 2 Support, Intelsat Video Operations Center. Tyler consistently demonstrates superior knowledge and understanding of today’s video encoding and transport systems.  He has unique ability to ferrt out the root cause of service issues and interruptions.  When Intelsat formed a Level 2 support group for its Video Operations Center, his name was at the top of a short list of employees deemed to have the right mix of knowledge and attitude.  With his help, Intelsat’s Managed Video Services reached 99.999% availability for the first time every in 2011.

Richard Roithner, Senior Consultant, Euroconsult. Richard joined Euroconsult as an intern, having already earned an MBA and participated in consulting projects with major companies like Telekom Austria.  In five years, he has advanced from intern to senior consultant managing projects including assessment of complex business cases and due diligence for transactions worth billions of dollars.  He is responsible for Euroconsult’s Mobile Satellite Communications Markets Survey and has contributed significantly to the company’s financial assessment capabilities.

2010 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Captain Cheronda V. Spann, Project Manager, SBIRS GEO-1 Space Vehicle, Space & Missile Systems Center, United States Air Force. Calling her the #1 ranked officer in her category, Lt. Col. Jack Allen said, "It doesn’t get done without her."  Responsible for assembly, integration and testing of the $3bn GEO-1 satellite of the Spcae-Based Infrared System, Capt. Spann has taken the lead in pushing the program successfully through major choke-points with a combination of strong leadership, skilled diplomacy and a talent for team-building.

 

Angela Wheeler, Engineer, RF Operations Level 2, Intelsat. Working from Intelsat's operations center in metro Atlanta, Angela serves as RF Communications and Operations lead on satellite transitions and RF interference management at Intelsat. She oversees a team of engineers that offers vital operational input on mitigation strategies for interference from G-15 – which was quickly dubbed ZombieSat by the press – as well as helping customers' technical staff deal specific challenges as they arise.

Shlomi Izkovitz, Deputy Vice President, Sales & Marketing, RRsat Global Communications Network. Shlomi Izkovitz is a model of the successful sales engineer, who combines a strong technical background with creative selling to make major contributions to his company. Vice president of sales and marketing Lior Rival calls him a "team-builder, who inspires confidence in his co-workers" and a "generous mentor for other team members, always glad to share sales techniques he has found to be effective."

2010 Mentor of the Year

Andrea Maleter, Senior Technical Director, Space and Telecommunications, Futron Corporation. In an industry career that began at Comsat, where she served on the Intelsat Board, and took her to Intelsat and Futron Corporation, Andrea has worked tirelessly to support and promote the careers of her colleagues. "She has a feel for who is good at what," said one of her nominators, "and she makes sure the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ meet."

 

Honorable Mentions

Lt. Sean Zabriskie, Manager, HEO Payload Integration, Launch and Operations, SBIRS Squadron, Space and Missiles Systems Center, United States Air Force. Lt. Zabriskie leads the effort to integrate the Space Based Infrared Systems Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) payload on its host satellite. Leading a 5-member team, he has negotiated integration costs, awarded the system integration contract, captured the interface changes for future HEO payloads, and rewritten hundreds of interface requirements document. His work has identified $30 million in savings that was applied to higher-priority tasks.

Michael Stauder, Teleport Technician, Intelsat Kommunikations GmbH. A shift technician at Intelsat's Fuchstadt Teleport, Michael volunteers to develop applications for administrative and operations purposes, including a monitoring and alarm tool for iDirect platforms and a relational carrier database that puts diagnosis of transmit and receive circuits just a mouse-click away.  He is the main contributor to an Intelsat operations ERP tool called TDAF that models the entire infrastructure of the Fuchstadt facility.

John Huddle, Senior Product Manager, Media Services, Intelsat Singapore PTE Ltd. John has been fundamental in leading Intelsat’s efforts to expand its business in Asia, Africa and Europe.  He recently secured a historic service contract with Multichoice in Africa  He is also leading the company's marketing efforts for Intelsat’s new IS-17 satellite at 66°E, which will provide linear C-band capacity into the Asia-Pacific region and capitalize on the IS-10 video community for India.

2009 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Dr. Max Kamenetsky, Principal System Engineer, Space Systems/Loral. Intellectual and emotional honesty have earned Dr. Max Kamenetsky a respected role in providing technical leadership for Space Systems/Loral’s internal technology developments. Through his personal initiative, creativity and exceptional problem-solving skills, Max provided the necessary drive to push the critical ground based beam-forming component of the TerreStar MSS network to fruition.

 

Robert D. Scheige, Assistant Vice President, Willis Inspace. In his five years with Willis, Robert Scheige has brought a fresh perspective and initiative that has served the company’s clients well. His quick grasp of the industry’s complexities helped him successfully identify areas of risk, bring opposing issues to common ground, and introduce new concepts to the insurance community in support of his clients, including Space Systems/Loral.

 

Stefano Poli, Sales Manager, Thales Alenia Space. An Italian citizen educated in the USA, Stefano has consistently demonstrated technical competence and marketing savvy, and currently plays a central role in leading the company's bidding activities including strategy development and bid management.

 

 

2009 Mentor of the Year

Dom Stasi, Chief Technology Officer emeritus, Avail-TVN. Some people are born educators. Dom’s ability to make the complex technical aspects of satellite communications understandable, led him to expand his courses beyond engineers to lawyers, accountants, managers, and other non-technical professionals across the industry. Today, Dom continues to teach young professionals as part of the Mavericks program at the Cable Television Center at the University of Denver.

 

Honorable Mentions

Melanie Charles, Marketing Manager, WEGENER. Joining WEGENER when the marketing communications department consisted of one person, Melanie Charles essentially created the company’s marcom function. She launched a new corporate Web site from scratch; generated all marketing marterials, plans and executes all events, and brought professional public relations to the company.

Bevan Gibson, Technology Executive, Sky News. Bevan Gibson has a wealth of experience in implementing IP technologies throughout Sky News. He currently heads the implementation of HD at Sky News and has been instrumental in placing the company at the forefront of S-DNG and new IP technologies, from BGAN to cell phones to VSATs.

Andrea Kociancic, Director of Fleet Development, SES WORLD SKIES. Andrea Kociancic plays a critical role in her organization planning the future satellite fleet for both replacement and expansion programs. Andrea’s ability to lead by example, grounding herself in the project at hand, has won her admiration and support from the teams reporting directly to her, as well as those that do not, with equal success. 

John Mullen, Manager, RF Engineering, Segovia, Inc. John Mullen skillfully executes every phase of a project including detailed solution design, equipment integration, proof-of-concept testing, custom documentation, and field implementation. His strong work ethic and ability to solve complex satellite communication problems have made him a trusted subject matter expert both within the company and to DoD and civil authorities.

Lior Rival, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, RRsat Global Communications Network Ltd. Lior Rival brings a contagious passion and excitement to his role. Under his leadership, the company has thrived, growing its sales and marketing department from 2 to 14, and has grown revenue to an annual record of $79 million.

Mike Scotto-Di-Cesare, Director, Business Development, Access Service Line Manager, Globecomm. During his tenure, Mike Scotto-Di-Cesare has played a vital role in the organization by designing and implementing multiple infrastructure projects globally. His commitment to education and furthering his knowledge of new technologies has gained him the respect of Globecomm management, his peers and his customers.

2008 Awards

Promise Award Winners

David Cavossa, Vice President, SATCOM, Arrowhead Global Solutions. David Cavossa has consistently demonstrated a dedication and passion for the satellite industry beginning with his work in NASA's Office of Legislative Affairs and Office of External Relations, most notably for educating congressional staff regarding NASA's budget, staffing NASA's "War Room" during the 2001 NASA appropriations votes in Congress and developing the Chinese Space Activities Summary for the NASA Office of External Relations.

Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Section, Space Systems/Loral. In her ten years at Space Systems/Loral, Yvette has stepped up to every challenge and opportunity with a dedication to excellence. She has helped design some of the world’s most powerful satellites including EchoStar XI, which was launched in July and provides 20-kW end of life power.

Nick Mitsis, Manager, Corporate Communications, Intelsat. In 2006, Nick joined Intelsat and has successfully elevated Intelsat’s in-region visibility through a pro-active PR campaign. Beyond his day-to-day responsibilities, Nick has taken on a leadership role in the SSPI Mid-Atlantic Chapter, where he encourages young satellite professionals to take an active role in the industry.


2008 Mentor of the Year

Dick Tauber, Vice President Transmission Systems & New Technology for the CNN News Group. It would be hard to find somebody in the broadcast or satellite business who has never heard of Dick Tauber. During a long and distinguished career, Dick Tauber has mentored and inspired many with his immense knowledge, integrity and excitement for the business, from such up-and-coming talent as CNN's Arnie Christianson (2007 Promise Award winner) to established broadcast and satellite executives.

2007 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Arnie Christianson, Operations Manager, CNN Satellites & Transmissions. Arnie has had a transformative impact on the way CNN gathers the news, developing a revolutionary digital newsgathering (DNG) system that has made possible both live and recorded video reporting at standard broadband speeds.

 

 

Derek Edinger, Structural Analysis Manager, Space Systems/Loral. As a Structural Analysis Manager, Derek has built fast-growing teams to handle satellite structure loads definition and stress analysis, and he has a talent for putting cross-functional projects back on track when faced with challenges.

 

 

Hayley McGuire, Business Development, Space & Intelligence Systems, Boeing Satellite Systems International. Hayley has worked as the System Test Procedure lead for all satellite products, as a Systems Engineer, and as the Chief of Staff to the President of Boeing Satellite Systems, helping to manage much of the day-to-day commercial and civil activities of the business.

 

2007 Mentor of the Year

Francesco Frenza, Senior Vice President, Corporate Engineering, Cisneros Group. Mr. Frenza, who started his career as a lab technician, is credited as the "father" of television development in Venezuela and much of Latin America. Working closely with both undergraduate and graduate engineering students on their thesis development, he has mentored a generation of young people who now hold senior management positions at Claxson Interactive Group, Harris, HBO Latin America, Scientific-Atlanta, Sony, Harmonics, DirecTV, and A&E Latin America.

2006 Awards

Promise Award Winners

Alejandro “Alex” Flores, Product Manager, IP Network Services, Intelsat. In his current role, Mr. Flores serves as a bridge between product management and Operations/Engineering by analyzing, defining and clarifying business requirements in support of the Network Services product portfolio. Products and services that he actively manages are: Intelsat On-Demand, VoIP Hosting Services, VSAT and Disaster Recovery Solutions.

 

Eileen McGowan, Program Manager, Futron Corporation. Eileen works primarily on satellite market research, forecasting, and asset valuation projects. Eileen also manages Futron’s FCCFilings.com subscription service, an online source of regulatory documents related to satellite telecommunications. In addition to these duties, Eileen oversees the monthly Friends of Futron updates that summarize activity in the space industry and serves as Futron's Quality Manager for the company's ISO registration.

Dennis Mlynarski, Antenna Engineer, Senior Staff, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. Dennis Mlynarski has been a member of the Lockheed Martin Antenna Engineering Department for the past 10 years. Mr. Mlynarski is currently responsible for the antenna Passive InterModulation (PIM) and high power design of all commercial and government programs for Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems in Newtown, PA.

 

2006 Mentor of the Year

Andrew Werth, Former President of Hughes Network Systems International. Mr. Werth was the former President of Hughes Network Systems International, where he was responsible for all international operations, including sales, joint ventures, and overseas activities. Mr. Werth established Hughes Network System’s presence in 17 countries and oversaw the company’s growth from its founding as Digital Communications Corporation in 1971, to sales of over $1.4 billion in 1999.

Future Leaders Dinner

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