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Making a Better World: Conversations with the 2021 Better Satellite World Award Recipients

In this podcast series, SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla interviews the recipients of the 2021 Better Satellite World Awards about their projects, goals and making a better world for all.

Episode 1: Twenty-Five Years Advocating for Space and Satellite - A Conversation with Christodoulos Protopappas

Over the course of a more than 25-year career in space and satellite, Christodoulos Protopappas has promoted satellite communications and connectivity across Europe, the Middle East and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. He founded Hellas Sat, the national satellite operator of Greece and Cyprus, in 2001 and has served as its CEO for 20 years. Today, Hellas Sat operates a fleet of three geostationary (GEO) satellites that serve locations across Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa. The company has been fundamental to the development of the Greek Space Agency and has contributed to Greece’s space infrastructure as a whole, including serving as a facilitator for collaboration between the Agency, academia and local industries. Hellas Sat also provided the first major opportunities for young engineers in the region to work in the area of space and satellite in both Greece and Cyprus. While serving as CEO, Christodoulos founded the company’s Space Centre in Cyprus, which boasts more than 35 large antennas with DTH transmission and other satellite managed services. Christodoulos received a Better Satellite World Award in 2021 for his achievements. Read more about Christodoulos Protopappas.

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Episode 2: Bringing Connectivity to the Last of the Incans - A Conversation with Speedcast's James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan joined Speedcast in 2018 as a senior sales executive. Prior to joining Speedcast, he served for 17 years in various commercial and sales leadership positions at Arqiva, including a key role on the management board of the company’s Satellite and Media division. James has also held sales roles at Nortel Networks, Lexmark and IBM. He recently completed a second term as Chairman of the Board of the World Teleport Association, a non-profit organization serving the interests of teleport operators and their satellite and technology partners. James is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow with a double honors degree in International Business and Modern Languages.

Speedcast has a long history of providing humanitarian aid and NGO connectivity solutions. Recently, the company partnered with the non-profit organization Willka Yachay to provide connectivity to the Q’eros tribe in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Q’eros are some of the last living descendents of Incan tribes, and they live a difficult, isolated life without access to modern education, health and technology services. In 2010, an American student named Hannah Rae Porst traveled to Peru and spent time living with the Q’eros for a university project. Some time after leaving the mountain community, she founded the Willka Yachay non-profit organization to give back to those who had accepted her and taught her so much during her time in Peru. Willka Yachay raised funds to build and launch a school for the Q’eros, and Hannah moved to Peru to oversee the project. The organization also founded Kidnected World, an NGO dedicated to bringing interactive education to indigenous civilizations throughout South America and Africa.  Speedcast became Kidnected World’s primary partner on the project, providing communications services and advice on solutions needed to best serve such remote communities. The company also donated a year of connectivity service for the charity and deployed Speedcast field engineers to conduct antenna systems installations in the Q’eros community. Speedcast and Willka Yachay received a Better Satellite World Award in 2021. Read more about Speedcast and Willka Yachay’s project to bring connectivity to the Q’eros tribe.

Episode 3: Providing Connectivity to Help Overcome Crisis - A Conversation with UltiSat's David Myers

David Myers is a senior executive with a track record of leading both public and private-equity businesses through transformations and rapid growth. His 20+ year career spans the aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries in both commercial and government markets. To drive growth, David focuses on building a strong sales engine, investing in product innovation and fostering a collaborative customer-service oriented culture. David joined UltiSat from Peraton, a Defense Top 100 company, where he served as President of the Communications Sector, providing advanced network services for defense, intelligence and civilian customers. Prior to Peraton, David served as President and CEO of Datapath, where he led the public to private spin-out of a Rockwell Collins division into an independent company, providing military-grade satellite ground systems and field services. He has held executive roles in a number of organizations including ITC Global, Harris, CapRock Communications, and Spacenet. David also served as Chairman and President of the Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI), where he led the industry association rebrand and expansion from focus primarily on satellites to the broader “commercial space” arena.

Beginning in June 2021, UltiSat partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide satellite communications services in support of the emergency operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC is host to one of the largest internally displaced populations in Africa, with more than 92,000 refugees seeking asylum in its northern region after fleeing post-election conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). The displacement has placed tremendous strain on the region, prompting the UNHCR’s humanitarian efforts to provide much-needed shelter, food and access to medical services for the refugees and the local population attempting to support them. Coordinating such a huge effort requires reliable communication services, and UltiSat stepped up to offer them. UltiSat has a long history of supporting humanitarian and disaster relief organizations working on-site by providing satellite network services, equipment, life-cycle operation, installation, maintenance and logistics support. Learn more about how UltiSat supported U.N. emergency humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.