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Untangling the Supply Chain

In the podcast series of Untangling the Supply Chain, SSPI explores two key issues with our guests: how space and satellite is copying with sometimes dramatic supply chain problems and how the industry is providing the communications and information that makes supply chains run more efficiently and effectively in good times and bad.

Episode 1: How to Create a Global Supply Chain – and Keep it From Falling Apart

When Airbus OneWeb Satellites began mass production of the OneWeb satellite constellation, it had to develop and manage a global supply chain that could operate at unprecedented speed to make possible the manufacturing of two satellites per day. In this first episode of the Untangling the Supply Chain podcast series, Airbus OneWeb Satellites Chief Supply Chain Officer John Meikle joins SSPI’s Robert Bell to explore how that chain was linked together and kept running – and how it copes with the major disruptions of 2020.

John Meikle is Chief Supply Chain Officer at Airbus OneWeb Satellites, a position he has held for 8 months. In his current position, he is primarily responsible for supply chain execution and management and reports directly to the CEO. Before joining Airbus OneWeb Satellites, John served in two major supply chain manager roles, first at Northrup Grumman for 6 years where he served as both a Program Manager and Supply Chain Manager. He went on to work at Sierra Nevada Corporation for a total of 9 years, beginning in the same role as a Supply Chain Manager before rising to the roles of Program Manager, Director of Supplier Management and finally Director of Technology. John spent the first five years of his career in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as Engineering Program Manager and Developmental Engineer Electrical.


With Thanks to Our Corporate Partners

Episode 2: Who Are the New Space Workers?

As the manufacturing of rockets and spacecraft moves from one-at-a-time craft work to rapid iteration and assembly-line production, it is changing the talent needs of employers. What changes are taking place? What new career paths must be laid out to attract the best-qualified workers? And how does the company itself need to be re-imagined for a new world? In this second episode of Untangling the Supply Chain, Brad Laird, VP of Engineering at NXTCOMM and Damen Tolley, Director of Human Resources at Airbus OneWeb Satellites join SSPI’s Robert Bell to explore the shifting role of talent in a fast-changing business.

Brad Laird is Vice President of Engineering at NXTCOMM, a position he has held for nearly a year. Before joining NXTCOMM, he served as Senior Engineering Manager at a number of other companies, including Accenture Product X.0 and the Kymeta Corporation. Brad spent nearly 16 years at Lam Research prior to joining the Kymeta Corporation, where he served as first a Product Engineer, then Senior Mechanical Engineer, before rising through the ranks to become Engineering Manager and finally Executive Level Program Manager. In 2009, while working at Lam Research, he also founded Rae’s Electric Garage in Seattle, Washington, a company designed to provide affordable electric vehicle options in an emerging market. Rae’s Electric Garage has produced multiple reliable prototype versions of an electric vehicle with a lithium battery management system since its founding, and Brad continues working in the business to this day. He began his career in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant through Captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Damen Tolley is Human Resources Director at Airbus OneWeb Satellites, a position he has held for 1.5 years. In this position, he is fully repsonsible for all HR and EHS topics globally across the company. Damon joined OneWeb Satellites as an HR Business Partner for 1 year before taking on his current position. Prior to joining OneWeb Satellites, he served at Airbus Defence and Space for 6 years in a variety of Human Resources roles, including HR Business Partner, UK HR Projects Lead and finally Head of HR Operations UK. Damon began his career as an intern for Astrium, where he worked as HR Assistant for Policies & Projects. He is a graduate of the University of Surrey with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB).

Episode 3: Satellite Solutions for Supply Chain Woes

Communication and earth observation satellites play an essential but too-little-known role in managing the world’s supply chains. The solutions call on spacecraft in every orbit, carrying every payload and operating in every commercial frequency band. They also call on the ingenuity and determination of experts in engineering, manufacturing, operations and analytics to provide the crucial data and communications that help their customers keep the world supplied.

In this podcast, based on the May 12 Webinar: Satellite Solutions for Supply Chain Woes, SSPI’s Robert Bell is joined by Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium Communications, Inc.; Nicole Robinson, President, Ursa Space Systems; and Jean-Michel Rouylou, Head of Enterprise and Broadband, ST Engineering iDirect to discuss satellite’s vital role in world trade and the global opportunities the industry’s unique technologies are able to tap.

Matt Desch became CEO of Iridium Communications in 2006 after a twenty-five year career in the telecommunications industry that included serving as president of Nortel Networks’ wireless business and chief executive of Telcordia Technologies. Since taking the helm, he has led Iridium from the depths of post-bankruptcy uncertainty and looming irrelevancy into a major contributor to the space and satellite industry. Matt has also served as an advocate for safety and responsible traffic management throughout the space, satellite and aviation industries for over a decade. Three years after Matt joined Iridium, one of its spacecraft was hit by a defunct Russian satellite, Kosmos 2251. He turned a disaster into an opportunity to focus on responsibility and safety in navigation by pioneering a partnership with the US Air Force on orbit/debris coordination and highlighting Iridium’s preparations to de-orbit their original spacecraft safely without posing threats to other orbital systems. Matt’s championing of Iridium’s preparations and the U.S. government recognition that space had become a congested environment, lead to eventual improvements in orbital safety and de-commissioning precautions throughout the industry. In the same year, he also successfully led Iridium through the complicated process of going public, listing the company on the NASDAQ. Matt was inducted into the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame in 2019. Read more about Matt.

Nicole Robinson is President of URSA Space Systems, a position she took on in February of 2021. In her previous role as Senior Vice President of Global Government for SES Networks, she was responsible for the company’s global business portfolio of government customers in the areas of defense, security, humanitarian, federal, civilian and institutional organizations. Nicole also serves as Chairman of the Board of Redu Space Services and Director of the LuxGovSat Board of Directors. She served in a variety of executive roles during her 12 years at SES, including leading teams in the areas of government product development, sales and business development, government affairs and marketing. Before joining SES, she served as leader of the Strategic Communications function for the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ). In 2012, she received a Promise Award from SSPI as a leader among the 20 Under 35. Nicole has previously served as Chair of the Board and President of SSPI.



Jean-Michel Rouylou is Head of Enterprise and Broadband at ST Engineering iDirect, where he is responsible for the company’s Enterprise strategy with a focus on Energy, Banking and Consumer Broadband. Previously, Rouylou spent 3 years at ITC Global as the Executive Vice President for the Maritime market, where he helped the company to establish a worldwide maritime Ku-band network. Rouylou spent 20 years at Schlumberger where he held various roles in engineering, marketing and sales, including head of VSAT services in Aberdeen. Rouylou holds an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts & Métiers in Paris.

Episode 4: Humanitarian Guidance from Above, Part 1

How do satellites support supply chains for humanitarian efforts? Satellites can help to facilitate the communication that enables humanitarian agencies and regions to establish corridors and logistics chains, while monitoring the effort, managing data, chronicling refugee flight and resettlement. In this fourth episode of the Untangling the Supply Chain podcast, David Myers, President and CEO of UltiSat, and David Meltzer, Secretary General of Global VSAT Forum, join SSPI’s Lou Zacharilla to discuss how satellites have and continue to support supply chains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after major disasters and in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

David Myers is the President and CEO of UltiSat (a Speedcast company), a position he has held for nearly 2 years. He 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.

David Meltzer is the Secretary General of Global VSAT Forum (GVF), a position he has held for nearly 4 years. In his current position, he leads GVF’s primary efforts to facilitate expanded access to satellite-based connectivity solutions through regulatory, policy and spectrum advocacy, training and certification, product quality assurance and collaboration with user groups and other satellite stakeholders. David has over 25 years of experience in the satellite industry, including serving as a board member for both a regional satellite operator and for a mobile satellite operator. Previously, he served for 16 years in various business and legal roles at Intelsat, culminating in serving as Intelsat’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs. Most recently, David served as the General Counsel and Chief International Officer of the American Red Cross where he led its legal, international disaster relief and development activities. Before achieving that position at the American Red Cross, he served for 7.5 years as Senior Vice President of International Services.