By Nick Mitsis and Jason Bates
In a year dominated by IPOs and high-profile mergers, it is easy to characterize 2005 as a year of beginnings instead of a year of accomplishments. True, those business ventures that grabbed daily headlines are signs of greater things to come, but some significant events will indeed hallmark 2005, and they go beyond the current financial activity on the global stock exchanges.
It is such achievements that Via Satellite magazine recognizes in its annual Satellite Executive of the Year award. During the fourth quarter, The Access Intelligence Satellite Group editors offer their personal nominees, along with considerations from the written corporate nominations from the industry. Typically, no fewer than six and no more than a dozen executives are evaluated on their accomplishments based solely on the previous calendar year. This year, nine were examined. After much deliberation and vote, the editors of Via Satellite and Satellite News chose the following executives for their lasting contributions to the global satellite markets, technologies, business practices and services innovations.
Via Satellite's Satellite Executive of the Year 2005 award will be honored on February 8 at the SATELLITE 2006 Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C. We look forward to seeing you there when we honor our winner.
President and COO, Space Systems/Loral
Working under the financial constraints of a corporate bankruptcy, Patrick DeWitt was able to guide Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) ahead of the major satellite manufacturing companies in 2005.
Dewitt, president and COO of SS/L and vice president of parent Loral Space & Communications, closed his most successful year in his 29-year tenure with the company. As Loral spent most of 2005 in bankruptcy, finally emerging in November, SS/L continued its strong turnaround in the competitive satellite manufacturing market, capturing the most commercial manufacturing contracts and remaining in the black throughout the process. Given the strong business operations SS/L achieved in 2005, the manufacturer will be a key component of the reorganized Loral moving forward.
The improvements initiated by DeWitt in SS/L's manufacturing processes, along with a milestone-based bonus plan, led to shorter schedules, such as delivering the DirecTV 8 satellite two months ahead of schedule.
In a market that is constantly scrutinized for technological success, and at times, mishaps, attention to quality becomes paramount. Likewise, the demand for increased broadband access throughout the globe is a key driver in the satellite manufacturing industry. SS/L emerged ahead of the competition in the direct-to-user and 2-gigahertz mobile service applications, winning contracts in 2005 to produce three of the most technically advanced satellites put up for bid: Terrestar, ICO and Echostar 11. In addition, SS/L signed contracts for Panamsat's Galaxy 18 and XM Satellite Radio's XM-5 -- two contracts industry analysts were expecting to go to SS/L's competitors.
DeWitt's vision, dedication and perseverance are at the heart of SS/L's success and its resulting leadership position among its satellite manufacturing counterparts. As such, DeWitt assures his place at the pinnacle of satellite manufacturing to come.