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SSPI names future leaders of the industry

The Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) today announced that it would present its 2017 Promise Awards to Ryan Carlisle of SpaceX, Joyeeta Chatterjee of Reed Smith and Jamal A. Madni of Boeing Satellite Systems. The Promise Awards honour three satellite executives age 35 and under for outstanding achievement in the early stages of their career. The three recipients will be honoured on October 17 in New York City at SSPI’s 12th Annual Future Leaders Dinner. On that night, SSPI will also honour its 2017 Mentor of the Year, Jorge Villarreal Schutz of Elara Comunicaciones, for the encouragement, support, and inspiration he has provided to young professionals throughout his career.

“We received the largest number of nominations this year in the award programme’s history,” said executive director Robert Bell, “and our awards committee was hard-pressed to find the most outstanding from a remarkable set of candidates. Our three winners span the full range of the industry from satellite manufacturing and launch to the legal and regulatory side.”

The 2017 Future Leaders Dinner (www.satfuture.com) takes place at The Penn Club in Manhattan on Tuesday, October 17, on the night before the 2017 NAB New York Show. The proceeds of the dinner go to fund SSPI’s educational, professional development and industry growth initiatives.

On Wednesday, October 18, during the 2017 NAB New York Show, the Promise Award Recipients will be Featured Spotlights at the top of the three SATCON sessions taking place on that day.

The SSPI 2017 Promise Award Winners:

Ryan Carlisle
Senior Manager, Launch Mechanical Systems, SpaceX

Ryan Carlisle began his career at SpaceX in 2011 as a Launch Integration Engineer just after graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering. He served on the team that designed and constructed the transporter erector—used to carry the Falcon 9 rocket from the hangar to the launch pad, raise the rocket and release it for launch—for SpaceX’s launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. For his first four years at the company, Ryan supported engineering and upgrades for the launch mechanical systems at Vandenberg and at SpaceX’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ryan was promoted to lead the Launch Mechanical Systems team in 2015. He oversees the design and engineering of mechanical systems at each of SpaceX’s launch sites in this role, including hangar tooling, key recovery equipment and ground support equipment systems for flights with crew. In addition to transporter erector design and upgrades, Ryan also works on new ground and recovery systems including the Crew Access Arm used to help astronauts board SpaceX spacecraft atop Falcon 9 rockets and a new drone ship recovery system. Ryan was promoted to Senior Manager of Launch Mechanical Systems in 2016. While he is currently responsible for the ground systems that will support SpaceX’s new heavy lift rocket, Falcon Heavy, his systems will also support NASA’s Commercial Crew program for human space transport.

Ryan is described by colleagues and peers as a natural and motivating leader, a valuable and enthusiastic team contributor, and a dedicated mentor. Early in his SpaceX career, he developed a reputation as someone who would track down any issues his team was having and find pragmatic solutions. Ryan has been recognized internally as part of the top percentile of managers at SpaceX and is known for choosing projects that are slightly outside his team members’ typical job responsibilities, allowing them to grow and explore new areas. In addition to his work within SpaceX, he has been an important representative in launch systems certification for NASA and the United States Air Force, including NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program for launching national security satellites.

One of Ryan’s greatest accomplishments at SpaceX was leading all design and engineering for the new transporter erector at SpaceX’s newest launch pad at Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A. His team was tasked with building a transporter erector that could take on a full schedule of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches to send satellites to orbit as well as supplies and astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. The new transporter erector is stronger than SpaceX’s previous TEs and is also smaller in cross section and more efficient than previous versions. This design has also been uniquely optimized for rapid, reliable and automated processing and launching. The new TE has been used for multiple successful launches since being put into use in early 2017.

In addition to his work as a mentor within SpaceX, Ryan has worked with new engineers and students in the community since his undergraduate time at Yale. He regularly attends and supports industry events, including Air Force and national security functions.

Joyeeta Chatterjee
Project Manager, Reed Smith

Joyeeta is currently a member of the aerospace team in the Financial Industry Group at the law firm of Reed Smith, where she advises on corporate transactional matters with a specialty in financing transactions and export-credit based projects. She also formulates business development strategies for the practice group based on analyses of industry trends and market outlook. Joyeeta regularly attends high-level international conferences and industry events, and is an active participant in discussions on industry developments and legal challenges.

Joyeeta has acquired experience throughout the sector working with government agencies, private industry and non-profit organizations. She has assisted policymakers at the Indian Space Research Organization headquarter in Bangalore, and has worked on policy issues relating to international trade in launch services at the Washington D.C. office of Arianespace. She has also contributed considerably to the academic discourse, and was awarded the Diedericks-Verschoor Award for the best scholarly research paper by a young author at the Annual Symposium of the International Institute of Space Law in 2014.

Joyeeta’s colleagues and superiors all describe her as a diligent, proactive professional full of keen insights, intellectual creativity, and a deep understanding of the trends and developments in the space and satellite industry. According to Senior Space Business Counsel Del Smith, she has consistently enhanced the business development opportunities and marketing effectiveness of the practice group through her innovative ideas and resourcefulness, and her excellent reputation in the industry has further strengthened Reed Smith’s stellar brand value.

In addition to her professional work in the industry, Joyeeta has volunteered much of her time for the Space Generation Advisory Council. Serving in a variety of roles, she was responsible for managerial, operational and liaison activities with members and organisations from diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds. She was elected as the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator for a two-year term, during which she was responsible for promoting space awareness and outreach activities in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2012, she co-founded the SGAC Space Law and Policy Working Group, which addresses legal and policy issues of the space and satellite industry. In recognition of her contributions, she was awarded the 2011 SGAC Young Leader Award. Joyeeta is also a member of the Workforce Development Young Professionals Programme Committee of the International Astronautical Federation.

Joyeeta has earned her B.A. and LL.B, with first-class honours, from Gujarat National Law University in India. She received a specialized master’s degree in aviation and space law from the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal, where she was an Arsenault fellow and where the Faculty of Law awarded her the N.M. Matte Prize for outstanding performance in space law. She is also an alumnus of the International Space University, and by successfully completing the 2011 Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program hosted by the University of South Australia in Adelaide.

Jamal A. Madni
Program Manager & Chief Architect, Special Projects, Boeing Satellite Systems

Jamal Madni began his career at Boeing Satellite Systems in 2013 as an Embedded Flight Software Engineer and Project Manager for National Programs. Over the next two years, he designed, developed and tested flight software for Boeing’s multi-billion dollar space vehicle program and authored over 100 software technical peer reviews. His efforts earned him a promotion to Strategy and Business Development Lead for Advanced Missions and Programs. In his new position, Jamal led over $500 million of commercial, government and internal business capture efforts for the company in the areas of next generation communications, advanced analytics and microelectronics.

In early 2017, Jamal became the youngest Program Manager and Chief Architect of Special Projects at Boeing. He served in this capacity as chief architect for spacecraft fault isolation diagnostic tool development. Jamal led a team to success in the capture, growth and day-to-day execution of Boeing’s integrated electronics suite as part of a $1 billion synthetic aperture radar earth science mission. NISAR, a collaboration between N.A.S.A. and the Indian Space Research Organization, includes the largest payload in the history of the Indian space program.

Jamal is known among his peers and colleagues as an innovative thinker, a dynamic public speaker, a thoughtful strategist and a visionary for Boeing’s organizational culture. He is constantly seeking the best blend of product and culture for the company, aiming to bring together his colleagues’ technical strengths and diversity of thought and experience. Jamal served as a distinguished member of the Boeing Next 100 Council, a group that focuses on the company’s outlook for the next 100 years based on socio-economic, geographic, technological and cultural trends. This position allowed him to share his insights on culture and future business models in multiple presentations to the CEO of Boeing and the senior executive team, which led to the creation of Boeing HorizonX, the company’s venture capital arm dedicated to investment in disruptive companies, technologies and markets for future growth.

Jamal serves as a community leader in engineering both within Boeing and outside it. He created and led the UBMS College Application Preparatory Program, which helps students to prepare their essays, resumes and college applications. The program served over fifty low income, first generation, underrepresented minority students and successfully placed STEM majors at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, and several UCs and CSUs. Jamal also led The Boeing Company’s El Segundo site National Engineers Week school visits initiative from 2014 to 2016. The visits involved presenting interactive demonstrations to over 1,000 middle and high school students on the importance of STEM education. He was instrumental as well in The Boeing Company’s first ever virtual school visit in 2015, where Boeing employees mentored over 100 students on three-month engineering projects via virtual teleconferencing and webcams.

The SSPI 2017 Mentor of the Year:
Jorge Villarreal Schutz
Founder and CEO, Elara Comunicaciones

Jorge Villarreal Schutz is the founder and CEO of Elara Comunicaciones. Since founding the company in 2004, he has led a consistently high-performance team, turning a small company into one of the Best Mexican Companies, recognized by the Deloitte firm, Citibanamex Bank and Tec de Monterrey University. Elara’s Mexico City teleport is now recognized worldwide for its excellence through the World Teleport Association’s certification program. Thanks to Jorge’s leadership and support, Elara integrated in 2015 with the Northgate Capital private equity fund to further support its exponential growth of the last five years.

For the past five years, Jorge has focused Elara’s efforts on diminishing the digital divide in rural and unconnected areas of Mexico through collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport. Elara participated in the 2013 “Red 10K” project, implementing over 3,200 VSATs to serve public schools, medical centers and social support centers in some of the most marginalized areas of Mexico. As of 2017, Jorge and his team have expanded Elara’s services to include B2C in addition to B2B, allowing the company to serve individuals in more remote rural areas, some of whom do not even have phone service. Jorge has been recognized for his work in the industry with several awards, including Intelsat “The Faces of Satellite” award and the World Teleport Association’s “Teleport Executive of the Year” award in 2014. He was also nominated for 2013 Visionary of the Year at SATCON.

Since founding Elara Comunicaciones thirteen years ago, Jorge has fostered a company culture of openness, self-realization, employee development, and commitment to customer service and experience. He has guided his team through every step of Elara’s growth and development, making certain to share his vision with everyone at all levels of the company so that they understand the company’s goals and how its decisions are made. Elara provides employees with assistance in finishing their studies to help them come into the industry with the greatest possible expertise and potential for growth.

At Elara, Jorge focuses in particular on giving employees an opportunity to rise within the company before seeking outside help. Elara’s current Sales Director, Infrastructure & Operations Director and Special Projects Director all began their careers in minor operative or administrative jobs. Jorge noticed potential in each of them and provided more responsibilities, compensation, and opportunities for them to grow into the leadership positions they occupy today.

Jorge has worked to foster satellite and telecommunications excellence both inside Elara and throughout Mexico and Latin America as a whole. He has been invited to participate in LATSAT, the Latin American Satellite Congress of Communications and Broadcasting for four consecutive years and has been part of a panel of teleport industry experts at the event for the past two years. Jorge has built a strong relationship with Euroconsult, the Ministry of Communications and Transport of Mexico and Telecomm, allowing him to assist in defining the National Satellite Policy of Mexico and help with the development of communications and connectivity throughout the country. He and his team have also been in talks with the Inter-American Association of Telecommunications Companies to collaborate on different initiatives to improve satellite communication services in Latin America.