George Michael


Senior Satellite Controller, Fleet Operations

As a Satellite Controller with imaginative nephews and younger cousins, a popular misconception that I get, and arguably the most comical too, is I delight myself at the office with a live video feed of satellites traversing their orbits in space. I hate to break their hearts but at least someone in the family has to tell them the truth. While it’s true that we receive the real-time status of a spacecraft from a remote point, we only get to receive and monitor telemetries in the form of measured and collected numbers or other data. There are absolutely no real-time videos or images of satellites to gaze at.

I believe it’s impossible to talk about 2020 and not mention Covid-19. On a personal level, it was quite a paradox. The periods of confinement during several lockdowns have opened a spectrum of opportunities that ranges from doing self-development to home renovation/expansion, helping a start-up business, and becoming a plant parent. It took a lot of effort to be productive in dealing with the quarantines but the “wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot) mantra did the trick!

On professional highlights, I would say that being promoted to Senior Satellite Controller last year was one of them, but the ingenuity and commitment of our team, Satellite Operations (SatOps) during the height of the pandemic was a more resounding and notable experience. Being essential workers waived to work from home, our then twelve-strong SatOps team managed to relentlessly report in the office (on both primary and back up facilities) to hold the fort for keeping the company’s assets flying. Satellites are an understated, indispensable resource in pandemic response.

I joined ABS in 2014 as a Master Control Room (MCR) Engineer and then transitioned to the Fleet Operations group as a Satellite Controller in 2016. During my first few years in the company, career opportunities were greatly feasible within Subic Bay Teleport and fellow young professionals started to fill the gaps in the company. With its people taking control of their careers, expanding and evolving skills and knowledge, ABS managed to unfold a growth story and strived to make progress, although rather slowly now that a global pandemic has challenged many industries and economies.

It is when I started working in ABS that I got acquainted with and pursued the habit of running. Influenced by my colleagues at first, it wasn’t long until the cycle of propelling the body through the air and the pounding of feet on the ground caught me. This exhilarating activity completely transports me to a relaxed state of mind. Running gives me a sense of achievement and makes me feel good about myself. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind to a healthy life – and for me, that’s a full circle moment to someone who’s trying to become better every day.

Be adaptive to change. Our life can only become tougher as we age because change will always find us and continue to challenge the status quo. Covid-19 is one example. In one way or another, bumps like the pandemic have introduced significant amount of changes to our lifestyles. We will be constantly challenged and forced to reconsider how to live life but to achieve what we all desire, we need to be proactive about how we manage the change we face in our lives. Always be curious, inquisitive, and adaptive to change. Keep your eyes wide open.