The highlight of 2020 for me professionally was the successful completion of coordination of one of our latest satellites for operation at the most important orbital slot with a nearby satellite operator. The coordination discussions began in 2016 with intensive face-to-face 2-3-day meetings twice a year, with all the intervening internal work that went on during each meeting and between meetings. In March 2020, my involvement in the discussions became much more intense to facilitate other important related activities of the Business Development group that depended solely on the completion of this coordination. The discussions were done remotely roughly every two weeks and lasted through September 2020 when we reached an agreement with this other operator.
My personal highlight for 2020 was going to western Montana. That was the treat that I gave to myself after the completion of the aforementioned coordination agreement despite the COVID-19 pandemic. To see and walk through the prairies, the mountains, the multitude of gentle rivers and streams; to absorb the enormity and grandeur of the Continental Divide, the solitude of standing in the middle of a vast prairie as if you were the last person remaining on Earth, soaking in natural hot springs every evening, and all the sounds and sights and aromas that I absorbed along the way were simply delightful and mesmerizing.
I normally like to start my day about one hour before the start of my workday, brew a cup of espresso coffee or hot tea, and read both domestic and international news (online). I enjoy reading the perspectives that various countries have on various domestic and international events, as well as the important domestic issues in those countries. The reading helps me to get my mind’s “motor” running and prepped for the workday ahead.
I spend most of my day evaluating the various coordination proposals that are sent to us by other satellite operators or ITU administrations, determining if such proposal(s) should be accepted or a counterproposal should be devised. I also generate coordination proposals for other operators to consider as part of our overall effort to complete as many (ITU) required coordinations as we can. The ultimate goal is to reach operating agreements with as many operators as we can so that ABS can operate its satellites to their full capability and enable ABS to operate at another, as yet undeveloped, future orbital slot with the highest level of power. Frequency coordination is a very time-consuming and intensive task.
A lesser part of my day is typically devoted to supporting the Business Development group, such as evaluating spectrum availability in various frequency bands from a coordination risk perspective or evaluating proposals that they have received from or wish to propose to other operators. For example, another operator may have pitched a joint venture proposal to our Business Development group to develop one of their orbital locations with an existing satellite or a future satellite; and I try to determine the geographic area in which we can provide service to and from that orbital location and the power level that such service can be provided once the operation of all the other nearby satellite operators are considered.
I also provide support to the Sales team directly as well as through the Capacity Management group to evaluate compliance with our coordination agreements with adjacent operators. This support, in some cases, will also require us to determine if a party causing interference is operating in accordance with our agreements or not.
I do not have a magic formula to tackle a bad day – when you’re having a bad day you’re having a bad day. What helps me a little is to go outside periodically during that day and remind myself that despite the way my day is going, the world continues to spin, birds continue to sing, the wind continues to blow, and the sky continues to be blue. I also remind myself that just like no good thing lasts forever, no bad thing lasts forever – although it may seem that way to me at the time.
After a packed day, my recommendation for unwinding would be to go for a long walk or a long drive alone in a suburban area with lots of trees, flowers and running streams (or with an ocean if you’re near one), and simply listen to the natural sounds – not music or any manmade sounds. This gives your mind a break from thinking and lets it unwind.