Erwin H. on Commitment and Leadership

I was VP, Mission Engineering at SS/L from 1998 to 2000 and I really enjoyed working with Bob. He knew the satellite industry better than anyone, and he really understood how to combine our advanced technologies with a rapidly evolving market to keep SS/L’s business healthy and competitive. In the satellite industry, where capital costs are hundreds of millions of dollars, satellite operators often bet their company on each new satellite order. A large part of SS/L’s success was due not just to Bob’s leadership, but to Bob’s commitment and reputation. Every CEO of every satellite operator knew that if they bought a satellite from SS/L, they would get a fair deal and if any issues arose during manufacture or after launch, they could always trust Bob to make things right.

Generally, one or two times a month. Bob would invite me to his office for lunch. The SS/L cafeteria would bring us specially prepared meals. I learned to enjoy Babybel cheese, always a red one and a white one, and we always had oatmeal raisin cookies which I believe were Bob’s favorite. We would sit for an hour or more and debate the tech issues of the day, often technology strategy, the future of telecommunications, Silicon Valley, computing, the expanding Internet, and the future of the satellite industry. I was truly inspired by those lunchtime sessions and I learned a lot from Bob. Even after I left SS/L, I’d occasionally get a call or email from Bob … “So what do you think of ____ (some new idea)?”

I was fortunate to have gotten to know Bob during my time at SS/L. I certainly wish Bob’s family all the best. Bob was a real inspiration to me. I’m sure all of you are very proud of who Bob was and what Bob accomplished.