Introducing the newest member of our business development team, Robert Strickland. Bobby joined Lepton Global Solutions as Director of Satellite Engineering during the summer of 2017. His rich background in SATCOM and Government brings valuable experience to the Lepton team. With Robert’s expertise, we look forward to making a splash in the DISA and GSA task order arena and expanding our customer base in 2018.
Bobby, what is your previous experience in the SATCOM industry before joining Lepton?
Bobby: I started my career in the U.S. Air Force in 1977 as a flight simulator technician, and later cross-trained into military SATCOM as a Space Communications Systems Specialist. After I left the military, I continued in the satellite communications path and held a variety of jobs, including as a Systems Engineering and Technical Assistant consultant working with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). While employed there, I was on the other side of the aisle, formulating specifications for satellite communications proposals, evaluating proposals, and managing the task orders after they were awarded. I also worked directly with military and government agencies, defining their needs, and developing the proposal documents for the procurement process. Since joining the private sector, I have worked on both the operator and service provider side.
Lepton Global is a relatively new player in this industry, competing alongside big names like Intelsat, DRS, Ultisat, and others. What surprised you about our company?
Bobby: I hadn’t heard a lot about the company before applying for the position. When I started my research, I found that Lepton was highly focused on providing turnkey services. I was surprised to find out that such a relatively new small business had a functional global satellite network in place, and was capable of easily adding new customers into their existing networks. Now that I am a part of the team, I understand what makes Lepton Global successful. We work together as a team and use a variety of tools and resources to provide world-class service.
Why Lepton Global?
Bobby: I’ve found my happy medium here at Lepton. Half of my responsibilities are business development and proposals, and the other half are satellite engineering. While Lepton has earned a well-deserved spot on the major satellite communications IDIQ contracts, including GSA IT Schedule 70 and CS3 (Complex SATCOM Solutions), there are still a lot more sales opportunities within other government agencies. My job is to identify and develop customized satellite solutions for all government agencies.
For us to provide customers with a proposal, we have to assess their needs and gauge available market capabilities. Using my satellite engineering knowledge, I evaluate the performance of various technologies that exist on the market to understand current trends and future advancements in SATCOM. Working in the industry for many years, I have developed relationships with many satellite communications integrators. One of the advantages of working for Lepton is that we stay agnostic when choosing satellite equipment. Our goal is to provide customers with the best performance equipment at the best possible price, regardless of who makes it. Part of my work is to link VSAT innovators with this pioneering small business to provide global, reliable, and flexible communications solutions to support our customers’ missions.
You have a lot of experience in the industry. What is the biggest perk or benefit you have found working here?
Bobby: Lepton is new in the COMSATCOM space, and I have the opportunity to contribute to our growth in different areas. In a small company, you can’t have just one job, and that fits my personality very well. In addition to working business development and satellite engineering, I also have duties as one of the facility security officers. Every day is an exciting new challenge – one day I’m doing proposals, the next putting VSATs together, the next focusing on security issues.
From the list of your past achievements, what skills are you able to utilize at Lepton?
Bobby: When I worked for Orbital Sciences, I was a flight operations director on three satellite launches. I directed satellite operations from the satellite launch up to customer acceptance. It helped me understand how things work on that side of the industry. I can now put together solutions for our customers and identify how to leverage satellite capabilities to offer maximum benefits based on my knowledge of how satellite operators work and where efficiencies can be gained. I’ve also worked in the procurement directorate for DISA, where I was a member of the Technical Evaluation Boards (TEB) on more than 250 proposals. This is very beneficial experience as a member of the proposal team at Lepton. I understand how the government will evaluate our proposals, and how to customize our offerings to provide unique benefits that our government customers will appreciate.
Are there any skills that you would like to master that you think will help you become better at your role?
Bobby: I recently got my Facility Security Officer (FSO) certification and am focusing more on the security aspects of COMSATCOM. The government is putting a lot more emphasis on physical and cyber security, and we have to make sure our systems are fully compliant with the government’s security needs. One of our recent projects was ensuring DFARS Compliance with NIST SP 800-171 as an IT services provider.
Coming from a different state, what is the most significant change you have noticed living in DC/Virginia area?
Bobby: This is the third time I’ve lived in Northern Virginia, and when we returned to it in 2013, the areas where I lived before had turned from a pasture into the city with roads and tall buildings. We ended up moving farther out into Loudoun County to get away from the development, but it’s slowly catching up to us.
Do you participate in any clubs or organizations outside of work?
Bobby: I am a part of the RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) network, a nationwide volunteer operators network that provides emergency radio communications in times of emergency. I operate a HAM radio station (call sign KM4NPP) primarily on 10m, 2m, and 70cm. I’m also studying to upgrade to a general class license so that I can operate on additional frequencies.
Do you have any unique talents?
Bobby: I am good at repairing electronics; as a hobby, I repair and rebuild vintage radios and tube amplifiers. Many musicians value good quality, old-school technology. I get broken equipment, fix it, and then sell it to local musicians. Getting tubes for these old amps used to be a real problem, but now we are getting very good quality tubes from Ukraine and China, and I can bring these old school amps back to life.
Thank you, Bobby, for the interview! We welcome you to our team and looking forward learning from your broad SATCOM experience.