Employee Spotlight – Robert Strickland

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.

Employee Spotlight – Meet Lyuda, Our Marketing Coordinator

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This month’s Employee Spotlight features our Marketing Coordinator Lyuda Promyshlyayeva. She started with Lepton Global at the beginning of this year and serves as a voice of the company in the satellite communications industry and on social media, including Twitter and LinkedIn.

Question: What is your previous SATCOM experience?

Lyuda: I come from a B2B business environment; previously working for manufacturing and distribution companies, and Lepton Global is my first experience in satellite communications. The satellite industry and government marketplace each has its own language, and most of the terms are abbreviated: VSAT, CONUS, SATCOM, etc. It has been fun to learn a jargon and the technical components.

Q: How long have you been with Lepton Global Solutions?

L: I am a newbie – I started at the beginning of this year.

Q: Why Lepton Global?

L: You know when it’s the right match! I like the family atmosphere of the company, and everyone is 110% invested in Lepton’s success. We all have a unique function in the day-to-day operations and are expected to perform well. If there is a chance that you have not done something before, you are expected to find the solution and how to apply it!

Q: What is the biggest perk/benefit of working at Lepton Global?

L: The best benefit of working at Lepton Global is flexibility; we are not tied up by corporate bureaucracy. If there is a need and a consensus to add something to make our operations more efficient, we do it.

Q: What skills are you able to use at Lepton?

L: I make a mean pot of coffee every morning, ha-ha! Then I am wired the rest of the day to write and create. I incorporate my previous experiences to make valuable marketing materials that help customers understand our values and benefits, and why they should choose our offerings over our competitors.

Q: What are some of the non-technical skills that you find useful working at Lepton?

L: I have to deal with a lot of vendors in my field, and treating others fairly is one of the tenets I stick to when conducting business with other companies. It is important to build lasting relationships and treat others fairly, and generally, my contacts will be more inclined to go the extra mile the more I work with them.

Q: Any skills that you would like to master that you think may help you become better in your role?

L: Right now I am learning website development and SEO implementation, unofficially…my knowledge of websites is from a user standpoint, not a developer’s. I have to understand how to improve parts of our website to make the biggest impact on the user experience without affecting other segments. SEO plays a big role in customer experience. Now I am focused on developing more user-friendly content. I guess it helps to be an outsider – I bet there are plenty of people visiting our site who ask the same types of questions I did when I started at Lepton.

Q: Coming from a different state, what is the largest transition you have noticed living in DC/Virginia area?

L: I definitely like the fast pace; city life in DC is amazing! I guess the biggest shocker to me was how many people walk and use public transportation. I am not used to seeing people carrying groceries on foot.

Q: Do you have any special talents?

L: Not really, but I love to spend time with kids. I don’t have my own yet, but all my friends that do let me babysit their children. And I think children love spending time with me as well, whether we go to the movies, a playground, or plan sleepovers at ‘auntie Lyuda’s’. I always try to keep them entertained, at the same time treating them as little adults. Spending time with children I love the never-ending “Why?” questions. It makes you think sometimes: “Really, why?”

Q: Do you participate in any clubs or organizations outside of work?

L: When I first moved to the DC area, I started looking for ways to get involved in the community. Isabel suggested a volunteer organization in DC, whose participants interact with children affected by homelessness. I became involved in the Community of Hope Playnight Project a few months ago and now volunteer with the group about once a week. Playnight serves several shelter communities in the DC area; their main goal is to provide children in these communities with quality playtime. We as a group come up with fun projects to do with the kids every week to give them as much attention as possible, as well as continuity in their lives. I find it rewarding because as volunteers we provide the opportunity for the kids to express themselves and to learn to interact with other children and adults. I think these children look forward to the Playnight Tuesdays as much as I do – no matter how hectic my day has been, I know I will be greeted by smiles, hugs, and the exuberant energy ready to play!

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

L: I love to travel! Over the years, I have moved around quite a bit. I also have developed a lot of friendships. Now, I plan trips just to visit friends and see where they live. America is very diverse, and I try to capture its beauty on camera. I am not really a professional photographer, but I always bring back hundreds of pictures from my trips.

Meet the other members of our Leadership Team