Long reads

The Euro50 Q&A: David Pollack, Spacecom

As president and CEO, David Pollack is realising Spacecom’s vision of becoming a multi-regional satellite operator with an ambitious launch strategy. Amos-5 is scheduled for a December 2011 launch to the 17° East orbital position. With over 50% of its capacity pre-sold, it will be a key provider of satellite capacity over Africa. Further launches are planned for 2013 and 2014 that will transform the company from a regional player to a global player having capacity reaching over 60% of the world’s population in five years.

Age 62

Education Electric Engineering (cum laude), The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel; MBA, the Stern Graduate School of Business of New York University, US.

Previous positions I’m an 18-year veteran of the satellite industry, and have enjoyed every minute. I began working in this industry in 1993 at Israel Aerospace Industries’ space division. In 1996, I took the helm at Spacecom, serving as the company’s president and CEO — posts I still hold today — when we started operating and marketing the Amos-1 satellite. With the launches of Amos-2, Amos-3, and with the most recent launch in December 2011 of Amos-5, we have created the Amos fleet and have become a multi regional satellite operator. We are on track with the Amos-4 and Amos-6 satellites which will take our reach even further over Europe, Russia and Asia.

Last year’s highlights This is the year of Amos-5 and furthering our vision of being a multi-regional satellite operator.  During the past 18 months we have significantly added personnel to our staff – not only sales, but also engineering and operations. We have been making excellent inroads into Africa and can report more than 50% of capacity on Amos-5 is pre-sold. A job well done. Capacity on the Amos hotspot, 4° West over central and Eastern Europe with Amos-2 and Amos-3 remains over 90%. We added a new DTH platform in Ukraine, XtraTV, and our three other DTH platform partners are gearing up for more HD as well as 3D broadcast. Also, we have issued the RFP for the Amos-6 satellite program that we plan to launch during 2014. This satellite will extend our reach further into Europe with pan-European coverage as well as add more capacity over CEE and the Middle East. We are also very proad to introduce our first Ka- spot beam coverage for broadband services over Africa and CEE in this satellite.

Most significant industry development As I view it, the worldwide industry is stable. In the regions we serve, the need for capacity is growing. I see the industry’s move towards more Ka- and Ku-band continuing. We are currently working towards adding new technologies such as Ka spot beam coverage in developing the next generation of our satellites to ensure that as new services hit the market (e.g. broadband) they can be readily served via satellite. The communications industries are moving forward with new digital services, and satellites, including our own, are playing a major role in ensuring that governments, enterprises and consumers receive these services in the highest quality possible.

Goals for next year It is an exciting time to be a part of Spacecom and as we move into the future, we are looking at the beginning of Amos-5’s commercial operations, completing the last mile towards the Amos-4 launch and reaching more milestones in Amos-6. Next year our focus will remain Africa for the Amos-5 and meeting our customers’ needs at 4° West.

Industry challenges and opportunities Despite pulling through the economic turmoil of the past few years, the industry still faces new economic and financial challenges around the world due to less than stellar government financing all the way through to institutional and private funding. On the other hand, technology is taking the industry to new places and because satellite development is measured in years, we always need to be cognizant of making the right business and technology decisions.  The key is to always be as flexible as possible to keep business profitable.

Alternative career choice As an electrical engineer by training, I have a well-developed taste for problem solving. I am also a great supporter of technology education and it is likely that I would be in an environment supporting educational initiatives that add to Israel’s industrial development.

Life outside work The great outdoors calls me. From a new hobby wind-surfing to my reliable mountain biking, I enjoy seeing the world from the ground up. It is also a great joy for me to take my family, my children and even grandchildren to outdoors sports activities.

Tags: Israel, Spacecom