Iridium CEO Matt Desch Named to 2021 Wash100 for Satellite IoT and Maritime Communications Service Leadership

Iridium CEO Matt Desch Named to 2021 Wash100 for Satellite IoT and Maritime Communications Service Leadership
Matt Desch CEO Iridium

Executive Mosaic is pleased to introduce Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium Communications, as an inductee into the 2021 edition of the Wash100, for stewarding the company through the launch of its broadband service upgrade, satellite cloud-based offering for internet of things and maritime emergency response system. This marks Desch’s seventh consecutive Wash100 Award.

Under his leadership, Iridium completed its $3 billion NEXT constellation with 66 operational satellites in low-Earth orbit that support government and commercial customers worldwide.

“Now that we have a brand new network, we’ve really seen a very steady and strong growth rate for the last 20 years we’ve been in operation, especially since we moved from voice communications to data transmission to internet of things,” Desch said in an interview with Bloomberg before the start of 2020.

Iridium announced last year the commercial availability of an updated Certus broadband service that offers L-band connectivity with speeds of up to 704 kilobits per second. Desch said in February 2020 the company’s Certus midband class of devices could open the door to new capabilities for satellite-powered personal communicators, remote sensors and autonomous systems.

In the prior month, the International Mobile Satellite Organization cleared Iridium’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. “The maritime industry is recognizing that our network possesses the unique ability to make GMDSS an even more robust system and extend its coverage to the entire planet,” Desch said at the time.

GMDSS, which became operational Dec. 11, offers real-time emergency response and rescue service to seafarers in distress.

The global satellite operator also entered into industry partnerships last year to help advance national security interests in the space domain. As part of an agreement with Amazon Web Services, Iridium helped establish the CloudConnect service that uses an AWS cloud infrastructure integrated with satellite data and IoT concepts. The effort comes as part of both companies’ push to achieve 80 percent of coverage in areas with limited connectivity.

In mid-2020, Iridium partnered with Relativity Space to use the latter’s Terran 1 vehicle to launch additional Iridium satellites that will operate as spares for the NEXT constellation in low-Earth orbit. Launches are slated to take place by 2023.

Aside from Iridium’s work with the public and private sectors, the company also sought to share its milestones and history in order to inspire the next generation in pursuing careers in the commercial space industry. In July, the company launched the Iridium Online Museum to showcase its first-generation satellites and eventual growth to a satcom provider that services over 1.3 million users.

“We’ve developed a lot of wisdom as a result of our history, and we want others to learn from the path we carved and appreciate, understand, and be inspired by Iridium’s story,” said Desch. “The audacity of the vision, the challenges the company went through, the milestones along the way, and the people that have been involved should be celebrated.”

Despite the headwinds emanating from the coronavirus pandemic, Iridium reported third quarter revenue of $151.5 million to exceed prior year figure by 5 percent and recorded a 67,000 increase in total billable subscribers to hit 1,429,000 at the end of Sept. 30, 2020.

The McLean, Virginia-based satellite services provider saw the number of its government voice and data subscribers jump 9 percent to 61,000 for the third quarter and an 8 percent year-over-year growth in government internet-of-things data subscribers that reached 81,000.

Iridium’s efforts to establish itself as a top satcom company continues with the market entrance of Iridium Edge Solar, an IoT-based asset management and tracking device that uses solar power to help users monitor asset such as vessels, oil and gas infrastructure and other logistics equipment.

Executive Mosaic congratulates Matt Desch and the Iridium team for their selection to the 2021 Wash100 Award.

About The Wash100

This year represents our eighth annual Wash100 Award selection. The Wash100 is the premier group of private and public sector leaders selected by Executive Mosaic’s organizational and editorial leadership as the most influential leaders in the GovCon sector. These leaders demonstrate skills in leadership, innovation, achievement and vision.

Visit the Wash100 site to learn about the other 99 winners of the 2021 Wash100 Award. On the site, you can submit your 10 votes for the GovCon executives of consequence that you believe will have the most significant impact in 2021.

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