Blog Post

Views From the Executive Suite: Beyond the Satellite

An exclusive interview with Kay Sears, President, Intelsat General, by Marc Hausman, Strategic Communications Group.

Kay Sears, President, Intelsat General

It’s not rocket science. That’s a well-worn phrase employed by executives at technology-focused companies when explaining their solutions to a broad audience.

What happens though when your portfolio of offerings really is rocket science?

That is a challenge faced by Kay Sears, president of Intelsat General. Kay’s organization builds custom, secure and global communications systems that integrate satellite and terrestrial networks.

I connected with Kay last week to learn more about her professional background, Intelsat General and the programs the company is working on for government and commercial customers.

Marc Hausman: Can you overview your professional background for GovWin’s members?

Kay Sears: I’ve worked in nearly all facets of the satellite industry during a career that has now spanned 22 years. My initial job was with the Department of Commerce working as an auditor of major systems, including GOES which is a weather satellite program.

When I decided to move to industry, I joined COMSAT where I supported satellite communications programs for customers in the media, broadcast and government markets. I then held a senior role at Verestar, an entrepreneurial, services-based company that was acquired by SES.

Most recently, my experience has been working for satellite operators. I was with PanAmSat which was acquired by Intelsat in 2006.

Intelsat is the world’s largest provider of fixed satellite services. What about Intelsat General? How was the company formed and what is its focus?

Intelsat General is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat. Our organization was created when the parent company acquired COMSAT General in 2004. Intelsat’s leadership recognized the need to support a set of government and commercial customers who were interested in end-to-end communications, rather than traditional satellite bandwidth.

This focus on the provision of comprehensive, global communications services continues today. About 50 percent of our business leverages Intelsat’s satellite network while the other half involves us tapping into the capabilities of other satellite operator systems.

Our customer base is both government and industry. On the commercial side, we’re working extensively with defense contractors and systems integrators that sell to governments.

What are Intelsat General’s priorities through the end of the year?

The top priority is to execute on the contracts we’ve won to date.

A good example is the military’s Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP). We have been working collaboratively with the Navy on network infrastructure development requirements and are now helping the customer define go-forward needs and future challenges.

We’re also in close discussions with our federal agency customers on their 2012 communications needs and the possible implications of the current fiscal environment.

Our parent company is developing a number of new satellites and it’s imperative that we understand what type of global coverage and capabilities our government customers will require.

And finally, we are working on a number of hosted payload opportunities. We want to help government put assets into orbit, whenever appropriate.

Tell us about your teaming and partnering strategy. What types of companies are you most interested in connecting with on GovWin?

We seek partners with complementary technologies that we can integrate into the network infrastructure and communications systems we are building for customers. These include antenna vendors, satellite manufacturers and sensor providers, that can further our hosted payload business.

Information assurance for secure networks is also an absolute priority. If someone on GovWin is actively involved in this area from a technology or systems planning perspective, we want to understand their capabilities.

Marc Hausman is the president and CEO of Strategic Communications Group, a social media marketing consultancy based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Read more at his blog: