At Network Innovations, we firmly believe that technology is only as good as the people behind it. Our clients, their work, and their experiences have been a constant source of inspiration for us, as have our own teammates. We feel fortunate to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry. It’s their agile mindset that fuels innovation.
Today, we’re ready to delve into stories told by our very own, Scott Walters - Q&A style.
As the Director of Business Development within our newly established business unit, Advanced Networks, Scott holds a vital role in overseeing network design, engineering, and the growth of satellite ground systems. From how he came to pursue a career in the satellite industry to his personal passions, we heard about how Scott’s past experiences led him to help others today, meeting their critical networking and communications needs.
Let’s dive in!
Q: What led you to pursue a career in the satellite communications industry?
A: Before I began my career in satellite, I served in the Canadian and United States armies. I used to drive back and forth from the U.S. Army base where I was stationed to a friend's property and would pass by a satellite facility with a huge antenna situated on a plateau. I recall looking at it for years.
It was a Friday not long after I had left the army. I drove by the same facility that day and the gate was open. There was a gentleman in the field on-site, moving some equipment around; so, I got out of the car and offered to help. We struck up a conversation, and it turned out he was the owner of the company.
In a strange but fortunate turn of events, after lending a helping hand on Friday, I began working for him the following Monday. I had no experience, but he took a chance and said, “I’d just figure it out”. I’ve not looked back since!
Q: From that point, what has your career in the industry looked like?
A: Over the years I’ve worked in operations, engineering, product management, sales, and business development – so, a variety of different roles. Prior to joining Network Innovations, I was with Intelsat for almost twenty years, eventually assuming the position of Director of Global Solution Networks for their Government Division.
Q: You have volunteered to serve communities globally before, during, and after disasters and crises. Can you tell us more about this passion?
A: During the early stages of my career in the satellite industry, I was seeking a pastime to engage in. In 2018, I saw an advertisement on TV for a veterans-based disaster response organization and decided to sign up. It was a group called Team Rubicon. My volunteering efforts with them had just begun when the Carolinas were struck by Hurricane Florence, landing in the town I called home at the time. We were the epicenter of the hurricane.
I quickly went on to build my house to function as a satellite facility, complete with backup generators to ensure an uninterrupted power supply. For the first ten days, my home served as a hub for volunteers dedicated to restoring the communications infrastructure. This is when I truly became passionate about disaster response.
From that point on, I’ve used countless PTO days in disaster-stricken locations, using technology to solve the critical needs of the communities impacted. I currently serve as a volunteer leader with Team Rubicon and a technology volunteer with Help. NGO, an NGO specializing in leveraging technology solutions to improve disaster response efforts.
Q: From your experiences, how important is having an agile mindset toward overcoming communications challenges?
A: It’s vital! For some people, it’s simply texting the words “I’m okay” to their loved ones, and for others, it’s about streamlining business continuity processes within their organization. A uniform strategy doesn’t work for everyone.
Communication challenges can arise unexpectedly, so having an agile mindset ensures that teams are flexible and adaptable in their approach.
Q: How have your past experiences in the industry and work supporting NGOs contributed to your current role at Network Innovations?
A: In the Advanced Networks business unit of Network Innovations, we help conquer the complexities of space and terrestrial networks. The promise to our clients is that we build solutions unique to their needs.
Previous to joining Network Innovations, I worked on a project in Haiti with Help.NGO. After the second earthquake hit the area, a group of volunteers, myself included, swiftly developed a connectivity solution within a few days. Using a combination of small man-pack terminals and Kymeta u7 antennas via the Intelsat FlexMove network, senior United Nations (UN) officials were capable of remotely presenting updates to the general assembly.
In the weeks prior to this, response officials were completely reliant on satellite phones. Delivering an online presentation would have been out of the question. It was after the success of this presentation that I realized that pushing the boundaries of what is perceived as possible is critical when it comes to connectivity. Being creative is key, and today, this plays a vital role in providing our customers with an end-to-end network solution – with maximum reliability and quality performance.
By combining knowledge gained from experience in the satellite industry with the forward-thinking skills I have acquired through my work as an NGO volunteer, I’ve been able to assist in the development of systems, services, and products which leverage the best technologies available. At Network Innovations, we’ve collaborated with others in the industry to learn how we can use our experience to enhance response times and address the needs of a community affected by a humanitarian or natural disaster. We are truly passionate about what we do.
About Advanced Networks, a division of Network Innovations
Advanced Networks provides end-to-end networking solutions that address the complex challenges of space and terrestrial networks, including the ever-evolving cybersecurity threats being faced today and beyond. From design engineering to onsite construction management, our team delivers custom turnkey networks across satellite, cellular, terrestrial wireless, and terrestrial connectivity. Advanced Networks is a division of Network Innovations, a leading technology integrator with customers in government and defense, public safety, oil and gas, media, mining, and utilities. Established in 1989, Network Innovations operates globally and employs over 250 industry experts across five continents.