Welcome to the STEM Career Highlight Series, which is a Q&A series highlighting the people of Hughes and the STEM path they took to jumpstart their careers and get to where they are today. Through sharing these experiences, we hope to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and instill in them the same enthusiasm and passion our employees have for what they do.
This week, we are talking to Dave, one of our senior program managers.
What made you interested in STEM?
I have always been intrigued by technology. As a kid, I would build computers and robots. I set up networks and did some basic programming early on, which I also found fascinating.
Did you study STEM in school?
Yes, I received my master’s degree in Information Technology and Management and an MBA—both from the University of Maryland.
How long have you been working for Hughes?
Believe it or not, I actually started my career at Hughes over 20 years ago, but was a network engineer before that. For the past 11 years, I’ve been a senior program manager where I’ve had the opportunity to interact with technology every day through my work testing and launching new HughesNet products, constructing client management systems, and developing the knowledge-based articles call center agents share with customers.
What is a Hughes customer interaction you have experienced for which you are particularly proud?
About 8 years ago, I met an elderly couple living on a remote lake in Montana who were looking for a way to connect to the Internet without having to drive 45 minutes into the nearby town. At the time, I was performing work on Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) – the satellite dish and user terminals or routers that HughesNet customers use to access service. I saw the opportunity to add this couple to the beta testing I was doing. I checked in with them regularly to make sure everything was operational, and they were very appreciative. It showed me the difference satellite Internet can make for people who otherwise would be living without connectivity.
What advice would you give to students entering the STEM field?
The industry changes like the wind. Education is key—it is important to stay up to date on the latest industry advancements, equipment changes, and research, to hone your skills and stay relevant.
How will you be supporting the launch of Hughes highly anticipated JUPITER™ 3 satellite?
We are excited about our newest High-Throughput Satellite, JUPITER 3 (EchoStar XXIV). It’s expected to launch in the second half of 2021. Later this year, I will be helping to create call center and client-facing support documentation. The JUPITER 3 program is a big undertaking, and I’m glad to have a small part in bringing the new service, with speeds up to 100 Mbps down, to our customers.