CEO@Smith Hosts Pradman Kaul, Hughes Communications, Inc.
More than 175 people gathered in Frank Auditorium in the Robert H. Smith School
of Business’ Van Munching Hall on Feb. 22, 2011 to attend a CEO@Smith session with
Pradman Kaul, president and CEO of Hughes Communications, Inc.
Hughes is the world’s leading supplier of broadband satellite services and network
solutions using interactive Very Small Aperture Terminal products. With annual revenues
of more than $1 billion, Hughes provides satellite-based enterprise and consumer
services and networks, mobile satellite networks and terminals, and broadband LMDS
point-to-multipoint systems. Headquartered in Germantown, Md., Hughes has offices
in 11 countries and customers in over 100 countries.
Kaul, who also continues as Chairman and CEO of Hughes Network Systems, LLC.,
talked to the students, faculty and staff in attendance about how satellite communications
have changed the world.
“With global satellite coverage, hundreds of millions of people all over the
world can receive satellite TV directly. They can watch CNN, NBC, Sky News, CNBC
and other news stations. We are all watching the same news at the same time,” Kaul
said. “There are no longer distant places in the world.”
Kaul talked about the history of satellites and how we’ve gotten to where we
are today with satellite communications. He also discussed the issue of what happens
to satellites in space when they are no longer of use, in response to a question
from the audience during the Q&A session.
“If you look at the Earth’s gravitational field, it looks like an apple. When
a satellite is in a particular location, it tends to drift toward what we call the
satellite graveyard,” Kaul explained.
“When a satellite is in operation it drifts a little bit, so we fire a little
rocket to push it back to its normal position. … The life of a satellite is determined
by that action because once you run out of fuel to push it back, it keeps going
that way toward the satellite graveyard – and it will stay that way,” he reassured.
“Very few of them, if any that I know of, will drop back to Earth – there is a lot
of space up there for those guys.”
Kaul said that at Hughes, they value innovative employees who “work smart” and
are driven. He advised those in attendance to always “do what you say you are going
to do – not only to your boss, to your company, to your wife, to your kids, to your
friends: That fundamental belief that if you commit to something you must do it
– That is a core value at Hughes.”
Before joining Hughes, Kaul worked at COMSAT Laboratories in Clarksburg, Md.
He holds numerous patents and has published articles and papers on a variety of
technical topics concerning satellite communications. In 2009, he was both inducted
into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame and awarded
“Satellite Executive of the Year 2008” by Via Satellite magazine.
Jessica Bauer, Writer and Editor, Office of Marketing Communications