Insight | One mission – to help and protect citizens


One mission – to help and protect citizens


As the Global Government team get ready for their busiest period of the year, President Andy Start looks ahead to the increasing challenges of his customers who all share the same goal.

October, November and December is always an extremely busy time of year for any team which serves the government satcom market.  It’s the time of year when the satellite specialists within many of the governments we serve start to request funds for their budgets for the following calendar year.  This isn’t universal of course, depending on the annual and fiscal calendar of each country and region, but it applies to many.  Consequently, this is the time of year we really ramp up talking to end users about their challenges and how our up and coming service offerings can meet their needs.

We do this through a mixture of direct meetings, training and education events with our partners and a lot of conferences.  My team in Inmarsat serves the governments of around 100 different nations, so this means these events cover the globe.  We’re just back from Interseg in Brazil and over the next three months we have MILCOM in the USA, Gitex in the Middle East, Global Milsatcom in the UK, MILCIS in Australia and our Global Partner Conference in Malta. On top of this we continue our day-in-day-out service delivery and are working on a lot of projects.

All of this makes it exciting – but hectic to say the least!

It is really fortunate then that one of the things I find most enjoyable is travelling and meeting people from different cultures.  Our customers generally have a common mission – to help and protect their citizens. To give you a flavour of this, over the last year we’ve supported disaster relief in Asia, elections in Latin America, anti-piracy operations in the Gulf, counter-narcotics operations across the world, airborne surveillance in Australia, provided communications to health workers in Africa and monitored climate change in New Zealand.  The travel part itself loses its glamour fairly quickly, but talking to customers and partners about their challenges and how we can help gives us that added sense of purpose and understanding of the value we can add.

Despite the huge differences in culture and in economic conditions facing the different customers I talk to, three themes are consistent:

  • Their passion and commitment for what they do for their nations
  • The increased level of operational pressure as world events rage around them
  • Increased pressure to do more with less.

Against this backdrop, our discussions tend to focus on how we can use our technology to help improve the efficiency of what they do, and so help them meet that need of doing more for less.  We have some great stories of what we have already done and with a glut of new products and services coming on stream this year we have some great ideas about how we can do even more.  So, the next few months promise to be hectic, and probably somewhat exhausting, but we have a lot to enthuse and be excited about and helping make that difference is a key element in what keeps us going.

About the author

Andy is responsible for the delivery of Inmarsat services to the military, emergency services, security service, border agencies, coastguard, and all other non-US government customers across the world. A member of Inmarsat’s Executive Committee, he runs a global team with hubs in Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands, South Africa, the UK, UAE, Canada, Washington and Miami.

Andy has an extensive experience of leading large defence businesses on an international basis. Prior to joining Inmarsat he was President of Harris Corporation’s international tactical radio business, Managing Director of BAE Systems Platform Solutions Business, and Director of EADS Astrium’s Military Space Business.

During his time at EADS Astrium he was responsible for the Skynet 4 program and was instrumental in the creation of the Skynet 5 service provision that enables UK MOD to exploit military and commercial satellite communications across the complete array of military tasks and operations.

Andy has completed two Government secondments: one in the UK MOD, the other in the Department of Trade and Industry where he was responsible to the Secretary of State for leading the development of the UK’s National Aerospace Strategy.

Outside of his business responsibilities Andy sits on the board of governors at Mid Kent College and is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a chartered member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Andy lives in Kent with his wife Alison, and has three grown up children.