FROM THE CHAIR AND CEO

 

 

If you’re reading this, then we have something important in common.

Perhaps there’s some part of you that is deeply interested in leveraging technology to solve customer problems in ways that have the potential to genuinely change the world.  

For me, this is more than just an interest – it’s been a lifelong passion. 

I’ve been lucky to have spent a career in an industry – aerospace and defense communications – where customer problems represent some of the toughest challenges imaginable.

It’s why I am so excited about the opportunities ahead at Comtech. Whether it’s a 911 emergency call that must be routed and handled without delay; a business seeking to enable a safe and connected workforce; or our own sons and daughters in uniform performing challenging missions in the harshest of environments where the stakes are highest – it is Comtech’s culture of innovation, our intense focus on the customer and our innovative technology leadership that have enabled us to continually empower our customers to overcome these complex challenges and truly change the game.  

Essentially, the core of our mission at Comtech is leveraging technology to continually find a better way. Importantly, as we solve customer problems by delivering innovative solutions, we will also build and grow our business, creating a very rewarding experience for all our stakeholders. One lesson I have learned in my career is that creating value for customers translates into delivering value to shareholders.

Prior to joining Comtech, first as an Independent Board member, and now as Chairman and CEO, I worked at Raytheon, Collins Aerospace, ITT/Exelis and Viasat – in each case building and helping teams focus on what I termed the customer problem-to-be-solved, championing innovation, empowering people, and fostering creative and entrepreneurial approaches that delivered technology-enabled capabilities empowering customers in unprecedented ways. 

We reveal incredible business opportunities when we focus on the customer problem-to-be-solved. Let me offer just two examples that really stand out:

First, a few years ago I learned that the inflight satellite connectivity available to the United States President onboard Air Force One was far inferior to existing commercial options, I was genuinely shocked. I simply couldn’t believe that a JetBlue passenger had far superior inflight connectivity than the American President onboard Air Force One.  So, we assembled a passionate team that was 100% committed to understand and address the problem. After nearly 20 months of nonstop work, the team was awarded a major, sole-source contract to properly re-equip Air Force One, and in addition, nearly all the US Senior Leader fleet of aircraft, and to then provide inflight satellite connectivity via an innovative as-a-service business model. Our customer, for whom failsafe communications was absolutely critical, was continually amazed by the combination of superior connectivity and lower total cost (we reduced their cost of service relative to prior contracts). In addition to being a very rewarding experience for our team, it also created sustainable and profitable growth, generating hundreds of millions in sales revenue. 

Second, upon learning that US Forces Close Air Support (CAS) units were experiencing a dismal 29% mission success rate in a critical wartime environment, we assembled a team to find a better way. In an intense effort over an 18-month period, our team developed an entirely new approach to digitally automate CAS by implementing secure, machine-to-machine direct connectivity between the aircraft and the uniformed ground controller. This unprecedented CAS approach was rapidly tested and validated in a variety of representative mission scenarios, and then formally approved for immediate deployment. This effort genuinely changed the game, dramatically improving CAS mission success rates to consistently approach 99%. Again, in addition to being a very rewarding team experience, this delivered sustainable and profitable business growth, generated millions in annual sales revenue, and delivered thousands of mission-critical digital connectivity devices to US and allied forces.  

Bear in mind, these are just two examples, and these are from nearly ten years ago. When I consider the rapid pace of technology innovation, and the way Comtech’s people are accelerating technology trajectories every single day, it is easy to see why I am so genuinely excited to be a part of this Comtech Team!  

In Comtech, I see the enormous potential and vast opportunities that exist as we bring together the innovative creativity of our people with the cutting-edge technology across our two core markets:  space and satellite communications, and 911 public safety and location. 

Importantly, these markets have a very high potential for growth, as each is experiencing significant inflections: incumbent providers are increasingly vulnerable to disruption by new, technology-enabled products, services, and capabilities. Comtech has made significant investments to position itself at the heart of markets that are themselves transforming and combined with our strong culture of innovations, I’m confident we will capture meaningful share in our key end markets.

On a personal level, I consider myself truly blessed because I have not one, but two, dream jobs – the first of which is being a husband and father.  With six children and six grandchildren, this first dream job has become my reality. 

And now I’m blessed again with a second dream job: to lead a high-potential, public technology company.  

As I have visited so many of our sites over these past weeks, I’ve become increasingly encouraged, confident, and excited. The ingredients critical to success are all here. We genuinely have a fantastic team, with a wealth of relevant, cutting-edge technologies. We have a strong culture of innovation, and we apply our creative energies to deliver customer value in truly unprecedented ways. And, we have significant yet untapped opportunities to be even stronger as we work to collaborate better, learn from each other, and together, launch a new chapter at Comtech that fully exploits the strengths and diversity within our team.

I sense a growing excitement from our customers who are increasingly seeking the technology-enabled advantages that we provide, which in turn will accelerate our growth and business trajectory.  

I’m well aware that we need to do more than simply see the opportunities.  As we open our next chapter, we must enhance our business and operational performance, utilize common processes, strengthen process discipline, improve program management, better identify and mitigate our risks, and more efficiently convert opportunities into revenue to deliver steadily increasing value to our shareholders.

We have a lot of work to do at Comtech, but we have talented people, cutting-edge technologies, and we’re in attractive, and growing, markets. 

I hope you’ll join me as we author our exciting next chapter together, as One Comtech.

Thanks so much –

Ken

 

 

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