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Iridium CEO Matt Desch Nets 9th Wash100 Award for Stewarding Iridium in Its ‘Blockbuster Year’

Executive Mosaic has the privilege of bestowing Matt Desch with the 2023 Wash100 Award. For the last nine years, the Iridium Communications CEO has secured a place among the most influential and impactful individuals working in government contracting and the U.S. government. He earns his ninth distinction from the voting body for impressive financial achievements — which heightened the earnings ceiling of his satellite company — and the steady creation of new partnerships.

“Matt is a perennial favorite who continues to beat expectations. He’s at the intersection of commercial space and government contracting in a deliberate and results-oriented pursuit of attainable solutions,” enthused Jim Garrettson, CEO of Executive Mosaic and creator of the Wash100 Award.

The Wash100 annually gathers and commends the most significant “executives of consequence” in the Capitol region. Any executive who is vetted and elected to this elite group joins some of the most notable and esteemed C-level executives, federal agency directors and military leaders in recent times. To receive consideration, an awardee must evince exemplary leadership, make innovative contributions to the GovCon sector and hold a visionary plan for future achievements.

During Desch’s legendary career, he has helped to revolutionize the satellite industry, transforming a despondent market into a thriving area that has regularly seen upwards of $16 billion in investments per year.

Iridium rests on a simple but effective business model: “We’re a wholesale provider of a very unique technology that we license to others and they take us to market,” the CEO proudly stated in his Sep. 2022 video interview with EM’s Summer Myatt. Watch the full conversation here.

Desch deemed 2022 a “blockbuster year” for Iridium, citing an increased demand for equipment and a boost in subscribers delivering a company-best EBIDTA of $105.9 million in the second quarter, which was a 12 percent increase from the prior year’s Q2 result.

By the third quarter of FY 2022, Iridium’s subscriber base had ballooned to 1.97 million, marking a year-over-year increase of 17 percent in this department. This is attributable to a reliable escalation of Internet of Things customers — an up-and-coming technology on which Iridium is working to corner the market — as well as offerings like Push-to-Talk and GO!

In addition to its financial progress, 2022 saw Desch’s guidance of Iridium as a go-to collaborator with the federal government continue at an aggressive pace.

In May 2022, the company won a $324.5 million contract from the Space Development Agency alongside General Dynamics Mission Systems. The contract calls for the companies to jointly construct, man and maintain ground entry points and operations hubs for the first tranche of the National Defense Space Architecture.

Desch cited Iridium, GDMS and the U.S. government’s successful past partnerships, positioning the latest award as “a natural evolution of our relationship.”

“Iridium’s 25 years of experience operating in LEO makes us uniquely qualified for this opportunity, and we’re honored to take on this tremendous responsibility in support of this next generation network,” Desch continued.

U.S. Space Force indicated a strong interest in Iridium’s satellite broadband communications services in April 2022. The DOD space branch is looking to incorporate the company’s offerings into its Joint All Domain Command and Control effort, which seeks to unite and standardize communications across the Pentagon’s many arms and frontiers. Upon this announcement, Desch said the organization would be able to help protect and fortify JADC2 systems through its L-band foundation and small terminals, which are able to link disparate tools.

Continuing Desch and Iridium’s space-based ambitions, SpaceX in Sep. 2022 announced its intent to launch up to five of the six ground spare satellites the company has in its arsenal via the Falcon 9 rocket. It will be the company’s second cooperative launch with SpaceX and is set to occur in mid-2023.

“We built extra satellites as an insurance policy, and with SpaceX’s stellar track record, we look forward to another successful launch, which will position us even better to replicate the longevity of our first constellation,” commented Desch.

Looking further to the future, in his EM video interview, Desch revealed that Iridium has been in talks to implement its technology into smartphones.

“We’re not going to be the only one doing this. This is a hot new area in satellite communications,” the executive said.

Executive Mosaic is excited to watch as the latter advancement develops and for all of Desch and Iridium’s sure-to-be rigorous and groundbreaking activities in the coming year. A hearty congratulations to Matt Desch on his 2023 Wash100 Award.

The popular vote contest for the 2023 Wash100 is currently in full swing. Be sure to cast 10 votes for your favorite leaders from this year’s Wash100 slate today at Wash100.com.

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