DISCOVER THE Event Speakers
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Following the legislative elections of 20 October 2013, François Bausch joined the government as Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure on 4 December 2013 in the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng).
After the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, François Bausch was appointed Minister of Defence, Minister for Mobility and Public Works and Minister of Internal Security on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the DP, the LSAP and déi gréng. On 11 October 2019, after Félix Braz' resignation due to health issues, François Bausch was appointed Deputy Prime Minister while keeping his other ministerial portfolios.
On 23 July 2020, François Bausch transferred the portfolio of Internal Security to Henri Kox while keeping the Defence as well as the Mobility and Public Works portfolio.
Head of IAI Defence Programme
Alessandro Marrone is Head of IAI Defence Programme. He has been working at IAI since 2007, and currently manages research projects and publications related to European and transatlantic security - with an increasing focus on space and cyberspace. He is also professor at the Istituto Superiore di Stato Maggiore Interforze (ISSMI) of the Italian Ministry of Defence and has been teaching for four years at the University of Perugia.
He holds a PhD in History of Europe from the La Sapienza University of Rome and a Master of Science (MSc) in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Previously he got a Bachelor degree in Political Science and MSc in International Relations from the LUISS Guido Carli.
He is a member of the Editorial Board of IAI web-magazine AffarInternazionali and collaborates with several Italian magazines including Airpress, Aspenia, Eastwest, Formiche, Huffington Post, Rivista Italiana Difesa and Rivista marittima.
Patrick Biewer is the Chief Executive Officer of GovSat since 2015, a new satellite operator created out of the Public-Private Venture between the Luxembourg Government and SES.
He is in charge of all the business activities as well as building customer relationships with International institutions (EU Commission, NATO, UN).
Prior to this position, Patrick has held a number of executive positions within SES since he joined in 1993, including Managing Director of SES Broadband Services. He is a Luxembourg national and was educated in France and in the UK.
He holds a Master Degree in Telecommunications and an MBA from the Open University.
EU Special Envoy for Space, EEAS
Carine Claeys is the EU Special Envoy for Space in the European External Action Service (EEAS) since 2019. She was Head of the EEAS Space Task Force – now a division – since 2015 and headed the Security of the EU Space Tools Cell of the EU Joint Situation Centre from 2005 to 2011. Before that, she was a multilateral diplomat in the General Secretariat of the Council and in the EEAS since 1992, dealing with issues such as energy, drugs, terrorism, the United Nations, public international law, agriculture, enlargement, transport and space. Carine Claeys holds a PhD in political science, and Master’s degrees in business engineering, in international relations and in development cooperation.
Acting Deputy Director-General, DG CONNECT
Thomas Skordas received his diploma in Electrical Engineering in 1984 and a PhD in Computer Science in 1988. From 1988 to 1995, he worked in France as a Research Fellow and project leader in EU-funded R&D projects in the areas of Information Technology and Robotics.
In 1995, Thomas joined the European Commission as a Research Programme Officer in the Directorate General Information Society & Media (DG INFSO). Ever since, Thomas worked in various units of DG INFSO (which, in 2012 became DG CONNECT) dealing with ICT research in the context of EU's Research and Innovation Framework Programmes. From 2006 to 2009, he was Deputy Head of Unit in ICT Security and Trust. In 2009, he was appointed Head of the Photonics Unit and in 2014, Head of the Flagships Unit.
Since March 2017, Thomas is the Director of DG CONNECT's "Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure” Directorate. He is also Acting Deputy Director-General of DG CONNECT since 1st April 2021.
Major General Phillip Stewart is the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Employment, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), Belgium. In this capacity he manages all operations, missions, and activities for Allied Command Operations.
Maj Gen Stewart was commissioned in 1992 through ROTC after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has earned master’s degrees in Military Studies and in Operational Planning, both from the Marine Corps University, as well as a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Additionally, Maj Gen Stewart is a graduate of the School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW) at the Marine Corps University.
He has commanded at multiple levels including three times as a Wing Commander and twice in combat, first as Commander of the 362nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and again as Commanding General of NATO Train Advise Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air) in Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition, he served as the Wing Commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base (U-2s and Global Hawks), and was the first commander of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NATO’s Global Hawks and ISR Wing).
Maj Gen Stewart’s staff duties include tours in USAFE as the Deputy USAFE A3/10, and on the Joint Staff in the J-5 as the Assistant Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs for the Middle East, and later as the Senior Executive Assistant to the Director of the J-5. Additionally, he has completed staff tours at the 19th Air Force as the Commander’s Aide-de-Camp, and at Air Combat Command (ACC) where he served as the Chief of the Fighter-Bomber Assignments Branch, and later as the Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Combat Command (COMACC).
Maj Gen Stewart has served as an instructor and evaluator pilot in multiple aircraft and holds the rating of command pilot with more than 2,600 hours in the F-15C, A-29, U-2, MC-12, AT-38, T-38, T-37, and RQ-4. He has over 600 hours of combat time and has flown 168 combat missions. Additionally, he has extensive outside-the-wire ground experience while serving as the USAF’s lead Air Advisor in Afghanistan.
Head of Space Office, Belgian Defence
Major Nicolas Gérôme is a Telecom Engineer from the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. He started his career with the Belgian Air Force in CRC Glons and moved afterwards to the Joint Staff, where he managed various projects in C4ISR domain and space remote sensing for the Directorate General Material Resources.
He has more than 15 years of experience in Joint and multinational C4ISR Project & Program Management for the Belgian Defence and within the private sector.
After completing his senior staff officer course, has has taken the lead at the Strategy Department on the development of the military Space-based capabilities.
CTO, ST Engineering iDirect
Frederik Simoens is the Chief Technology Officer at ST Engineering iDirect, where he is responsible for the oversight of all technology decisions and serves to drive the strategic direction for product development, technology roadmap and technology alliances.
Previously, Simoens worked at Newtec where he worked on physical layer technologies, launched the DVB-S2X standard within Newtec’s platform, and in 2015, became VP of product management, which led to a promotion to CTO.
His key areas of expertise include physical layer technologies, satellite communications and digital modems. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Ghent and is the author of 40+ publications.
Simoens obtained a Master degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. degree in digital communications, both from the University of Ghent. He also holds an MBA degree from the Vlerick Business School.
Head of Space and Cyber - DoD Luxembourg
Mr Geoffroy Beaudot joined the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - Directorate of Defence of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in May 2016 to develop Space programs, including SatCom and Earth Observation systems. He currently the head of ‘SPACE and CYBER’ at Directorate of Defence the and represents the Directorate in different SPACE initiatives at the EDA, ESA, EU Commission and NATO SatCom capability team meetings. As Head of service, he has also to advise the Minister of Defence and his Chief of Staff on numerous occasions when meeting international leaders and stakeholders from different sectors. He started his career in 2003 in the Belgian Ministry of Defence as Head of a Network Supervision team. In 2007, he started managing the service in charge of the satellite communication hub for the Belgian MoD. After three years in this function, he became SatCom Program Manager for the Belgian Defence. In 2012, after a one-year staff course, he decided to join the 4th Group Communications and Information Systems as Officer ‘Operations & Training’. In 2015, as Major, he came back to the procurement service of the Belgian Defence as Head of the Cell C³ Platforms Integration. Mr Beaudot attended the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, Belgium and graduated with a Master of Engineering, Telecommunications.
MEng, MBA Space Portfolio Manager, NCIA
Ms Laryssa Patten is the NCI Agency Portfolio Manager responsible for both Space and the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) activities within the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance service center at NCI Agency.
Laryssa has over 25 years of experience working in the space industry. In Canada she worked on satellite operations for RADARSAT and on the International Space Station programme training astronauts. She has worked with the European Space Agency space station operations and the European Commission on space policy and the Galileo Programme strategy.
Laryssa joined NATO in 2011. Her role has been to enhance space support to NATO operations. As a member of the NATO Bi-SC Space working group for over 5 years, her achievements include outlining NATO space dependencies and evaluating NATO’s mitigation measures should space services be affected. Laryssa manages the SATCOM for NATOs AGS Programme.
Most recently, Laryssa has lead the effort to reorganize the space activities within NCI Agency into a single space entity, a NATO Space Technology Centre.
Director for Innovation & Outreach, EU Commission
Ekaterini Kavvada joined the European Commission in 1997 and worked initially in the Research Framework Programmes. Subsequently, as from 2000, her main service at the Commission related to space and she became Head of Unit from 2011 to 2019 at DG GROW. Her mandate continued in the realm of development and applications in the space sector as Head of Unit in the newly created DG DEFIS, until her appointment as Director for Innovation and Outreach at the same DG in December 2020.
Steve Collar was appointed CEO of SES in April 2018, having previously led both O3b Networks and SES Networks. As CEO of O3b Networks, Steve guided the company through the successful build and launch of its state-of-the-art non-geostationary (NGSO) satellite constellation. In 2015, the company officially became the fastest-growing satellite operator in history. O3b Networks was fully acquired by SES in 2016, and now forms an integral part of SES Networks.
British-born Steve is an industry veteran, having held a variety of commercial, business development and technical roles at SES World Skies, SES New Skies, New Skies Satellites, Astrium, and Matra Marconi Space (now Airbus).
Business Development, Global Government Intelsat
Simon Hoey leads Business Development for Global Government in EMEA for Intelsat. He has been with Intelsat since 2016 and has more than 25 years’ experience in the field of telecommunications and satellite communications, specializing in government use of commercial services. Simon works on increasing the engagement with international defence and government organizations, he is responsible for working closely with our customers to develop offerings that match their needs, using Intelsat satellite and network services. focused on FYVE, NATO and Europe, then extending through EMEA to develop relationships with end-user satellite communications requirements and seek to influence major government programs.
Simon has previously worked at Harris and Airbus Defence and Space providing solutions to UK, European and US DoD deployed forces with a range of milsatcom and commercial satcom solutions. Other industry experience has included working for hardware manufacturers, systems integrators, and a period as freelance consultant. Simon has a BSc in Physics with Electronics and began his career at Marconi Space Systems working on satellite payloads, is a Chartered Engineer and has an MBA from the University of Westminster.
Programme Manager Satellite Communication - EDA
Holger Lueschow joined the European Defence Agency in summer 2016 as Programme Manager Satellite Communication and Project Officer Radio Spectrum. In this position he is responsible for the Agency’s SatCom related activities focusing on the development and evolution of the EDA GOVSATCOM Pooling and Sharing Demonstration project - for the latter, Holger has chaired the respective Ad-Hoc Working Group establishing the Project Arrangement and also keeps close links to the European Commission and to ESA.
He is the Chairman of the Project Team Satellite Communication of the Agency. Engineer by education, Holger worked in several IT and Radio Spectrum related posts in the German Air Force and NATO. Before he joined the EDA he was six years in the German MoD, responsible for the SatComBw Stage 2 programme and as well for the Radio Spectrum Policy of the Bundeswehr.
Senior Director, DRS
Gus Anderson served in the U.S. Army for 29 years as a Telecommunications Corps officer. During that period he commanded numerous tactical and strategic communications organizations, to include the 509th Signal Battalion, Vicenza, Italy, and the Regional Signal Group SHAPE, NATO HQ (Belgium). During his military career he also served as an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy, and as the military speechwriter for two Secretaries of Defense. He retired as a Colonel in 2008.
Currently Gus Anderson leads DRS’ Global Enterprise Solutions (GES) business development organization. Gus has been with DRS for 10 years. His initial assignments were as a program manager, overseeing satellite networks supporting NATO forces in the Balkans; Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; and networks supporting other U.S. Federal and International agencies. In the past several years, Gus’ efforts have turned to business development, helping grow customer and market understanding of DRS’ Information and Communications Technology Ecosystem – a global network that provides secure managed satellite and terrestrial services to major DoD, US Federal, and international agencies.
ESA Director of Telecom and Integrated Applications
Elodie Viau joined ESA as Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications from 1 September 2020. For 12 years prior to this, Ms Viau worked for SES. As Vice-President for Technology Program Management, she led new space segment development as well as end-to-end system design and implementation of new integrated services. Previously, she was the SES Program Manager of nine satellites built by Airbus. She gained two MSc: respectively from Télécom Sud Paris and from the International Space University complemented by an MBA from the Open University.
Service Operations Manager, GovSat
Russ has 25 years of experience within the satellite industry spanning both military and commercial operations. For the past 15 years, he has been concentrating on Service Operations, Service Delivery and Management with a speciality within Geolocation and RFI investigation, reporting and mitigation.
Having spent 26 years in the Royal Air Force following his formative education, he joined Paradigm (now Airbus Defence & Space) on the Skynet Project. In 2009 he moved to Luxembourg to take up the position of Operations Systems Engineer within the SES Customer Service Delivery team. In this post he brought into operational service the SES Geolocation system and was the SES lead in RF interference and Geolocation. Since late 2016, Russ joined GovSat and now manages all aspects of GovSat Secure Payload Operations and Service Delivery including heading the team within the Mission Operations Centre and the LuxGovSat Service Managers
DISCOVER THE Event Moderators
Special Adviser, Governments & Institutions, RHEA
Christine Leurquin has 35 years of experience in the space and satellite telecommunications field in Europe. In November 2021, she joined the RHEA Group. In her new function, she reports both to the CEO of the RHEA Group and to the Managing Director of RHEA System Luxembourg S.A and responsible for creating and enlarging RHEA awareness with the European Institutions, European Agencies and Luxembourg Space Agency and other national organizations as required. She helps to best-position RHEA into the current opportunities associated to new Space and Cybersecurity European programs.
In her previous position, she was Vice- President, Institutional Relations at SES S.A. She positioned the Company within the European Union, African Union and other International institutions, such as OECD, UEMOA, UNIDO, ESA or OECD, she engaged in helping the operational companies to develop new governments and institutional markets.
Christine Leurquin is a successful, result-driven public affairs and business development professional, with extensive experience in both public and private sector. She has a proven track-record of effective advocacy in the field of European Public Policy strategies, Space Policy, Quantum, Government Satcom, ESA applications projects (such as B-Life), and has worked relentlessly to improve digitalization of Africa.. She has a valued-based approach to Public Affairs: inspiring trust, leading with the head and the heart, acting like an owner and with integrity.
Previously, she was the CEO of a company which she started, and which introduced new satellite services in Belgium. She turned it into a successful and profitable business. With her ability to speak various languages, Mrs Leurquin is able to market in the areas that services are not yet established, and she provides services with that extra incentive to attaining clients in the regions.
Independent Presenter and Science Writer
Lisa is a presenter and science writer.
Whilst living in Luxembourg, she conceived and created RTL Today (English news & entertainment), where she currently presents weekly reports and will soon launch a podcast. In 2018 she interviewed all the party leaders ahead of the national elections.
Lisa’s career started with a decade at Sky News, in London, as a presenter covering science, environment, news and weather.
Other television work includes domestic and foreign assignments, live studio work + reporting: BBC, Channel 4, various Sky channels, Fox news and radio. She has written and presented documentaries and travel shows for Sky & RTE (Ireland). Lisa has also acted in films and is a regular voice-over artist.
Lisa lived in Abu Dhabi for two years, writing for The National newspaper.
Lisa studied Natural Sciences (physics, chemistry, geology, maths) at Cambridge, obtaining a double first (MSci and BSci) with specialism in chemistry. Since 2005, she has been a science consultant and author with Dorling Kindersley / Penguin / Random House Publishing for children’s science books, and has written numerous herself.
Lisa is passionate about music and continues to study at Conservatoire du Nord and sings with Choeur de Chambre de Luxembourg. Previously she sang with the BBC Symphony Chorus for many years, and three groups in Abu Dhabi. She also plays piano, violin, tin whistle and piano accordion.
Lisa is on the Communications Working Group for Cambridge University and ILA (Institut Luxembourgeois des Administrateurs)
Lisa has two daughters - trying to be a mother is the toughest role of all.
Managing Director, StratByrd Consulting
- President, EuroDefense (Germany), Bonn
- Chairman, Political-Military Society, Berlin
- Managing Director, StratByrd Consulting, Andernach
- Host online format “Black Ops by Ralph Thiele”, SpaceWatch.Global
- Board of Directors, Global Challenges Forum Foundation, Geneva
- Advisory Board, German Employers Association, Wiesbaden
Colonel (Ret`d) Ralph Thiele brings 25 years’ experience in top German and international political-military leadership and policy assignments. In his military career Colonel Thiele commanded troops; developed concepts and capability requirements in the German Ministry of Defence; drafted policy papers and speeches for Federal Presidents, Ministers of Defence, Major NATO Commanders and Service Chiefs. As Commander Bundeswehr Transformation Command Thiele shaped the Bundeswehr's path towards network enabled capabilities.
In his honorary and business functions Thiele advises on Defence Innovation and Disruptive Technologies in times of digital transformation vis-à-vis hybrid threats. He has directed and contributed to numerous European Defence and Security Studies. Cooperation partners include CSIS, Washington; Center for Transatlantic Relations, Washington; Hybrid Centre of Excellence, Helsinki; Keio University, Tokyo; National Defense University, Seoul; SLOC Study Group/ Yonsei University, Seoul; RAND, Washington; Tokyo Foundation, Tokyo.
Thiele has chaired conferences in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Dubai, London, Paris, Riyadh, Washington, and Vienna. As a speaker he is contracted on global scale with engagements in Abu Dhabi, Alpbach, Antwerp, Bandar Seri Begawan, Beijing, Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, London, Luxemburg, Munich, Naples, Oslo, Paris, Regensburg, Rome, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Stockholm, Ulaanbaatar, Tokyo, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw, Washington.
Managing Director, Satcoms Innovation Group
Helen Weedon is the Managing Director of the Satcoms Innovation Group (SIG), a role she was appointed in January 2020. Having worked with SIG since 2011, Helen was already integral to many of the group’s activities, helping to support both technical working groups as well as managing the events and marketing elements. Helen has a background in PR and runs her own specialist agency, Radical Moves, providing PR and marketing support for the broadcast and satellite industries. Helen is a keen linguist with a BA Hons degree in French, German, and European Studies.