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Issue 15
issue pic Polly Rash Hollis served in several influential positions during a career that spanned over 20 years in the satellite industry. She achieved prominence in her role as Vice President of the Public Service Satellite Consortium (PSSC). This non-profit unified the efforts of scores of universities, hospitals, public agencies and research groups in the U.S. and around the world and effective use of satellite systems for education, health care and other public purposes. At PSSC, she played a key role in the expansion of the first university and public school-based satellite systems to grant for-credit educational programs. Hollis also worked with Congress to obtain funding for the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) that played a key role in the development of Ka-band technology. She also designed experiments in satellite communications for health, education and state governments that were used on early C- and Ku-band experimental satellites launched by NASA.

Many of these early experiments were later converted to permanent programs by the nonprofit organizations involved. Subsequent to her work with PSSC, Hollis became Manager of International Business Development for Space Systems Loral, where she provided global liaison with important contacts around the world. A founding member of SSPI, Hollis served as President for three years and as Chairman for two. A notable achievement under her leadership was founding SSPI's annual Gala and Hall of Fame in October 1987. Hollis personally raised nearly $100,000 for the milestone event from leading companies in the industry. SSPI inaugurated its industry Hall of Fame at the 1987 30th Anniversary of Satellites in Space, followed by its first formal dinner dance that evolved into today's preeminent annual Gala. Owing to her vision, determination, hard work and charm, Hollis made a significant and lasting impression on SSPI and the important role it continues to play in the industry. She was inducted into the SSPI Hall of Fame for her service in promoting public use of satellites for health and education, her leadership in enabling the ACTS experimental Ka-band satellite and her contributions to SSPI as its President and Founder of the annual Gala and Hall of Fame programs.

1) How did you get started in the satellite business?

…Joined PSSC in San Diego in 1977. I had been employed by Sea World of San Diego, so I went from the deep blue sea to the wild blue yonder.

2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?

This is covered in the bio, I think. Most everything I did while with PSSC was innovative&hellp;we taught large public entities to use satellites for medical, educational, and government use. We offered seminars and classes in how to use satellites for communication&hellp;we segued from ATS-6 to the CTS satellite which required smaller, less powerful earth stations and allowed for new applications&hellp;the really fun thing though was helping to found SSPI&hellp;and particularly organizing, fundraising for, and presenting the first half-dozen SSPI Galas. The first was a three-day seminar which ended in a black-tie dinner dance and awards ceremony, the forerunner of today's Galas. It was a lot of work, and non-stop fun to do it with a great bunch of people, mostly women, who stepped forward and worked hard to make things happen.

3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?

Most memorable event has to be the first SSPI Gala, with Arthur C. Clarke participating by satellite, the daughter of Guglielmo Marconi the leadoff speaker, and heads of the satellite industry companies and government agencies all participating in this new event.

4) What was the greatest obstacle?

In the beginning (the late '70s and early '80s) it took extra work to be taken seriously as a woman executive. That changed by the late '80s as more women became engineers, executives, and participants in this industry.

5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?

To see into the future, I would contact my friends Dr. Joseph Pelton and Peter Marshall, who write books on this subject.

6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?

Study and work hard. Understand the underlying technology as well as the uses and applications of satellites. Be kind. Help others. Keep learning, because what you know today isn't what you'll need to know next year.


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Issue No. 15:
Women in Space

Spring 2009

General Editor Introduction

From the Guest Editor

Audrey Allison, Dir., Frequency Management Services, Boeing Shared Services Group

Anita Antenucci, Managing Dir. Houlihan Lokey's Aerospace-Defense-Government

Dr. Wanda M. Austin Pres. & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Julie Bannerman, Gen.Counsel, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Sharri Berg, Senior V.P., News Operations, Fox News

Leslie Blaker, DataPath, Inc.

Yvonne Brill, Consultant, Satellite Tech. & Space Propulsion Systems

Michelle Bryan, Senior V.P., Human Resources, Intelsat

Dr. Angie Bukley, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering

Catherine Chang, General Counsel & Asst. Company Secretary, AsiaSat

Sabrina Cubbon, Gen. Manager, Marketing, AsiaSat

Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Engineering Section, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Chris Ehrenbard, Dir., Broadcast Distribution, CBS

Mary Ann Elliot, Chairman of the Board, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Inc.

Celeste Ford, Founder & CEO, Stellar Solutions, Inc.

Mary Frost, former CEO, GlobeCast America

Eilene Galloway, NASA Pioneer

Carmen González-Sanfeliu, V.P., Latin America & Caribbean, Intelsat

Dawn Harms, V.P., Marketing & Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Ellen Hoff, Pres., W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C.

Polly Rash Hollis, Satellite Industry Professional

Britt Horncastle, Satellite Consultant

Susan Irwin, Pres., Irwin Communications, Inc.

Barbara Jaffe, Senior V.P., Advanced Technology and Operations, HBO

Christine King, Deputy V.P., Technical Services & Engineering, Lockheed Martin

Betsy Kulick, Newsletter Editor & Corporate Secretary, Mobile Satellite Users Association

Penelope Longbottom, Founder & Pres., Longbottom Communications

Joanne Maguire, Exec. V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Andrea Maléter, Technical Dir., Futron Corporation

Joan T. Mancuso, Founder & Executive, Broadband International LLC

Dolores Martos, V.P., Sales for Latin America & Caribbean, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Brig. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko, Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, L.A. Air Force Base

Eileen McGowan, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Intelsat

Olwen Morgan, Development Engineer

Bridget Neville, V.P. & Gen. Manager, Satellite Engineering & Operations, Sirius XM Radio

Christine Paape, V.P., Space Explorers, Inc.

Rhonda Parson, Manager, Occasional-Use Sales & Traffic Division, EchoStar Satellite Services

Maj. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Deputy Dir., National Reconnaissance Office

Jane Petro, Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director

Dr. Nongluck Phinainitisart, D.Eng., Pres., Thaicom PLC

Mary Quagliotti, Retired Major General, Army

Radhika Ramachandran, Ph.D., Counsellor (SPACE) & Technical Liaison Officer

Veena Rawat, Pres., Communications Research Centre, Canada

Joslyn Read, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, SES Americom - SES New Skies

Walda Roseman, Founder & CEO, CompassRose International, Inc.

Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT

Jacqueline Schenkel, Founder, Schenkel & Associates, LLC

Kay Sears, Pres., Intelsat General

Gwynne Shotwell, Pres., SpaceX

Marcia Smith, Pres., Space Technology Policy Group, LLC

Pascale Sourisse, Gen. Manager, Land & Joint Systems Division, Thales

Andy Steinem, CEO, Dahl-Morrow International

Nicole P. Stott, Astronaut, NASA

Bambi Taskarelli, Voice/Data Engineer, NBCU

Leslie Taylor, Strategic Planning Division Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Synette Tom, Marketing Dir., Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.

Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, Satellite Communications Consultant

Diane Tryneski, Senior V.P., Broadcast & Studio Operations, HBO

Diane VanBeber, V.P., Investor Relations, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Intelsat

Barbara Warren, Systems Analyst, International Telecommunication Union

Zhang Yan, Gen. Manager, CITICSat and Chief Rep., Asiasat

UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: Astronomy Blog

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