Good-bye, Dean O.

I was saddened to hear of Dean’s passing the other day. He accomplished much for the satellite business in the U.S. and he did alot for me as a marketing person.

Too bad SES only acknowledges his contribution anonymously  via their "timeline" Flash

SES reaches two major milestones that are hugely significant for the long-term growth and success of SES. SES AMERICOM signs a multi-year agreement, leasing long-term satellite capacity to EchoStar’s DISH Network, creating a strategic partnership that links North America’s largest satellite operator with the U.S.’s largets DTH network. EchoStar would eventually lease up to three entire satellites in the AMERICOM fleet.

He did the deal to buy Americom from GE Capital, becoming its CEO. I met him as the deal was announced in Washington and found him to be articulate, technologically-brilliant and well-grounded.

He hired some really good people, raising Americom’s performance to a level that, some would argue, embarrased senior managers in Luxembourg. Here’s what started it all…

Dean Olmstead, President and CEO of SES AMERICOM, speaking today at the Satellite Entertainment 2002 conference in Monterey, California, said: "These television services will be provided via a new satellite that we intend to launch into the 105.5° West Longitude orbital slot. Another new SES AMERICOM satellite, at the adjacent 105° W.L. slot, will enable us to provide high-speed broadband connections to U.S. residences. All of these services — TV and broadband — will be available to U.S. consumers who purchase a single, small satellite dish and related equipment, into which the latest twoway digital technologies will have been incorporated."

SES AMERICOM intends to offer the new platform, named AMERICOM2Home®, using a license granted to its affiliate by the Government of Gibraltar, relating to an orbital location over the United States at 105.5¼ W.L. This slot falls directly between orbital positions used by DirecTV and EchoStar at 101¼ and 110¼, respectively. Both AMERICOM2Home® and the existing satellites use frequencies in the 12.2-12.7 GHz range, which is set aside internationally for direct broadcasting to the home. SES AMERICOM also holds FCC licenses for both Ku-band and Ka-band satellites at the 105¼ W.L. location. Olmstead explained that the new AMERICOM2Home® system will be different from the current satellite television services offered by EchoStar and DirecTV. Unlike these providers, SES AMERICOM itself will not offer any retail services to consumers. Instead, Olmstead explained, "We will create a best-in-class DBS satellite platform, on which we expect a wide variety of content providers — large and small, established and start-up, mass market and niche, advertisingsupported and pay-per-view – will lease capacity in order to offer their programs and interactive entertainment directly to American consumers."

It was one of Americon’s "master plans," to build spacecraft and fully lease them to DTH operators using new spectrum filed via the ITU over the U.S. How did Dean sell it? He ran into Charlie Ergen in the hallway at a Sky Forum event at The Grand Hyatt in New York. "Hey Charlie: we gotta talk," said Dean. To which Charlie replied "yeah, we do." That exchange really got the ball rolling — and I eventually got to meet Charlie when he visited New Jersey.

Thanks, to Dean, we developed and executed the Americom2Home, WorldSat, and HD-PRIME branding campaigns, most of which resulted in major long-term contracts.

I was looking forward to seeing EchoStar’s FSS business succeed against SES, ironically using their leased capacity for occasional use, IPTV, et. al.

Good-bye, Dean. We’ll miss you.