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Mar 2, 2020

In this Better Satellite World episode of the SSPI podcast, Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla speaks with David Hartshorn, CEO of Geeks Without Frontiers, about why he decided to become Head Geek, how he uses his deep expertise in the satellite industry to make positive changes and how developing countries are able to create sustainable business models through his work.

David Hartshorn is no stranger to the Better Satellite World. He has led two critical industry campaigns for the preservation of spectrum rights. He led the Global VSAT Forum for two decades, where he helped transform disaster preparedness worldwide and was a recipient of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award. David’s primary responsibilities included enabling expanded access to satellite-based solutions through financially sustainable business models, regulatory & policy advocacy, spectrum coordination, training & education, technology validation, and engagement with private and public sector satellite stakeholders in all nations. Eighteen months ago, he went to Washington to accept a position as the CEO of Geeks Without Frontiers.

Geeks Without Frontiers (Geeks) is a platform for global impact. A technology neutral nonprofit, Geeks’ mission is to bring the benefits of broadband connectivity – health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) – to the estimated 3.5 billion people who remain unconnected. Sponsored by government and private-sector stakeholders, Geeks has developed a commercially sustainable, satellite-based connectivity model, designed to help address forced labor and human trafficking in the commercial fishing industry. In addition to addressing Human Rights concerns via vessel geo-positioning and providing connectivity to the crew, the model has commercial benefits for vessel owners including the ability to transmit catch reports, monitor weather, conduct safe navigation and send distress signals. The same model can also be used to better address Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing, overfishing and seafood fraud. The Geeks model supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly in the areas of innovation, industry, infrastructure, life below water, peace, justice, strong institutions, and partnerships.