As Viasat celebrates 35 years since being founded in May of 1986, we asked employees from throughout the company to share memories of the early days and reflect on how far the company has come
Kristi Jaska, vice president of customer experience, 1987
I joined Viasat as the 6th employee when I was 24 years old, less than two years out of grad school in engineering. I have many fond memories of our small office. When one of us had a birthday, the entire company would go out and leave a yellow post-it on the external door with “Viasat out to lunch – back in 1 hour.” We had a petty cash box in the kitchen area in case anyone needed to borrow cash – just leave an IOU note in the box.
Many traditions that last to this day were started early on, for example the Viasat ski trip. We worked hard too, I remember being jolted at the lab bench when the morning Wall Street Journal was thrown at the front door.
It has been especially satisfying to see Viasat grow in the scope of projects, products, and services that we are able to take on, and in turn in our ability to positively impact the world in a significant way. We started out by developing software and hardware that went into other companies’ products, then developing our own products (such as modems), and then entire systems (such as satellite ground networks), and then moved into space with our own satellites, while we also transformed from a product to a services company for consumers, businesses, and defense customers. I am looking forward to stories from around the world on how we have made a difference in people’s lives and livelihoods.
Kavoos Entezam, network security analyst, 1988
In early 1998 I got a contracting job at ViaSat in the Cosmos (West 9) building reporting to Mr. Mike Johnson, then IT manager. That year, the company had the ground-breaking ceremony for its new campus.
Towards the end of that year Mike offered me a job – something that I couldn’t refuse, mainly because of Mike’s personality and the family-oriented culture of ViaSat.
In the Cosmos breakroom, there was a board with pictures of all employees then. Each picture had a label on it that showed name, badge number, and department. Once I got my permanent badge, someone with a Polaroid camera took a picture of me and posted it to the board.
The saddest day for me was the first anniversary of Sept. 11. A dark cloud of sadness was all over the campus, like the rest of our country. We planted 2,977 American flags in the courtyard. Another sad day was when one of my coworkers and best friends, Ricardo Haller, passed away. Ricardo was very much loved by everyone in our campus.
The day we launched the first satellite, my heart was pumping fast – part because I was proud of Viasat and its achievements, part because there was an 80% chance of success. I never sat down that day, nervously walking and taking pictures. It was my happiest time at ViaSat until that point. The launch of the VS-2 was also a very proud and happy day. Just like the first one, we all watched it on a jumbo screen in the courtyard. I can’t wait for the VS-3 launch, yet another milestone achievement for our company.
I’ve been very happily blessed that part of my job required me to travel to other locations throughout these years. In all the travels, my team and I have made everyone happy as either we upgraded their network’s hardware or set up networks in new buildings and moved them into them. I have met many beautiful and extraordinary people all over with tons of happy memories and friendships I will always cherish.
I’ve enjoyed every day of the past 23 years, and very much proud of the collective job that all of us have done under the Viasat flag. As the company has grown from few hundred employees to the thousands, it has kept its family-friendly culture, which attracted me on the first day. I am very optimistic about the future of our company!