Employee Spotlight: Steve Sliwa– Strategic Sales Director, Army at Kymeta

After more than 30 years of service in the United States Army, Col (Ret.) Steve Sliwa joined Kymeta in April 2022, as Strategic Solutions Director, offering a unique perspective on the need for reliable and effective communications during deployment. Steve’s transition from the military to Kymeta wasn’t a change of gears but a continuation and complementation of the mission. Commissioned in 1986 after graduating from West Point in the Field Artillery, Steve served in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East, including combat experiences in Desert Storm and Iraq in 2003-2004.  His service also brought him to Australia, Haiti, Djibouti, and to Afghanistan multiple times.

In addition to tactical assignments, Steve played a crucial role in meeting rapid and emerging requirements from Soldiers and Units for select material on the battlefield. As the Director of the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force, he had the authority to procure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, testing and issuing it to deployed Army forces forward in combat operations. Reflecting on this experience, Steve acknowledges that most COTS employed lacked full development for military use.

Steve provides answers about rapid equipping of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to Federal News Radio while serving as the Director of the US Army Rapid Equipping Force.
Steve provides answers about rapid equipping of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to Federal News Radio while serving as the Director of the US Army Rapid Equipping Force.

During demonstrations for the Kymeta Osprey™ u8, Steve envisions its potential deployment in key locations during his service. He sees the Osprey u8 as a COTS solution that could have significantly impacted his formations and equipped other units.

Steve truly enjoys being out in the field with his customers – and sometimes gets to see his father’s previous efforts as well.  While in Landstuhl, Steve was able to position the u8 Osprey below the massive satellite terminal his father bought for the US Army in the early 80s. “I love this picture; it says much about where we were and what we are capable of now – and quite personal to me.”

Steve’s confidence in the Kymeta u8 is unwavering. He believes it’s a winner, ready for a Milestone C decision and effective enough to go into combat and other operations. Sharing his perspective on the push for modernization in the U.S. Forces, including the Army of 2030 and beyond, Steve emphasizes how the Osprey u8 could enhance various units, from command and control to telemedicine and maintenance on the battlefield. It simplifies the process, allowing soldiers to transmit high-resolution imagery to frontline units and report back up the chain of command.

According to Steve, Kymeta’s vision and mission seamlessly align with the direction of the US Army and DoD in the realm of communications. In his own words, he finds it incredibly fulfilling to bring Kymeta’s technology and capability to the Armed Forces, aiming to “revolutionize” how communication operates on the battlefield. This encompasses linking the Warfighter by function and echelon to any available resource, advancing the mission, or improving the current situation through globally connected communications. Steve envisions a future wherein the seamless flow of traffic to and from the tactical edge of the battlefield, incorporating high-density imagery and video when needed, contributes to delivering plans, executing command and control, supports the coordination of precision fires, and facilitates logistics with critical and timely coordination. Additionally, Kymeta’s technology provides the capability to execute tele-medicine, tele-maintenance, provide battle damage assessment, and conduct tele-teaching for unique situations and requirements.

In navigating Kymeta’s core principles, Steve passionately embodies three fundamental values: “Create passionate customers,” “Deliver Bold Results,” and “Do the right thing.” To delve into the essence of these principles, let’s draw from Steve’s own sentiments.

“Engaging with Soldiers, units, and their leadership, I cherish the opportunity to connect with those who, like myself, have walked in military boots. Mindful that they, too, will transition out of uniform, I find reward in discussions that extend beyond the use of Kymeta’s terminal. I thrive on blending in my own experiences, understanding the force’s current challenges, and jointly developing the realization of how Kymeta’s capabilities can specifically improve their communications and operational tasks.

Moving to the principle of ‘Deliver Bold Results,’ – I love working closely with CES and Sales Operations to do just that – delivering bold results and striving to do everything better through lessons learned and sharing all with both Kymeta and the Customer.

Highlighting my favorite principle, ‘Do the right thing,’ I place a significant emphasis on honesty, where the tie always goes to the customer. I appreciate the leadership at Kymeta for allowing and trusting me to uphold this principle, noting their unwavering support in my endeavors to consistently do what is right.”

Beyond his professional achievements, Steve is a family man. Married to Erin, whom he adores, his family also includes four children –  two daughters who served as Officers in the US Army and two sons who are “A” students, Eagle Scouts, and accomplished athletes; Steve’s dedication and experiences continue to make a significant impact on our team.

Steve with his sons at a Scout Camp in Maryland – An Eagle Scout himself, Steve is an active volunteer in Scouting.
Steve with his sons at a Scout Camp in Maryland – An Eagle Scout himself, Steve is an active volunteer in Scouting.

Reflecting on Steve’s exceptional contributions to Kymeta, Mark Garretson, one of Steve’s teammates, shared the following insights: “Steve, is an absolute beast, when I received a call that I had to leave the setup of a demonstration for a family emergency, Steve, rolled up his sleeves and allowed the NOC team and myself to guide him in the setup of the demonstration remotely. He not only handled the technical setup aspect of the effort but managed to wrangle the right people to see the terminals and network at the same time. Upon my return a couple of days later, I found that Steve had successfully completed the demonstration, testing, and prepared everything for the DV day.”

Steve’s journey from the military to Kymeta is a testament to the seamless integration of mission-driven individuals. His commitment, experience, and dedication shape the success and impact of Kymeta, and we raise a toast to Steve for the impactful work he continues to do!