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Getting Deals Done: Viasat’s Baldridge is Chief Enabling Officer

He’ll just call himself an electron but he seems more like a Chief Visionary Officer — one who charts a visionary course to move a company forward, defining corporate strategies and working plans.

Richard “Rick” Baldridge, CEO and president of Carlsbad’s Viasat, however, disagrees with a graciousness that is characteristic of executive leadership in an age of crass capitalism.

Rick said Mark Dankberg, the current executive chairman is the one who has tirelessly charted a course for Viasat, a global multi-billion-dollar satellite broadband communications company with headquarters in Carlsbad, San Diego.

Viasat’s opportunity is the 3.6 billion people on Earth who do not have internet services.

Viasat satellite systems are operational, globally. Over North America, Viasat has implemented its strategic plan with the launch of its systems in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and Africa, Brazil, Russia, China and Australia.

Viasat stock is given a buy recommendation by many analysts.  Analysts say Viasat stock is modestly undervalued with an approximate $3.5B market capitalization and  $2.5B in annual revenues  “VSAT” on the NASDAQ trades at 48.00+ fluctuating between $50.16 and $48.97.

There are 429,458 shares traded daily, an increase from their 30 day average of 410,220 just a few months ago. Viasat’s market cap July 13 was reported on equities.com at $3,579,340,004.

Rick thinks of himself as a math man.  However, he has held senior information technology posts, the top position in finance as CFO when he came on board at Viasat in 1999 and now in his role as president & CEO — Chief Enabling Officer, he attests to the importance of his family, community and friendships in developing his worldview and easy come, easy-glow, tranquil temperament.

Rick, as anyone who knows him calls him, is an avid reader who recently spoke of “ruthlessly eliminating hurriedness from his life.”

Visionary Perspective: Rick was born to perform his role as Chief Enabling Officer. When I ask what kind of molecule he might be, Rick suggests that he is an intergalactic element of an atom. When I ask which element, he suggests “electron” as it is always in motion but holding the form of the atom, an oscillating three-dimensional wave.

It is the element that bonds itself to other global elements to create new compounds.   I believe, however, he is a proton for its positively charged nature and proximity to the nucleus… heart of the atom; also with the proton’s essential building blocks quarks and gluons, its essential nature as described by quantum chromodynamics is the ability to create matter-antimatter pairs.

But, again, perhaps that is Mark Dankberg, the executive chairman, as Rick suggests. Proton or electron, this is the macro and micro spirit ennobling Visat’s spirit and good works on the planet. 

Viasat’s prized commodity, I realize, is not its multi-billion-dollar satellite communications assets and ground infrastructure but the priceless quality of the lives of more than 6,000 employees—over 2,500 that work from the Carlsbad campus—who Rick seems to have a profound understanding of his role to serve, lead and inspire to their highest possible frequency.

It is also Rick’s decades-old and ongoing intergalactic achiever’s mindset to evolve his own understanding, consciousness and compassion.

When we shake hands, I ask him, “What is your bottom line, Rick?” He offers candidly never breaking eye contact, a warm glow emanating from his being with zero hesitation — it is love.

Patrick A. Howell is the author of “Dispatches from the Vanguard” available at 49 Fahrenheit Bookstore in downtown Carlsbad.