Employee Spotlight: Getting to know Dubi Lever
May 4, 2021
At Gilat Satellite Networks, people are at the core of our success. We proudly employ some of the most talented professionals in their fields. From engineers to sales representatives, we pride ourselves in identifying the best of the best. Made up of over 800 motivated, engaged and dedicated employees across its global offices, we strongly believe that when our employees thrive, so does our business. And much like our cutting-edge solutions, our employees power the future of our company.
That is why we are launching a new blog series titled “Employee Spotlight”, where we will show off different Gilat employees from around the globe. Our first interview is with Dubi Lever, Chief Technology Officer of Gilat’s R&D Division.
Let’s start with some basics. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Dubi (long for Dov) Lever and I am 49 years old. I was born in London and moved to Israel as a kid. My wife and I are raising 3 teenagers.
You are the CTO of the R&D Division. That’s very impressive. What was your career path?
I always loved physics. When I went to university after the army, I understood that I needed to be practical and chose to study electrical engineering, majoring in both telecommunications and signal processing as these fields significantly increased my chances of finding a job after I graduated. Still, to be loyal to my passion and interest in physics I also studied microelectronics and lasers, and subsequently received by Master’s Degree in electro optics.
I started my engineering career at Gilat. And 23 years later, I am still here. I started as a Design Review Engineer, moved on to be a Modem Engineer, then to RF Team Leader, Chief Communications Engineer and today I am the CTO of the division.
I understand that it might not be so common these days to stay with the same company for so long. But quite frankly I can’t see myself working anywhere else.
Why? What has prompted you to stay at Gilat for so long?
There are so many reasons…far too many to list here. But I think I can summarize them into 3 key points:
– While Gilat is a large, established company, in many ways it ‘behaves’ like a start-up. Entrepreneurial spirit is not only encouraged but rewarded. Thinking outside the box isn’t just a tagline here – we are constantly challenged with new concepts, new ideas and new technology to explore.
– Clearly Gilat provides many opportunities for personal and professional growth; re-read my career path. The atmosphere is very open; employees aren’t held back. We aren’t confined to our designated tasks and understand that there is room to move around, as we increase our knowledge and skills. A lot of this freedom comes from the fact that we are exposed to so many aspects of the business that are outside of our specific departments. Here in R&D, we are able to be more creative and work more independently because we work so closely with the other departments in the company.
– Gilat makes real products for real needs. I am a very practical person: I need to work on projects that will make life better for people. Here at Gilat we are focused on bridging the digital divide around the world so that everyone has access to even basic services. Having travelled all over the world with Gilat over the years, I can tell you that bringing communication services to places that never had them before has changed and framed a lot of who I am and what types of work I want to do in the future.
The travel sounds really interesting. What was your most interesting work trip?
There have been many yet I would like to share one specific trip during which I could actually see the end users of our technology and the impact it had on their lives. It was quite a few years ago now but still stands out as a career highlight. It was 1999 and we were monitoring one of our systems in South Africa that was underperforming. If you recall, this was not long after the fall of apartheid and as president Nelson Mandela was working to improve the living conditions of the native South Africans. In order to visit the sites that were installed in remote areas and difficult to access, I travelled in a jeep equipped with GPS (that wasn’t common in those pre cell phone days) way into the bush to reach a remote village. We were able to provide the villagers with telephone services for the very first time. I don’t think that I will ever forget seeing the villagers use the phones to call family and loved ones. It was the ultimate feeling of job satisfaction.
Let’s get techy for a minute. What are you currently working on?
I am working on several projects at the moment. With 5G technology already being rolled out, I am mainly focused on technology that is related to Non GEO constellations. We are involved in the design of a new ASIC which has been tailored to serve these new constellations; we are currently working with a vendor and validating performance before going for the tape out. We have also built a baseline design for LEO constellations which is being presented to several prospective customers. There are some other very interesting disruptive technologies I am working on with some very big players in our industry which I am afraid I cannot share at this stage. In my day to day job I am always exploring the feasibility of new technology and new markets. As an example, I am currently assessing the value of virtualized gateways and feasibility for VHTS.
But I will let you in on a little secret – I really love getting out of the office, getting back in the labs and solving engineering problems that occur in the field. I don’t get to do it very often these days but when I can, I do. Just in the last few weeks I got to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty debugging a problem that popped up on one of our networks.
What were some of your most favorite projects to work on?
There have been many. I love meeting new people from new cultures. I have met some amazing people over the years in Japan, Brazil, US, Europe Nigeria and more. I was deeply involved in all the activity related to the first sales of 4G backhauling. We spent many weeks together at the customer premises developing on site and running successful proof of concepts. I have a great deal of satisfaction from the success it brought to the company. Still the value I brought was more from a managerial point of view and less from my technical knowledge of the cellular world. I can honestly say that my favorite projects are those where I believe I had meaningful technical contribution. In some cases, they were not a commercial success.
#1 (but in no particular order): We needed to integrate a new technology that would maximize the throughput of our satellite ground-segment system in an adaptive mode regardless of weather conditions. For those that are familiar, the development of the first DVB-S2 systems supporting ACM. It was a new trend in the satellite industry and we had to invent from scratch the concept of operation. There was a lot of trial and error but in the end it worked.
#2: We designed a self-installed consumer terminal for using Internet over satellite. What’s funny is that when we started this project 1) I knew nothing about the consumer market and 2) I had never pointed a satellite dish at a satellite before. Addressing all aspects of the configuration, from modem and GUI design to audio feedback, we successfully designed a new product that made it easy for a non-professional to assemble and point at the satellite. I spent months on the roof bringing up many of my colleagues from all departments of the company to have a go, installing and pointing the antenna. Over the years we have received terrific feedback on the quality of the terminal and ease of installation.
#3: One of my favorites unfortunately never came to fruition. We designed a full satellite terminal for business jets. I learned all about tracking antennas, pointing challenges and environmental challenges at a cruising altitude of 50,000 feet. Sadly the product didn’t mature and has yet to be commercialized. However, in the process of working on it, I figured out that I love a challenge. Working outside of my comfort zone is extremely gratifying and satisfying, and any opportunity to work on new things is a sure way to get me to work each day.
What’s your best advice for young engineers just getting started?
Start at the bottom and work your way up. Take the time to get hands-on experience, may it be writing code, designing electrical circuits or simulating algorithms before moving up the career ladder. Stay at this level for at least 3 years. This will ensure that you have solid technical foundations which are critical as you advance in your career.
Describe working for Gilat in one sentence.
There’s no place like home, as Gilat is my second home.
WANT TO JOIN A WINNING TEAM HERE AT GILAT?
We are currently adding engineers to our R&D Division. Check out the job descriptions and apply today!