1. What is your name?
Jan Walter Schroeder
2. Where do you work and what is your role/job title?
CisLunar Industries S.A. – Managing Director – Head of IP & Earth Applications
Sensovo GmbH – Managing Director – Business Development
3. What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?
4. Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
Juan de Dalmau, former Head of communications at ESTEC introduced me to space.
5. Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes. I travel a lot, but also have time for my family when I am with them.
6. How did you go about getting your current job?
For Sensovo I had the idea for a product and started to search for people who would go on the journey with me to create a startup. For CisLunar Industries I was the one who was found by the co-founder Gary Calnan.
7. Describe a typical day.
Generally there is no typical day for me. Sensovo is a Wearable Technology Company and we developed a Navigation Belt that guides people by using vibration. CisLiunar Industries is a NewSpace company with the long term goal to recycle space debris and the short term goal to bring a furnace to the International Space Station and offer metal research in space. So my tasks in both companies are very different and vary from day to day.
In the moments when I am not traveling a typical work day could look like the following: I get my son ready for the nursery and cycle with him 15 min to drop him off. Then I go for a 15 min swim and start my working day after that. I check my to do lists of current tasks. E.g. at the moment on this to do list it says:
– Update executive summary for the business plan
Other tasks include:
– Embedded programming in C for Sensovo’s circuit boards
– Having telephone conversations with people from Germany, Canada, USA, Belgium or Spain (my team members) to prepare a conference or a presentation
– Administrative tasks, e.g. paying a contractors bills
– Talking to testers of our products
At 4:15 pm I am cycling back home together with my wife and we make dinner. I often meet friends in the evening for a chat or do an online call with my family abroad.
8. What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
1) Keep the company running by having regular meetings
2) Preparation and execution of public presentations
3) Software development
9. What are the main challenges?
Focusing on one task is not so easy.
10. What’s cool?
Traveling and meeting people with the same passion: space. I am visiting very interesting places because of my job. E.g. a couple of weeks ago I went to Russia and visited the cosmonaut centre there and talked to high level representatives. Or 3 weeks ago I was in Luxembourg and talked to the deputy prime minister of the country about the advantages of recycling space debris. I also enjoy spending time with my family when needed. Since I am my own boss I never feel stressed. I can travel and can take time off whenever I want.
11. What’s not so cool?
Financial security is not given if you run your own company.
12. What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
Good self organization.
13. What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
Physics, Math and German where my main subjects. It was a good basis for informatics and engineering.
14. What is your education to date?
I hold diploma in Medical Informatics and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.
15. What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
Besides being a student I was always involved in university politics and had social responsibilities. This has proven to help in organising other aspects of life as well.
16. Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
I learn something new every day.
17. What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
Small daily rewards count most. If I tell someone about what I do and the person really likes the ideas, this is very rewarding.
18. What personal qualities do you have that help you in your career?
I am a positive thinker
I am focused in the solution and not the problem
I have sorted out my past and understood the influence of the past to the present
19. What is your dream job?
I love what I do. I am living the dream!
20. What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Only go for it if you have not a lot of personal goals that are connected to financial wealth and if you are willing to take on responsibility. Also if your goal is to grow in yourself then a job like I have is the right thing for you.
21. What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
– positive attitude towards co-workers, new leads, etc.
– being very consistent
– willing to not have a stable routine in life
22. What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Working in a company related to engineering would be a good basis for this kind of job.