Welcome to the latest feature in our ‘Day in the life’ series with Greg Rybicki, Technical Project Manager.
What is your academic background?
”I graduated from the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland with a degree in Mechatronics in 2008. My main interest was in robotics and I was keen to pursue a career in this field but unfortunately there were not many opportunities in this area at that time, so I decided to go into the Aerospace industry instead and I was offered a role with General Electric Aviation where I held a position as a Design Engineer. A few years later I moved to Rolls Royce for a very similar role.
How did you become a Technical Project Manager?
”Being in the engineering department, I’ve quickly realised that a leadership role gives you more control over the project. You can decide where it’s headed and how it will be executed. I started to pick up Lead Engineer roles and then progressed to Project and Programme Manager. There are many more responsibilities in this role but the satisfaction from delivering the project is even greater. When the pandemic hit, I could see the effect it had on the Aerospace sector and since I was already thinking about moving to space sector, I began evaluating my options. I came across job advertisement with ISML, applied and was offered the job as a Technical Project Manager.
Have you always been interested in Space?
”Space was always in the back of my mind. When you are an engineer, you want to be involved in something that is cutting edge, innovative and exciting. Aerospace was always a fantastic industry, but I knew that space sector will push it even further. Working in the space industry means you must stay ahead of the latest trends and technologies, you need to keep pushing boundaries to stay ahead of the competition. It appeals to me. Seeing how fast-paced the sector is, you are never bored, and it definitely keeps you on your toes. It seemed like the natural progression for me from the Aerospace sector.
What do you like about working at ISML?
”Being a small company means we are agile and can react quickly to opportunities, challenges and market demands. It’s very refreshing after working so long for a blue-chip company that lacks this ability.
Another aspect are people here at ISML. The careful recruitment process means we’re all a good bunch and a great fit. It makes work so much easier and smoother. Everything seems to work like a Swiss Watch. Everyone has a can-do attitude, is keen to find a solution and get the job done. This is something that ISML have got absolutely right, get the right people who are equally excited about the job and the quality of work will follow.
Is the Space Sector different to the Aerospace sector?
”When it comes to space you must stay ahead of everyone else, be able to react quickly and make tough decisions. Most aerospace companies are well established and due to its size, finds it hard to react this way. They tend to be stuck in their old ways, stick to the same processes. The space sector is expanding so quickly that the only way to be successful, is to stay ahead of the curve, be proactive. It makes this job so exiting and satisfying to see the speed at which decisions are made and solutions implemented.
What is a typical day like in your role as Technical Project Manager?
”I don’t have a typical day! And that is what I like about this role. Every day is different and exciting. I am currently working on two missions, and they are not the same at all. They have different customer requirements and different set of challenges. Each mission is unique and requires a different approach. It keeps you on your toes!
In my role I am responsible for managing the project “from the cradle to the grave”. Ensuring that the projects are completed according to customer requirements, up to the quality standards and within an established time frame and budget. I need to be aware of the needs of my team and ensure we stay focused on the goal to get the job delivered on track and on time.
In a typical day I will be tracking progress against the timeline, mapping next phase, revising budget and assessing project risks and opportunities. The bottom line is that I am responsible for ensuring that each project is running smoothly.
What do you like most about your job?
”Lack of repetitiveness and that I’m being challenged on every corner. I would not enjoy doing the same thing every day. I like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone; it keeps me focussed. I love that I can learn something new every day, and there is so much more to learn.
What are the key attributes you need to be successful in this role?
”You have to be agile and proactive to keep up with dynamic environment. Good communication and interpersonal skills are also important to be able to connect with your team and stakeholders. Keep them involved and connected. If you can’t understand the challenges your team are facing you might miss things that have the potential to delay or even completely derail your project.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
”Bikes, boats and cars! I like to try different things and always had many hobbies, but it usually comes down to those three. Motorcycles were always my big passion. Not only riding them but also fixing and modifying them. It’s incredible how much you can learn when you have stripped down your bike and you can’t put it back together!
Article by In-Space Missions
Date: 3rd May 2022