What is your typical workday like?
At a first glance, my workday is made of meetings, phone calls, and a lot of e-mails. However, when the topics of these interactions include design of new exciting spacecrafts and involve many very talented and inspiring people – it is not as bad as it may sound!
What has your career path looked like up until now?
I went straight from being a PhD to being an entrepreneur when we started GomSpace in 2007. I was the CEO until 2014, when, as a consequence of our growth, we brought in more seasoned management experience into the company. Since then my focus has been on building bridges between GomSpace‘s technological capabilities and the expanding market of opportunities for our small satellites. My current role is Chief Product and Innovations Officer.
How close is your current career to the ideas and dreams you had as a PhD fellow at AAU?
I realised early during my PhD that I was not cut out to be a career researcher, but on the other hand, it is important for me to work with the most complicated technology and brightest people. In this regard, my career path has been very rewarding. Although also very demanding at times.
How have you made use of you PhD education, and which of your PhD competences have been most important to you?
One of my key skills is being able to maintain the big overview of complicated and dynamical systems (the conjunction of technology, markets, and organisations), while also being able to drill down to the very detailed level and move things forward there. This I attribute very much to my education at AAU, both as a student and PhD.
What do you remember most from your PhD studies?
Going to conferences was a great experience and you always brought home a lot of new knowledge and ideas.
What is your best memory from AAU?
During my time at AAU, I had the great privilege to be involved in a number of space related projects where we had some really great experiences of working together to create projects that would actually be tested in space or on zero-gravity flights. These projects brought with them a great sense of group achievement.
What made the strongest impression on you during your PhD defense?
I was quite nervous initially at the defence, but was positively surprised and calmed down by experiencing the reviewers treating my 3 years of hard work with great respect – despite the fact that my contributions were perhaps not so significant in the grant scheme of things.
Why did you decide to do a PhD, and would you have chosen differently if you were to do it today?
Basically I applied for the PhD as, at that time, it was the only way for me to continuing with the nano-satellite related activities that I had been involved in at AAU. Today, I would probably have applied for a job at GomSpace instead ;)
What advice would you give to current PhD fellows at AAU that want a career outside academia?
As a PhD, your task is to understand all details of your area and drive out all uncertainty. In the “real world” you have to deal with a great deal of uncertainty all the time and this requires some adjustment of the typical PhD mind-set.
What are your dreams for the future?
I want to continue making a small dent in the universe by continuing to expand the utility and adoption of small satellites to provide services in communication, tracking, and surveillance that we will all rely on in our daily lives as part of the big, digital eco-system that surrounds us.
About Lars Krogh Alminde
Place of birth: Ikast, Denmark
Current employment: Chief Product & Innovation Officer at GomSpace. Co-founder of GomSpace in 2007.
MA programme and university: M.Sc.E.E, Control Engineering with speciality in Intelligent Autonomous Systems.
Department at AAU: Department of Electronic Systems
Year of graduation: M.Sc.E.E. in 2004 and PhD in 2009
Title of PhD dissertation: A Quantised State Systems Approach Towards Declarative Autonomous Control.