Marc Bell is the CEO of Terran Orbital, a space company whose work is mainly related to the Department of Defense and NASA. The company recently went public after merging with Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Terran Orbital aims to open the world’s largest space vehicle manufacturing facility by investing $300 million. Bell is a disruptor in the space industry, and there is a lot to know about him. Here are ten facts.
1. He Wanted to Become an Astronaut
Bell hoped he would grow up to become an astronaut. When his dream failed to come true, he settled for the next better thing; he became an investor in space. Times have changed since then and so have children’s aspirations. In 2019, Business Insider published that a poll in honor of the Apollo 11 mission 50th anniversary was conducted in the US, UK, and China. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 participated, and the funny thing is that while kids in the US and UK prefer growing up to be YouTubers, Chinese children aspire to be astronauts.
2. His Company, Terran Orbital, is Considered the Pioneer in New Space
Bell co-founded Terran Orbital in 2013. The company is a leading provider of end-to-end microsatellite and nanosatellite services. It also offers solutions for commercial enterprises and government agencies. Since its founding seven years ago, the space company is now the corporate parent of many groundbreaking ventures in the space sector. One such venture is Tyvak which Bell proudly said is among the largest manufacturers of nanosatellites worldwide.
3. He Has Always Been a Tech Entrepreneur
In his interview with Medium, Bell disclosed that he has always been a tech entrepreneur. One of his greatest achievements was founding Globix (Global Internet Exchange) in 1989. It helped build the internet backbone and became the world’s largest logical peer connecting over 1,000 global internet providers, and hosting major websites for Microsoft and Walmart.
4. His Parents Worked for Him at Globix
When Bell founded Globix, he knew he needed help, and who better to ask for assistance than family? His father, Robert, joined the company in 1995, and since he was a real estate lawyer, Robert mostly helped out by giving informal advice. Eventually, his role in the company grew to him becoming the executive vice president of business development. Bell had to convince his mother, Ruth, for years before she finally gave in and became fondly known as the corporate mom of the enterprise.
5. He Kept Disagreeing with His father Over Globix’s Management
The CEO said that it was weird to have his father working for him, and he had to set boundaries, but it worked out for the best because there is no better person to trust than family. However, before they could put their differences aside, seeds of discord had begun sprouting. Bell described his father as a strong-headed person, and the disagreements lasted several years before Robert came to terms with Globix as Bell’s company, not his. He let go of his ideas, allowing Bell to run the company as he saw fit as Robert learned to respect his son’s decisions.
6. His Father Took Stock Options of Globix
The New York Times once published an article detailing the dangers of investing in your child’s business and advised parents to invest what they can afford to lose. Robert was a wise parent who never asked for shares in his son’s firm. Instead, once he joined the company as an employee, he took stock options. When the company went public in 1996, Robert became a multimillionaire.
7. His Interest in Technology Began in High School
Wall Street Journal wondered if high school students should learn to code due to the shortage of employees with programming skills. However, it depends on how passionate the students are. Someone like Bell did not have to be pushed to learn how to code. He touched a computer keyboard for the first time in 1979 and became fascinated with computers. It did not take long before he was engrossed by programming and learned how to code. His skills and passion led to him becoming the president of the computer club in high school.
8. Why He Changed His Company’s Name to Globix
Bell founded a company, Bell Technology Group, but immediately it went public, AT&T and the seven Baby Bells sued him for trademark infringement. It did not matter that his last name was Bell because, at the time, he was a small fish about to be eaten by the big fish. The CEO revealed that the mistake helped learn about the concept of scorched–earth litigation theory. It was not about whether he could win or lose the lawsuit but rather about affording one. Since he could not afford one, the CEO had to give up the name and change the company to Globix. Unfortunately, it was another mistake because people thought he meant “glob.” Bell had to add “Global Internet Exchange” to explain what the name meant. However, by then, he had already learned his lesson.
9. Why He Studied Accounting
You might wonder why a person with a degree in accounting would be interested in the space world. Yet, Bell only studied accounting because his father wanted him to be a lawyer, accountant, or doctor. Like most parents who believe such professions are the only worthy ones, Robert pushed Bell to get his undergraduate degree in accounting; thus, the CEO attended Babson College. Still, his father influenced him to study real estate development because he was a real estate lawyer. Thus, Bell also earned his real estate development and investment master’s degree from New York University.
10. His Mentor
Although Bell cites his father as having been a big influence in his life, he said that Steve Becker was his biggest mentor. Becker was his sister’s friend and employer when Bell was younger and taught him a lot about life and business. He credits Becker for teaching him how to stand up for himself, pursue whatever he believes in, and do things whichever way pleased him.
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