Last updated November 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm
From banking to space, Adam Gilmour is at the forefront of the Australian company working towards getting Australians into space.
Why This Matters: Adam Gilmour is helping Australians reach for the stars, literally.
A business career and space innovation might seem like worlds apart, but not for Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space Technologies.
After studying business at Univerisity, specialising in banking and finance, Adam worked in banking for over 20 years.
While he might have hit it big in business, Adam had always been drawn to a career in STEM. His inspiration came from the Apollo moon missions and what humans have achieved in space since – he wanted to be part of the new wave of space pioneers. Similar to one of Adam’s idols, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, it certainly wasn’t a straight trajectory into the space industry.
So, in 2010, Adam started self-studying all things space. From rocket propulsion to aerodynamics, he read it all.
Then in 2013 Adam and his brother James founded Gilmour Space Technologies, based on the Gold Coast. The company is now considered to be one of Australia’s leading space companies and is working towards lowering the cost of getting to space.
Here’s how the self-starter got his foot into the space race.
What do you need to study to do your job?
While I run a rocket company, I have that background in business and finance. I was working for a major global bank. But then I followed a passion and extensively self-studied engineering and rocket science.
I use the chemistry and physics I learned in high school in the technical parts of my current job. Then I use the banking and finance I learned at university to help run the business side of Gilmour Space Technologies.
It isn’t the usual path, but it shows you can try your hand at anything if you put effort into it.
What does a normal day at work look like for you?
What’s exciting about my job is working towards Australians living and working in space. But there’s a lot of work to be done to get there. What that means is a lot of technical meetings with the team on rocket subsystems. I also meet quite a lot with media, customers and partners. As well as this I also regularly speak with the space agency.
As well as the technical side, there’s also a lot of working on business presentations and what’s next for the company.
What’s been an eye-opening thing you’ve learnt in your career?
A small group of highly-skilled and motivated people can get more work done than a large group of average people.
Deeper: Australia’s Future in Space
What do you think careers in this field might look like in the future?
In the future careers in this field will need chemistry experts to work on the propulsion systems. We’ll also need programmers and physics majors to work out how to get to the moon, mars and beyond.
Mechanical engineers will be necessary to develop the structures and electrical engineers to work on the avionics and electrical system.
However, there’s also a lot more to a rocket company than the science. We employ a diverse group of people from a wide range of areas including accounting, marketing, HR, legal, operations and fabrication. So there’s lots of different ways to work in STEM.