Q&A with Andrew Forbes, Managing Director of MARSS KSA Office

Andrew Forbes is an experienced defence communications specialist with a long and distinguished career working with leading organisations across the defence sector. Andrew began his career in the British Army, where he served 26 years in the Royal Corps of Signals. During this time, he served deployments in Germany, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq, achieving an MBE for his work in 2004.
 
In 2009, he returned to civilian life and continued building on his already impressive credentials working with the NATO Communications and Information Agency. His final position prior to joining MARSS was as the Head of Middle East and North Africa at Airbus Secure Land Communications.

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What attracted you to join MARSS?
 
Firstly, having worked with a number of very large organisations within the defence sector, joining MARSS offered a different kind of challenge for me. The company is smaller and nimbler than some of the incumbents in the sector, so from a personal point of view it means I can have a greater effect on our output and play a bigger role in the company’s growth journey. The added agility means development timescales are much shorter and, therefore, our solutions can better keep pace with the rapid development of UAV systems. 
 
It’s also a very exciting time for the company, as the last few years have seen the MARSS Group grow exponentially year on year. This success is partly due to the way the management team operates, but it also shows the quality of the solutions on offer. Similarly, this growth shows just how much demand there is for CUAS technologies and correspondingly, just how real the threat is.
 
I’ve spent a lot of time working in the Middle East and feel I have a good appreciation of the culture, the customs and the people. I’m very excited by the opportunity to develop and grow the local team which will play an important role in localising the company.
 
What’s the strategic significance of the new headquarters in Riyadh?
 
The opening of MARSS’ new headquarters in the region couldn’t be better timed because of Vision 2030 – Saudi Arabia’s economic plan to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil. Not only that, but the Middle East has been a hotbed of activity in recent years with regard to drones. So our increased presence in the region should be the first step towards building a protective shield of capabilities around some of the region’s most vulnerable critical infrastructure. From a practical standpoint, it also means we’re closer to our partners in the region and can better react to client demands. 
 
What are your main priorities stepping into your new role?
 
Above all, my main objectives are to ensure that MARSS stays on its current upward trajectory, while keeping our solutions at the cutting-edge of defence technology. As MARSS KSA is a new headquarters, I think building a cohesive team will be the key to our continued success in the region. People management is also one of my biggest passions, and at this stage of my career I really want to look beyond my own work and begin helping the next generation of engineers to develop their expertise, grow their authority and drive the company forward.

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