We’re currently revising our blog a little bit – about every month now, you should learn about someone on the Amphinicy team, so you understand what we are doing. We think this is important, and whether you’re a future employee or a business partner, you may benefit from this glance on our daily work.
We’ll start with Mirta Medanić today, who is a Program Manager with Amphinicy. Like many of us, she also busies herself with other tasks, apart from her particular job description. So, let’s hear her out!
Q: Mirta, how long have you been with Amphinicy? And what has inspired you to join our company?
I’ve joined Amphinicy in January 2014, almost nine years ago. At that time, I had five years of experience working as a technical consultant in the ICT industry and I needed new challenges. What I liked about Amphinicy were the international team and projects, the niche - which is satellite industry software - and the great people. I graduated from the department of telecommunications and computing at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER), the University of Zagreb. Amphinicy was a perfect fit. I wanted to give my software programming knowledge and skills a boost, and Amphinicy supported me with that.
Amphinicy is almost entirely a software exporter. The list of partner companies, at least from our local perspective, is stunning. I always loved to collaborate with people, especially those from different cultures. This helped me to grow both professionally and as a person. My new colleagues were amazing: smart, successful, professional, ambitious, fun, with a broad worldview, and always open to help and discuss technical and business topics. Our old office at Zrinjevac, in the heart of Zagreb, seemed like a luxury. What can I say - a dream job!
Q: Can you describe in brief what you do within Amphinicy? What does a Program Manager actually do?
A Program Manager is a person (or a team) within the company that handles projects involving different components of the company portfolio which are strongly connected with the company strategy. For example at Amphinicy, my job is to coordinate projects funded by different sources: European Commission grants or European Space Agency (ESA) tenders, to name a few. All these funding projects support the development of our products and business. We recognize two types of funding projects: the ones that support research and development activities and others that support business development and commercialization activities. Amphinicy has been on the market for more than 23 years and has always had a clear focus on the satellite software domain. Over the years, we have accumulated knowledge that was rounded up in our two products for the satellite industry: Blink and Monica. I was lucky to join the Blink project in the early stage and was able to contribute to the software development part as well.
I did my part in the two Horizon 2020 grants for SMEs, and this is where I baked my craft. Our H2020 SME Instrument Phase 1 was evaluated as the best project in the Space topic among 46 other European projects. In the scope of the H2020 SME Instrument Phase 2, despite the pandemic and electronic component shortages, we developed a functional device for wideband satellite data acquisition and processing and also withdrew every Eurocent that was allocated for us. I believe this is a huge success and a proof of the hard work and dedication of our team. This makes me very proud!
Program managers often communicate with external institutions such as the EU and local agencies, consortium partners, business consultants, technology transfer specialists, and even attorneys. I learned a lot from each of them. I’m grateful for the experience.
Q: You’re also a real person, not just some employee, someone who’s only working. There is a life around you. What is your motivation to get up every morning? What drives you? And what do you enjoy when you’re just being Mirta?
Well, I believe I’m always the same person - Mirta, who loves working with people, traveling, engaging in different projects and hobbies, hanging out with family and friends, being in nature, and learning. My strongest trait is curiosity. When I started working at Amphinicy, space was a completely new field for me. And I wanted to learn everything about it: the global space actors, economy, local ecosystem, the space activities in general - from science, applications, and policies … to art and humanities. In 2017, I joined the Space Generation Advisory Council and held the position of national point of contact in Croatia for 4 years. For several years, I’ve volunteered at the Adriatic Aerospace Association (A3) which helped me to connect with professionals in my home country.
The most valuable experience for me was attending the Space Studies Program at the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg. The Space Studies Program (SSP) is a nine-week program covering the main space-related fields. During nine weeks, I listened to lectures about space science from NASA experts, international treaties from UNOOSA officials, sophisticated technologies for Earth observation, navigation, and other applications from senior engineers at commercial space companies, inspirational talks from astronauts, and much, much more.
I cherish the time I spent with other colleagues who attended the program: working on practical tasks, exploring Strasbourg, and learning from each other. We made strong connections and lifelong friendships. We are all still in contact - like a big space family. The ISU alumni network counts more than 4.600 members from 105 countries. We can say we have friends in almost every country in the world. The ISU experience and passion for space and exploration are something that connects us.
After this rich experience, I wanted to give something back, so I started the platform Space and Other Stories/Svemirta. I share content about space to support professionals in Croatia and abroad in their career development. These activities will be on hold for some time since I am preparing for a new role – becoming a mum. ;)