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Hans Karlsen: A South African Aerospace Trailblazer

Flying High: A South African Aerospace Trailblazer Making Waves in the UK

In the dynamic world of aerospace, where innovation and leadership converge, one South African stands out as a trailblazer, bringing a unique blend of expertise, vision, and resilience. With a career spanning over four decades, Hans Karlsen, currently serving as the President of Karlsen Associates in the United Kingdom, is a true representative of South Africa’s excellence – a beacon of inspiration.

Educated at the University of the Witwatersrand with a BSc in Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering and an Executive MBA from Wits Business School, this leader graduated in the top 10% of his class. As a commissioned officer in the South African Air Force, his engineering expertise took flight, laying the foundation for a stellar career.

As a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, his credentials speak volumes about his commitment to excellence. Leading Karlsen Associates since April 2011, this visionary individual has been instrumental in driving innovation commercialisation, due diligence, and negotiations. His ability to build positive stakeholder relationships has been key to successfully navigating complex organisations, contributing to the growth and success of ventures.

The impact of this South African leader is tangible through a series of ground-breaking projects. He spearheaded the commercialisation of Inmarsat’s Aeronautical Satcom Business, resulting in the creation of a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Additionally, he led a UK government study assessing the size and scope of the £16 billion UK Aerospace MRO industry, showcasing expertise in governance and political acumen. His role in conducting due diligence to secure investment funding for a new geostationary satellite system procurement highlights his strategic acumen.

Beyond the boardroom, this aerospace industry luminary is a Commercial Offshore Sailing Instructor and a Professional skipper, embodying a spirit of adventure. As a Commercial Pilot and National Air Navigation Champion, he navigates not only the skies but also challenges, surviving two Maydays – an aircraft forced landing in the African bush and a sailing yacht engine fire.

In representing South Africa in the UK, this leader has been nominated for Business Leader of the Year by the South African Chamber of Commerce (SACC) London. His journey embodies the unwavering determination, refined skill set, and forward-thinking approach that South Africans contribute to the global stage.

In the skies and boardrooms alike, this South African aerospace leader continues to shape industries, foster creativity, and inspire others on his journey. His story is not just a testament to professional success but also a celebration of South African tenacity and outstanding achievements making a positive impact in the UK and beyond. As he soars to greater heights, he carries the South African brand with pride, leaving a permanent mark on the global aerospace landscape.

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