FirstNet Board Named (8/20/12)
Monday, August 20, 2012 | Comments

By Kristen Beckman
The APCO International conference in Minneapolis opened today with the announcement of the 15-member First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board of directors.

Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank revealed the names of the board members during the opening general session of the conference.

The board includes:

• Tim Bryan, CEO of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), which represents rural electric and telephone utilities;

• Charles “Chuck” Dowd, deputy chief of the New York City Police Department;

• F. Craig Farrill, a wireless telecommunications executive who founded inOvate Communications Group and Kodiak Networks and has served as president of the CDMA Development Group;

• Paul Fitzgerald, sheriff of Story County, Iowa, and president of the National Sheriffs Association (NSA). Fitzgerald testified in a 2011 House hearing about why public-safety needed the D block;

• Samuel “Sam” Ginn (chairman), a telecom industry executive who served as chairman and CEO of Vodafone AirTouch;

• Jeffrey Johnson, retired fire chief, former chair of the State Interoperability Executive Council for the state of Oregon, and CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association;

• William Keever, a retired telecom executive who held management positions with Vodafone Group;

• Kevin McGinnis, chief and CEO of North East Mobile Health Services, a provider of medical transportation services in New England;

• Ed Reynolds, a retired executive who served as president of network operations for Cingular Wireless and president of BellSouth Mobility;

• Susan Swenson, a telecom and technology executive who has served on the boards of a variety of companies, including Leap Wireless International, Palm and Novatel Wireless;

• Teri Takai, a government information technology expert and former CIO for the states of Michigan and California;

• Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver and founder of Webb Group International, a project consulting firm.

The FirstNet board also includes three permanent members:

• Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano;

• Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Jeffrey Zients;

• Attorney General Eric Holder.

FirstNet was established as the governing body to oversee deployment of the nationwide public-safety broadband network outlined in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

"Today's announcement is an example of the Obama administration's commitment to ensuring that our brave first responders have the modern communications capabilities they need to be safe while protecting our communities," said Blank. "For too long, America's first responders have been hampered by outdated technology and incompatible networks, and the creation of the FirstNet Board is a critical first step toward changing that. The Board members, along with their permanent federal partners, possess a diverse combination of expertise necessary to successfully carry out this important mission. Americans can't wait any longer for effective emergency services that use available cutting-edge technology — it is part of what we need to support a 21st century economy that is built to last."

Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, applauded the board nominations. "I am especially pleased that public safety is so well represented on the FirstNet Board,” he said. “Through the ongoing engagement of leaders like Jeff Johnson, Chuck Dowd, and Paul Fitzgerald, the FirstNet Board will benefit from critical real-world public safety experience, as well as detailed knowledge about the new law and what it took to achieve this milestone.”

Ginn, who will serve as chairman of the FirstNet board, said, “My goal is to satisfy the needs of the community we serve — the first responders — and put a system in place that allows them to do their job more effectively. We are looking forward to state input to help us understand the products and services that we are to provide.”

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