More than 150 Radio Club of America members launched into a second day of IWCE 2003 activities with a crowded breakfast gathering at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday morning. Following the standard dose of eggs, bacon and coffee - as well as an equally salty serving of jokes from traditional toastmaster Ray Trott - attendees received a call to arms in the form of a public safety standards update by Craig M. Jorgensen, a past president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).

Jorgensen began his presentation with an update of current Project MESA activities. Project MESA is an international partnership that focuses on technical standards for mobile communications technologies. Currently, the project is most targeted to standards issues affecting public safety and disaster response. Audience members nodded in agreement when Jorgensen underlined the theme: "We don't want to get into a standard where only one manufacturer is able to provide the infrastructure," he said. "Those of you working in public safety need to decide where you come down on this issue."

Like others, Jorgensen focused many of his comments on issues of interoperability. Unlike many others, he pointed the finger at his own industry. "We as users have not been clear in articulating for our political leaders the problems we have in interoperability," he said. "I'm not blaming Congress. I'm blaming us." Jorgensen said that $600 million in governmental homeland security spending will soon make its way into the coffers of state, city and county governments, with $395 million of it specifically earmarked for new equipment. "This should be used for interoperability technology. We need to make sure that money is available for our industry. Something has to happen to make sure your industry survives." To accomplish that, he said, "We need to do a better job of working together."

Visit www.project25.org for more information about the Project 25 Technology Interest Group.