MINNEAPOLIS — Four public-safety representatives are among the 15 members of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board that will lead the deployment and maintenance of a nationwide public-safety LTE network, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank announced today during the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) show.

More than 100 people were considered as part of a four-month evaluation process before the final appointees were selected, Blank said.

"They were not so easy to choose, particularly given the wealth of worthy candidates that were given to us," Blank said during the opening general session.

Under a law passed in February, members of the 15-member board were required to be identified by a deadline set for today. Three members of the board — the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. attorney general and the director of the office of management and budget (OMB) — are dictated by the statute, which also calls for public-safety representation on the board.

As speculated for the past week, public-safety entities will be represented by the following four people:

  • Charles Dowd, deputy chief of the New York City police department;
  • Jeff Johnson, retired fire chief, former president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), former chair of the State of Oregon's Interoperability Council, and CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association;
  • Kevin McGinnis, chief/CEO of the North East Mobile Health Services in Maine, and program manager for the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO); and
  • Paul Fitzgerald, immediate past president of the National Sheriffs Association, and sheriff of Story County, Iowa.

In addition, the statute required the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was required to select eight other members with expertise in a variety of areas that are supposed to help the FirstNet board complete its mission of deploying and maintaining the public-safety broadband network. Those eight appointments are:

  • Tim Bryan, CEO of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative
  • F. Craig Farrill, a wireless telecommunications executive
  • Samuel "Sam" Ginn, a telecommunications executive
  • William Keever, a retired telecommunications executive
  • Ed Reynolds, a retired telecommunications executive
  • Susan Swenson, a telecommunications/technology executive
  • Teri Takai, a government information technology expert, and former CIO for the states of Michigan and California; and
  • Wellington Webb, founder of the Webb Group International, and former Mayor of Denver, Colo.

According to the Department of Commerce's press release, "Acting Secretary Blank appointed Samuel 'Sam' Ginn as the Chairman of the FirstNet Board."

The release goes on to say that he is "a pioneer and leader in the wireless telecommunications industry, brings more than four decades of senior operations and management experience. He served as chairman and CEO of Pacific Telesis from 1988-1994 and chairman of AirTouch from 1993-1999. In 1999, when Vodafone acquired AirTouch, Mr. Ginn assumed the position of chairman in the United Kingdom."

For more information, see the press release from the Department of Commerce, the statements of FirstNet board members, a fact sheet on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), and a FAQ on the FirstNet Board of Directors.

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