FirstNet board members today announced Verizon Wireless executive Bill D’Agostino as FirstNet’s first full-time general manager.

A 33-year telecom veteran who began his career as a repairman, D’Agostino most recently served as an executive director--network for Verizon Wireless in Southern California from 2008 to 2012. Previously, he was a telecom executive at Sprint PCS, Airtouch Communications and Pacific Bell, according to a FirstNet press release.

FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn said that he was impressed by D’Agostino’s attitude toward public safety.

 “Most of all, he cares about public safety,” Ginn said during today’s FirstNet board meeting, which was webcast. “He thinks this project is extremely important, and he’s willing to dedicate his efforts and his talents to making sure this project works.”

This sentiment was echoed by FirstNet board member Tim Bryan, who headed the search committee to fill the general manager position.

“We found in Bill a person with an enormous amount of passion for the mission that is FirstNet,” Bryan said. “After we looked at all the technical criteria, background and education, ultimately what we came down to was a person who really had a passion for this mission, and we think we found that person in Bill D’Agostino.”

During the meeting, D’Agostino said “it’s an honor and a privilege to have been selected,” and noted the efforts that the FirstNet board has made during the past several months without a full-time general manager.

 “It’s remarkable where we are today, and I look forward to continuing to sustain that progress,” D’Agostino said. Although the public announcement was made today, D’Agostino’s first day as general manager was yesterday. With the hiring of D’Agostino, FirstNet board member Craig Farrill will no longer serve as FirstNet’s acting general manager—a position he held until a full-time general manager was hired.

FirstNet board member Charles Dowd, also a member of the search committee, expressed support for D’Agostino.

“I am confident that Bill D’Agostino is the right choice as general manager of FirstNet,” Dowd said in a statement. “Throughout the selection process, his selflessness and personal integrity were readily apparent. I’m convinced he is fully committed to public safety’s mission.”