FirstNet names Michael Poth as new CEO, says TJ Kennedy to function in role of president
WASHINGTON, D.C.—FirstNet today named technology veteran and former police captain Michael Poth as its new CEO—a new title within the organization—and longtime Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy will “function in the role of president,” according to a press release on the matter.
Poth has served the last three years as an executive in Hewlett Packard’s public-sector business unit after working for14 years a director in Northrop Grumman’s enterprise and public-safety divisions. From 1982 to 1996, Poth worked as a police officer in Corvallis, Ore., and Tempe, Ariz., earning the rank of police captain.
Poth will be based in FirstNet’s headquarters in Reston, Va., and will be focused on the final request for proposal (RFP) that is scheduled to be released by the end of the year, according to a FirstNet press release.
FirstNet’s hiring of Poth closes a search to fill organization’s top spot with a permanent hire for the first time since former General Manager Bill D’Agostino resigned in April 2014.
Since then TJ Kennedy has served as acting general manager and—later—its acting executive director, when the title for the post was renamed. As president, Kennedy will have input into the RFP process, but he will focus on outreach and technology initiatives, according to the FirstNet press release.
Kennedy has been named as FirstNet’s president, but he will have to compete for the job to earn the position on a permanent basis, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Poth said he is looking forward to working at FirstNet.
“I’m thrilled to be joining this talented and dedicated FirstNet team,” Poth said in a prepared statement. “I will ensure FirstNet continues to execute its mission—building a first-of-a-kind public safety network that will literally save lives. I’m honored to be part of this historic effort, and I look forward to working with TJ and the entire team to accomplish our goals.”
FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson expressed optimism about the prospect of having Poth and Kennedy in the organization’s top two staff positions.
“Mike’s extensive experience managing large teams in the IT and communications sectors will be an invaluable asset to the FirstNet organization,” Swenson said in a prepared statement. “His talents will nicely complement the strength of our existing management team. Working together with TJ Kennedy, I’m confident that we are on a sound path to meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission.”
Both the CEO and president positions are new within FirstNet, which had corporate-style titles—such as CFO and CTO—in all of its senior-most positions, except the top two. Now, those jobs also have titles that mirror the corporate arena.
“This approach reflects the key roles FirstNet’s top executives must play, given the complexity and importance of the FirstNet program, and ensures the new titles accurately reflect the duties and responsibilities of FirstNet’s senior-most executives,” according to a FirstNet press release.