FirstNet board gets five new members, Cox reappointed
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today appointed five new FirstNet board members and reappointed board member Neil Cox, completing a significant overhaul of the group charged with overseeing AT&T’s deployment of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).
According to a U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) press release, the five new members are:
- Richard Carrizzo, Chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District, Kansas City, Missouri, who also serves as lead fire representative on the policy board that manages the region’s 911 system.
- Welton Chase, Jr. Brig. Gen. (ret.), U.S. Army, Army Information Technology (Signal), led the Army’s largest theater information technology organization supporting over 430,000 Army users across 81 data centers in 38 states.
- Brian Crawford, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Shreveport, Louisiana, responsible for the city’s fire, police and public works departments.
- Billy Hewes, Mayor, Gulfport, Mississippi, who’s played a key role in recovery operations from natural and man-made disasters.
- Paul R. Patrick, Division Director, Family Health and Preparedness, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, and past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials. Patrick also has led FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) for the past several months.
In addition, Ross reappointed Neil Cox, who currently chairs the FirstNet board’s Technology Committee.
“I am proud to announce the selection of these highly qualified new board members, whose experience in public service and the private sector will ensure FirstNet continues to provide the world-class communications network our emergency responders need,” Ross said in a prepared statement. “I thank our new members for their willingness to join the board and guide FirstNet in its mission to save lives and keep our communities safe.”
David Redl, the DoC’s assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), echoed this sentiment.
“I want to thank and welcome all of the new board members and congratulate Neil Cox on his reappointment,” Redl said in a prepared statement. “I am confident we have the right board in place, under the leadership of [new FirstNet Chair] Ed Horowitz, to guide FirstNet as it deploys around the country and connects our first responders.”
With the appointments, the FirstNet board has a full contingent of 15 members for the first time since December 2016, when board member Barry Boniface resigned. During the last round of board appointments, Ross left an addition slot open on the FirstNet board.
In August, Ross accepted the resignations of Chair Sue Swenson and Vice Chair Jeff Johnson. In September, Ross appointed veteran FirstNet board member Horowitz to succeed Swenson as the board chair, and Horowitz later named FirstNet board veteran Sheriff Richard Stanek as the new vice chair of the FirstNet board, succeeding Johnson in the post.
During this same period, Ed Parkinson was named as the FirstNet Authority’s acting CEO, succeeding Mike Poth, who resigned his position at the end of September.
Horowitz expressed support for the board appointments announced by Ross.
“I am pleased to welcome our newest members to the FirstNet Board,” Horowitz said in a prepared statement. “Each are experts in their fields—from local leaders to public safety officials and business and technology executives. I want to thank Secretary Ross for supporting FirstNet with these new appointments and the reappointment of Neil Cox. With these accomplished leaders on board, we are set to drive FirstNet’s success—now and in the future.
“I also want to thank our outgoing members for their service to FirstNet and the public safety community; Kevin McGinnis, who was a member of the FirstNet Board since the beginning and brought valuable emergency medical perspectives and relationships to FirstNet, and Mayor Annise D. Parker, who served on our Public Safety Advocacy Committee and helped us engage with local governments in the planning leading up to the early deployment of FirstNet.”
With the departures of Swenson, Johnson and McGinnis, Teri Takai is the lone FirstNet board member remaining from the group that was originally appointed to the board in 2012.