FirstNet's Board, Chairman Selected

Samuel Ginn, chairman and CEO of Pacific Telesis from 1988-1994 and chairman of AirTouch from 1993-1999, is the board chairman of the organization that will establish a nationwide broadband network for emergency responders.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank appointed 12 people to the board of directors of the First Responder Network Authority, also known as FirstNet. It is congressionally mandated to set up a nationwide broadband network for emergency responders. Congress has allocated $7 billion of spectrum auction proceeds and spectrum bandwidth.

FirstNet is with the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Congress directed that it be run by a 15-member board with the secretary of Homeland Security, the attorney general, and the director of the Office of Management and Budget serving as permanent members of the board.

Blank made the announcement Aug. 20 during the opening general session of the 78th Annual Conference & Expo of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International. "For too long, America's first responders have been hampered by outdated technology and incompatible networks, and the creation of the FirstNet board is a critical first step toward changing that," she said. "The board members, along with their permanent federal partners, possess a diverse combination of expertise necessary to successfully carry out this important mission. Americans can't wait any longer for effective emergency services that use available cutting-edge technology. It is part of what we need to support a 21st century economy that is built to last."

She also appointed Samuel Ginn, chairman and CEO of Pacific Telesis from 1988-1994 and chairman of AirTouch from 1993-1999, as chairman. The other 11 appointees are:

  • Tim Bryan, CEO, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative
  • Charles Dowd, deputy chief, New York City Police Department
  • F. Craig Farrill, wireless telecommunications executive
  • Paul Fitzgerald, sheriff of Story County, Iowa
  • Jeffrey Johnson, CEO, Western Fire Chiefs Association
  • William Keever, retired telecommunications executive
  • Kevin McGinnis, CEO, North East Mobile Health Services
  • Ed Reynolds, retired telecommunications executive
  • Susan Swenson, telecommunications/technology executive
  • Teri Takai, government IT expert and former CIO for the states of Michigan and California
  • Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver

"It's an honor for me to be appointed as chairman of the FirstNet Board, and I welcome the opportunity to reenter the telecommunications industry because of the importance of this project," Ginn said. "With more than 40 years of operations and management experience in the telecom industry, I believe I can make a significant contribution to the board as we work to put a nationwide interoperable public safety network in place. My goal is to satisfy the needs of the community we serve -- the first responders -– and put a system in place that allows them to do their job more effectively. We are looking forward to state input to help us understand the products and services that we are to provide."

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