By Richard Reed, Chief Customer Officer (CCO)
The Fall 2016 State and Territory Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Meeting brought together nearly 200 attendees from 50+ states and territories in an entirely new way, dedicating space and time for conversations and consultation with FirstNet leadership and staff.
I, along with FirstNet Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Poth, had the opportunity to open the meeting in Phoenix with updates on FirstNet’s RFP and the role of the new CCO. Several plenary sessions were delivered by the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) leadership, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and representatives from the FirstNet State Plans, Consultation, and Government Affairs Teams where we reinterred our commitment to transparency, consultation, and customer service.
Highlights of these sessions included FirstNet’s overview of the conceptual State Plans Portal Site Map and outlining the recommended activities to prepare states for future consultation activities with an emphasis on collaborating to identify the correct people, processes, and priorities relative to delivering the State Plan to the governor. Additionally, NTIA representatives announced their intent to award State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) 2.0 and outlined their role in the State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP).
FirstNet Board member Governor Jim Douglas, Louisiana SPOC Colonel Mike Edmonson, and Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Director Jim Waskom spoke on a dynamic panel moderated by FirstNet President TJ Kennedy regarding state executives’ roles in preparing the Governors for their decisions. The session also included a breakout with presentations from the PSAC Early Builders Working Group (EBWG) and Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR).
Attendees spent the bulk of the meeting time in breakout sessions and individualized state consultation meetings with FirstNet. This format was based on feedback directly from SPOCs and SPOC team members and provided a clear line of communication and engagement from each state and territory to FirstNet. SPOCs and their teams enjoyed the time and opportunity to ask specific questions and receive answers targeted to their specific concerns with a host of FirstNet’s regional staff.
Additionally, a “conversation room” hosted micro-presentations from a handful of FirstNet teams, including the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Federal and Tribal Consultation, and Communications. Attendees were able to browse a large variety of tables to have follow up conversations on micro-presentation topics, and they had very productive discussions with the various FirstNet subject matter experts, executive leadership, other meeting attendees, and regional colleagues.
The meeting rounded out with an onsite Regional Command Vehicle Interoperable Communications demonstration from Mesa Fire and Medical Department, and a FirstNet Town Hall, led by President TJ Kennedy and Director of Consultation Dave Buchanan, that engaged states on the best practices they are implementing to prepare for the State Plan and educate future users of the FirstNet network.
I want to thank SPOCs and their teams for the great turnout, valuable dialogue, and enthusiastic participation. I appreciated the opportunity to work, communicate, and plan directly with the SPOCs, and know we will be more successful in 2017 because of this valuable time spent in Phoenix.