By Sue Swenson, FirstNet Chairwoman
I would like to start by thanking Sam Ginn for his service, leadership, and strategic vision during a pivotal time in the First Responder Network Authority’s history. During Sam’s chairmanship, we have assembled an accomplished management team and staff that are enthusiastic and fully committed to our mission of building a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety.
Sam came out of retirement to serve his country and bring an entrepreneurial spirit to FirstNet; he led the building of the organization from scratch and instituted a culture that embraces innovation and partnerships with the public safety community. I am honored to be appointed by Secretary Pritzker to chair the FirstNet Board and will ensure that this culture grows under my chairmanship and beyond.
During our time working together on the FirstNet Board, Sam provided guidance and expertise on many challenging issues facing any new Board and the uniqueness of the FirstNet Board. He guided us through the early days when FirstNet had no employees so that we could get started with important work such as outreach and spectrum manager lease agreements with BTOP recipients. He also created the appropriate Board structure so that the Board could be effective and efficient with financial matters, outreach plans, and Board governance topics.
Since I was named Vice Chair in December, Sam and I have also worked closely together on all Board matters. Our work together will ensure that FirstNet does not lose any momentum during this transition. Going forward, my number one priority is the implementation of our strategic program roadmap.
We are working toward several important roadmap milestones – including consultation with the states and territories and the development of a Comprehensive Network Request for Proposal (RFP) and an RFP for Network Equipment and Services. In addition, FirstNet is planning multiple public notice and comment processes that focus on key foundational issues. The input we get from our stakeholders and interested parties will benefit our implementation work for the public safety broadband network. We will be providing more information on these items at our Board meeting next week in Colorado.
These and other milestone activities will require a great deal of work with the public safety community. We will continue our interaction with all key groups to provide information and get important feedback. We will also continue to find ways to keep everyone informed about FirstNet activities through our website and other communication methods such as Twitter and other social media.
People are key to any successful effort. FirstNet is no exception. To that end, we will continue to focus on bringing on the right team members as our Strategic Roadmap evolves. We now have 46 federal employees and key contract employees focused on delivering the key milestones in our roadmap.
Sam and I have experienced many transitions, as all of you have as well. As we know, this is a normal evolution as people change jobs, get promoted and retire. This change is no different and Sam has enabled me to be engaged in key activities involving FirstNet over the last several months so we expect this change to be seamless.
We continue to be focused on our key mission of delivering a nationwide broadband network for the public safety community. I look forward to your continued support and involvement in helping to achieve this incredibly important initiative for our nation.