This post is a part of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) Meet the Public Safety Advocacy Team blog series, introducing you to FirstNet Authority’s leading partners with the public safety community. Click here to learn more about the team in the North Region.
Since the creation of the FirstNet Authority in 2012, the FirstNet Authority has proactively reached out to public safety to discuss FirstNet and elicit feedback and insight regarding their communication needs for public safety broadband and innovative technologies.
The teams are spread across four regions—North, Central, East, and West—and are comprised of subject matter experts in each discipline of public safety, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, 9-1-1, emergency management, and fire service, as well as governance.
The Public Safety Advocacy team for the Central region includes two National Government Liaisons that represent 573 federally recognized tribes across the country and public safety advisors covering a geographically diverse region of 14 states.
With FirstNet built to cover every situation and every emergency – we have seen the network’s growing impact across the Central region. From expanding coverage to battle wildland fires in the Great Plains to providing Band 14 capacity in the Rocky Mountains to sending FirstNet’s deployable network assets to the coasts during hurricanes or tropical storms, FirstNet continues to offer comprehensive network solutions that are unique and specific to each state.
At the same time, the Public Safety Advocacy team remains committed to meeting the needs of these communities by collecting use cases and success stories from their experiences to better understand how the network can support operations and emergencies. In 2019, our team conducted over 400 engagements with our public safety partners throughout the Central region. Each of these engagements was an opportunity for public safety to have a voice in the growth and development of FirstNet’s future.
As FirstNet continues to make its mark nationwide, we encourage you to reach out to our Public Safety Advocacy team to answer questions about the value that FirstNet can bring to your public safety operations and community.
Jacque Miller-Waring, FirstNet Authority Field Operations Director is responsible for facilitating collaboration between local, state, federal and tribal public safety organizations that help public safety improve their operations and drive innovation. Jacque leads a dedicated team of public safety professionals with public safety expertise to help engage with stakeholders on lessons learned for operationalizing FirstNet and what they need from the network in the future.
Jacque says, “I have been a champion for public safety broadband since before FirstNet was FirstNet. Along with my incredible team, I am part of the campaign to make public safety broadband a reality.”
Before joining the FirstNet Authority, Jacque gained 25 years of communications and information technology experience while working for the Governor of New Mexico and other public safety agencies implementing broadband initiatives across the state.
Adam Geisler serves as the National Tribal Government Liaison as part of the FirstNet Authority’s Tribal Team for western tribes. Adam represents the interests of the 573 federally recognized tribes to help them identify how FirstNet can help bring advanced emergency communications solutions to tribal lands.
Adam says, “Our two-person National Tribal Government team interacts with tribes to collect feedback about their user experience so we can continue to evolve the network to meet tribal first responders’ needs.”
Adam is a member of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño in California. Adam has served in elected leadership positions for tribal governments and held positions in emergency management, governance, and federal and state advisory committees.
Margaret Gutierrez serves as the National Tribal Government Liaison for the Southeast, Midwest, Northcentral and Northeast regional tribes. Margaret advocates on behalf of the 573 federally recognized tribes and their communities to improve emergency communications with FirstNet solutions.
Margaret says, “By building strong relationships across Indian County, the Tribal Team advocates on behalf of tribes to address their emergency communication needs early and head-on.”
Margaret is from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma and a nationally recognized leader in emergency management, public health, academia and tribal communities. Before joining the FirstNet Authority, Margaret served a Tribal Community as the Director of Emergency Management for ten years. She is currently an instructor for FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute for tribal curriculum and a professor at California State University – Long Beach teaching emergency management and crisis communication courses.
Gary McCarraher serves as Senior Public Safety Advisor for the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. While engaging with public safety stakeholders across the region, Gary has ensured that these states stay updated on the FirstNet network, the most recent program developments and solutions, and the FirstNet Authority’s work to plan for the future of the network.
Gary says, “While serving as public safety’s advocate, I’ve gained a thorough understanding of responders needs throughout the region. Building upon this information, our team works to ensure the FirstNet program grows and expands to meet their changing needs.”
Gary brings over 45 years of fire and rescue experience to the FirstNet Authority. Gary’s public safety career includes serving as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, a fire chief for three departments, and as a local emergency management director for 20 years. In 2011, he was appointed Chair of the Communications Committee for the International Association of Fire Chiefs and served in that capacity until 2019 before joining the FirstNet Authority.
Tracey Murdock, Senior Public Safety Advisor, is responsible for advocating on behalf of public safety stakeholders across Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Tracey regularly conducts outreach and engagement opportunities to build relationships with local responders and help to identify next generation technologies to meet their communication needs.
Tracey says, “My mission is to listen, inform, and advocate for first responder communication requirements on the only nationwide broadband network designed for public safety.”
Prior to joining the FirstNet Authority, Tracey retired from the U.S. Navy after serving for 24 years. Tracey’s experience includes directing emergency management programs, working to implement regional emergency dispatch, building emergency operations centers, and leading multi-agency national response.
Thomas Randall serves as a Senior Public Safety Advisor for Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico where he advocates on behalf of public safety stakeholder interests. During engagements across the region, Thomas works closely with first responders and public safety organizations to make sure their rural broadband and technology interests are well-represented and made part of their emergency response and recovery efforts.
Thomas says, “Being able to advocate for first responders and help bring game-changing technology to our rural areas is most important to me. To learn what information first responders have available with FirstNet, and where they need it most, is truly amazing.”
Thomas has over 40 years of public safety experience. During his law enforcement career, he protected rural communities in Burleson County and Brazos County, Texas, and implemented advanced vehicle technology into patrol cars. After his retirement from law enforcement, Thomas continued to work on behalf of rural areas by joining the Texas Public Safety Broadband Program.
Nicole Ugarte serves as a Senior Public Safety Advisor for the states of Arkansas and Louisiana. Nicole works on behalf of public safety to bring the benefits of FirstNet into these communities.
Nicole says, “Our PSA team is focused on hearing from public safety regarding their communication needs and operational challenges – by bringing our resources to local public safety agencies wherever they are located, we are better situated to identify and build solutions together.”
Prior to joining the FirstNet Authority, Nicole represented public safety communications and interoperability interests. For over a decade, she designed and implemented strategies to address public safety communications challenges for the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) program, National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), and SAFECOM. Nicole’s expertise also includes facilitating stakeholder engagements and workshops for public safety field and tribal teams.
Learn more about how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and sign up for our discipline newsletters. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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