FirstNet Announces New Leadership Positions

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OLYMPIA – Washington OneNet congratulates the newly announced leadership team of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet): Chief Executive Officer, Michael Poth, and President, TJ Kennedy.

The First Responder Network Authority is charged with the design and development of FirstNet--a national broadband network dedicated to public safety. WaTech's Washington OneNet is the program office charged with engaging stakeholders and designing the plan for FirstNet in Washington state. 

"I’m pleased to see today’s announcement, because FirstNet has been without a chief executive for too long," said Washington's State Point-of-Contact for FirstNet, Bill Schrier, who is also the Chair of the Washington State Interoperability Executive Committee. "Mike Poth appears to have good background--with a mixture of both law enforcement and industry experience--to support the mission of FirstNet, in particular getting an RFP out the door. TJ Kennedy has been a phenomenal acting Executive Director for FirstNet. TJ and FirstNet Board Chair, Sue Swenson, along with much hard work from FirstNet staff, have made a lot of progress over the past 18 months, propelling the organization forward. TJ in particular has been the visible face of FirstNet to the public safety stakeholders in many states including Washington. There will be a period of adjustment for the organization and staff, given the changes. I’m happy that TJ will continue in a major leadership role as President which will significantly help with those adjustments."

Mr. Schrier went on to say, "It’s also curious that the titles of Poth and Kennedy have changed--rather than a 'director' there's a CEO and a President. I take this as a positive sign, signaling that FirstNet is becoming more independent from the federal government, which is the stated intent of Congress. Many public safety officials in my state are skeptical that "the federal government” can really create and manage a nationwide wireless network. The change in titles will be a small positive signal to them."

About FirstNet
Signed into law on February 22, 2012, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The law gives FirstNet the mission to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet will provide a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communication

About WaTech
Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech) is "the consolidated technology services agency" (RCW 43.105.006) charged with enabling public agencies to better serve the people of Washington State. WaTech operates the state's core technology infrastructure--the central network and data center; supports enterprise applications; and, innovates services and practices. The agency is also charged with preparing and leading the implementation of a strategic direction and enterprise architecture for state government IT. Additionally,WaTech houses the State Office of Cyber Security and Washington OneNet.

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