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Commerce Secretary appoints six FirstNet board members

The Secretary of Commerce has appointed six members to the First Responders Network Authority board, filling five vacancies and making one re-appointment of a board member.

FirstNet Chair Edward Horowitz, who was appointed board chair in September after serving as a member of the board for five years, said in a statement welcoming the new board members that each of them are “experts in their fields – from local leaders to public safety officials and business and technology executives. They join our current members to comprise a full Board with the depth and diversity of experience needed to ensure the success of FirstNet. … We’ve made great progress over the last year and half, but there is still much to do to deliver on public safety’s vision for the Network. With these accomplished leaders on board, we are set to drive FirstNet’s success – now and in the future.”

The new board members include:

Richard Carrizzo, chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District in Kansas City, Missouri. Carrizzo also serves as lead fire representative on the policy board that manages the region’s 911 system.

-Welton Chase, Jr. retired Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Cyber & Army Information Technology’s Signal Corps. Chase led the Army’s largest theater information technology organization supporting over 430,000 Army users across 81 data centers in 38 states, according to information from the Commerce Department.

-Brian Crawford, who is a former firefighter and current chief administrative officer for the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, where he is responsible for the city’s fire, police and public works departments.

-Billy Hewes, the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi, who has experience in disaster recovery.

-Paul Patrick, who is the division director for family health and preparedness for the state Department of Health in Utah, and past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials.

The secretary also re-appointed current board member Neil Cox, CEO of Seal Beach, California-based Repio. Cox has served as chair of the board’s Technology Committee.

Outgoing board members include Kevin McGinnis, who was a member of the FirstNet Board since the beginning; and Mayor Annise D. Parker, who served on the board’s Public Safety Advocacy Committee.

The FirstNet board has 15 voting members, of which 12 are non-permanent members appointed by the secretary of commerce. The other three seats on the board are filled by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The longtime board Chair Sue Swenson and and Co-Chair Jeff Johnson retired from the board in August; FirstNet also has a new acting CEO, Edward Parkinson, after former CEO Mike Poth departed for the private sector earlier this year.

The next FirstNet board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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