2017 Speakers

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Justin Blair, Director, Wireless Business Products, Product and New Business, Verizon

blairJ-120x150Justin Blair is a Director on the Business Products team, in the Product and New Business organization. Specifically, he leads product management for the Wireless Business products, and is responsible for identifying key market opportunities, defining commercial models and customer requirements, and driving the development and launch of innovative solutions for Verizon’s enterprise and business segments. Key products in this portfolio include communications services like Push to Talk Plus, networking and security solutions like Mobile Private Network and Network Extender, and a variety of best-in-class mobility management and productivity solutions.

Prior to taking this role in September 2014, Justin spent 2.5 years responsible for Wireless Network solutions for Enterprise customers. His team was responsible for defining customer requirements and delivering solutions and enhancements, as well as providing overall guidance and governance through customer engagements, roles Justin’s team still holds.

Prior to that role, Justin held roles of increasing responsibility within the VZW National Network Operations organization on the Network Repair Bureau team, where he was responsible for providing customer-focused Network support. There Justin was responsible for delivering Global interstandard roaming services, establishing Data Roaming services, and creating programs for Enterprise customers’ pre- and post-Sales support. Justin developed many troubleshooting best practices still in place today, including detailed work on troubleshooting tools used to support voice and data services.

Justin received his Masters of Science degree in Telecommunications Management from Stevens Institute of Technology, and his Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, College of Engineering, both in the honors program.


Eyal Elyashiv, Chief Operating Officer, Carbyne Homeland Security Ltd.

elyashivE-120x150Eyal has spent much of his adult life in the high-tech industry, primarily in network and real-time communication. Once he graduated from university, Eyal began working as a Developer and later became a Technical Product Manager for successful high-tech start-ups before going to work for AT&T to lead their Video Product Development. Eyal joined Carbyne, exclusive distributor of Reporty technology, in 2016 to develop their North American and Latin American operations. With his security and high-tech background, he has a unique understanding of the challenges facing emergency services and of the opportunities for technology to surmount them.


Gerald “Jay” English, Public Safety Program Manager, US Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), National Coordinating Center for Communications (NCC)

englishJ-120x150Jay has over 30 years of Public Safety and technology experience. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and United States Marine Corps, having served in airborne Electronic Warfare and Intelligence billets. Jay has served in a number of Police, Fire, EMS and Public Safety communications leadership positions. His experience includes Patrol, Investigations, and Command of three consolidated 911 Communications centers, Law Enforcement patrol divisions, and a County Detention facility. In addition to his public safety service, Jay is an active member of the US Air Force Auxiliary / Civil Air Patrol, holding the rank of Lt Colonel, and has served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and IT, Inspector General, and Group Commander.

He served for four years as the Director of Communications Center and 9-1-1 Services for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO). He is currently employed as the Public Safety Program Manager for the US Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), National Coordinating Center for Communications (NCC).

Jay served as the Chair of the Cybersecurity Working Group for the FCC Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA) tasked with developing a strategy for cybersecurity related to Next Generation 9-1-1. Jay’s additional work in cybersecurity includes articles for several national publications, authoring a chapter for a college text on public safety communications, and service on several national cybersecurity committees. Jay was selected as one of the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers” in government by Government Technology magazine for 2017.


David Furth, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

furthD-120x150David Furth is a Deputy Bureau Chief for the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. Previously, Mr. Furth served as Acting Bureau Chief April 2012, Deputy Chief from July 2009, Associate Bureau Chief from September 2006 to January 2009, as well as Acting Bureau Chief from January to July 2009. Mr. Furth joined the FCC in 1992 as an attorney in the Private Radio Bureau. In 1995 he served as a legal advisor to Commissioner Rachelle Chong and from 1994 to 2006 he held multiple positions in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau including Associate Bureau Chief and Counsel. Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Furth was in private law practice in Washington, DC and San Francisco, California. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.


Red Grasso, Deputy Director of FirstNetNC, North Carolina Department of Information Technology

grassoRed-120x150Red Grasso is the Deputy Director for FirstNetNC and alternate State Point of Contact (SPOC) for the FirstNet project in North Carolina. He received his B.S. from Western Carolina University in Emergency & Disaster Management and is also a graduate from the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management program at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

After serving for two years in an AmeriCorps program, he spent 10 years as a firefighter with the Town of Morrisville, North Carolina. During this time, Red also served on several committees and working groups focused on radio interoperability at different governmental levels. Red was a member of North Carolina Emergency Management’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 4 and the U.S. Health and Human Service’s National Disaster Medical Service Disaster Medical Assistance Team, focused on providing disaster communications to events around the State of North Carolina and the country.

Taking on a more technical role, Red worked for St Louis County, Missouri for three years launching a new P25 radio system for public safety in the region, providing leadership for interoperability policy and UASI grant funding projects. Red is also responsible for the radio communications and dispatch center for the annual Burning Man event including coordination with the federal partners that deploy their own systems.


Jon Harmer, Chief Marketing Officer, Laaser Critical Communications, LLC

harmerJ-120x150Jon Harmer leads marketing, product management, and strategic business development for LaaSer Critical Communications, an early stage company that is working to improve 911 mobile location. He has spent the last nineteen years focusing on creating solutions to customer problems and improving how products get to market. Prior to LaaSer, Jon held product and marketing leadership positions at Nexidia, Bioscape Digital, Verio, and Cbeyond, where he was Cbeyond’s first patent holder.

Jon has deep experience bringing innovative products to market with SaaS, telecom, and cloud companies and has held technical and strategic roles at CNN, Bank of America, and the Home Depot. Through his career, Jon has been featured on TV and radio numerous times, and has spoken at a number of industry conferences and events. Jon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as an MBA from The Goizueta Business School at Emory University. A native of Atlanta, Jon enjoys going on adventures around the country with his wife and children.


Ryan Jensen, Director Technology & Compliance – SMTS, T-Mobile

jensenR-120x150As Director of Technology and Compliance and a Senior Member of the Technical Staff for T-Mobile, Ryan oversees location technology development, performance evaluation, and related improvements for the wireless network and mobile devices. He also provides technical and strategic regulatory support, and serves as an industry liaison to help develop and facilitate the adoption of appropriate best practices and rules for emergency services, including E9-1-1.

Ryan has 27 years of experience in the wireless industry, with 19 of those years spent in the research, development, deployment, and analysis of the performance of various location technologies for mobile devices.

Ryan was instrumental in the development of the wireless industry and public safety ‘Roadmap’ to improve wireless 9-1-1 call location accuracy for indoor and outdoor calls. He has participated extensively in the ATIS Emergency Services Interconnection Forum (ESIF) since its inception, and currently serves as a member of the Advisory Group. In this role, he contributed to the development of ESIF’s Technical Reports for wireless E9-1-1, including: Outdoor Location Accuracy Testing Methodology, Maintenance Testing, Functional and End-to-End Testing, and the Test Plans and Test Methodologies for the Industry Indoor Location Accuracy Test Bed. Ryan represents T-Mobile in the ATIS ELOC forum where the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) is being developed to provide ‘dispatchable locations’ for wireless 9-1-1 calls. He has also represented T-Mobile on various NRIC and CSRIC councils to provide best practice recommendations to the FCC.

Ryan received a Bachelor of Science with honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado. He holds 25 patents in wireless technology.


Doug Kesser, Director, Public Safety Strategies, Comtech Telecommunications Corp.

kesserD-120x150As Director of Public Safety Strategies for Comtech’s Safety & Security Technologies division, Doug drives strategy of the company’s wireless, messaging, and 9-1-1 offerings. With over 15 years of experience in telecommunications, Doug has worked with carriers of all sizes, holds 14 patents in wireless technology, and works with various groups on SMS9-1-1 and NG9-1-1 planning.


Mike King, Global Industry Manager, Esri

kingM-120x150Mike King is the Global Manager for Public Safety at Esri, (Environmental Systems Research Institute), a world leader of GIS software. Before working for Esri, he spent a 28-year police career, retiring as Chief of Staff in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. During his career, he was trained by the FBI as a criminal profiler, serving as the co-chair of the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program National Board. Mike has consulted on hundreds of complex criminal cases around the world. Global media exposure and experience with public television, Discovery Channel, A&E and national news, including the Emmy Award winning production of “The Assassination of King Tut.” His latest appearances are “The Hole in the Rock Expedition”, and “The Killing Season”, both released in late 2016.

Six-time published author of, “Jane, A Woman’s Determination and the Wild West Frontier,” January 2010, IQ Design, Inc., “Predators, Who Are They and How Do We Stop Them,” June 2007, Prometheus Press, NY. “Cold Case Methodology,” 2006, LawTech Publishing, CA. “Profilers,” 2006 Prometheus Press, NY “Who Killed King Tut?,” 2005, Prometheus Press, NY, and “Analyzing Criminal Behavior,” 2001, IQ Publishing, UT.

Additional published works: “Next Generation 911, 3D and Indoor Routing”, APCO Journal 2017, “Interviewing the Incarcerated Offender Convicted of Sexually Assaulting the Elderly” Journal of Forensic Nursing, Fall 2006, and, “Organizing Multi-jurisdictional Task Forces” 1999, The FBI Journal.

Mike has a Master of Criminal Justice Degree in Criminal Justice and is an adjunct faculty member at the university level, including work with the Harvard Medical School Program in Psychiatry and the Law and the School of Nursing at Boston College where he is a visiting scholar. He has instructed public safety commanders globally.

He and his wife Bonnie are the parents of three children.


John M. Lawson, Executive Director, AWARN Alliance

lawsonJ-120x150John Lawson serves as Executive Director of the AWARN Alliance, a coalition of leading broadcasting, technology, and public safety organizations that is developing an advanced public alerting system for the U.S. He’s also president of Convergence Services, Inc, a consulting firm focused on smart spectrum utilization and techno-political strategy.

John has served as President and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), Executive Vice President ION Media Networks, and Executive Director of the Mobile500 Alliance. He served on the boards of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Open Mobile Video Coalition. Earlier, he co-founded the DTV Transition Coalition that grew to 170 organizations. He began his pursuit of advanced alerting solutions while CEO of APTS soon after the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

John was an expert panelist at the White House Earthquake Resilience Summit in February 2016 and has been appointed by three different FCC chairmen to serve on three different homeland security advisory committees. His commentaries have been published in Barron’s Weekly and media industry outlets. John earned his BA and MA in International Studies at the University of South Carolina.


Ray Lehr, Chief, Clear Management Consulting

lehrR-120x150Ray Lehr has more than 40 years of professional experience in public safety. As a 30 year member of the Baltimore City Fire Department, Chief Lehr help modernize operations as well as technology as the chief in charge of planning and technical services. He retired in 2000 but immediately began working for large systems integrators implementing the latest technology to improve d\state and local public safety agencies. In 2009 he was tapped to serve as the Maryland Statewide Interoperability Director where he directed a program management office responsible for projects to improve public safety communications including a statewide 700 MHz land mobile radio (LMR) project.

Prior to the creation of FirstNet, Ray served as a Board member of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) representing the National Governors Association. He also became the Maryland’s State Point of Contact (SPOC) for FirstNet and initiated the first state initial consultation process with FirstNet in 2014 that provided a framework for future engagements with the nation’s public safety leaders and state officials. In 2015 the Performance Institute named Ray as a Fellow, Nationwide Public Safety Broadband. He has now embarked on a consulting career focused on ensuring first responders gain access to the latest in technology to make their mission more successful with increased safety.


Tim Lorello, President & CEO, SecuLore Solutions

lorelloTim-120x150Tim Lorello is President & CEO of SecuLore Solutions, a cyber security firm focused on protecting our nation’s most important number: 9-1-1! Prior to founding SecuLore, Mr. Lorello spent 21 years at TeleCommunication Systems (TCS), where he served as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and pioneered many 9-1-1 initiatives for wireless, VoIP and NG9-1-1.

Prior to TCS, Mr. Lorello worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories for twelve years, specializing in R&D and telecomm platform development. He holds 20 patents, an MSEE from Northwestern University and a BA in Physics from University of Chicago.


Bill Mertka, Sr. Product Planning Consultant – Next-Generation Public Safety Technologies, Motorola Solutions, Inc.

mertkaB-120x150Bill is a senior technology executive with over 30 years of strategic product management and consulting experience in the software, telecommunications, and aerospace industries. He is responsible for creating & defining Next Generation (NG) 9-1-1 Integrated Command & Control Solutions for Motorola as part of the company’s Smart Public Safety Systems (SPSS) division. He has spent several years working with various SDOs like the IETF and NENA helping to develop technical standards for NG public safety systems.

He is also the chair of NENA’s ICE, or Industry Collaboration Events, Steering Committee. Prior to Motorola, Bill was the Vice President of Product Management and Group Director, Public Safety Systems, for RedSky Technologies, an industry leader in providing emergency location management solutions for enterprises and service providers. Prior to RedSky, Bill was a Senior Product Manager with Apropos Technology, a provider of contact center software solutions and was also a Senior Product Manager with Sprint Internet Services. Prior to his time with Sprint, he was a management consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton, EDS, and Price Waterhouse Consulting. Bill started his career in the aerospace industry with TRW Space & Technology Group and did federal defense and aerospace work for the first nine (9) years of his career, and in subsequent years, for customers as diverse as the USAF, NASA, USA, USN, and the FAA.


William Mikucki, Director of Engineer and Operations, NG9-1-1, Advanced Technology Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology


William Mikucki is the Director of NG9-1-1 Systems Engineer and Operations at General Dynamics Information Technology. In his role, Mr. Mikucki leads a team of 62 personnel responsible for design, integration, staging, configuration management, and operations of GDIT designed and deployed Next Generation 9-1-1 systems.

Mr. Mikucki is an accomplished Senior Information Technology Leader specializing in Information Technology Engineering Management, Operations Management, and Security Management encompassing a career of over20 years within Professional Service, Telecommunications, Enterprise IT, and Government/Military? organizations. Mr. Mikucki’s strong leadership, management, and technical skills were developed over a 21 year Air Force Career in Communication and Cyber Operations. Additionally, tours at US Army Corps of Engineers, International Network Services, Lucent Technologies, and Verizon enables his strong technical expertise in Information Technology, Information Systems, and Telecommunications.

Mr. Mikucki holds a Masters of Computer Information Systems with a specialization in Security from Boston University and a Bachelors in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Illinois. Mr. Mikucki also is a holder of US Patent 5256908.


Mike Poth, CEO, FirstNet

Poth-120x150Mike Poth began his career in public safety with the Tempe, Arizona Police Department where he held various positions in patrol, traffic, detectives, narcotics, and the tactical team. As a Police Captain in Corvallis, Oregon, he held executive assignments leading three different bureaus including the regional 9-1-1 center. Later, as technology senior executive at Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard, Mr. Poth led mission critical public safety projects for state and local police, fire, and emergency management services agencies, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

Mr. Poth received a BS in Criminal Justice and a Master in Public Administration from Arizona State University and completed executive certifications from the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago.


Richard Reed, Chief Customer Officer, FirstNet

reedR-120x150Richard Reed brings more than 30 years of government and industry experience in emergency communications to the FirstNet? leadership team, and became CCO in June 2016. Rich joined FirstNet in early 2014 as the Director of State Plans. Prior to joining FirstNet?, he was with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications, where Mr. Reed managed the office’s technical assistance branch. In his roles within both FirstNet and DHS, Mr. Reed worked directly with the first responder community to understand and address their needs.

Mr. Reed also served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves, with assignments in the Office of Naval Intelligence and White House Communications Agency, and holds a B.S. in Business Management from National Louis University.


Thomas R. Sammons, Jr., ENP, Principal Systems Engineer, NG9-1-1, Advanced Technology Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology

Tom Sammons is a Principal Systems Engineer with the NG9-1-1 team at General Dynamics Information Technology, serving in a sales engineering role. In this role, he is responsible for supporting sales activities, providing subject matter expertise on NG9-1-1 systems and components, meeting with emergency professionals throughout the country, developing pre-sales technical content and speaking about NG9-1-1 at local, state and national conferences.

Mr. Sammons has over 30 years of engineering, pre-sales and marketing experience in telecommunications and networking, which provide the foundation for his current NG9-1-1 experience. Prior to joining General Dynamics Information Technology, Mr. Sammons was a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer with Hewlett Packard Networking. In this position, he managed a team providing pre-sales subject matter expertise on IP networks and unified communications for enterprise data center, campus and branch networks. Prior to this position, he worked for 3Com as a technical marketing engineer, pre-sales solutions architect and senior software engineer with a focus on IP routing, SIP IP-PBX and SS7 products and solutions. Prior to 3Com, he held senior software engineering roles at Call Technologies, Stratus, Cable & Wireless and E-Systems where he led teams on design, build and test of real-time software systems based on VoIP (SIP and H.323), SS7 (ISUP, TCAP, SCCP and MTP) and remote airborne control protocols.

Mr. Sammons is a member of the 9-1-1 community through his membership with APCO and NENA, his NENA Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification and regular speaking engagements at conferences across the country. Mr. Sammons holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. Throughout his 30+ year career in telecommunications and networking, he has been recognized by his leaders and peers for his passion and focus in leading teams, building quality solutions, technical writing and public speaking.


Dorothy A. Spears-Dean, Ph.D., Public Safety Communications Coordinator, Integrated Services Program (ISP), Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)

spearsDeanD-120x150Dr. Spears-Dean is a communication and technology professional with over twenty years of experience, possessing extensive knowledge of public safety technology issues affecting state and local governments. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University, an M.B.A. from the University of Richmond, and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she is employed by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency as the Public Safety Communications Coordinator and is responsible for managing the Commonwealth’s 9-1-1 program.

As a public safety practitioner and administrator, Dr. Spears-Dean has served in a variety of capacities. Currently, she is a National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA) Board Member and an appointee to the Federal Communications Commission’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council. Dr. Spears-Dean has served as a subject matter expert for several United States Department of Homeland Security work groups and is an accomplished author and presenter.


Richard Taylor, ENP, Executive Director, North Carolina 911 Board

taylorRichard-120x150Richard Taylor, ENP, has been intimately involved in 9-1-1 issues at the local, state and national levels for more than two decades. Currently serving as the Executive Director of the North Carolina 911 Board, Taylor is the first person to ever hold such a post in the state.

Taylor is responsible for assisting and overseeing the 119 primary and six secondary public safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the state in their emergency 9-1-1 preparedness efforts. Taylor has made great strides during his tenure as executive director. When he took the post in 2000, there were five counties in the state that did not have enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) capabilities. Today, all counties in North Carolina have E9-1-1. Taylor was appointed by North Carolina’s governor as the state’s single point of contact with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for all 9-1-1 issues.
Prior to his role with the North Carolina 911 Board, Taylor was the communications director for the city of New Bern, NC.

One of his greatest contributions to public safety in the state of North Carolina was the passage of North Carolina’s Wireless 9-1-1 Act in 1998. Taylor was a co-writer, as well as the lead public safety lobbyist, of this bill. He ensured the bill contained provisions that guarantee full cost recovery for PSAPs and wireless carriers alike. North Carolina is one of the only states with full cost recovery.

Currently Richard’s work with the North Carolina 911 Board includes guiding them through creation and implementation of a new 9-1-1 funding model for PSAPs and at the same time, his leadership has been vital in the process as North Carolina develops its first ever operational standards for 9-1-1 PSAPs. Taylor continues to lead the NC911 Board and the PSAP community in the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1.

Taylor has been a long time member of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), serving as the North Carolina chapter president in 1997 and as national president in 2003. He has also maintained membership in the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) since 1992. In the fall of 2003, Taylor was appointed to serve as the first chairman of the E-911 Institute, the educational branch of the E-911 Congressional Caucus, and was elected to serve a second term in 2005 and a third in 2010. In 2004, Taylor was appointed chairman of the ComCare Alliance, a non-profit national advocacy organization of over 100 members, all dedicated to advancing emergency communications. In 2007, Richard was elected to serve as national president of the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) and was reelected to serve a second term as president in 2009 and a third term in 2011.

Taylor currently represents the state 9-1-1 Administrators on the Public Safety Advisory Committee to FirstNet, the first responder network authority created by Congress with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

In between his public life, Richard is the father of one son, two beautiful daughters and his chocolate lab, Chip. An active member of Temple Baptist Church, he has served as an adult Sunday School teacher and Deacon.


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