Leaders in Policy Honored by APCO International at Awards Dinner in D.C.
“It is the responsibility of Congress to ensure first responders have the spectrum and equipment they need,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday, May 15, in a video presentation at the 8th Annual APCO International Leadership in Policy Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. McCain was one of two recipients of the Leadership in Legislative Service awards. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was the other.
In his video remarks, Lieberman thanked 9-1-1 telecommunicators who “help direct to the scene the unsung heroes who deserve all the support we can give them.”
“This dinner is APCO’s opportunity to recognize some of the many significant contributions in the way that public safety communications is handled through legislation, by our government agencies and by people all over the country,” said Derek Poarch, APCO International executive director, in his introductory comments. “The key to APCO’s success, and to every association’s success in these trying times, is partnership. We’re fortunate to have very strong partnerships with the Obama administration, on Capitol Hill and at the FCC—all of which have proved beneficial to APCO and to public safety communications. These partnerships are the bedrock of our work and the building blocks of our future. And it’s to honor the leadership of these partners that we’re here tonight.”
McCain and Lieberman were honored for their joint efforts in helping push through legislation that allocates spectrum, funding and governance for a nationwide public safety broadband network.
The Public Safety Communications Leadership in Policy Awards commemorate individuals who are outstanding advocates for public safety communications and advance all aspects of public safety policy.
The winner of the Leadership in Advocacy Award was Richard Mirgon, past president, APCO International, also honored for his tireless efforts on the Hill to convince lawmakers of the need for the legislation that allocated the D Block to public safety. “I’d like to acknowledge all those involved in the D Block efforts,” said Mirgon. “This changes the whole face of public safety, and we wouldn’t be here without everyone in the room.”
The Leadership in Regulatory Service Award went to Jeffery Goldthorp, associate bureau chief, Federal Communications Commission. Goldthorp was honored “for his critically important work in the arena of monitoring our cybersecurity and the infrastructure needed to implement overseeing all its programs.”
The Leadership in Advancing Communications Policy Award went to Anna Gomez, deputy assistant secretary for communications and information and deputy administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. Gomez had oversight of the TV Converter Box Coupon Program while the nation was in the midst of transitioning to digital broadcasting. She now focuses on working to expand broadband access to all Americans, among other Internet policy issues. And it was with great appreciation for her efforts in building communication bridges for all that APCO presented the award to Gomez.
“I am tremendously honored to receive this award,” said Gomez. “This has been a labor of love.”
APCO added a special category this year to mark the monumental achievements of the Public Safety Alliance and the leadership from each of the partner organizations that helped secure legislation that is changing the landscape of public safety communications. The PSA successfully advocated for and secured legislation that allocated the D Block spectrum for public safety and $7 billion in funding. The legislation also created FirstNet, an independent agency within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, that will ensure the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network.
The following individuals were honored for their tireless efforts that made the D Block campaign a success: from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Harlin R. McEwen; representing the Major City Chiefs, Christopher M. Moore, the chief of police of the San Jose (Calif.) Police Department; representing the National Sheriffs’ Association, President Paul H. Fitzgerald, Story County, Iowa, sheriff; representing the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, William J. McCammon, executive director, East Bay Regional Communications System Authority; representing the National Emergency Management Association, Director of Government Relations Matt Cowles; representing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Assistant Sheriff Raymond. J. Flynn; representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Past President Jeffrey D. Johnson; and representing the National Association of State EMS Officials, Program Manager Kevin McGinnis.
The following companies helped make these awards and the event possible, and APCO International would like to thank and recognize these patrons and corporate partners: Televate, GeoComm Inc., Onstar, TruePosition, Cassidian Communications, TIA, Agero, Sprint, Motorola, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Genesis Group, Kimball, TruePosition, GreatCall Inc., Verint Systems, Intrado, Zetron, New World Systems, OnStar, TeleCommunication Systems and Harris Corp.
About the Author
Keri Losavio is the editor of APCO International’s Public Safety Communications.