FirstNet Board Announces Creation of New CEO, President Positions; Names Michael Poth CEO,TJ Kennedy to Function in Role of President

Media Contact: Ryan Oremland (703) 648-4114 or (202) 770-5761;

Michael Poth is sworn in at FirstNet headquarters in Reston, VA on August 17, 2015.
Michael Poth is sworn in at FirstNet headquarters in Reston, VA on August 17, 2015.

RESTON, VA – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board today announced the restructuring of its senior management positions to more closely align with its mission and operating model by creating the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President titles and appointing technology executive and former police captain Michael Poth as the new CEO of FirstNet.

Poth brings a unique combination of public safety and technology experience to the position of CEO. He has two decades of executive management experience with Hewlett Packard and Northrop Grumman in the technology sector, with expertise in business development and strategic and operational business planning. Poth is a former public safety official having served in police departments for 14 years, rising to the rank of captain.

TJ Kennedy, who as Acting Executive Director has been successfully leading FirstNet during its startup phase, is functioning in the role of President. This approach reflects the key roles FirstNet’s top executives must play given the complexity and importance of the FirstNet program and ensures the new titles accurately reflect the duties and responsibilities of FirstNet’s senior most executives.

“Mike’s extensive experience managing large teams in the IT and communications sectors will be an invaluable asset to the FirstNet organization,” said FirstNet Board Chair Sue Swenson. “His talents will nicely complement the strength of our existing management team. Working together with TJ Kennedy, I’m confident that we are on a sound path to meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission.”

Poth will be based in FirstNet’s Reston, Virginia headquarters. He will bring his strategic, operational, and program leadership skills to bear on the all aspects of FirstNet, but particularly on the critical Request for Proposal(s) (RFP) scheduled to be released later this year. The RFP will focus on the partnerships required to build, market, operate, and oversee the nationwide public safety broadband network.

Functioning in the role of President, Kennedy will continue to provide valuable insight and input into the RFP process, but will focus on overseeing FirstNet’s outstanding outreach and technology efforts, including the areas of external communication, legislative affairs, public safety and state outreach, and the Boulder technology team.

“I’m thrilled to be joining this talented and dedicated FirstNet team,” said Poth. “I will ensure FirstNet continues to execute its mission – building a first-of-a-kind public safety network that will literally save lives. I’m honored to be part of this historic effort, and I look forward to working with TJ and the entire team to accomplish our goals.”

About FirstNet
FirstNet has been obligated by Congress to take all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide public safety broadband network for local, state, regional, tribal, and federal first responders. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is governed by a 15-member Board that consists of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General of the United States, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce composed of representatives from public safety, government, and the wireless industry (

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