By David Buchanan, FirstNet Director of Consultation
The FirstNet User Advocacy Team continues to build up its consultation roster as we prepare to move forward with a comprehensive outreach and engagement strategy for the coming year and beyond. Recently, we welcomed several new regional, area, and federal coordinators to our consultation team, including Jeff King, Area Lead for Regions I-V; Tiffany Perry, Federal Consultation Liaison; Steven Smith, Area Lead for Regions VI-X; Lori Stone, Region 3 Lead; Mike Varney, Region 1 Lead; and Charlotte Whitacre, Federal Consultation Liaison. Following is more information about our newest team members.
Jeff King is Area Lead for Regions I-V. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Assistant Director for Mission Support at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. In a prior role, Jeff worked on national and international programs designed to improve first responders’ emergency communications capabilities at the Department of Homeland Security. Jeff’s combined federal service spans more than 25 years and includes serving in the US Navy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and providing global telecommunications and information technology support for the President and Vice President of the United States and the Secret Service. He currently serves as a sworn law enforcement officer with the Metropolitan Police Department Reserve Corps in Washington, D.C.
Tiffany Perry joined FirstNet as a Federal Consultation Liaison from the private sector, where she supported the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program at FEMA as a contractor, focusing on outreach, strategic communications, and stakeholder engagement initiatives. Prior to that, Tiffany was a consultant to the Federal Aviation Administration, EUCOM, and AFRICOM. Earlier in her career, Tiffany served as a Personal Assistant to US Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Legislative Affairs Associate for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and in The White House Executive Office of the President.
Steven Smith comes to FirstNet as Area Lead for Regions VI-X from ICE, where he was the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO). Steven has more than 30 years of experience in the private and public sectors and has delivered critical and non-critical mission support systems and services across 56 states and territories and 42 countries. Steven served as Deputy CIO at the Federal Highway Administration and was Chief Operating Officer for the White House Communications Agency. In addition, he served in the U.S. Army for twenty years and retired as a Communications-Chief Warrant Officer.
Lori Stone joins FirstNet as the Region III Lead after serving as the Acting Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Maryland and as the Statewide Broadband Coordinator for the planning and deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network in the state. Lori also spent the last several years working on the planning, operational, and legal requirements for the deployment of Maryland FiRST, the statewide 700MHz radio communications system. She previously worked as a National Capital Region Planner at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency on public education and media campaigns for emergency preparedness and on continuity of operations planning for higher education institutions and non-profits.
Michael Varney joins the FirstNet team as the Region I Lead from the State of Connecticut, where he served in Information Technology and public safety communications positions for 28 years. Most recently he served as Connecticut’s Statewide Interoperability Coordinator and single point of contact (SPOC). In addition to those roles, Michael served as the Chairman of the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) and was the NCSWIC’s representative on the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). Michael has a deep public safety background serving for over 30 years in the fire and emergency medical services, including as Fire Chief of the Ellington Volunteer Fire Department.
Charlotte Whitacre brings more than 20 years of experience in the communications field to her role as Federal Consultation Liaison. For the past 10 years, Charlotte worked for the US Department of Justice as a Telecommunications Manager. Previously, she worked as a federal contractor in the RF/satellite engineering fields. Earlier in her communications career, she served in the US Army Signal Corps.
Please join me in welcoming Jeff, Tiffany, Steven, Lori, Mike, and Charlotte to FirstNet’s User Advocacy team.