Brian Hobson and Douglas Harder are relatively new to FirstNet, but they are no strangers to public safety communications. Both of them recently joined FirstNet as Electronics Engineers after supporting the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications technical assistance program. The two engineers, who also previously worked on tactical communications systems with the U.S. Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Services Command (NATEC), are now working for State Plans Director Rich Reed.
“Moving to the public safety broadband network was a natural progression,” Doug says of his move to FirstNet. Doug will be based out of Boulder, Colorado, where he will serve as a liaison with FirstNet’s technical team. Among his roles and responsibilities, Doug will be providing the technical team with information and data from the consultation and state planning processes. In turn, he will help facilitate information from the engineering team to support the state planning process. “I think this link will be very important to getting the right data into the state plans,” he says.
Doug is currently developing a state plans template using inputs from various FirstNet stakeholders and from other planning documents. “I’m looking for information that is relevant to the state planning process and creating a template that can be used throughout the consultation process,” he says. “When I was working with DHS OEC, I was part of the teams that created numerous templates over the years, and then used those templates to help states, territories, and local agencies create their own Tactical Interoperable Communications) Plans, SOPs, MOA/MOUs, and many others.”
Doug says ensuring the most efficient and effective use of resources for public safety communications was a key factor that led him to FirstNet. “Public safety budgets are limited, and communications is one of the most important tools public safety professionals have. Anything that can be done to make communications resources more effective and efficient is money well spent.”
Brian has been meeting with public safety and emergency management professionals throughout the nation since joining FirstNet. He spoke at California's Town Hall in Bakersfield, California last month and more recently participated on a panel at the National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) Annual Conference & Technology Showcase in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “It’s good to get out and talk with first responders and working directly with those who need reliable public safety communications,” he says.
Just like the rest of the FirstNet team, both Brian and Doug were drawn to FirstNet by the mission. “Helping build the public safety broadband network was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up,” Brian says. “At FirstNet there is a common goal among the team – to improve public safety operations.”