The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is pleased to announce that two top wireless network planning and development experts have joined its Federal technical team in Boulder, Colorado. The two new members of the team are Brian Kassa, who is Director of Technology Planning and Development, and Pat Schwinghammer, who is Director of Radio Access Networks (“RAN”). They will report to Jeff Bratcher, who was named Acting Chief Technical Officer (“CTO”) after former CTO Ali Afrashteh stepped down for personal reasons.
Pat began his Radio Frequency (“RF”) design career over 25 years ago as a college intern within the U.S. Department Commerce. Over his career, he has been responsible for the overall design, standards, capacity planning, launch, and operations of large radio networks across the United States and in many foreign countries. As Director of RAN at FirstNet, Pat will focus on RF planning and spectrum issues. He will also provide RAN expertise to the RFP development and FirstNet’s state plans team.
In his new role at FirstNet, Brian will focus on network architecture and key technical elements of FirstNet’s Request for Proposal (“RFP”) activities. Brian has worked for 20-plus years as a first responder and was involved in the efforts related to the Oso mudslides in the State of Washington.
Both Brian and Pat are well-versed in FirstNet’s technical and engineering programs and goals, as they come from Information Management Resources, Inc. Technology and Engineering Solutions, where they provided contract support to FirstNet. Brian focused on end-to-end architecture, and Pat has worked on RAN development.
Jeff Bratcher joined FirstNet as Acting Deputy CTO in November 2013, and he accepted a permanent position as Deputy CTO in June 2014. In this role, he worked closely with Ali to grow and manage FirstNet’s technical and engineering teams. There are now about 20 employees working at the technical headquarters.
“Ali has poured a lot of time, energy and passion into all that we do at FirstNet, and I would like to personally thank him for his thoughtful technology leadership at FirstNet,” said FirstNet Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy. “At the same time, we are fortunate to have someone like Jeff, who can step up and hit the ground running with this important responsibility.”