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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Appoints Sue Swenson FirstNet Board Chairwoman; Sam Ginn Steps Down

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the appointment of Sue Swenson as Chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board. FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Swenson, a seasoned telecommunications and technology executive, has served as a FirstNet Board member since August 2012 and was named Vice Chairwoman last December.

Swenson replaces Sam Ginn, who has chaired the FirstNet Board since its inception. Ginn, a wireless industry pioneer, agreed to step out of retirement to shepherd the FirstNet Board through its early stage development and planning of a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. His term on the Board expires August 2014 and he is not seeking reappointment. Ginn plans to fulfill the remainder of his term as a Board member.

Swenson has played a pivotal role on the Board, successfully leading FirstNet’s spectrum lease negotiations with four Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) projects. She was also instrumental in FirstNet’s development of a strategic roadmap.

“Sam Ginn’s leadership and experience building an organization from the ground up has been invaluable to FirstNet over the past two years, and we greatly appreciate his service,” said Secretary Pritzker. “FirstNet continues to make progress toward fulfilling its mission to create the country’s first nationwide broadband network dedicated to helping our nation’s first responders perform their life saving work. As FirstNet enters the next phase in its development, Sue Swenson brings to this start up effort seasoned management experience in the telecommunications field to carry out this important mission.”

Under Ginn’s leadership, the FirstNet organization has made great strides. The Board took office in August 2012 with no full-time staff. Less than two years later, FirstNet has built its senior management team, pulling in top talent from industry, public safety and government to lead the organization; designed a strategic roadmap to take FirstNet to the next stage of implementation; entered into spectrum lease agreements with four pilot projects; hired a staff of more than 50 employees and detailees; established a Board committee structure to provide FirstNet with strategic vision and leadership on all elements of the business; and established the Public Safety Advisory Committee to facilitate dialogue between the Board and the public safety community.

“Over the past two years as Chairman, I’ve worked hard to ensure that the FirstNet organization is laser-focused on serving the needs of our customers – public safety professionals,” said Ginn. “I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in such a short time, and am supremely confident that FirstNet is in capable hands with Sue Swenson as Chairwoman. I have been working closely with Sue over the past six months, and the timing is right to step aside and let her take the helm.”

To learn more about FirstNet, visit For Sue Swenson’s bio, visit