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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Appoints Public Safety, Business Leaders to the First Responder Network Authority Board


Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the appointment of four members to serve on the Board of the FirstNet Responder Network Authority. The appointees are leading experts in the fields of public safety, wireless broadband technology, and network engineering.

The Board will oversee the activities of FirstNet to ensure that AT&T develops, builds, and operates a nationwide broadband network that will best equip first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.

“With all 50 states and several territories participating in FirstNet, these appointed board members will leverage their decades of experience in public service and the private sector to ensure FirstNet provides the world-class communications network our emergency responders need,” said Secretary Ross. “I applaud them for their willingness to serve on the board to help save lives and keep communities safe.”

Secretary Ross appointed the following three individuals to the FirstNet Board for three-year terms:

  • Richard Ross, Police Commissioner, City of Philadelphia, which is one of the largest police departments in the nation with more than 6300 sworn members and 800 civilian personnel.
  • David Zolet, Chief Executive Officer, LMI, who has more than 30 years of corporate experience and leadership roles in business development, engineering, strategic planning, and customer relations.
  • Robert Osterthaler, Consultant and Strategic Advisor, focusing primarily on communications networks and government programs. He also served for 28 years in the US Air Force, retiring as a Brigadier General in 1997.

In addition, Secretary Ross reappointed one current Board member to serve in a new three-year term:

  • Richard W. Stanek, Sheriff, Hennepin County (Minnesota), who serves on the FirstNet Consultation and Outreach Committee. He is a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) Executive Committee and chairs the NSA’s Homeland Security Committee.

“These individuals will serve our nation well by providing expertise from both the private sector and public safety community,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator David Redl. “I want to thank them for serving during this important time for FirstNet.”


The First Responder Network Authority is an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FirstNet’s mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. In March 2017, the Department of Commerce and FirstNet announced a partnership with AT&T to build and operate and the first responder network. It will deliver the technologies and infrastructure that public safety desperately needs for day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and securing of large events.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created FirstNet, and Congress directed that FirstNet be governed by a 15-person Board, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget named as permanent Board members. Congress charged the Secretary of Commerce with selecting the remaining 12 members.

To view the bios of the FirstNet Board, visit: To learn more about FirstNet, visit