Kenneth Bednasz, VP Application Engineering, Telit 

Kenneth Bednasz

Kenneth Bednasz is the Vice President of Application Engineering for Telit and is responsible for the technical support and module certification for Telit’s products.  Ken has been with Telit since 2006 and has been instrumental in leading innovative product introductions with North American network operators.Ken has over 20 years of experience in the cellular industry. Prior to Telit, he worked for Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and holds multiple patents and publications in the area of cellular communications.  He earned a degree in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

Robert Bloom, Public Safety Systems Administrator, Department of Emergency Communications, Alexandria, VA

Robert Bloom has been working in Public Safety for almost thirty years.  His career started in a small county center in Pennsylvania.  Bob has worked for a large metropolitan center, a medium size combined center, an airport and two vendors. During his career has seen the industry grow and become increasingly dependent on technology.  From the evolution from 10-digit phones to multiple Phases of 911 to NG-911.  As the Public Safety Systems Administrator, he leads a team in implementation, training, and support of 911 technologies and Quality Assurance.  In addition to NG-911 components, ESInet, and FirstNET are among current projects.  His industry educational accomplishments include NENA’s Emergency Numbers Professional (ENP), Center Manager Certification Program (CMCP), APCO’s Registered Public Safety Leader (RPL) and Certified Public Safety Executive (CPE).  He serves as APCO’s Chair for Professional Development Events Committee, Vice Chair of Cyber Security Training Writing Group, and a member of the Cyber Security Committee.  He will also be Chair of APCO’s 2019 Baltimore Conference Committee.

Sylvain Boisvert, Eng., Vice-President Research & Development, Radio IP Software, Inc.

Sylvain Boisvert

Keen and enthusiastic about new data mobility opportunities, Sylvain brings over 20 years of experience leading talented teams and developing innovative products. Tooled with his telecommunications engineer degree earned from Sherbrooke University, Sylvain has led teams who created product portfolios in world-class companies such as Alstom Transport and Nortel Networks. At Radio IP Software, Sylvain heads the mobility and security product development teams with a strong bias for innovation and quality. Radio IP Software mobility and security solutions are deployed worldwide.

Chris Carver, PSAP Operations Director, NENA

Chris Carver

Christopher Carver (ENP) is NENA's Director of PSAP/9-1-1 Operations and a 23-year veteran of public safety communications and 9-1-1. In working for NENA, Chris is responsible for a myriad of projects, efforts and activities designed to improve and enhance the ability of the 9-1-1 system and PSAPs to handle the more than 240,000,000 calls for service that occur every year. Chris started his career as a Fire/EMS Dispatcher in Central Ohio. After graduating from the Ohio State University, he moved to New York City to work as a Dispatcher for the FDNY. Over the next 15 years, he rose through the ranks of the Department— serving as the Chief Dispatcher for incidents like Superstorm Sandy and the 2010 Blizzard —before reaching the rank of Director—Dispatch Operations, where he oversaw a staff of 200 and the processing of over 500,000 emergency incidents per year. Chris serves as a staff advisor to the NENA Education Advisory Board, co-chairs the CTIA Location Accuracy PSAP Implementation Group and belongs to numerous public safety associations. He is also an Adjunct-Faculty member at the John Jay College in New York, teaching a course on dispatching methodology. Chris has been published in several publications and has both keynoted and presented at conferences in the United States and abroad.

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen, Chief Counsel, APCO International

Jeffrey Cohen is Chief Counsel and Director of Government Relations at APCO International.  In this capacity, Jeff provides strategic guidance on policy, legislative, and regulatory matters to advance the association’s work on 9-1-1 and first responder communications.  Prior to joining APCO, Jeff served as a detailee from the Federal Communications Commission, for the minority staff of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.  While on the Hill, Jeff was one of the authors of the FirstNet public safety legislation enacted in February 2012.  At the FCC, Jeff served as Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.  Before his move to the federal government, Jeff was a partner at the Washington, DC telecommunications law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where he worked over ten years on wireless regulatory matters since graduating from the George Washington University Law School with honors in 1994.  Jeff also holds a B.S. cum laude in electrical engineering from the George Washington University.  Jeff is a recipient of the FCC’s Silver Medal Award, APCO’s Leadership in Regulatory Service Award, and the National Emergency Number Association’s Presidential Award.  

Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News

Reinhard Ekl

Alison has written about tech, business and diversity for more than 25 years for numerous publications, including her current role as editor of Light Reading's Broadband World News. A long-time editor and journalist, she headed her own business for 10 years before returning to the corporate world. Alison, who's originally from northern England, lives on Florida's Space Coast with her husband, daughter and two cats, where you may overhear her yelling for the Yankees.

Reinhard Ekl, Vice President of Product & Public Safety, RapidSOS

Reinhard Ekl

Reinhard Ekl is the VP of Product and Public Safety at RapidSOS, an emergency technology company founded out of MIT/Harvard with the mission of transforming emergency communications by bringing accurate caller location and comprehensive data to 9-1-1 and Public Safety. RapidSOS offers supplemental location information and additional data through the Next Generation 9-1-1 Clearinghouse – accessible by PSAPs at no cost through partnerships with most CPE/911 & CAD vendors. Mr. Ekl leads the 9-1-1 Outreach and Product Development for RapidSOS and participates in Standards Development with NENA & APCO. Mr. Ekl holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a Certificate in Social Innovation and is a certified EMT-Paramedic in Austria since 2006.

John Foley, General Manager, Safer Buildings Coalition

John Foley

John has held key business development, operations, engineering, and executive roles at telecom service companies such as Level 3 Communications, MFS, and MCI. John was a co-founder of XO Communications where he was VP of Operations and Engineering, and later VP of International Network Development. John led dark fiber provider City Signal Communications in the position of President and CEO. John most recently served as Capture Director for specialty construction firm Henkels and McCoy, a leading DAS Integrator. John also spent several years in television and video production services with PMTV, developing and managing complex video production projects including NCAA sports and corporate simulcasts and broadcasts. John came aboard the Safer Buildings Coalition in April of 2017, with a focus on serving the SBC mission, solidifying member services and value, and establishing a strong operational and financial base as tools to meet the business demands of SBC's mission. John comes from a family with a tradition of first-responder service, with his grandfather, great uncle, brother, and son all serving in the Philadelphia Police department.

Josh Hearan, Deputy Sheriff, Brazos County Sheriff's Office

Josh Hearan

Josh Hearen is a Sergeant with the Brazos County Office of the Sheriff currently assigned to the Warrants and Civil Division of the Office. Josh has been employed with the Sheriff's Office for 20 years. He has worked in many different areas of the office including Jail operations, Dispatch services and Training. Josh was closely involved in bringing the original "Band 14" project to Brazos County. He worked diligently with Harris County, an early builder, to bring the project on line. He was awarded the Sheriff's Office Meritorious Service award for his involvement in the project. Josh has also worked on projects surrounding in-car and body worn video as well as Land Mobile Radio projects. He works closely with vendors to test and evaluate new products and applications associated with mobile video. Additionally, Josh works to support several non-profit groups outside of the office, furthering the mission of the Sheriff's Office by providing further support to our local community.

Dan Henry, Director of Government Affairs, NENA

Dan Henry

Mr. Henry brings nearly a decade of experience in telecommunications policy and law to NENA. Most recently, he worked as Policy Counsel at the Telecommunications Industry Association. Mr. Henry earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Before TIA, Henry worked for Booz Allen Hamilton with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Communications (DHS OEC) and at ACT | The App Association and Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP.

Roger Hixson, ENP, Technical Issues Director, National Emergency Number Association (NENA)

Roger Hixson

Roger Hixson, ENP, is the Technical Issues Director of the National Emergency Number Association, coordinates NENA's overall technical development process, and is closely involved in many of NENA's activities, including wireless 9-1-1, Internet Protocol technical and strategy issues, national 9-1-1 Text, and coordinates the overall NENA NG9-1-1 Project plan. He has worked in various areas of 9-1-1 service for 32 years, formerly in the telecommunications environment, where he and his group implemented and provided service management of E9-1-1 systems in more than 35 major Counties in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Roger has chaired numerous 9-1-1 advancement efforts, at the state, national, and corporate levels, and received the NPSTC (National Public Safety Telecommunications Council) Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 9-1-1 Institute Industry Award. Roger holds a Systems Engineering degree.

Donny Jackson, Editor, IWCE's Urgent Communications

Donny Jackson

Donny Jackson is editor of IWCE's Urgent Communications magazine. Before joining in 2002, he covered telecommunications for four years as a freelance writer and as news editor for Telephony magazine. Prior to that, he worked for suburban newspapers in the Dallas area, serving as editor-in-chief for the Irving News and the Las Colinas Business News.

Josh Lober, President and CEO, ESchat

Josh Lober

Prior to founding SLA in 1991, Mr. Lober held positions at 3dbm, Inc. and Gould Electronics where he worked on military RADAR systems. He also worked at Biocom, Inc., where he worked on the company's orange "paramedic radio" made famous in the TV show Emergency. During the pre-rfp and pre-award phases, FirstNet had declared a data first, Mission Critical voice later model. In the post-award era, FirstNet's mission has changed to onboarding subscribers. Therefore, the initial rollout will include indiscriminate Priority and Preemption that will benefit all applications, including Over the Top PTT. First Responders will have the option to choose FirstNet or third-party PTT vendors. Are we at the forefront of next-generation LMR/LTE interoperability, or are we creating the next-generation of interoperability problems? Mr. Lober is President/CEO of SLA Corporation, the parent company of ESChat. Since its foundation in 1991, SLA has developed numerous wireless solutions for Government, Commercial and Military applications. SLA's Commercial wireless history includes 1G thru 4G network infrastructure, specifically AMPS, ETACS, IS-136, CDMA 1xEVDO (Rev. 0 and Rel. A) and LTE. SLA developed its first Push to Talk over Cellular (PTToC) solution in 2003 using the "iTalk" and "PoC" standards. SLA's team opted to create a more efficient PTToC protocol which became Enterprise Secure Chat (ESChat), today's leading secure LTE PTToC solution for military, public safety and large business use. Prior to founding SLA in 1991, Mr. Lober held positions at 3dbm, Inc. and Gould Electronics where he worked on military RADAR systems. He also worked at Biocom, Inc., where he worked on the company's orange "paramedic radio" made famous in the TV show Emergency. Mr. Lober holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Lisa Madden, VP, NG911 and FirstNet, Winbourne Consulting, LLC and iCERT

Lisa Madden

Ms. Madden has 20+ years' experience with E-9-1-1 and NG9-1-1 products, systems, and operations. She manages Winbourne Consulting's NG9-1-1 and FirstNet business area providing business development and project oversight. She is directly involved in all our NG9-1-1 projects and actively involved in Call Center Efficiency solutions for our regional Emergency Call Center customers. Ms. Madden is also actively involved as the iCERT representative, in the NG911 NOW Coalition, committed to the accelerated deployment of NG911.

Kelli Merriweather, Vice President/Treasurer, National Association of State 911 Administrators, and Director, Texas Council on State Emergency Communications

Kelli Merriweather

Ed Mills, Public Safety Engagement & Technology Innovation Manager, Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology

Ed Mills

Ed is the Colorado Outreach Manager in the Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology. He and his team are responsible for coordinating state efforts for NPSBN. He is volunteer firefighter, and EMR with Evergreen Fire Rescue. He was an MP in the United States Army for 6 years.

Bob Plaschke, President & Chief Executive Officer, Sonim Technologies

Bob Plaschke

Since 2004, Bob Plaschke has served as Sonim's President and Chief Executive Officer. Before joining Sonim, Mr. Plaschke served as entrepreneur-in-residence at Sutter Hill Ventures, where he focused on wireless investments. Before joining Sutter Hill, Mr. Plaschke was Senior Vice President of worldwide client services at Info space and as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Business Development at Prio, a wireless and wireline promotion infrastructure company that was later acquired by Infospace. While at Prio, Mr. Plaschke oversaw the implementation of wireless data solutions across the company's carriers. Mr. Plaschke started his career at Arthur Andersen, moving to McKinsey and Company after completing business school. Mr. Plaschke spent more than four years at McKinsey, most of that in Amsterdam. Mr. Plaschke received a B.S. in computer engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Thomas Sawanobori, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CTIA

Thomas Sawanobori

Thomas (Tom) Sawanobori is CTIA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He is responsible for technology and technical matters concerning spectrum, network evolution, cybersecurity and device certification to benefit CTIA’s members and to serve as a technical resource to policymakers. He has 22 years of technology planning, network engineering and operational experience for Verizon, including lead planner for Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network. He was Vice President of Network Planning at Verizon, where he was responsible for technology planning and capital budget management. He led the technology evolution of the network including spectrum planning, 3G/4G technology, LTE and LTE-Advanced, and core network evolution. In addition to his career at Verizon, Mr. Sawanobori worked at Hughes Electronics on Navy Communications and Combat Systems. He served 5 years in the US Navy as a Submarine Warfare Officer and went on to complete 20 years total, retiring as a Commander in the Naval Reserve. Mr. Sawanobori holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University and a Master of Engineering from California State University-Fullerton.

Brian Scarpelli, Senior Policy Counsel, ACT | The App Association

Brian Scarpelli

Brian Scarpelli is Senior Policy Counsel at ACT | The App Association, where he works to advance the interests of the app developer community across a diversity of legal and policy issues impacting app development companies as they seek to leverage the global digital economy, including public safety, intellectual property, privacy, cybersecurity, disability access, and connected health.

Ashley Schultz, Grants Development Consultant, Grants Office, LLC

Ashley Schultz

Ashley Schultz works as a Grants Development Consultant at Grants Office, a national grants development services firm. In that role, Ms. Schultz provides support to state & local governments in their pursuit of grant funding for public safety, transportation & community development projects.

J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor/eDigest, AGL Media Group

J. Sharpe Smith

J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and eventually became editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.

Alan Tilles, Partner, Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker, P.A.

Alan Tilles

Alan Tilles is Chairman of the Shulman Rogers Telecommunications Department, Chairman of the Firm’s Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. He is counsel to numerous entities in the private radio, internet industries. Mr. Tilles has participated in every FCC proceeding involving the private land mobile radio industry since 1984. In addition, he represents hundreds of public safety agencies (States, Counties and Cities), transit systems, Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) operators, private system users (including major airlines and utilities), tower owners and radio manufacturers. 

Chief Charles L. Werner (Ret.), Chair, National Council on Public Safety UAS & Association of American Railroads Public Safety Advisory Committee

Charles Werner

Chief Werner is a 44 year public safety veteran. He served 37 years with the Charlottesville, VA Fire Department and served as fire chief for ten years until retiring in 2015. Chief Werner is now serving as Acting Deputy State Coordinator and Senior Advisor for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He serves on the Board of the National Alliance of Public Safety GIS, the IAFC Technology Council, chair of the NFPA Technical Committee on UAS, CSX Rail Respond Steering Committee, the Association of American Railroads Public Safety Rail Advisory Committee, NPSTC UAS Working Group.