By James Careless
We here at allthingsfirstnet.com are saddened at the passing of our friend and colleague. He was here with us at the beginning and will always be here with us in spirit. The contributions he has made to public safety and the world at times goes unnoticed but let there never be a doubt of the impacts he made for first responders and the wireless world. He was asked by congress and the FCC for input on countless occasions over the years. Andy was unassuming, kind and as we used to say, “good people”.
Brent and Dick
The passing of public safety communications expert and AllThingsFirstNet columnist (“The
Public Safety Advocate”) Andy Seybold is a real loss for first responders in America. To
celebrate Seybold’s life and career, AllThingsFirstNet.com asked some of his colleagues for
their best memories of him.
AllThingsFirstNet.com: What do you view as Andy’s major contribution to public safety?
Jeff Johnson, Chief (Ret.). CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association: Andy was an
indisputable expert in both LMR and LTE. Nobody could BS Andy and he won every technical
debate we got engaged with. Andy was also a visionary far beyond his colleagues.
Edward Parkinson, former CEO of FirstNet and RapidSOS President, Public Sector: Andy was a
prominent voice inside of public safety. He always worked with their best wishes at heart and
worked tirelessly on behalf of the men and women who serve our communities.
Richard W. Stanek, Sheriff (Ret.), Co-Founder and Principal Consultant with the Public Safety
Strategies Group, LLC: Andy could 50 years worth of history in telecommunications and boil it
down to a sentence or two that actually made sense without calling the rest of us stupid.
Al Gillespie, Fire Chief North Las Vegas (Ret), Past President of the IAFC, President of the
Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA): Andy has been my friend for many
years. I am just a dumb firefighter that was given extraordinary opportunities to help in amazing
ways. Andy was always there to share his insights on many things, especially his unique and
insightful view of the communications world. But more broadly, as a friend just sharing thoughts
over meals and cocktails. He had the ability to help me understand technical problems and
situations without ever making me feel that he was talking down to me.
AllThingsFirstNet.com: What difference did Andy Seybold’s contributions make to public safety
communications and the well-being of the first responders who rely on this medium?
Parkinson: It’s safe to say that without Andy, the voice of Public Safety would never have been
heard. He was always speaking out in front of an unpopular opinion, ensuring that the voice of
public safety was heard.
Chief Gillespie: What we, Andy and the small collection of people that drove this engine of
public safety communications have accomplished (and it continues to evolve) has changed the
way public safety in a way that has never happened before. It is so profound and pervasive in
everything we do and how we serve the citizens of our communities across this nation. And,
mark my words, will change how those serving their communities around the world will benefit
Chief Johnson: Andy was the interface between technical talk which was over our heads and
the operational needs we could articulate.
AllThingsFirstNet.com: What is your best memory of Andy Seybold?
Parkinson: My first day in meeting Andy on Capitol Hill, when I was a junior Congressional
staffer and he was presenting before a number of government agencies, including the FCC and
others. He really stood out to me for his no-nonsense approach; honest to a fault and really
dedicated towards finding a solution. After he spoke, I went to introduce myself, and we began a
friendship that has lasted all this time.
Chief Gillespie: My best memories of Andy are sharing time together, just talking and sharing a
laugh or two.
AllThingsFirstNet.com: What is something about Andy that few people know?
Chief Johnson: Andy was a DJ on a rock station when he was younger. His stage name was
Herman J. Fertenwanger. Who would have known?
Chief Gillespie: I am sure many saw this and knew this about him, but he needed to know how
much we cared about him and valued him.
AllThingsFirstNet.com: Now that he is gone, how will Andy be missed?
Sheriff Stanek: Clearly, Andy’s wisdom and technical expertise are unmatched — and he will be
sorely missed for those and more.
Chief Johnson: Andy was part of our family. He earned that status and now that his seat at our
table is empty, it’s obvious on every call. We will not forget him or his contributions
Parkinson: Andy was a no-nonsense honest broker who always fought for what he believed was
right. He really focused on public safety and doing whatever he could to ensure that first
responders got what they needed. Ultimately, he was a friend. He was a friend of mine, and he
was a friend of public safety. That’s something that is so important to have and he will be greatly
Chief Gillespie: While no one is indispensable, I will miss his input to all we do. Beyond that, I
will miss his sly smile and great wit. Good-bye until we meet again, my friend.