As many of you have seen, AT&T Senior Vice President Chris Sambar, who has been leading the “FirstNet Built with AT&T” effort, is moving to a new job within AT&T. Sambar was the first Senior Vice President to lead the FirstNet effort within AT&T and was responsible for delivering on the commitments AT&T made to FirstNet in their 25-year contract. Sambar’s leadership, which began as a navel officer, has not gone unnoticed. We have talked with many of the former first responders who now are part of that leadership team within AT&T who talk about the battles Sambar has had to fight on behalf of public safety and FirstNet. These battles are not exclusive to inside a major corporation. They also include motivating the device manufacturers, software developers and public safety itself. He has fought them on behalf of public safety and won. In addition, many of us on the outside have witnessed how he has made commitments and fulfilled those same commitments to public safety. Sambar has set the tone for AT&T on its commitment to public safety and FirstNet. From all of us at AllThingsFirstnet, we want to say not only good luck in your new job but more importantly “Thank You” for the job you have done these last few years.
With all that being said regarding Sambar, it was only the beginning of this 25-year story. There is still a lot of work to be done and that is obvious to all of us. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has chosen another military veteran to lead. The new Senior Vice President for the “FirstNet built with AT&T” program is Jason Porter (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-porter-4a604757/). We have not yet had the opportunity to meet Porter but what we hear from first responders is all positive. At a Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) last week Porter spoke to a large crowd of first responders and talked about his personal experience related to interoperable communications, situational awareness and security. One chief officer from public safety who was at the event told us that as Porter was speaking everyone kept nodding their heads up and down in agreement and stated afterwards “this guy gets it”. Well, it sounds like he has gotten off on the right foot and has picked up the baton from Sambar without missing a step. We would like to add one other link about Porter. It has been posted for some time on AT&T’s website (https://www.att.jobs/article-veterans-mission-jason-porter ). To quote Porter’s own words “I tell people all the time that it’s in my DNA to protect others”. That says a lot. It’s looking as though he is getting off to a good start.
There is one more Thank You and that goes to CEO Randall Stephenson. As most of us know, AT&T was the only carrier to bid on FirstNet. Not only was that a significant risk to AT&T, but it also required a lot of very intelligent people within AT&T to figure out how to make it work within such a large corporation. Stephenson made it all happen and has reiterated the company’s long term commitment to FirstNet. He has chosen well on leadership by appointing the right people to key jobs and in some cases keeping key people in key positions who help to maintain the vision and leadership. Yes, this project is far from being complete. Randall Stephenson has provided FirstNet with its best chance for success.
Thank you, Mr. Stephenson.
The Staff at AllThingsFirstNet