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Apr 24

Status Briefing: PSSA’s ongoing efforts to secure 4.9 GHz spectrum for Public Safety: Aired April 24, 2023

April 24, 2023 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am

The Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA), a program of the Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA), is comprised of industry and public safety leadership from all corners of the country. These leaders have been advocating for and representing the needs of public safety in the fight to preserve critical spectrum. Join us to learn how the PSSA has been working to protect our fellow first responders’ usage – current and future – of the 4.9 GHz Band. The PSSA upholds the goal to create a consistent, nationwide framework for the 4.9 GHz Band that protects incumbents and fosters efficient use of this important mid-band spectrum with a specific emphasis on preserving the integrity and priority of public safety communications within the band, which must remain the primary driver and use of the band.  You will also learn why it is vital for all members of the public safety community to use their voices to protect 4.9.

Our panelists include Sue Swenson, Former FirstNet Chairperson, and Jeff Johnson, Retired Fire Chief and Past President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. They will share specific insights on the efforts and measures being taken by the PSSA on behalf of the public safety community. Martha Ellis, Executive Director of the PSBTA and retired Fire Chief, will serve as the moderator of the panel. Join us to learn more about what is being done on behalf of public safety and why your support will aid in the conservation efforts of 4.9 GHz for public safety.


Sue Swenson, Former FirstNet Board Chairperson

Sue Swenson started her telecom career at Pacific Telesis in California. She spent several decades working in various leadership roles in both the wireline and wireless parts of the business. She subsequently spent the rest of her career in the wireless world running a joint venture for AirTouch and AT&T Wireless, joining Cricket Communications/Leap Wireless in its formative years and becoming T-Mobile’s first Chief Operating Officer. Before her retirement she ventured in to software and led Sage North America for Sage Group PLC. In 2012 she joined the inaugural board of The FirstNet Authority and was appointed Chair of the Board in 2014 and served in that capacity until August of 2018. She serves on the boards of Sonim Technologies, Harmonic Inc and Vislink Technologies.

 Jeff Johnson, Retired Fire Chief and Past President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs

Chief Jeff Johnson has an extensive public safety background, with broad experience at the local, national and international level. Chief Johnson rose through the ranks to become the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Fire Chief for 15 years retiring in 2010 after a 32-year career. Chief Johnson has authored 2 books: Making the Pieces Fit – A book on merger and consolidation and Recruiting, Training and Maintaining Volunteer Firefighters, both with Jones and Bartlett publishing.

Chief Johnson served as the Vice Chairman of FirstNet who is deploying the world’s first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety and national security users. Chief Johnson has served as President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), President of the Western and Oregon chiefs and is currently the CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association which serves fire chiefs in the 11 western states from Guam/Saipan to Utah. Chief Johnson also has an extensive private sector background serving as an advisor or board member to numerous technology companies. Chief Johnson is also the principal at Sisters Meat and Smokehouse which launched in August of 2016. Chief Johnson is a graduate of Concordia University and the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program.


Martha Ellis – Executive Director, Public Safety Broadband Technology Association

Division Chief Martha Ellis has been a public servant since 1993. She started her career as a hotshot firefighter/EMT with the National Forest Service then moved into her twenty-two year career as a structural firefighter with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. Her career experience includes operations, training, ARFF, and fire prevention, as well as serving as the Salt Lake City fire marshal for over five years. She concluded her exemplary career as the Division Chief over the Logistics, Emergency Management, and the Fire Intelligence Liaison programs for Salt Lake City.

As the five-time world champion and world record holder in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, Martha earned a national reputation as an advocate for firefighter health and fitness. Chief Ellis served as the fitness editor and monthly columnist for Fire Rescue Magazine for five years, and has presented on the topic of fitness, nutrition and the politics of fitness standards across the country. She has been dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all first responders for decades. She is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and served on the IAFC Constitution, Bylaws and Resolutions committee for eight years, in addition to serving as the Chair of the Salt Lake Urban Area UASI Communications Subcommittee.

Chief Ellis has earned an Associate’s degree in Fire Science, a Masters in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School, a Masters in Legal Studies and the University of Utah Law School, a Graduate certificate in Conflict Resolution and Mediation and is a graduate of the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executives in State and Local Government leadership program.


April 24, 2023
10:30 am - 11:30 am
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