June 29, 2018 – Executive search firm Reffett Associates has been chosen by the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) to help recruit and select the senior leadership group and board of directors for its public-private partnership with AT&T.
This broadband network will be dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services. The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C., including rural communities and tribal lands. The partnership is expected to create 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years.
“We are honored to have been selected by FirstNet to assist them as they continue the development of their leadership and governance team,” said William Reffett, the firm’s founder and managing partner. “Our entire organization understands the importance of the task at hand and will devote our full resources to it.”
The assignments were awarded through an open, competitive bidding process. “We were asked to discuss our past performance and our prospective technical approach to executing the project,” said Mr. Reffett. “This gave us an opportunity to showcase our telecom and government experience, as well as our nationwide reach. Our proposal was then judged to have the most merit.”
The blanket purchase agreement is for Reffett Associates to find members of the board of directors, members of the senior executive team and executives for parts of the field organization. “We are just getting started, but the focus will be on executives who have not only telecom experience, but also have a communications background, as well as familiarity with the first responder and law enforcement communities,” said Mr. Reffett.
FirstNet will provide success-based payments of about $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network buildout; AT&T will spend approximately $40 billion over the contract’s life to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network.
The FirstNet network grew out of and addresses a 9/11 commission recommendation calling for secure, interoperable communications for all U.S. first responders. First responders and other public safety personnel will access one highly secure communications network that will support voice, data, text and video communications. It will help first responders during their day-to-day operations as well as during disaster recovery and response, and when securing large events. The network is operated through the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Boutique Talent Provider
Reffett Associates, based in Bellevue, WA, is a nationally recognized executive search firm. The boutique talent provider has extensive experience in retail and consumer packaged goods, private equity, commercial & federal services, government sectors and associations and non-profits. Its team is made up of executives with tangible industry experience, possessing real world, relatable knowledge about the challenges executives face in managing talent in a competitive marketplace.
Mr. Reffett has identified and placed key executive leaders for major companies across the U.S. Previously, he was a vice president and partner with Korn Ferry, where he was responsible for initiating the firm’s national supermarket practice. Additionally, he was a member of the firm’s national specialty retail practice, where he focused on companies along the West Coast.
Before entering the recruitment industry, Mr. Reffett served as senior vice president, chief administrative officer for Cavenham, the U.S.-based investment arm of the late Sir James Goldsmith. Mr. Reffett was also a board member and senior vice president for the organization’s operating company, Grand Union, where he was responsible for areas like human resources, legal, labor relations and communications. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president of a major department store company. Mr. Reffett also has 27 years of combined active and reserve military experience, retiring as a colonel.
Government Organizations Look to Search Firm
Government related organizations have been turning to search firms in droves to find senior talent. Mr. Reffett said that search firms have been assisting state and municipal governments and agencies for a long time. Some search firms have actually built their entire practice around this.
“Now, depending on the demographics and geography, a great number of the state and municipal agencies are experiencing losses at the director level,” he said. “They do not have a bench of qualified candidates ready at the mid-tier level. As a result, local governments are now starting to rely more on the use of outside executive search to help fill these critical positions.”
“At the federal level, there are still many decision-makers who have not been confirmed in key agencies, so it is hard for those agencies to accurately forecast their human capital needs,” Mr. Reffett said. “Additionally, every new administration brings with them new rules, regulations, and procurement policies. Many of these are still being developed, so the federal environment remains challenging. We are very fortunate that Reffett has won the two largest federal government awards issued over the last two years.”
“To be successful in working with all levels of government, the most important thing that you can bring is a respect for their process,” he said. “You must make an effort to learn their human resources environment and apply your professional expertise to help make them successful.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media