Reffett Associates Tapped to Find New Leader for First Responders Network

December 21, 2018 – Executive search firm Reffett Associates has been selected by the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) to assist in the recruitment and selection of the agency’s executive director and CEO. The search is being led by Eric Reffett, managing director of the recruitment firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

The incoming leader will be responsible for all day-to-day operations for FirstNet as FirstNet transitions its focus to the implementation of the nationwide FirstNet broadband network, said Reffett Associates. The executive director and CEO will also oversee the design, construction and operation of FirstNet’s nationwide wireless network for use by public safety. Reffett Associates said that the “executive director will also play a key role in the shaping of the technology and the reinvestment strategy for the nationwide public safety  broadband network (NPSBN), and hold the single public safety license granted for wireless public safety broadband deployments.”


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.

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.

Government Organizations Look to Search Firms

Government-related organizations have been turning to search firms in droves to find senior talent. William Reffett, the firm’s founder and managing partner, said that search firms have been assisting state and municipal governments and agencies for a long time. Some search firms have 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.”

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“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.”

New Partnership

This past June, Reffett Associates  established its relationship with the First Responders Network Authority to help recruit and select the senior leadership group and board of directors for its public-private partnership with AT&T. “We are honored to have been selected by FirstNet to assist them as they continue the development of their leadership and governance team,” said Mr. Reffett. “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.

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

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