Candidate for 2nd Vice President
Mark David Pallans
Principal, Pallans Associates Communication Consultants
My experience in emergency management
Early on, I worked for New York City Civil Defense, then Union County, New Jersey and Broward County, Florida Emergency Management where I managed and trained the volunteer teams of emergency communicators used during disasters such as the great northeast blackout, major aircraft accidents and the multiple hurricanes and blizzards that east coast residents are familiar with.
My 911 and public safety experience
Working as a technology manager for Broward County I provided technical oversight for the County 911 system. I developed a complete backup 911 center. It was later used when the main site at the County Courthouse failed. The backup site was activated and operational before the main site had to be abandoned. I led the County team that procured and implemented one of the first 800 MHz trunked radio systems in the nation.
When working for Miami-Dade County Police I upgraded the County’s joint fire, police and EMS Dispatch/911 center. I was also the project manager for the County to replace their old analog radio systems with a state of the art digital trunked radio network. It was while I was with MDPD that I started educating 911 personnel, dispatchers and new police officers in how their radio systems worked. I believed then as I do today that if you know the capabilities of your technology you can work more effectively and with more confidence. Even today I teach an annual class to non-technical managers, primarily IT managers who have been given the responsibilities overseeing public safety ECC’s, on how their radio systems work and how their capabilities are enhanced by new technology such as P25, NG911, FirstNet and LTE.
After I retired from Dade County the City of Fort Lauderdale hired me as Telecommunications Manager where I was responsible for the operation and management of the City’s trunked radio system, the technical operations of the 911 system, and the police and Fire dispatch center. Years before Kari’s Law I fought for a unified telephone system that could provide location information for every 911 call made from a City telephone. I also implemented one of the first “reverse 911” systems for resident alerting.
After that retirement I moved to Nevada where I became the system administrator for the Statewide public safety radio system. As administrator my responsibilities were both the technical and operational leadership of this system which was used by every state agency, multiple local governments and native American tribes.
After retirement from that position I went into public safety communications consulting where I specialized in working with smaller agencies nationwide to upgrade their ECC’s, radio and 911 systems.
My APCO experience
I started with the Florida Chapter in 1987 where, for about 9 years, I was active on several committees. I participated on the committees for the Chapter and Region conferences and worked on educational initiatives for both dispatch and technical members and taught classes on technical subjects for the membership. On my way to Nevada I was active in the Arizona APCO chapter. In 2004 I became a member of the Nevada Chapter where I was elected to the Chapter Board and over the years served as President for two terms and then Treasurer. I was communications chairman for the 75th Annual conference in Las Vegas and then in 2018 I was Co-Chairman of the Annual Conference also in Las Vegas. I have been a member and then Chairman of the APCO Spectrum Management Committee for several years. I am still a member of the Editorial Committee and write for PSC magazine. I continue to be a member of the PDEC Committee which selects the programs for our annual conference. I was honored by being named a Life Member of APCO. I am also a Fellow of the Radio Club of America. I have also served as a member of the APCO Executive Committee at an annual meeting.
What do I want to accomplish as an elected officer of APCO?
One of my key goals is to continue the efforts to get communications personnel recognized as First Responders, not just for the status but primarily the employment benefits. Another aspect is helping to recover the UHF spectrum lost to public safety when Congress took it away from us when 700 MHz and FirstNet was started.
Over the years most of my positions required that I interact with elected officials on an almost daily basis. This includes local officials, county and state official as well as senators and Congress representatives This experience will certainly help since I want APCO to be recognized down to the smallest communities as the professional organization that supports the local governments with its capabilities, training skills and the overall assistance it can render when needed. I want to bring back the recognition of the technical support teams that provide the reliable communications systems we all use and recognize their inventiveness and dedication to the agencies that employ them. Qualified technicians are still the backbone of the dispatch center.
Being retired now leaves the bulk of my time free to work for APCO’s initiatives such as NG-911, FirstNet and working with Congress, the FCC and other regulatory authorities to invest in the personnel and technologies that help to protect the public and our own members.