FirstNet President TJ Kennedy will be leaving FirstNet at the end of the year to pursue private-sector opportunities associated with public-safety communications, Kennedy and FirstNet confirmed today.

Kennedy said it is the “right time” for him to make the move, noting that he and other members of the FirstNet team have seen the completion of the organization’s roadmap—a plan adopted in 2014 that detailed more than 40 tasks that needed to be executed to establish a sustainable, nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).

“I came in to help make this happen for public safety,” Kennedy said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “If you think about it, we really wanted to do three things. One, we created a strategy and business model. And then we executed on the strategy and business model, which resulted in the successful award of the contract—and now, the standup and operationalization of that contract.

“Number two, we built a FirstNet team—we got talent from both the private sector in technology and talent from public safety and state and local government, and we brought them all together to create a FirstNet team that’s going to ensure this important task of ensuring that public safety gets the network that they deserve. Third is my confidence in the AT&T team, what they’ve signed up to do, and what they are showing me already that they can accomplish.

“With those three things together, that’s what makes me feel very confident that it’s the right time for me to go to the private sector and continue to be an advocate for public safety, just in different ways.”

Kennedy did not disclose his upcoming private-sector role at this time, but he did state that his plans include working toward the same goals as he has with FirstNet.

“I’m going to continue to make FirstNet and the public-safety network successful from the outside,” he said. “I’m not leaving this area, this industry, and this technology at all. I’m going to just continue to help it in different ways than I did before.

“I’m going to be right here in the public-safety technology world, focused on advocating for public safety’s needs, and ensuring that the innovation that I know is going to occur on this network actually does occur.”

FirstNet provided the following statement about Kennedy’s situation:

“After more than four years with FirstNet, TJ Kennedy has decided the time is right to pursue other opportunities in the private sector and take on new challenges in his career,” according to the FirstNet statement. “He has been with FirstNet from the startup days and into our current operational phase—fulfilling the promise to us and public safety. TJ will be staying with FirstNet through the end of the year, enabling a smooth transition of responsibilities.”

Kennedy was hired by FirstNet in August 2013 to serve as deputy general manager for then-General Manager Bill D’Agostino, who headed the FirstNet staff at the time. After D’Agostino resigned in April 2014, Kennedy was named acting general manager. In this role, Kennedy was credited with leading the FirstNet organization’s execution of many of the initial steps on the roadmap that was approved 2014.