A Q&A Interview with James Lipinski, ENP, Enhanced 9-1-1 IT Manager for the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of Q&A interviews with James Lipinski, ENP, Enhanced 9-1-1 IT Manager for the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board. James was one of several NG9-1-1 experts to join our NG9-1-1 Panel Discussion at APCO recently (NG9-1-1: Past Lessons, Present State, Future Opportunities). In this three-part Q&A interview, James touches on the implications of NG9-1-1 from the standpoint of 9-1-1 Communication Center processes. You can read the first part of the interview where James discusses the change management issues here.

Do you have any advice on how to prepare the PSAP staff for the changes NG9-1-1 will bring?

James: The first thing I recommend is to use a tried and true, research-based change management framework. There are many, but I personally like the eight-step model developed by John Kotter of Harvard Business School. His steps are to create a sense of urgency, develop a guiding coalition, create a clear vision, communicate the vision, empower people to act on the vision, create short-term wins, consolidate and build on the gains, and institutionalize the change. I highly recommend his book “Our Iceberg is Melting,” a quick read about “Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions.” I’m sure you will recognize many people in this book.

Once you adopt a process, then you need to trust the process, and make sure that you follow through. Getting to step seven and saying “We made it, no need to do step eight” will not provide lasting results.

Pick a research-based framework, trust the process, and follow through; then you will see consistent results in managing change.

What were the biggest surprises that you ran into regarding PSAP and/or back office processes?

James: What surprised me most was how some of the big issues that we were afraid of turned out to be non-issues. When we first considered letting calls roll statewide to any physical PSAP, we wondered if it was possible to provide the same level of service if a call in the northern part of the state was answered in the southern part of the state. It was completely a non-issue because we had the GIS and other data to support this. So much so that I really don’t think it will be a significant issue to have a caller in another state take one of our calls should that occur, provided the training, standards, and data are in place to support the system.

James Lipinski has extensive experience with Enhanced and Next Generation 9-1-1 systems. As the Information Technology Manager for the Vermont Enhanced 9-1-1 Board, James was responsible for implementing the first statewide all IP 9-1-1 system in 2007. He is currently working with Intrado Inc. on the implementation of an Advanced 9-1-1 system. With over three years of direct responsibility for the operation of a consolidated Next Generation 9-1-1 system, he has firsthand knowledge and experience with the technical, operational, governance, and fiscal issues posed by Next Generation 9-1-1 Systems. James is active in many committees related to Next Generation 9-1-1. He is a contributing member to the NENA NG9-1-1 Security Work Group. He is also a member of the NENA NG9-1-1 PSAP Work Group. James was co-chair of the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) - Working Group 1- A - Public Safety Consolidation, Governance Sub-Work Group. James is also a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s (MS-ISAC) Metrics and Compliance Work Group. James can be contacted at james.lipinski@state.vt.us.

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