Meet the Team
We want you to get to know us better. So, in every issue of our CRITICAL MATTERS™ newsletter, we profile one or more members of the Cassidian Communications team. In this issue, meet Chris Rooney, Kathy Richter, Greg Senter, Jeffrey Jurewicz and Cathy Kurnas.
Chris Rooney, Senior Technical Trainer, Call Center Applications
951.234.6530 / chris.rooney@CassidianCommunications.com
Chris Rooney is a Senior Technical Trainer at Cassidian Communications, where he is responsible for providing instruction on the company’s call taking applications. Chris is a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, which is probably one of the reasons he relates so easily to his ‘students’ and enjoys training 9-1-1 administrators and call takers as much as he does. He has worked at Cassidian Communications for eight years and says every training situation is different. “There is no cookie-cutter approach. I train large agencies, small agencies and everything in between. I enjoy the knowledge transfer and helping people learn new tools to do their job better.”
Chris’s goal with every training is to make sure that each individual walks away with the skills they need to use the new tool for their particular job. “For administrators, I want to make sure they understand the new system we’re training on and how to configure it for their application,” said Chris. “Each PSAP is different with different requirements and you have to take that into account. When I train dispatchers, I want to make sure they know how to use the system the way the administrators configure it,” he added. His results speak for themselves. Here are just a few comments from customers.
[This] was my first Cassidian Communications training. I have taken many… training courses and this is one of the best training courses I have ever had. A big reason for that is Chris Rooney. Chris is a great instructor. He demonstrated his expert knowledge and effectively conveyed the material to the class.
I also want to commend Chris Rooney. He was wonderful with the staff and helped them to understand the new [VESTA®/Sentinel® 4] system... Everyone on the team really likes Chris.
Chris taught a great class and was very knowledgeable and made it easy to learn the hard technical material. Very good instructor…[he] should be recognized for [his] integrity and work ethic.
Chris said, “I really like working at Cassidian Communications. It helps me keep my foot in the door in public safety, and I enjoy being in the dispatch center, at the heart of what’s going on to help save lives. It feels good to know you are doing a job that ultimately helps the community. At the end of the day I can say, I helped someone and that’s important.”
In his spare time, when Chris is not traveling, which is usually Saturday and part of Sunday, he enjoys cooking with his 14 year-old daughter. “Cooking is my Zen place,” said Chris. “I don’t have to think about anything but cooking and having fun with my daughter.” Chris and his daughter also enjoy running together.
Chris says if there is one message he wants people to take away, it is to never underestimate the power of training. “Make sure you get training on any new product or system. Otherwise, you get frustrated and take it out on the product. That’s how people react when they don’t understand what the system can do. Training is a good thing.”
Cassidian Communications is proud to have such a dedicated and skilled instructor and team member. We applaud your excellent work, Chris!
Kathy Richter, Account Executive Supervisor, Emergency Notification
615.550.0222 / kathy.richter@CassidianCommunications.com
When it comes to keeping people connected, Kathy Richter, Cassidian Communications’ Account Executive Supervisor, is at the top of her game. If you’re a user of the company’s notification solutions, you’ve likely worked with her to renew your hosting or support services and have experienced both her efficiency and kindness first hand.
In her role, Kathy manages the activities of our Account Executive team, and serves as a link between her employees, management and various departments. In doing so, she provides executive leaders the reports they require to make important decisions. Kathy also helps customers get the information they need, whether legal documentation or budgetary quotes, to ultimately ensure continued use of their notification system.
“I’m often the first contact our customers have when renewing their support services, and it’s important to me they receive a timely response, one that meets their needs,” said Kathy. “In doing so, I also want to facilitate a team environment across our departments, because the more we communicate and work together, the better we are for our customers. I want our customers to know how important they are to the company,” she added.
When Kathy joined Cassidian Communications in 2009, she first held the position of Staff Accountant and then Financial Analyst, allowing her to apply her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, earned from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She was also able to utilize her experience received in previous careers, including staff accountant for Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) and controller for a retail clothing chain and later a local art gallery – all of which helped to shape her excellent customer service skills.
About working at Cassidian Communications, Kathy said, “Our mission is important. We serve a good purpose, providing an important service to communities and businesses – whether for the goal of evacuating a building or finding a lost child.” She added, “It doesn’t hurt that I get to work with great people in a good environment. I look forward to going to work every day and doing work that’s rewarding.”
Those who have had the chance to speak with Kathy on a personal level know her greatest reward is the time spent with her family, including a daughter who is a high school senior and a son who is attending Harding University (AR) as a junior in pursuit of a finance degree. Kathy and her family are also heavily involved in church activities, and she and her husband have taught Sunday school since getting married over 23 years ago.
For those who have the opportunity to interact with Kathy, her presence is our reward. Her warm personality, willingness to help and ability to do any job well make her a true asset to the Cassidian Communications’ team and a valuable tie both within and outside the organization. Thank you, Kathy, for all you do!
Greg Senter, Project Manager, Land Mobile Radio
469.287.1896 / greg.senter@CassidianCommunications.com
Greg Senter is a Project Manager for Cassidian Communications’ Land Mobile Radio division, and has been for the past three years. In addition to being a certified Project Management Professional, Greg also earned a BSEE from Oklahoma Christian University and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Graduating cum laude and on the dean’s list at these schools respectively, Greg is obviously serious about education, and he’s serious about his job, too.
Working with a team of people who are focused on accomplishing a goal and making a difference is the most important aspect of being a project manager to Greg. For him, all of the sayings about teams accomplishing more than individuals ring true. “We take on very challenging and complex projects,” said Greg. “It's always incredible to look back at the challenges the team faced in the beginning of a project and then see what we achieved. I'm very proud of all of our accomplishments and what we were able to make happen for our customers.”
As a project manager, Greg is responsible for all aspects of a land mobile radio installation – soup to nuts. “Every project is different and can take from 18 to 30 months until completed. I’m the guy who makes sure we do what we said we would do, on time, on budget, with a quality solution.”
The primary areas of Greg’s responsibility fall into areas defined by the Project Management Institute, an organization that sets the global standards for project management. “I deliver the project scope while managing the schedule, the budget, the human resources, the stakeholder involvement, the quality of what we deliver, the communications, the risks, and deal with the procurement of products and services.” It’s quite a job!
Despite the associated workload, Greg truly enjoys project management and has held related positions for the past 20 years. He also has vast experience with land mobile radio networks, having successfully completed deployment of P25 conventional and trunking solutions for territory-wide government agencies, including the government of Yukon, Canada.
After discovering all that Greg has accomplished, we were curious to learn if he gets more out of it than he puts in, and his response was a BIG yes. “I really appreciate the fact that what we do directly affects people’s lives. It’s just like our tagline, CRITICAL MATTERS™,” remarked Greg. “The decisions we make throughout the project lifecycle aren’t just a matter of taking care of the detail on the contract. It’s knowing we are helping deliver a solution that people’s lives depend on. That’s something I value and am committed to every day.”
Clearly, Greg’s passion for supporting our customers, project after project, is unwavering, and he attributes some of that to the support he receives from his management team. “What I really like about working at Cassidian Communications is the fact that management fosters a culture of transparency with our customers,” commented Greg. “That translates into how we behave in front of the customer. I believe what sets us apart is that we garner a very high level of trust with our customers. They know we have their back every step of the way.” He added, “When you have a culture that fosters trust, the normal behavior is all about doing the right thing for the customer. They know we have their best interest at heart not only when we deploy these systems but in the relationship that follows as well.”
Although Greg’s work keeps him busy, he spends his treasured free time with his family. This includes two children – a nine-year old boy and a seven-year old girl.
We are grateful for the time and effort that Greg devotes to making a difference for both our customers and our company every single day. Thank you, Greg!
Jeffrey Jurewicz, Field Engineer, Call Center Applications
262.279.2007 / jeffrey.jurewicz@CassidianCommunications.com
Jeff Jurewicz has been with Cassidian Communications for 16 years and in Public Safety for 30. Simply put, he knows his stuff. He is a Field Engineer and responsible for installing and configuring Cassidian Communications’ new VESTA/Sentinel 4 systems. Jeff is also the subject matter expert for numerous other systems in the company’s NG9-1-1 portfolio.
“When I do a system install, I treat it as if my family depends on it,” said Jeff. “I have family all over North America and travel quite a bit. I want to know that the system I put in will work and be reliable, so if a family member had to dial 9-1-1 it would be handled properly, with no problem.”
Jeff has installed hundreds of systems over the years and says each one is different. “I really enjoy the work and the people. When I go to a new site and meet our customers, I always develop a good rapport with them, and it’s really enjoyable.”
Jeff’s work today puts him on the cutting edge of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1), and he says there is a lot to learn and be excited about. “We have so much new technology coming with NG9-1-1. I’ve had the honor over the years to work with many customers who are at the forefront of setting NG9-1-1 standards. It’s rewarding to be in a job where you have the opportunity to be on the frontline of new technology.”
One of Jeff’s passions, that he used to be actively involved in when he had more time, is car racing. Just recently, as one of the field engineers for Cassidian Communications’ project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Jeff had the opportunity to race at the Yas Marina Circuit where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held along with Formula One races. “The night we were there it was 102° F, and we drove for 20 minutes at speeds up to 138 mph. Now that was fun.” (The picture you see above includes Jeff in the racing car at the Circuit with his instructor, who is getting him ‘installed’ before he takes off.)
Jeff says for him, one of the big lessons in life is to keep on learning, no matter what you do, whether racing cars in Abu Dhabi or installing a 9-1-1 system in Wisconsin. When we asked Jeff what it means to keep learning, he said, “Pay more attention to the small details. In an installation, just like in life, sometimes it’s the little things with the smallest details that have the biggest impact on what we are doing.”
The details of Jeff’s fantastic work do not go unnoticed. Thank you, Jeff, for your drive and enthusiasm!
Cathy Kurnas, Senior Project Manager, Call Center Applications
814.305.2095 / cathy.kurnas@CassidianCommunications.com
For the last nine years, Cathy Kurnas, Senior Project Manager with Cassidian Communications, has managed some of the biggest projects in the company’s history. And it is this experience, combined with being a director for a 9-1-1 center in Maryland, that gives her a unique perspective on project management and the key elements that make a successful project manager.
Cathy says her job really has two sides. “Side A focuses on the more procedural day-to-day tasks: scheduling resources, keeping the budget, tracking action items, handling issues, ensuring the team is resourced. But these,” she said, “are just the tip of the iceberg. Side B is where it gets fun because it’s all about leadership. A good project manager must always take the leadership role with the team and the customer, because the customer is looking for us to fill that role.”
Cathy believes that seeing the project from the perspective of everyone involved, starting with the customer, is a cornerstone to the project’s success. One of the most important skills she has learned over the years – one that is closely linked to leadership – is consistent communication. “A good project manager must ensure there is constant, open communication and understanding among all the team members and with the customer. I continually ask myself, ‘am I keeping all the lines of communication open?’; ‘am I on high alert for any discrepancies or gaps, and am I keeping the team informed of them so we can address them right away?’.”
Even on the toughest days, when nothing is going how she planned, what stands out for Cathy is the value of her work. “I know what we do makes a difference in an emergency and that matters. Maybe we’re not directly involved in the event, but each individual that works for the company has input into the success of the whole process, and I think that is very rewarding.”
There are many things Cathy really likes about working at Cassidian Communications, and she thinks of them in three big buckets. “First, we have a wonderful executive team I can always reach out to for help. Everyone is accessible which is especially important when you are working on a large project because sometimes you need a good sanity check. Second, I am always challenged to grow and develop. And third, we have so many forward-thinking people in this company, who are always looking at how we can make what we do in public safety better. We are like the saying, ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’. That’s us. We aren’t gathering any moss. We are going to keep rolling and get better and better.”
It’s people like Cathy that enable Cassidian Communications to keep its momentum, to keep rolling. We thank you, Cathy, for your vital contributions to the company and our customers!