On May 7, 2020, APCO International announced the winners of the 2020 Public Safety Communications and Technology Leadership Awards. Here is more information about the individual recipients.
DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR


Jada Lee
Operations Center Manager
Emergency Communications and Citizen Services
Virginia Beach, VA

Jada Lee began her career as a recruit in March 1992 on the midnight shift because she always had the desire “to make a difference” in the work she did and help those in need of assistance.



Lee worked diligently to master the fundamentals of each key function and position within the Center and did so. Along the way, she sought and received many certifications that have helped her to make a difference within the public safety agencies we support and behind the scenes in the operations area. Her certifications and service include:
  • DCJS Instructor, which she uses to instruct recruits in VB9-1-1, police, fire and EMS services.
  • Coordinator in the department’s Mentoring Team, CISM Peer Support Team, Crisis Intervention Team and department liaison.
  • Virginia Criminal Information Network instructor that affords her the opportunity to certify public safety personnel, magistrates, fire investigators and others throughout the Hampton Roads area to operate criminal justice systems.
  • Co-developer of CIT Training for Telecommunicators Curriculum. She has taught CIT at Local, state, and international conferences and has been recognized for dedication to CIT initiatives and outstanding CIT instruction.
  • Emergency Number Professional (ENP).
  • Chair of the annual awards committee for Virginia APCO.
  • President for the Virginia APCO executive board.
  • The Virginia Beach Police Department’s West Point Leadership Program at the Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Lee was promoted to operations supervisor in November 2002, to senior operations supervisor in November 2008 and to operations manager in October 2014. Lee seeks out training and courses to improve her leadership and management skills while helping her division grow. Due to an organizational change within Virginia Beach Emergency Communications and Citizen Services, Lee now oversees the operations division for both 3-1-1 and 9-1-1.2
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIST
OF THE YEARJohn Powers
City of Roanoke E-911
Roanoke, VA
John Powers is the Systems Coordinator for the city of Roanoke E-911 Center and has worked with the E-911 Center since 2004. His responsibilities include ensuring the center remains technologically progressive by staying up to date on new systems, platforms and equipment. Powers also has an extensive knowledge of radio, CAD and phone operations. He has served as the center’s Region 6 representative on the Virginia 911 Regional Advisory Council since 2015 and has actively participated in developing statewide best practices and the state’s NG9-1-1 migration plans. He holds the designation of ENP (Emergency Number Professional).



Powers has a passion for shared technology and statewide interoperability efforts. He is an active member of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Communications Cache Montgomery Team, developing, training and scheduling coverage for events and volunteering many hours per year to assist throughout the state and region. He was a key player in the implementation of the Commonwealth Link to Interoperable Communication (COMLINC) system used by agencies throughout Virginia, and he serves on the state COMLINC advisory board and State Interoperability executive committee.

Powers volunteers with Commonwealth Search and Rescue and has served on its board of officers since 2008.

Powers joined the city and the 9-1-1 profession after retiring from a 26-year career with the U.S. Air Force. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol. He has worked as an electronics technician on F-106 and F-15 aircraft. Powers served two overseas tours and supported several campaigns including Panama, Kosovo and the Middle East.
LINE SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR


Jason Meeder
Kitsap 911
Bremerton, WA

In 1996, Jason Meeder started his career as a cadet (explorer) with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. In 1998, he started work at the sheriff’s office full-time as a Runaway Advocate to ensure runaways were being entered into WACIC/NCIC, updating dental records and making phone calls to family to inquire on the status of the runaway.



In 2001, Meeder became a call receiver and a reserve deputy for the sheriff’s office. In 2002, he became a public safety telecommunicator after completing the academy and floor training. In 2003, he began training new employees as a certified training officer. Over the next couple of years, Meeder became an acting lead, academy instructor, Kitsap911 safety officer (risk management) and joined multiple groups within the center. In 2014, he was promoted to assistant supervisor and assigned to graveyard shift (his favorite).
Meeder has received multiple awards and accommodations:
  • The Red Cross Hero for handling a near SIDs situation with an infant child. The quick response starting CPR and getting aid dispatched that helped save the life of a child.
  • The Red Cross Hero a second time for acting as shift supervisor during a shootout between Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies and a suspect in the Walmart parking lot in Port Orchard, Washington.
  • Employee of the year in 2011 for handling an intoxicated caller in a mental health crisis that called the Center 100 times over the span of a couple hours. He wanted to talk to female employees and made highly inappropriate comments. Meeder took all of his calls over the next couple of hours and helped deputies track the subject down since the Phase 2 location on his cellular phone was not updating to an accurate location.
RADIO FREQUENCY TECHNOLOGIST OF THE YEAR


Nick Condaras
Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Orange, CA

Nick Condaras began his public safety radio communications journey in 1990 working for Motorola Solutions. Condaras started as a field service technician and was quickly promoted to the role of a systems engineer and project implementer. He was tasked with engineering and installing a host of systems across southern California. Some of his projects included Southern California Edison, Disneyland and the Orange County Coordinated Communications System. In 1994 he went to work for Orange County as a telecommunications engineer.



Fast forward some 26 years and Condaras has worked all over Orange County in every city, county, fire, law and public works agency across the region. He has done everything from emergency communications centers, in-building wireless systems, fire station PLCs and alerting and duress systems, the countywide 800 MHz paging system, CCTV systems, logging recorders and the list goes on and on.

Condaras now manages a team of 29 engineers and technicians who maintain a fleet of some 18,000 subscriber radios and 22 emergency communications centers. Condaras was instrumental in the upgrade to P-25, over the air programming (OTAP) and over the air re-keying (OTAR). He also stood up and manages the radio management server, bringing the countywide fleet into the 21st century. Condaras also manages the digital in-car video system for the sheriff’s department’s 300 marked patrol vehicles and has been extensively involved in the testing and implementation of a body-worn camera project.

Condaras is a leader with new and emerging technology as well. He has pioneered many innovations in his 26 years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
TELECOMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR


Mark Nava
Jefferson County
Communications Center Authority
Lakewood, CO

Mark Nava is a level three 911 Emergency Communications Specialist at Jeffcom 911 in Colorado. With 18 years of experience in his field, Nava’s role has expanded to include cross-training his co-workers and serving as an instructor for the training academy for new hires.



He approaches each day with a goal to learn something new and to support those around him. After the multi-agency consolidation that created what is now Jeffcom 911, Nava was the first employee to be cross-trained on all the fire radio channels. His hard work is fueled by a desire to empathize with others and treat them with care. His co-workers consider him a reliable and supportive resource.

In addition to his active role as a husband and father, you can often find him participating in Bible study, working on cars in his garage, playing golf and enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado.
TRAINER OF THE YEAR


Randy Dasho
Kitsap 911
Bremerton, WA

In November 2015, Randy Dasho left a retail career and was hired at Kitsap County Cencom as a call-taker and soon moved into a position as a public safety telecommunicator. But it did not go well. With others, Dasho moved back to his position as call taker. He steadily built up skill as a call-taker and began training new hires as a certified training officer. He wrote notes on his training techniques that helped form the basis of a Kitsap 911 CTO manual. Dasho joined the public education committee. His main role is reaching out to other nearby communication centers to ask them questions about how their process works.



Finally, he built up the confidence, and, with encouragement from superiors, re-entered the public safety telecommunications role. He continued training call takers and won employee of the year for the communication center and international trainer of the year.

Dasho attributes the success he now enjoys in the ECC to the difficulty of his path. “I am very confident that if this job was smooth sailing from the start I would not be the trainer I am today,” he wrote.
Other winners include:

TEAM OF THE YEAR
Emergency Communications and Citizen Services
Virginia Beach, VA

TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR A LARGE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
Missouri State Highway Patrol Communications Division
Jefferson City, MO

TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR A SMALL COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
Augusta 911 Emergency Communications Center
Augusta, GA


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