ITTC September 28 2020 Meeting

Date:
Monday, September 28, 2020

NOTICE OF COMMISSION MEETING

Pursuant to Iowa Code, Chapter 21, the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission hereby gives notice to the public of its intended meeting on Monday, September 28, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. The proposed agenda for the meeting is included with this notice and incorporated herein by reference.

Members of the public and interested persons are invited to attend the Commission’s meeting. To ensure the most efficient use of State resources, the September 28. 2020, ITTC meeting will be held by Zoom pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.8. To receive the meeting instructions, send notification to Lori Larsen at (515) 725-4713 or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov.

The Commission welcomes public comments as a part of the Commission’s open meetings. The time for public comment is during the Public Comments portion of the agenda. Comments should be limited to five (5) minutes. Please send advance notification of appearance to the Iowa Communications Network, Lori Larsen at (515) 725-4713 or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov. If you require the assistance of auxiliary aids or services to participate in or attend the meeting because of a disability, please call the ADA Coordinator, Lori Larsen, at 877-426-4692 toll-free or if you are hearing impaired, call Relay Iowa TTY at 800-735-2942 toll-free or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov. Questions regarding the meeting agenda may be directed to Lori Larsen, at (515) 725-4713, or 877-426-4692 toll-free or e-mail lori.larsen@iowa.gov.

MEETING AGENDA

Call to Order
Chair
New Business
Commission/Staff
  • May be conducted in closed session pursuant to Iowa Code 21.5(1)(i)

    • ICN Executive Director Interview - Randy Goddard
      Commission
    • ICN Executive Director Interview - Scott Pappan
      Commission
    • ICN Executive Director Interview - Mark Johnson
      Commission
    • ICN Executive Director Interview - Ryan Mulhall
      Commission
Public Comment
Commission/Staff
Adjournment
Commission
Notice Posted
Sept 11, Updated Sept 16, 2020

Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Commission
September 28, 2020 Minutes

Grimes State Office Building, 1st Floor
400 E. 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319

FINAL
September 28, 2020
OPEN SESSION

Roll Call:

Commissioners Present 

Barb Kniff McCulla, Chair (on-site)
Bob Holz, Member (on-site)
Steven Olson, Member (on-site)
Timothy Lapointe, Member (video)
Krista Wenzel, Member (on-site)

Commissioners Absent

John McCormally, Representing Rob Sand, Ex-Officio Member
Matt Behrens, Representing Annette Dunn, Ex-Officio Member

Iowa Communications Network Staff

Randy Goddard, Executive Director Candidate – Attended at 10 AM
Scott Pappan, Executive Director Candidate – Attended at 11 AM
Mark Johnson, Executive Director Candidate – Attended at 1 PM
Ryan Mulhall, Executive Director Candidate – Attended at 2 PM
Lori Larsen, Executive Officer 2 (Recorder) (on-site)

Guest Attendees

Alan Nagel, Attorney General’s Office (on-site)

Call to Order:

Chair Kniff McCulla called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM.  It was noted that a quorum of members was present for the meeting.

New Business:

ICN Executive Director Interviews

The structure of the Commission meeting included the following interviews:

  • Open Session: Randy Goddard interview.
  • Closed Session: Scott Pappan interview pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, as requested by the candidate.
  • Closed Session: Mark Johnson interview pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, as requested by the candidate.
  • Closed Session: Ryan Mulhall interview pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, as requested by the candidate.
  • Open Session: Discussion of Mr. Goddard’s candidacy.
  • Closed Session: Discussion of all candidates and comparison of the four candidates.
  • Open Session: Decision to make a conditional offer based upon interviews and discussion.

Randy Goddard Interview

Mr. Nagel offered Randy Goddard the opportunity for a closed session interview, which Mr. Goddard declined.

Mr. Goddard provided an opening statement to the Commission giving information related to his more than 20 years in management with the State of Iowa. He said having worked on the leadership team for the last five years with ICN, the agency has made great strides the last two years. Originally starting with the ICN, he moved to Iowa Homeland Security for about 12 years working with emergency communications. He was offered a second opportunity at ICN within a management position. He said to this date it was the right decision to return to the ICN.

Commissioner Questions

  • Commissioner Wenzel asked how you would handle if named the new Executive Director, going from a peer to a manager. How would you handle being a manager over some individuals that also applied for this position?

Mr. Goddard indicated he believes he has the respect at the bureau chief level from the decision making that he has done in the past. It is still a team effort and he would take their input.  He indicated that each member has their expertise. In decisions on how a piece of equipment functions, he would turn to Scott Pappan for input. The ultimate decision is on him, but he recognizes the value of their input. He believes he can transition to that role quite easily.  

This management team is very open with each other. It is a competitive nature, but it is a healthy competitiveness. Mr. Goddard indicated his strengths are communications and team building. Moving in the future, he does not have any issues working with the current leadership.

  • Commissioner Olson said last winter Scott Pappan made a comment how well you all communicate with each other; going to lunch once a week to touch base. Would you feel comfortable going to the Capitol working with legislators? You are aware this is an at will position, correct?

Mr. Goddard stated regarding communications with legislators, at Homeland Security, Governor Vilsack put him in the role as the State Subject Matter Expert for emergency communications. Part of his role in that position was communications with legislators at the state and federal levels. Mr. Goddard provided an example of meeting with Senator Grassley regarding emergency communication funding. Homeland Security provided a lot of unique opportunities for discussions with the Governor and Lt. Governor.

  • Commissioner Lapointe thanked Mr. Goddard for applying. You bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. What have you done in the past with the multi-faceted educational services, and what emphases would you see as necessary. Any changes that you foresee in the future in regards to education?

Mr. Goddard provided an explanation on his military experience and said his degree is in teaching. I am familiar with working with teachers, my family members are teachers. I have had a lot of experience in working with the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa schools. During my first 10 years at ICN, we were building the network. We were building the part II sites (Regents or community colleges). Mr. Goddard explained his relationship with the management level within education. Today our Core customers is still the education sector. Ninety percent of our business was coming from education in the beginning, now it is closer to 70 percent. In part that is due to the independent telecoms growing their services. There is still the need for the growth of Internet and broadband throughout the State.  We need to continue to be a leader in the role with educational entities. Mr. Goddard explained his working relationships with education customers and synergies between groups. Also explained the relationship that ICN has with the Iowa Department of Education for E-rate. There is still a need for ICN to be providing services. Some may look at the Mississippi Bend AEA situation as a failure since we did not get that business.  I don’t look at it as a failure, we provided that consultative service to that director. Our primary job at the ICN is that we are the experts on security and broadband, and we should continue that way in the future.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla asked what the priorities are for the first six months, if you would get this position.

Mr. Goddard said that first he would like to see executive sponsors for our customers. Right now it falls on the sales bureau chief to have those direct relationships with customers. We need to get our message to the top. When we meet with the top directors they still reference our video service. We need to do a better job at messaging from the top down. The challenges that the directors see will be different than the technicians. At the directors’ level, you can address specific technology challenges and ask if we can help. Priority 1 would be better communications with the directors, and it does not have to be one person. He explained the leadership team’s relationships with various customer administration levels. My second goal would be new products. Our revenue is not going to grow with what we have today, but we still need to stay within our Code scope. The biggest challenge in all agencies is cyber services. The continued development of an edge product is going to help where we can push firewall in a quicker and efficient way. Another goal for new services will be wireless extensions. We have our feet on the ground working with AT&T and FirstNet. We can expand that to government and education.

  • Commissioner Holz asked what is the greatest need of the ICN today?

Mr. Goddard said time, money, and people. We are restricted by our revenues we receive, which limit the number of people we have and the number of projects we take on. We continue to keep a sharp eye on that revenue. We have done a good job in adjusting our pricing down. Continue to work on revenue growth and how we utilize our people. In the operations sector, in order to maintain the network we have today, we need to continue to invest in our employees (training and education). Right now we might have one person that can take care of a firewall. We have people that are committed to our agency, but we don’t want to burn that resource out. We need to cross-train.

  • Commissioner Holz asked if Mr. Goddard could expand on the limit of projects that we can take.

Mr. Goddard said two years ago we had 10 major projects, and that undertaking was large. He explained his approach to the Managed Voice service and how he changed the project management, sales, and engineering resources. Phil Groner understood that we were limited on our staff and resources at that time. Today, we are down to four major projects, and we are coming back to where we can realign our staff to look at security and wireless products.

  • Commissioner Holz asked what could be your accomplishments in the short and long terms?

Mr. Goddard indicated in the short-term it is my goal to maintain the leadership team that we have today. There would be a little reorganization that I would recommend right away, align skills with the groups that they manage. An example is right now Scott Pappan is filling the role of bureau chief and lead worker. Long term goal is that we have an aging workforce at the ICN. At the ICN 25 years ago the average age was 32, now we are pushing 60. We have to be able to address it, and cultivate the next group of employees.

  • Commissioner Holz asked what role do you see for the ICN as the public sector and what role for the private sector in meeting the communications and technology needs for the State and the citizens?

Mr. Goddard indicated for the public sector, we are the State’s experts in Broadband, and we need more of a role in assisting the Governor, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), other teams, and the Iowa Department of Education. We need to be a resource, drawing on our background and knowledge. We work with the ICA and the 140 telecos regularly and we understand where the gaps are coming in. For the public sector, providing that knowledge in consultation within government and how we can work with the private sector to provide the solutions. A lot of that goes back to communications with other agency directors. Mr. Goddard provided customer examples. With the private sector we need to continue to build our relationships. Lightedge has become a large partner. We did not do business with them five years ago.  Now we are understanding the resources that are required for security services and we need to procure, per government rules, to find a partner that matches our needs. In 911 we are seeing a lot of interfacing with the private sector. The responsibility falls to Homeland Security for the 911 program. At Homeland Security, I found myself asking ICN, who can we work with?  I asked who outside of Iowa we can bring in, examples: Intrado, Comtech, etc.

  • Commissioner Holz asked what the greatest threats to the ICN are.

Mr. Goddard said maintaining the revenue. Coming from the sales side of the house. Internet used to be the source of income, now it is a commodity item. We need to replace the revenues that we saw with the added value products. Second would be the people portion of it, maintaining the quality workforce that we are accustomed to seeing.

  • Commissioner Holz asked what characteristics distinguish you as the right person to now take the leadership for the ICN?

Mr. Goddard said throughout his career he has been a team builder and a leader. General Hill put it perfectly, “The job that I do today is the most important job that I am in.” Meaning if I am a custodian, I am going to do it to the best of my abilities. I give that type of respect to every employee.  What they do for us today is very meaningful. I look for the input, and I listen. I look to the experts to provide me their knowledge to make a solid decision. But in the end it is my decision and the leadership will make the decision; but provide me that input. If you have investment from the employees, at least they can feel like they have been heard, even if leadership goes a different direction. ICN is a small team with 75 people. Like family, you get the best and worst, but you come together and work for the same cause.

  • Commissioner Olson added that Commissioner Holz covered a lot of his topics. I see that you recognize other expertise and how you can continue to grow revenue.
  • Commissioner Wenzel asked with regards to cultivation of the next generation of ICN staff. What is a plan that you would want to put in place to help cultivate and obtain that path of knowledge.

Mr. Goddard said, our SYBAC (Statewide Youth Broadband Advisory Council) program is a very good start. From the kids in high school, COVID-19 has come up with some challenges that they see in their homes. The next step is internships. I think we can turn some of these younger adults into the technologists of the future. When I was at the ICN the first time, I had an internship program working with DMACC and bringing students in for six weeks. I would do the same thing with our employees. ICN has a lot of terminology, it is unique to that profession and the quicker you understand, and then you can do that job. The SYBAC program started with leadership giving the presentations. Now we look outside of the agency for expertise. Some specials in cybersecurity is a real challenge. We need to take a step back into the community colleges to look for their students. Maybe someone that does not want a full four-year degree. Mr. Goddard explained the changes in technology (DTM network to MPLS). We want to get people excited about being part of the ICN.

  • Commissioner Wenzel referenced working with the Governor’s Office and the Iowa Department of Education. Ensuring that the expertise from ICN is considered in the future outlook, what is the best approach for the ICN to ensure we are included in the discussions at the table.

Mr. Goddard said I think we need a stronger relationship with our Governor’s Office liaison. We have not had a relationship and we need to open that door verses waiting for that invite. We have reached out to the Iowa Department of Transportation, and they have a seat at the table regarding broadband with economic development. We didn’t have that initial relationship, and we need to continue to build those relationships. Our customers need to see us as a resource instead of always trying to sell something. We are in a consultative position for government.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla asked about the contract cap. What do you think about removing that cap, do you see us exceeding that?

Mr. Goddard said the cap is for a little more than 2 million that ICN can spend with any one company. I believe there should be a cap. Mr. Goddard provided an example of providing middle mile service to a provider for upstream service. Security products are very expensive, based on the appropriation that we receive, ICN could quickly go past the cap amount. With some of these security solutions, as we look ahead at providing a security solution for each agency that cap could cause a hindrance.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla asked what should we know about you?

Mr. Goddard said that he brings a lot of experience with government. I understand the rules put in place and the reasoning. Over 28 years of service with the State of Iowa. I have worked with some very dynamic people. I try to bring the best traits that I can from my past leaders. I see the ICN as a viable provider to the citizens of Iowa. Mr. Goddard indicated his strengths are relationship building and team building. He will continue to support ICN staff and customers. At the same time, I think ICN can provide consultation to the private sector: how we can assist them and how they can benefit from our network. Mr. Goddard provided examples of his relationships that he formed with Iowa State University and the wireless sector. I can bring private sector relationships to the table for the ICN.

  • Commissioner Lapointe asked what is unique about you and your relationships. Explain one of your best accomplishments in business or at the ICN. What was your biggest challenge and how you succeed or learned from a failure.

Mr. Goddard noted his uniqueness of always taking a step back. It is being able to work in the extreme of the situation. I have been in some extremely difficult situations regarding public safety, real life and death situations for network decisions. You do everything that you can do within your power for the best solution. I am driven by public safety and helping the citizens of Iowa. Emergency communications was my most rewarding area and the wireless 911 was a rewarding project at Homeland Security. Mr. Goddard presented a success story/accomplishment regarding wireless 911 and how the project ended under budget and remaining funds was turned back to county PSAPs. The second accomplishment was the public alert system (tones) with radio and TV. He explained they needed to address the newer technology gap (streaming) and how they developed IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System). My biggest challenge was coming back to the ICN. I believe keeping everything above board, if anything I probably over communicate, to make sure people understand the message. I came back to the ICN knowing Deb Evans and Phil Groner. I trusted them. I did not want to step back into an environment that was unhealthy, and it ended up being an unhealthy environment. It could not have continued the way it was. The good thing was being part of a strong team, and it made us stronger than ever before. I greatly appreciate the involvement of the ITTC, we are an open book. We might have our disagreements as a leadership team, but it is all healthy discussions.

  • Mr. Goddard commented to the Commission that he feels very strongly regarding the work that the Commissioners are doing and he appreciates their work. He appreciated the opportunity to interview.

Commission Recess – 10:50 AM; Commission ended recess - 11:04 AM

Transition to Closed Session

Commissioner Olson moved to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, for the purpose of interviewing a candidate for the Executive Director position as requested by the candidate. Second by Commissioner Holz. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The Commission convened in closed session at 11:10 AM. Those remaining in the room included the Commission members, Scott Pappan (the interviewee), Mr. Nagel, and the recorder.

Scott Pappan – CLOSED SESSION

  • Closed session minutes separate.

Return to Open Session

The Commission reconvened in open session at noon.

Commission Recess

The Commission recessed at 12:02 p.m. and reconvened at 1 PM.

Transition to Closed Session

Commissioner Wenzel moved to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, for the purpose of interviewing a candidate for the Executive Director position as requested by the candidate. Second by Commissioner Lapointe. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The Commission convened in closed session at 1:03 PM. Those remaining in the room included the Commission members, Mark Johnson (the interviewee), Mr. Nagel, and the recorder.

Mark Johnson – CLOSED SESSION

  • Closed session minutes separate.

Return to Open Session

The Commission reconvened at 1:48 PM in open session.

Commission Recess

The Commission recessed briefly at 1:50 p.m. and reconvened at 2 PM.

Transition to Closed Session

Commissioner Holz moved to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, for the purpose of interviewing a candidate for the Executive Director position as requested by the candidate. Second by Commissioner Wenzel. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The Commission convened in closed session at 2 PM. Those remaining in the room included the Commission members, Ryan Mulhall (the interviewee), Mr. Nagel, and the recorder.

Ryan Mulhall – CLOSED SESSION

  • Closed session minutes separate.

Return to Open Session

The Commission reconvened at 2:34 in open session.

Alan Nagel indicated that the Commission could deliberate openly regarding the candidacy of Randy Goddard only during this time as the other candidates had requested deliberation in closed session.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla indicated that Mr. Goddard is a team player and wants to serve. I like that he worked with legislators (state and federal). He indicated the need for more revenue and people. He also has the respect of all of his current workers.
  • Commissioner Wenzel added that he wants the better communication at the director level and having the conversation at the top. Wireless is a product that is growing in the industry, and ICN should look at it. I agree with the team player strength as indicated by Chair.
  • Commissioner Olson liked that he wanted to develop an internship program for the younger workforce.
  • Commissioner Lapointe indicated Mr. Goddard is an incredible asset. He does have the respect of his peers and has good ideas.
  • Commissioner Holz said Mr. Goddard has a lot of valuable experience and has good relationships with our customers. I am glad he is one of the persons we are considering for the director.

Commissioner Olson moved to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code section 21.5, subsection 1, paragraph i, for the purpose of evaluation of candidates for the Executive Director position as requested by the Commission. Second by Commissioner Wenzel. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The Commission convened in closed session at 2:40 PM.

Candidate Deliberation – Closed Session

  • Closed session minutes separate.

Return to Open Session

The Commission reconvened at 3:17 PM. in open session.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla requested the following motion:

I move that the Commission offers the ICN Executive Director position to Randy Goddard on this date, September 28, 2020. This offer is conditional upon the completion of a background check, and if accepted is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate during the next regular legislative session beginning on January 11, 2021.

  • Motion made by Commissioner Holz and second from Commissioner Olson.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

  • Chair Kniff McCulla requested the following motion:

I move that Lori Larsen drafts an official offer letter to be signed by ITTC Chair Kniff McCulla and sent to Randy Goddard to indicate his acceptance of this offer of employment.

  • Motion moved by Commissioner Wenzel and second from Commissioner Olson.

Commissioner Holz – Yes
Commissioner Lapointe – Yes
Commissioner Olson - Yes
Commissioner Wenzel – Yes
Chair Kniff McCulla – Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment:

None

Adjournment:

The ITTC meeting adjourned at 3:21 PM.

ATTESTED TO:
Barb Kniff McCulla - Chair, Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission

Downloadable Agenda (PDF):
Downloadable Minutes (PDF):
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