Since announcing my candidacy for Groton selectman, I have been asked by many people what my background is. I have also heard from a few people incorrect perceptions about what I did while working in Washington, D.C. for 16 years. The intent of this letter to the editor is to set the record straight as to what I have done during my career.
After graduating from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1968, I accepted a job offer from Bell Telephone Laboratories to work in their thin film hybrid microelectronics development lab in North Andover, Massachusetts. I eventually transferred to Western Electric as an integrated circuit manufacturing engineer at the same location. During this period, I attended graduate school and received an MBA from Boston University.
In 1979, I transferred from the manufacturing engineering department at Western Electric to a newly formed Product Line Planning & Management organization. In 1980, I was promoted to manage a department responsible for strategic planning, product planning, product management, marketing and sales support for Western Electric’s product line of terrestrial and ocean cable fiber optic telephone transmission systems.
In 1984, I left the Bell System to take a management job in Polaroid’s Diversified Products Development group in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Two years later, I was recruited by Telco Systems in Norwood, Massachusetts, to manage their fiber optic transmission product line. I worked at Telco Systems until 1994, eventually becoming Senior Vice President and General Manager of Telco Systems New Product Venture Division.
In 1994, I was recruited by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) in Washington, D.C. to be Vice President for Science & Technology. In this role, I provided leadership on solving technical issues that were facing the wireless telecommunications industry. I managed a team of technical professionals (mostly retired former Marine senior officers) who led and supported industry work groups focused on resolving issues of wireless service providers and equipment suppliers.
Cellular communications was still in its infancy during this time and many technical issues needed to be addressed including being able to use your wireless phone seamlessly nationwide, being able to find a caller who made a 911 call, satisfying the needs of law enforcement to wiretap a cellular phone, solving problems involving network and phone interoperability, and resolving issues of cellular phones interfering with hearing aids and pacemakers, just to name a few.
As part of my job, I served as an industry spokesman on technical and regulatory issues that affected the wireless industry, and provided guidance to the FCC, Congress and other technical and government agencies on existing and future technical capabilities of wireless communications.
In 2000, I left CTIA and joined Alpine PCS, Inc. & RFB Cellular, Inc. as Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. At the time Alpine and RFB were co-owned and the only privately owned wireless service provider still left in the United States. Upon the sale of Alpine and RFB to a much larger company in 2004, I formed Art Prest & Associates and became a consultant to the wireless industry. In that role I advised many start-up vendors as well as small wireless service providers nationwide.
During my career I served on many industry and governmental boards, councils and committees including those that reported to Congress or supported other governmental agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI, the CIA, Secret Service and the National Security Agency. Note that I was never a lobbyist but worked throughout Washington, D.C. on helping solve technical and regulatory issues of national importance while protecting the rights of the public.
My work experience in the private sector working co-operatively with the federal government taught me valuable lessons in how government and private industry can work together for the common good.
In 2010, I decided to retire and my wife and I moved back to Groton, Massachusetts, where my family has owned property since 1947. Since moving back, I became president of the Groton Lakes Association and serve on the town of Groton’s Finance Committee, Economic Development Committee, Great Ponds Advisory Committee and chair the Lost lake Watershed Advisory Committee.