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NENA Member Spotlight: Steven Craig Sr., ENP

Tuesday, November 22, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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This special feature highlights NENA members from various backgrounds, industry segments, experiences, and geographic locations. It offers members an opportunity to share their stories with their colleagues and the greater NENA community. Click here to email NENA Member Services Director Bri Robinson if we should feature you or someone you know.

NENA: Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and your history with NENA….

Steven Craig: I was born on an Air Force base in southern California and once my father went into the private sector we had the opportunity to live in many states. We finally settled in north Georgia in the early 70’s and it is the state I call home. I went to High School in Roswell, GA and attended Kennesaw State University while working for Southern Bell in the early 80’s.

After working at Southern Bell for a few years a friend of mine told me about an opportunity at Continental Telephone Company (Contel). He told me they were looking for a Telco 9-1-1 Coordinator. It sounded interesting so I interviewed and was offered the job. That is where I started my 9-1-1 career. The first few years on the job with Contel were spent learning about all the different facets involved in 9-1-1 from the network to PSAP CPE. I was fortunate to be surrounded by people smarter than me who were all too willing to share their knowledge. In May of 1988 I joined NENA and then my 9-1-1 knowledge really started to take off.

Although NENA was still in its early stages then the people there were anxious to share the vision of NENA and helped me learn even more about the technology. In 1991 GTE purchased Contel and I became their Gulf Division 9-1-1 Coordinator. I stayed with GTE until 1995 at which time I went to work for Plant Equipment as the Southeastern Regional Account Manager. While I was at Plant Equipment I tested and passed the NENA ENP exam and became an ENP in April 1998. I really enjoyed helping customers make decisions about purchasing the right 9-1-1 solution for their constituents. Today I work for Solacom and continue to help clients make decisions about the best 9-1-1 solution for their needs.

The difference now of course is everything is IP. I’ve been with Solacom for four years now and they have been very good to me. The focus at Solacom is all about the customer. That is important to me since my father taught me early in life "if you take care of the customer everything else will take care of itself”. I’m very proud to be a long standing member of NENA as well as an ENP. In fact I just recently recertified my ENP for the 4th time! I highly recommend the ENP program to everyone involved with NENA. Being an ENP is part of the elite group at NENA.

On a personal note I would like to say I’ve been married to the same lovely woman for almost 38 years and we have a son and a daughter who live not far from us in north GA.

NENA: What does 9-1-1 mean to you?

SC: Simply put 9-1-1 saves lives. It is the lifeline the public depends on whenever they need help. They expect and deserve for it to work every time. It is our job to make sure it does. I’m proud to be part of an industry that helps saves lives. Everyone involved in our industry helps saves lives no matter what you do. We must all take our jobs seriously and remember there is no margin for error. One day your life might depend on the part you had in the deployment or operation of the 9-1-1 system.

NENA: Why did you choose a career in public safety?

SC: Honestly I kind of fell into public safety. My family has always been involved in the military or law enforcement. I would have been in the Air Force but due to a major accident right after high school in which I suffered a broken neck I could not pass the physical. For that reason I went to work for Southern Bell, primarily because they would help pay for college tuition. When the opportunity came along for me to go to work for Contel as a 9-1-1 Coordinator I knew it was for me. It was a way to be involved in public safety and I have never regretted my decision. Although I work on the vendor/industry side I still know that what we do helps save lives. It is a small part of giving back to the community.

NENA: What do you like best about your job?

SC: The people I get to meet. I’ve been fortunate to travel all over this great country of ours and I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people! To be a part, even as a vendor of life saving technology still thrills me. Every time I hear cries for help when I listen in on calls I still get goose bumps.

NENA: Is there a particular event or call that you are particularly proud of?

SC: In 1989 while working at Contel as a 9-1-1 Coordinator our corporate office asked me to come up with a 9-1-1 educational campaign geared toward children. I loved comic books and super heroes as a kid and so I came up with an idea called "Captain 9-1-1”. I worked on the program for over a year and with the help of many friends at work and at home in January of 1990 we launched Captain 9-1-1 and his dog Dialtone. We had two professional costumes made up as well as thousands of instructional comic books with the Captain 9-1-1 theme. The program was used for many years in elementary schools throughout the southeast helping to teach children the proper use of 9-1-1. So I guess you could say I’m the father of Captain 9-1-1.

NENA: If you could convey one message to the public about 9-1-1 or being a 9-1-1 professional, what would it be?

SC: When in doubt dial 9-1-1, they will help you. The people who put their lives on the line so we can all sleep soundly at night are on the job. Be respectful of everyone involved in public safety. I say this about the true first responders from the call taker/dispatchers to the police, fire, and medics who respond when called upon. They deserve the real credit. I’m just a vendor and don’t deserve the credit these people do but I’m very proud to help them do their jobs.

NENA: What do you like to do in your spare time?

SC: I love spending time with my family. We go to church together and spend a lot of time camping, hiking, etc. I also like to scuba dive and have been diving for over 20 years now. We also like water sports so anything to do with the water and I’m in! I’ve been a CERT member in Cherokee County, GA for many years and participate in CERT activities when not travelling.

NENA: What is your guilty pleasure? What can you not live without?

SC: Candy! I’ve always loved candy and always have some in my briefcase. All kinds of candy but my personal favorite is Smarties!

NENA: Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

SC: In 1994 my family did a camping trip to the Grand Canyon. It was a wonderful week spent enjoying one of God’s wonderful creations. While there my son, a cousin of mine and I decided we would hike the Bright Angel trail down to the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. We stayed for about an hour and then hiked all the way back out in one day. It was about a 20 mile hike round trip and we did this in June. Not the best month for a hike like this. It was like hiking a desert and then climbing a mountain to get ou.! We started out at 5:30am that day and didn’t make it back to camp until 8:30pm that night. Needless to say we were exhausted but the scenery we saw and the pictures we took were well worth it. Word to the wise though. Next time rent one of the mules!


Tommy L. Canipe Jr. ENP says...
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2016
I have worked with Steve for many years in the 9-1-1 industry. I am proud to have Steve representing us all as a proud NENA Member. Steve, thanks for all you do. Sincerely, Lee Canipe Frontier 9-1-1 Public Safety