May 04, 2023
Written by Donny Jackson
(Courtesy Urgent Communications) Longtime public-safety and wireless-communications consultant and writer Andrew "Andy" Seybold, 77, died Tuesday morning at his home in Phoenix after a lengthy battle with a series of health problems.
A prolific writer, Seybold wrote about wireless communications in a variety of venues – in columns for newsletters, in white papers as a consultant, and as an author of two books – and was known for his ability to distill highly technical concepts into language that could be understood by non-engineers. His "Public Safety Advocate" columns continue to be read closely and spark endless conversations about the critical-communications industry even today.
A graduate of Drexel University with an electrical engineering degree, Seybold's career included significant work in both the two-way-radio industry – working for RCA Mobile Communications, General Electric Mobile Radio, BioCom, and Motorola Communications and Electronics – and cellular communications. In the cellular arena, Seybold consulted for major carriers, and his Wireless Data University supplemented multiple CTIA events. He also did consulting work in the computer industry for a short time.
Seybold was a longtime amateur-radio operator and a supporter of public-safety communications systems, particularly those near the geographic areas where he lived.
This varied background helped prepare Seybold for one of the most significant roles of his career, voluntarily serving as the key technical expert who explained the potential uses – and implementation challenges – associated with proposed public-safety-broadband initiatives.
Many cited Seybold's technical explanations – to cellular, public-safety and congressional personnel – as being foundational education to key players as Congress eventually awarded the 700 MHz D Block spectrum to public safety and established the FirstNet Authority in 2012.
In March, Seybold became the second recipient of the IWCE Lifetime Achievement Award, which was highlighted during a special session conducted during the IWCE 2023 event in Las Vegas. It certainly was not the first time Seybold had been recognized publicly, as he previously had received awards for his efforts from organizations like the Radio Club of America, the National Public-Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), the National Sheriff's Association, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO).
IWCE's Urgent Communications plans to provide more detailed reflection about Seybold and his contributions to the critical-communications industry in the near future.