New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made his staff selections. Tower owners and suppliers may be interested to know there’s some holdovers from his commissioner staff as well as new faces from elsewhere in the FCC. Matthew Berry remains Pai’s chief of staff after serving in that role the previous four years.
Nicholas Degani has been Pai’s wireline legal advisor and now becomes senior counsel. Jay Schwarz moves from the Office of Strategic Planning to take the role of acting wireline advisor after a previous stint as an economist for the Wireline Competition Bureau. Alison Nemeth moves over to the chairman’s office from the Media Bureau and will advise Pai on media issues.
Rachel Bender leaves the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to join Pai’s office and counsel him on wireless and international issues. Zenji Nakazawa comes from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to advise Pai on public safety and consumer protection. Lori Alexiou remains Pai’s confidential assistant.
In addition to organizing his office staff he appointed eight new bureau and office chiefs and re-appointed several, calling the “well of talent” at the agency “deep and abiding.”
Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake leaves at the end of the month, so deputy chief Michelle Carey moves up to acting chief, where she will help shape the bureau’s policies to facilitate competition in the multichannel video programming market. She’s worked at the FCC for more than 16 years.
A former attorney for a broadband provider, Michael Carowitz, is now Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. He was most recently Deputy Chief of the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau.
Lisa Fowlkes had been Acting Director of the Enforcement Bureau and Chairman Pai has now named her Acting Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau; she replaces David Simpson, Rear Admiral (Ret.), USN.
Nese Guendelsberger is now Acting Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Since joining the FCC in 2000, she has worked in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Wireline Competition Bureau and spearheaded policies for mobile spectrum, wireless competition and infrastructure policy.
Kris Monteith moves from Deputy Chief to Acting Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. She’s worked at the Commission for nearly 20 years. Tom Sullivan moves from Associate Chief to Acting Chief of the International Bureau.
Wayne Leighton was a senior economist in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, advising on the 700 MHz Band, 3.5 GHz Band and Spectrum Frontiers. Leighton is now Acting Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis. Timothy Strachan is now Acting Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.
Gary Epstein is still Director of the Incentive Auction Task Force and Chief Engineer Julius Knapp, at the FCC for 42 years, remains Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
January 25, 2017