Pai Announces FCC Staff Appointments

Among the appointments are the new chairman’s chief of staff, senior counsel, acting media advisor.


New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced staff appointments to the office of the chairman including his chief of staff, senior counsel and more.

Pai said: “I am honored that this talented team has agreed to help lead the commission.  I look forward to working with them and the other skilled professionals at the agency to deliver digital opportunity to every American.”

The appointments:

Matthew Berry, Chief of Staff — For the past four years, Berry has served as Commissioner Pai’s chief of staff.  He previously served as the commission’s general counsel and deputy general counsel.  Prior to joining Commissioner Pai’s office, he was a partner at Patton Boggs LLP.  Berry has also worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, serving as counselor to the assistant attorney general for the office of legal policy and an attorney-adviser in the office of legal counsel.

Earlier in his career, Berry clerked for United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Additionally, he worked as a staff attorney at the Institute for Justice. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.

Nicholas Degani, Senior Counsel — For the past four years, Degani has served as Commissioner Pai’s wireline legal adviser. He joined the office from a detail to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he served as counsel under Chairman Fred Upton and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden.  Before his detail, Degani was an attorney adviser in the Wireline Competition Bureau’s Telecommunications Access Policy Division and Competition Policy Division, as well as the Commission’s Office of General Counsel.


Degani entered the commission through the Attorney Honors Program.  Earlier in his career, Degani clerked for Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and magna cum laude from Yale University, where he studied electrical engineering/computer science and history.

Jay Schwarz, Acting Wireline Adviser — Schwarz is an economist who will advise Chairman Pai on wireline issues. Schwarz joins the office from the Office of Strategic Planning, where he served as acting deputy chief. Previously, he held positions as deputy chief in the Wireline Competition Bureau’s Telecommunications Access Policy Division and as Supervisory Economist in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division. Prior to these roles, he worked as an economist in the Wireline Competition Bureau.

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In his time at the commission, he has worked on a variety of topics, including universal service, broadband adoption, the IP transition, and spectrum policy. He has co-authored peer reviewed telecommunications research and received the FCC’s 2014 Excellence in Economics award.  He serves on the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC) Program Committee and has taught graduate courses in Cost Benefit Analysis and Microeconomics at the Johns Hopkins University.

Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. and M.Eng. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

Alison Nemeth, Acting Media Adviser — Nemeth will advise Chairman Pai on media issues. She joins the office from the Media Bureau, where she most recently was a legal adviser. She came to the commission through the Attorney Honors Program, and she has worked on a variety of legal and policy issues in both the Media and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus relating to broadcast television licensing, transactions, the broadcast incentive auction, privacy, and device security. Previously, Nemeth worked as an interim legal advisor for media issues in then-Commissioner Pai’s Office.

Nemeth received her J.D. from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and obtained a certificate from its Institute for Communications Law Studies. She received her undergraduate degree from Lafayette College.

Rachael Bender, Acting Wireless Adviser — Bender will advise Chairman Pai on wireless and international issues. She joins the office from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, where she worked on competition issues and efforts to streamline infrastructure deployment. Before coming to the commission, Bender served for more than five years at the wireless trade association Mobile Future — most prominently as senior policy director — where her work focused on a broad range of spectrum policy matters.

Bender graduated from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law with a certificate from its Institute for Communications Law Studies and from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned her B.A. in government and politics.

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Zenji Nakazawa, Acting Public Safety and Consumer Protection Adviser — Nakazawa will advise Chairman Pai on public safety and consumer protection issues. He joins the office from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, where he served as chief of the Policy and Rules Division.  In that capacity, he oversaw several key portfolios, including Next Generation 911, emergency alerting, spectrum licensing, as well as various issues concerning law enforcement and national security.  Prior to that, he served as deputy chief in the division.

Nakazawa graduated from the University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law, and received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University.

Lori Alexiou, Confidential Assistant — For the past four years, Alexiou has been Commissioner Pai’s confidential assistant. She joined the office from the commission’s Office of General Counsel, where she was a litigation specialist.  Before that, she served as confidential assistant to Commissioner Meredith A. Baker and Chairman Kevin J. Martin.  Prior to joining the commission, Ms. Alexiou worked at the law firms of Wiley Rein LLP and Fisher, Wayland, Cooper and Leader.  She started her career working for a physician’s practice in Pennsylvania.

Kim Mattos, Acting Executive Assistant —  Mattos will assist Berry and Degani. She Mattos is currently a management analyst in the Enforcement Bureau. She was detailed to serve as executive assistant to the former chief of staff and was detailed to the acting Chairwoman’s Office in 2013 as staff assistant. Mattos has been with the FCC since 2003, having started in the General Counsel’s office as executive assistant to the general counsel, and legal administrative specialist, where she administered the FCC’s Attorney Honors Program.

Deanne Erwin, Executive Assistant — Erwin will assist Schwarz, Nemeth, Bender and Nakazawa. For the past four years, she has served as the staff assistant to the office of Commissioner Pai.  Previously, she was the assistant for William Lake, chief of the Media Bureau. She began her career at the commission in 2000.

Comments (1)

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Ellen Samrock says:

January 25, 2017 at 2:04 am

So long Bill Lake. Hello Michelle Carey. It seems her forte is “shaping the Bureau’s policies designed to facilitate competition in the multichannel video programming marketplace,” according to the FCC’s press release. We’ll see what that means in the coming months.

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