FCC Chief Engineer Julius Knapp To Retire

He will wrap up more than 45 years at the commission on Jan. 3, 2020. Chairman Ajit Pai praised him, saying: "If you have a device that uses the airwaves, the chances are that you’re benefiting from Julie’s efforts."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced that Julius Knapp, chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, plans to retire from public service on Jan. 3, 2020, after 45 years at the commission and more than 13 years as chief of OET.

Pai said: “Julie Knapp is an FCC institution, and I will miss him for his expertise, his leadership, and his friendship. He’s delivered incalculable value for American consumers over the years. As just one example, if you have a device that uses the airwaves, the chances are that you’re benefiting from Julie’s efforts.

“He’s played a key role in all of the commission’s spectrum efforts over many years, from freeing up spectrum for 4G LTE and 5G to making more spectrum available for unlicensed operations like Wi-Fi to encouraging technologies of the future, like wireless medical services. He has also been instrumental in modernizing and streamlining the FCC’s equipment authorization process, which helps get new devices into consumers’ hands quickly and safely.

“On a personal level,” Pai added, “when I think of Julie, I’m reminded of the old advertising slogan, ‘When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.’ That’s because when Julie speaks, everyone listens. Across the federal government and throughout the private sector, Julie is widely respected for his vast knowledge, his ability to explain complex technical concepts in an accessible way, his collegiality, and his candor.

“As I’ve seen many times during my tenure as chairman, his reputation as a solid technical expert and a straight shooter has made him invaluable in resolving numerous challenges facing the FCC that might have otherwise proven intractable.

“While Julie’s departure will be a big loss for the commission, I’m grateful that he is leaving behind a legacy at the Office of Engineering and Technology that will serve the FCC well in the years to come. So as Julie enters the final weeks of his long and storied FCC career, I would like to thank him for his public service, congratulate him on all his accomplishments, and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.”


In a blog post, Knapp said: “I have loved working for the FCC over a career spanning 45 1/2 years. I thank Chairman Pai and all the past chairmen and commissioners for whom I have had the privilege to serve. Most of all I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with the fantastic staff in the Office of Engineering and Technology and the other bureaus and offices throughout the commission.

“I’m sure some may wonder, why I would choose to retire now when there is so much left to do. As many people are aware, I’ve been considering retiring for several years and actually hit the maximum retirement benefits long ago. To nobody’s surprise, there will always be more things to accomplish and that will never change.

“As George Harrison once said in his hit song: “All Things Must Pass.” There remains an outstanding team of engineers, attorneys and professionals in the Office of Engineering and Technology who are up to speed on all of our many projects. I take comfort in knowing that everything is in great hands. Nevertheless, I will miss the many people I have gotten to know in the communications sector.”

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