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Hail to the Chief

After 45 years at the FCC, the commission’s unofficial engineer emeritus, Julius Knapp, is leaving at the end of the month.

Knapp told B+C that the years seemed to fly past, as have the technological changes he has not only seen but helped oversee.

For the past dozen years or so of his storied tenure, Knapp has been chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, dealing with everything from the Rubik’s Cube of spectrum auctions and repacks to the ground rules for the race to 5G.

But let’s let Knapp’s admirers, from both sides of the aisle, provide their take on what he has meant to them and the FCC.

“Julie Knapp [has] delivered incalculable value for American consumers over the years,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai. “As just one example, if you have a device that uses the airwaves, the chances are that you’re benefiting from Julie’s efforts.”

Senior FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel called Knapp “a fantastic authority, a terrific teacher, and an extraordinary colleague whose input has improved countless decisions at the agency.”

“Now that I am in private practice, I have to pay my taxes quarterly,” said former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, now a partner at Cooley LLP. “When I write those checks I try to think of Julie Knapp. He has been the consummate public servant.”

Agreed.