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Q&A with
Michael Powell

A Fireside Chat with the
FCC Chairman

April 13, 2004

Michael K. Powell, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, visited the Tuck School on April 13, 2004 and participated in a public question and answer session. The Q&A was conducted by Alva Taylor, Assistant Professor of Business Administration and one of the Tuck School faculty affiliated with the center.

FCC chairman discusses wireless world
In their initial discussion, Chairman Powell and Professor Taylor focused on the role of the FCC, the breadth of its responsibilities, and on "digital migration", a favorite topic of Powell's. The crowd in attendance asked a number of questions regarding media ownership, specifications for equipment and spectrum, and the difficulty of regulating modern technology encumbered by antiquated laws. Powell adeptly addressed the issues, acknowledging the difficult aspects and providing clear insight into the philosophy he brings to his challenging job. He made it clear that though he is often portrayed as "pro-business", that is not really what he is. He considers it his first responsibility to provide a regulatory environment that will allow digital technology to flourish in a way that will benefit the American consumer.

Powell's visit to Tuck was part of a two-day Dartmouth campus visit to learn about Dartmouth's many projects in mobile computing, including the expected upgrade of the wireless network over the next several months, the analysis of the College's wireless network usage patterns, and research initiatives in network and wireless security.

Biography of FCC Chairman Powell (from FCC website)
Michael K. Powell is Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He was sworn in as a member of the Commission on November 3, 1997. He was designated Chairman by President Bush on January 22, 2001.

Mr. Powell, a Republican, was nominated by President William J. Clinton on July 31, 1997, and confirmed by the United States Senate on October 28, 1997.

In addition to his normal duties, Mr. Powell serves as the FCC's Defense Chairman and is responsible for overseeing all National Security Emergency Preparedness functions for the Commission. He also served as the FCC representative to the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion which was established by President Clinton on February 4, 1998, to address the Year 2000 computer problem.

Mr. Powell previously served as the Chief of Staff of the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice. In that capacity, he advised the Assistant Attorney General on substantive antitrust matters, including policy development, criminal and civil investigations and mergers. Prior to joining the Antitrust Division, Mr. Powell was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he focused on litigation and regulatory matters involving telecommunications, antitrust and employment law. Mr. Powell graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center following which he served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Harry T. Edwards, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Before attending law school, Mr. Powell served as a policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on matters involving the United States-Japan security relationship. Mr. Powell's experience also includes military service as an armor officer in the United States Army. He spent the majority of his active service with the 3/2 Armored Cavalry Regiment in Amberg, Germany, serving as a cavalry platoon leader and troop executive officer. While on duty, Mr. Powell was seriously injured in a training accident and, after spending a year in the hospital, was retired from service. Mr. Powell graduated in 1985 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Government.

Mr. Powell currently serves on the Georgetown University Law Center's Board of Visitors and the Board of Directors of the United States Telecommunications Training Institute. He is also a 1999 Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute. Chairman Powell is married to Jane Knott Powell. They live with their two children, Jeffrey and Bryan, in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

FCC website