FCC’s Knapp to retire after 45 years with commission

FCC headquarters
The FCC announced Knapp's retirement on Wednesday. (Ser Amantio di Nicolao/ CC BY-3.0)

Julius, aka Julie, Knapp, whom Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai called a “national treasure,” is retiring early next year.

Knapp plans to retire on January 3, 2020. He’s been with the commission 45 years and served as chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) for more than 13 years.

Julie Knapp
Julius Knapp joined the FCC in 1974. (FCC)

In a blog post ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Knapp said it’s with a heavy heart that he announces his retirement. “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,” he said.

“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,” he said, explaining that he and this wife Debi plan to spend more time with family and enjoy their "golden years."  

Indeed, leaders and activists far and wide praised his work.

“Julie Knapp is an FCC institution, and I will miss him for his expertise, his leadership, and his friendship,” Pai said in a statement. “If you have a device that uses the airwaves, the chances are that you’re benefiting from Julie’s efforts.”

Knapp played a key role in all of the commission’s spectrum efforts over many years. “On a personal level, 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,” Pai said. “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.”

Until January 3, Knapp will be on the clock, saying he’ll be working full steam ahead to support the commission's work.