This week, I am privileged to take over leadership of AT&T’s Federal Regulatory team in AT&T’s DC office. I take the reins from my mentor, boss and friend, Bob Quinn, as he rises to succeed Jim Cicconi, who leaves us for the next chapter of his life and a richly-deserved retirement.
This opportunity comes to me at an important inflection point for our company, our industry and our country. We are on the precipice of a Presidential election that will, in all events, herald change during a time when communications companies are increasingly scrutinized through the lens of a dated regulatory code that is more and more untethered from the realities of today’s modern networks. We have moved well beyond trying to fit a square regulatory peg into a round regulatory hole to fundamental questions about whether pegs and holes are an adequate regulatory framework at all.
While I don’t know what issues will dominate the regulatory stage next year, I plan to proceed in my new role consistent with the high standards established by Jim and Bob – to engage in honest and fact-based debate, to listen in good faith to opposing viewpoints and to seek consensus wherever it can be found. Indeed, my many years of experience in DC teaches that the best solutions are often found not in the throes of a regulatory battle, but instead through collaboration and reasoned discussions with those most impacted by regulatory shifts. It was through collaboration that we unlocked the value of the WCS band that had been mired for a decade in regulatory limbo, that we found a workable and effective framework for improving wireless 911 location accuracy and that we resolved long-standing disputes around interoperability.
I am proud to be able to engage in the coming debates backed by one of the best regulatory teams in town and representing a company that has consistently bet long on American ingenuity and innovation and an American workforce. AT&T’s commitment to U.S. investment is second to none, and it is coupled with long-standing dedication to workforce training and development, and community engagement.
I am also proud to work for a company that values diversity and inclusion. We need more women and minorities at the technology table and I am personally committed to the ideals toward which we must all continue to strive: equal opportunity in the workplace, equal respect for all voices and equal pay for equal work.
I am reminded of the old adage “may you live in interesting times.” Some think those words are meant as a curse. I disagree. The regulatory challenges we face are what make this job so compelling and ultimately so rewarding; and I look forward to rising to meet them.