Commissioner McDowell's Farewell to CoS, Angela Giancarlo
COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL’S FAREWELL TO
HIS CHIEF OF STAFF, ANGELA GIANCARLOToday, unfortunately, is the last open meeting for my Chief of Staff, Angela Giancarlo. I
have enjoyed wonderfully low turnover in my office over the years, so I don’t have much
practice in farewell statements. I have found that they don’t get any easier.
Angela has been a driving force on the 8th Floor since she joined my office in June of
2006 as part of my original “interim” legal team. She has the distinction of being the longest
serving member of my legal team, which says something not only about her loyalty but her
patience and pain tolerance as well.
When I arrived at the Commission, I brought with me experience in the wireline and
media sectors, but I knew less about wireless policy. So I needed an unparalleled expert in
spectrum policy who understood - and appreciated - how markets work best under freedom.
When I received Angela’s resume, it reflected that, and more: here was a highly accomplished
attorney with a deep and sophisticated knowledge of spectrum matters, coupled with valuable
experience, success and leadership in both the public and private sectors.
The icing on the cake was that she had once worked for one of my all-time policy heroes,
Jack Kemp, and believed in his inclusive, positive and practical approach to limited government
conservatism. Hiring Angela became one of the easiest decisions I would make in 2006. Of
course, 2006, ended up being a year filled with difficult decisions, but that’s another story.
Especially during those early days, I was lucky to have Angela on my team to help me navigate
those sometimes rocky waters.
But little did I know that not only was I hiring a talented advisor, but also a force of
nature. What her resume could not convey was the quality of her energy, passion, judgment and
instincts. Every major policy initiative emerging from the FCC since 2006 has felt the benefit of
Angela’s limitless energy – sometimes in support of it, and sometimes in opposition to it.
And may the gods help those upon whom she frowned! Sometimes, that included me.
Early on, she made it clear that she would not suffer foolishness lightly. One of her favorite
preambles to me, before dispensing always-valuable advice began with, “Rob, I am going to save
you from yourself!” She would do this by standing in my doorway to block any escape route.
She has been an enthusiastic seeker of bipartisan support while leading many clandestine
late-night operations to achieve consensus across the aisle. But if I told you any more, she would
have to kill me.
Many adjectives could describe Angela, but I thought I would define her by what she is
not. She is NOT: shy, indolent, devoid of principles, maleable, inhibited, opaque, ineffective,
unimaginative, humorless, and least of all … boring. She is the opposite of all of these things.
Along with all of her obvious qualities, I have come to appreciate many cultural lessons
from her, such as these top 5:
5) There is a great deal of similarity between Yankees fans and Duke basketball fans;
4) People of Sicilian descent - generally speaking - are not pushovers;
3) Someone is NOT really Italian unless their mother was Italian, so you must always ask;
2) Apparently, it is not possible for me to even become an “honorary Italian,” and I’ll never
know why; and
1) To quote her, “vendetta” is an Italian word … for a reason.
We have had a lot of fun over the years. But more importantly, the American people have
been well-served by her tireless and thoughtful dedication to making sure that all of us here at
the FCC get it right.
Wherever Angela lands after she leaves the Commission she will be a dynamic success, and
the FCC will be lacking a very talented public servant. The American taxpayers have enjoyed a
fantastic bargain with Angela Giancarlo. We will miss her. Please join me in wishing her well.
Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.