February 5, 2024 – Federal Communications Commission Chief Jessica Rosenworcel appointed new head leaders for three bureaus within the agency last Wednesday, as well as other key staff members.
Alejandro Roark is joining as chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
Roark brings experience from his previous role as executive director for HTTP, where he established the Digital Inclusion Summit, a national gathering focused on promoting technology access and adoption among multicultural tech policy leaders and digital advocates.
Before joining HTTP, Mr. Roark played a key role in advancing digital equity and consumer education initiatives for LULAC National, contributing to the establishment of events such as LULAC’s Tech Luncheon and the regional Latino Tech Summit.
Debra Jordan has been appointed as the chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Since December 2015, she has held the position of deputy chief within the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. She represented the FCC in various interagency committees and task forces, focusing on cybersecurity, supply chain risk management, and national security.
Prior to her FCC role, Jordan worked as a civilian in the Defense Department, where she managed critical information and communications systems. During her tenure at DoD, she served as the command information officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, leading the development of a cybersecurity roadmap for critical utilities and facilities infrastructure in the Navy.
Holly Saurer, who has served as the Rosenworcel’s legal advisor for media in the past year, will now return to the Media Bureau serving as chief. She held various positions within the bureau, including deputy bureau chief, associate bureau chief, senior legal advisor, and attorney-advisor.
She has also acted as a media advisor for Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and served as an international and consumer affairs legal advisor for former Chairman Tom Wheeler. Before joining the Commission, she worked at the Washington offices of Drinker Biddle & Reath and Miller & Van Eaton.
Loyaan Egal will lead the commission’s Enforcement Bureau as acting chief. Most recently, Egal served as deputy chief in the Foreign Investment Review Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division. He directly supervised FIRS's representation of the attorney general as the chair of the "Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector," also known as "Team Telecom," pursuant to Executive Order 13913. Egal has prior experience in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, where he established and led the Universal Service Fund Strike Force (now referred to as the Fraud Division), marking the FCC’s inaugural white-collar fraud unit.
Additionally, Michele Ellison will serve as general counsel. Over the last year, Ellison has served with distinction as the agency’s chief legal officer and advised on some of the thorniest legal and policy issues before the commission. Ellison previously served as deputy general counsel, a position she held for most of her 25-year tenure at the FCC. In that capacity, she managed the multi-billion-dollar transactions, bankruptcy, and fraud portfolio, setting numerous legal precedents and preserving the integrity of the auctions and universal service programs through a period of unprecedented challenge.
Ellison also led the Enforcement Bureau, recovering hundreds of millions for federal programs and the U.S. Treasury. In addition, she has the distinction of being the first woman of color to hold positions as the agency’s chief of staff, chief of the Enforcement Bureau, and with Wednesday’s announcement, general counsel.
Additional staff appointments
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau announced additional staff appointments on Monday. Alice Suh Jou has joined the agency as assistant bureau chief and Jolina Cuaresma has joined the agency as senior policy counsel. Both will actively participate in the bureau’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, which was announced in June 2023 by Chairwoman Rosenworcel.
Suh Jou joins the Enforcement Bureau from the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division where she previously served as an acting deputy chief for telecom-related
foreign investment in the Foreign Investment Review Section and as a trial attorney in the civil division.
Cuaresma joins the Enforcement Bureau after having served as the head of law and tech
policy at Common Sense Media, where she worked with government agencies and congressional committees on legislative proposals relating to privacy, competition, and AI.
These officials join additional hires to the Enforcement Bureau’s front office leadership team this year, including Deputy Bureau Chief Peter S. Hyun and Assistant Bureau Chief Hunter Deeley.
Key personnel appointed at Benton Institute
Juan Sepulveda has joined the Benton Institute's board of directors. Sepulveda is currently a distinguished professor of practice in political science at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he teaches urban education, politics, community building, and leadership. Previously, he served as senior vice president of station service and system leadership at PBS where he collaborated with more than 160 PBS stations across the country to strengthen their connections to their local communities and to each other as a national public media network.
Sepulveda joined PBS after work at the Democratic National Committee as a senior advisor for Hispanic affairs and executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in the Obama Administration. He is the author of "The Life and Times of Willie Velasquez: Su Voto Es Su Voz (Your Vote is Your Voice)."
Revati Prasad is the new vice president of programs at the Benton Institute. Working with the executive director and executive editor, Prasad will define and implement Benton’s strategic vision and oversee the day-to-day management of Benton's programmatic work. Prasad’s doctoral work examined efforts to “connect the unconnected” in rural India. As a 2022 American Council for Learned Societies leading edge fellow at the Institute for Local Self Reliance, Prasad concentrated on tribal broadband research and technical assistance. Prasad's work has been published in a number of leading academic journals and she has received awards from the International Communication Association.
Drew Garner recently joined the Benton Institute as the director of policy engagement. He helps lead Benton’s work on the Affordable Connectivity Program, and he serves as deputy director for the Broadband State Education Project, which gives state and regional coalitions a powerful voice in state broadband investments. Previously, Garner worked as the state broadband policy advisor for Common Sense Media, and as a broadband legislative fellow for Senator Tina Smith.
Zoë Walker joined the Benton Institute in 2023 as a writing associate. She works on the headlines newsletter and she is passionate about digital equity and inclusion.