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The Honorable Michael Powell

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Information about The Honorable Michael Powell

Profile image of The Honorable Michael Powell

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Telecommunications Lawyer
Federal Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1963
Birth Location:
Birmingham, Alabama

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Telecommunications Lawyer
Federal Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1963
Birth Location:
Birmingham
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Biography

The Honorable Michael Kevin Powell was born on March 23, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, the only son and eldest child of General Colin Powell and Alma Vivian Johnson Powell. Powell’s father was serving in Vietnam when Powell was born. He attended the College of William and Mary thanks to an ROTC scholarship, and graduated in 1985 with a degree in government. While attending William and Mary, Powell dated Jane Knott, who he would later marry. After college, he served in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Amberg, Germany as a cavalry patrol officer. In 1987, while traveling in a convoy on the Autobahn in Germany, Powell’s jeep crashed and severely injured his pelvis and spine. After being stabilized in Nuremburg’s U.S. Army hospital, Powell spent one year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

This injury curtailed his military career, and Powell returned to civilian work with two years as a policy advisor to the U.S. Defense Secretary, Richard Cheney. He then decided to go to law school, attending Georgetown University’s Law Center, where he graduated from in 1993 with a J.D. degree. He initially worked as a clerk in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards. He was then hired in 1994 as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office for the Los Angeles based law firm O’Melveny & Myers until 1996. While working at O’Melveny & Myers, Powell specialized in telecommunications and antitrust law. The following year, Powell became the chief of staff for the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, advising the Assistant Attorney General on criminal investigations, policy development, and mergers.

On July 31, 1997, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Powell to serve as a commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him Chairman of the FCC, the second African American to hold the position. As Chairman, Powell intended to modernize FCC regulations and emphasize the importance of the shift from analog to digital technologies. He also encouraged market-driven solutions to promote consumer interest, which involved a general deregulation of the marketplace; Powell’s philosophy highlighted the idea that regulation limits consumer choice. Powell’s well-known accomplishments were the establishment of a “Do-Not-Call” list to avoid telemarketers and forcing wireless carriers to allow consumers to maintain their phone numbers even when switching services. Powell was also responsible for overseeing the Commission’s National Security Emergency Preparedness utility. Powell left the FCC in 2005.

Powell is Senior Advisor with Providence Equity Partners and Chairman of the MK Powell Group. He is Rector of the College of William and Mary. Powell is also an Aspen trustee and serves on the Rand Corporation Board.

Powell lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia with his wife, Jane Knott Powell, and their sons, Jeffrey and Bryan.

See how The Honorable Michael Powell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Michael Powell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his father's childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his childhood in Dale City, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls Bel Air Elementary School in Dale City, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his sisters
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his upbringing in a military family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his upbringing in a military family, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls moving frequently as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers when his father became a general
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his decision to leave his Boy Scout troop
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his gymnastic career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his experience at Lake Braddock Secondary School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his high school activities and mentors
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers political events of the 1970s and 1980s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls deciding to attend College of William & Mary
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers how he met his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell explains how the College of William & Mary influenced him
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his college graduation and U.S. Army training
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his accident on the German Autobahn
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers his year spent in recovery
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his orthopedic rehabilitation and wedding
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his work in The Pentagon
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers attending Georgetown University Law Center
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes how he became a law clerk to Harry T. Edwards
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers the case of Boodoo v. Cary, 1994
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role as a law clerk
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about his mentor, Harry T. Edwards
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Michael Powell remembers meeting Thurgood Marshall
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the career of Thurgood Marshall
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell explains his interest in communications and antitrust law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role in the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his role in the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust cases
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his appointment to the Federal Communications Commission
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his early work at the Federal Communications Commission, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his early work at the Federal Communications Commission, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell recalls his appointment as Federal Communications Commission chairman
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his leadership of the FCC
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell talks about the thirty-five percent rule, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes public regard for federal regulation in the early 2000s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes the 35 percent rule, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes how Congress modified the thirty-five percent rule
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his FCC University staff training program
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon changes in broadcast media
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon rapidly advancing communications technology
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the impact of new technologies
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Michael Powell shares his concerns about the proliferation of choice in media
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his political career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his father's political stance
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his political ideology
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon the impact of race in his profession
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Michael Powell describes his work with young African American attorneys
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Michael Powell reflects upon his legacy