An RF and network engineering consultant who has been working with the District of Columbia has been named as the first permanent director of the FCC’s Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC), which was established to provide the technical guidelines for the proposed 700 MHz broadband network for first responders.

Bob Pavlak currently heads a contracting company known as Network CFI, which has been an engineering management contractor for a variety of public-safety broadband projects in D.C. Pavlak, who has spent more than 30 years in the telecommunications industry, is scheduled to join the FCC on Nov. 7.

“Bob has many strengths, including the rare combination of RF engineering, broadband network expertise and direct experience in dealing with public-safety broadband requirements and solutions,” James Barnett, chief of the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau, said in a prepared statement. “Bob will bring tremendous skills and experience to the ERIC Team. Bob’s dedication to interoperability will help ensure that, from the start, we will have a strong set of technical interoperability rules.”

Pavlak was selected after a lengthy nationwide search and will relieve interim ERIC director Jennifer Manner, who will remain as the deputy bureau chief with oversight of ERIC.

Pavlak said most of his career was spent with Bell Laboratories, where he worked as an engineer in the “design and development of leading-edge wireless network products.” Subsequently, he served as the vice president of engineering for a wireless startup companies for several years before establishing his consulting company, he said. Network CFI has been working with D.C. on its wireless broadband projects since early 2008, Pavlak said.

“I’ve been active with the national scene of activities from the District’s perspective,” Pavlak said. “With that background, I’m familiar with the players and a lot of the work going on. I think this will be a very interesting and challenging opportunity to help the leadership getting some more momentum around getting this network built, sustained and operated on a day-to-day basis.

“I’m excited and very much looking forward to this opportunity and hope to make a positive contribution to this overall national effort that’s been underway for quite awhile. There’s been a lot done, and there’s a lot more to do.”