Profile: Lawrence Behr

With more than 50 years in business, radio frequency pioneer Lawrence Behr credits a series of lucky breaks early in his business life as the key to his success.

Throughout his career, Behr has racked up a number of unique accomplishments, which include creating a number of patents and founding two television stations.

From a young age, Lawrence Behr had the radio frequency “bug.” In 1956, Behr’s Latino father sent him to Cuba to further his education. It was in Cuba that he made the acquaintance of the commander of a Cuban Navy electronics group and became captivated by radio.

Upon returning to the United States, Behr began immersing himself in the radio frequency (RF) world. At the age of 14, he became the youngest person to hold the highest level Federal Communications Commission license for broadcast engineers—the First Class Radio Telephone Operator’s license—marking his entry to the profession. Behr also acquired his amateur radio “ham” license around this time. One year later, he was hired as the chief engineer of East Carolina University’s 24-hour FM radio station. While still in high school, Behr even audited a number of college courses at East Carolina University—including physics, science, and math. He subsequently furthered his education at East Carolina and NC State Universities.

Jump to 1963, Behr met a young attorney in Greenville who was in the process of setting up his practice. He encouraged Behr to formalize his business in the broadcast/technology area. The pair created Lawrence Behr Associates (LBA) providing radio frequency consulting and maintenance services to radio broadcasters in North Carolina, and the rest is history…

Behr’s career to date has been studded with highlights, which include working on some of the largest antenna systems in the United States. At one point, he was field project manager for updating the two-mile long U.S. Navy Lake Kickapoo Spacetrack antenna. He also invented and patented antennas for U.S. Navy Blue Eagle flying command posts used in Vietnam and led a project to build a 10-million-watt TV station from the ground up in San Antonio, Texas.

Cellular technology also holds a special place in Behr’s career. He first became familiar with mobile communication while working at Multronics, which involved petitioning the FCC to allocate frequency spectrum from television to mobile services. This spectrum was later allocated for cellular communications use.

As the demand for technical services grew, so did LBA. The company later added a manufacturing unit—LBA Technology—and an online safety training division—LBA University.

Today, the core focus of LBA services is wireless industry infrastructure support and RF risk management. LBA Technology continues to expand its offerings in areas such as professional RF test equipment, RF safety monitoring devices, commercial grade lightning protection, and radio frequency shielding.

Behr believes that the key to staying ahead of technology is to maintain quality communications with clients—even to anticipate their needs before they know they need them.

Behr’s creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit is at the heart of LBA’s success over the past 50 years.

“Flexibility is key to long-term success,” Behr reflects.

“We’ve essentially reinvented our business several times on the fly. You have to understand the markets that you’re attempting to move into and to service.

“Awareness is very important too. You must know what’s going on professionally and in the marketplace around you as well as knowing what’s going on in your organization.”