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Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris
Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris

George Martin Kopecky: Leading the Industry Through Change

Posted: 12/09/2020

After a long and storied career with the FBI and House of Representatives Investigative Subcommittees George Kopecky stepped into the world of associations, leading what was then known as the National Electric Sign Association (NESA). 

Mr. Kopecky led the association from 1980 until 1993. During that time, NESA moved from Chicago to Washington, D.C, and saw significant growth in its international tradeshow, increasing from a couple of thousand attendees to more than 12,000. NESA doubled its membership as well.

Mr. Kopecky died November 25, 2020, at age 95.

When he retired in 1993, Signs of the Times magazine asked what he felt his legacy would be. "If there was any inscription, I would hope it would say something like, 'He cared deeply about the well-being of the Association and its members, and worked diligently over the years to help strength and unify NESA,' and also that I succeeded."

Mr. Kopecky used his experience in Congress to increase federal advocacy on the part of its members, with work on the federal Highway Beautification Act and the National Energy Policy Act. "Because the industry is highly regulated by the federal government, this move allowed for a closer monitoring on a regular basis," he told Signs of the Times in 1993.

Mr. Kopecky also helped NESA develop relationships with other associations as part of coalitions working on areas of shared interest. Those, he told Signs of the Times, "increase awareness of, and the leverage of, our industry."

During his tenure, NESA expanded its local advocacy work, as well, creating the Guideline Sign Code.

Prior to joining NESA, Mr. Kopecky had significant experience in Washington, D.C. After serving in World War II, he received his degree, then joined an accounting firm. He later moved to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, where he focused on general crimes and accounting fraud. He took those skills to Congress, where he served three successive U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Investigative Subcommittees.

To read Mr. Kopecky’s obituary, click here.