Born Harry Ray McGee on May 7, 1929, in Guntersville, Ala., he was a Navy veteran of World War II. After earning a journalism degree from the University of Alabama, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1957 where he worked for the Washington, D.C. Board of Trade.
McGee began his career with the National Audio-Visual Association (NAVA, now ICIA) in 1965 as the association’s convention director. He was then named executive vice president upon the resignation of NAVA’s first executive vice president, Don White. In this role, McGee saw the need to take NAVA’s focus from regional and national to international and led the effort to change the association’s name to the International Communications Industries Association.
He guided ICIA through an exciting evolution for both the organization and the AV industry. NAVA’s trade show soon went from being called NAVA to COMMTEX, to what the industry knows today as InfoComm. Furthermore, during his tenure, the AV industry’s dominant product mix progressed from overhead projectors and slides to video and, eventually, digital technology.
McGee was also a major force in InfoComm’s 10-year partnership with the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Under his leadership, ICIA began to hold Institute for Professional Development courses at InfoComm, and he initiated efforts to rejuvenate the entire ICIA educational curriculum.
As a longtime supporter of the American Society of Association Executives, McGee worked to bring more associations to Fairfax, which now hosts more than 300 national and international trade associations. After more than 20 years of leadership, he retired from ICIA in 1989 and was named an honorary past president and a lifetime member of the association.
“Harry McGee was not only a monumental figure in the ICIA; he cut a similar profile in the industry. Through Harry’s guidance, ICIA and InfoComm led the industry from its heritage to its future,” said Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., executive director of ICIA. “The future that Harry created is the AV communications industry of today. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.”
McGee was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Eileen Force McGee, who died in 2002; he will be interred beside her. He is survived by his children, Steve and Beth McGee; Debbie and Jim Allred; and Melanie and Steve Fleger; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Volusia/Flagler, 3800 Woodbriar Trail, Port Orange FL, 32129. Funeral services will be held June 24 in Daytona Beach.