Business executive, attorney, civic leader
Grew Up In: Jersey City
Died: December 6, 2016, in Neptune, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2016: Enterprise
Armed with a New Jersey education and an exceptional work ethic, Alfred Koeppe, the son of a longshoreman, transformed himself into one of the state’s most prominent business and civic leaders.
The first in his blue-collar family to attend college, Koeppe graduated from Rutgers University-Newark and Seton Hall Law School. He began his career in 1969 as a lineman for New Jersey Bell, while attending Seton Hall at night.
After completing law school, Koeppe worked as a trial attorney with the state Office of the Public Defender, and later as a lawyer for AT&T, where he represented the telecommunications giant in the U.S. Justice Department’s landmark antitrust case that divided AT&T into a number of smaller companies. He would eventually become president and CEO of the newly constituted New Jersey Bell Atlantic.
Leaving the telephone utility in 1995, Koeppe joined PSE&G as senior vice president of external affairs and played a key role in the deregulation of the electric industry in New Jersey. In March 2000, at the age of 54, he was named PSE&G’s president and COO. Upon stepping down three years later, Koeppe was elected to PSE&G’s board of directors.
After his retirement, Koeppe continued serving New Jersey in a variety of roles, most notably as president and CEO of the Newark Alliance, a consortium of business leaders working to improve the local economy and schools. He also served as chair of the state’s Economic Development Authority and as chair of the School Construction Corporation Board. In addition, according to his Rutgers biography, he was a member of the leadership committee for the Rutgers Campaign and chaired the $25 million capital campaign for the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick.
Upon Koeppe’s death at age 70, Politico reported: “Koeppe’s specialty was bringing political and business forces together to promote New Jersey’s struggling cities. He was a quiet but inevitable force behind countless partnerships in Newark to help advance jobs and education initiatives.”
Said Governor Chris Christie, “Al Koeppe was a giant in the worlds of New Jersey business and public service. His dedication to growing jobs and bolstering the economy all over our state were unrivaled over the last four decades.”