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Gene Novacek, Founder of ENCO, Dies

NEW YORK—Eugene Novacek, who founded broadcast technology company ENCO and led it for decades, has died. He was 61.

According to a statement from the company, he died on New Year’s Day in New York, from pancreatic cancer.

Survivors include his wife Judith Novacek, daughter Kristin Heinbockel, son Andrew Novacek and granddaughter Evany Novacek. “His legacy lives through his family, the company he founded and the industry he loved and changed,” the statement reads.

Novacek was a professional engineer (P.E.) who held engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He had early jobs at Bechtel Power Corp., Barton Malow Co. and Alberici Constructors before founding ENCO Systems Inc., whose acronym includes his initials.

ENCO is now based in Southfield, Mich., but began in St. Louis is 1983 by providing computer-based process control for critical industrial applications. “We started providing industrial process control and automation to manufacturers like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Monsanto, Anheuser Busch, General Tire, Waste Management, etc. in 1983,” Novacek wrote in a 2008 blog post celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary.

But it was in broadcast that the firm grew, becoming a prominent supplier of automation for radio and TV stations. Its first digital audio delivery system was introduced in 1991; its product lines have since grown to encompass playout automation, captioning, scheduling and streaming. Its markets also include A/V, events, concerts, worship and retail environments, according to enco.com.

Among other accomplishments, Novacek wrote the chapter on automation and audio storage in the latest edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook. He also held a private pilot’s license.

ENCO is currently led by Ken Frommert, who in 2017 was promoted from general manager to president and has been the more public face of the company in recent years. Frommert is part-owner of the company, along with other Novacek family and members of the executive team.