A Lifetime of Accomplishment
Over a 50-year career as an entrepreneur, corporate attorney, venture capitalist, board and committee member and developer and mentor of talented executive leaders, George M. Weiss has successfully participated in numerous national and international industry ventures with innovation and leadership. The consistent result: lasting impact.
George participated in the launch or early development of more than 30 companies, ranging from his early success in founding The National Reflector Corp, which pioneered the placement of reflectors in highway guard rails, to his participation in firms and fields including pioneering radio communication towers, early cable television, direct marketing, banking, sports technology and marketing, music recording, digital security, data storage, media services, real estate development, online education and drug testing. George has served as a member of boards of directors and numerous executive, audit and other committees of more than 20 private, NYSE and AMEX companies and not-for-profit institutions. George is particularly proud of mentoring young talented professionals and partners who have gone on to be extraordinary leaders in their respective commercial and philanthropic fields of endeavor.
In perhaps his foremost commercial success, George co-founded and co-developed the primary radio communications tower predecessor of American Tower Corp., the largest radio communications tower company in the world. . At the time of his initial involvement, there was no independent radio communications tower industry. He was the initial institutional investor in and board chairman of Bowen Smith Corp., a pioneering radio communications tower company, which had only 32 microwave towers when acquired by George’s group. The result, after the predicted coming of age of the cellular telephony industry and after a number of equity and debt financings and the sale of control over 12 years, was the formation of American Tower Corp., which currently owns and/or manages thousands of towers and related facilities internationally and enjoys a NYSE valuation of over $836 billion.
As founder and CEO of Beechtree Capital, LLC, with operations in New York City, Silicon Valley and Scottsdale, AZ, George has participated in more than 120 equity venture transactions over 30 plus years. While serving as lead investor with his primary past partners, he has enjoyed a greater than 60% success rate, participated in equity investments exceeding $600 million, and helped realize an overall return on investment of more than 300%.
Prior to founding and leading Beechtree Capital, LLC, George was a senior partner practicing corporate law in New York City with the Rubin, Baum, Levin, Constant & Friedman firm, which upon merger became the primary New York City division of Dentons, currently the world’s largest law firm. His primary areas of practice were venture capital, institutional debt and equity financings, telecommunications, banking, sports and entertainment. At his retirement, George was a member of the firm’s six-person management committee. In the entertainment world, he represented numerous television and music personalities, including Grammy winners, and assisted in the development of singing and recording artists, including, among others, Madonna.
During his time at the law firm, George was one of a three-person management group that created three national direct marketing firms, bringing major catalog, fulfillment and shipping innovations to the industry. The parent company, Unity Buying Service Co., Inc. and a subsidiary were taken public and listed on the AMEX. George after retiring from the firm, served as one of two liquidating trustees who sold the parent and subsidiary companies and divisions separately, achieving a considerably greater return for stockholders than would have been received had the company and subsidiaries been sold as a whole.
Commitment to Service
George has founded, held leadership positions in and invested in numerous organizations and causes throughout his life. George is particularly proud of his 45+ years of continuous service as counsel, board and committee member, and board vice chair of the 70+ year-old, highly respected National Football Foundation, for which he was the co-recipient of the 2014 Gold Medal, the Foundation’s highest honor, which he shares with 7 past U.S. Presidents and numerous corporate and government leaders.
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Born in the South Bronx, George moved to inner city Rochester, N.Y. where he attended Benjamin Franklin High School. At a time when very few Franklin students went on to college, George left for Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he majored in English and Theatre, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree.
George next attended the New York University School of Theatre Arts, from which he graduated with a Master of Arts degree. His particular area of interest was drama and literature of the Far East. It was while he was at NYU that George started his first serious venture capital project. Working with the head of the theatre department, he helped raise $1 million from Robert Dowling, the past head of City Investing Corp. – then a major New York City investment firm – to create a new theater in the round in a nearby community, which is still in operation today.
To thereafter enroll in New York University School of Law, George borrowed considerable sums and initially attended night school. Though he held a full-time day job, George was ranked number four in his first year class. With the help of the Dean of Students and the then Dean of the Law School Robert McKay (the future Head of the Aspen Institute), he received grants and scholarships and began attending law school full time. Eventually, George became managing editor of the prestigious Annual Survey of American Law. Upon graduating from New York University School of Law, George received the school’s coveted Founders Day Award for academic excellence and was one of six NYU law students included in the “Who’s Who of American Law Schools” that year. George is a prominent alumnus of NYU School of Law and was recently invited to make a presentation about his career to students and faculty in the School’s October 2014 Dean’s Roundtable.
George considers his greatest achievement to be his family, his wife Nancy and his blended family of three children and one grandson. He is particularly proud that his children are extraordinary entrepreneurs and committed members of philanthropic organizations.