Deke Copenhaver currently serves as Mayor of Augusta, Georgia having been first elected in 2005 to serve out an unexpired term and being subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Mr. Copenhaver was born in Montreal, Canada and raised in Columbia County, Georgia. After attending the University of Georgia and earning a B.A. in Political Science from Augusta College, Deke worked for Nations Bank Securities in Atlanta for several years. After relocating to Beaufort, South Carolina in the mid-nineties, he went on to a career in real estate, serving as a principal in the firm of Huffines, Dukes, and Copenhaver LLC. After moving home to Augusta in 1998, Deke worked as a sales representative for Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate. He accepted the position of Executive Director of the Central Savannah River Land Trust in July of 2001. During his tenure, Mr. Copenhaver directed the expenditure of over $1.1 million in greenspace purchases throughout Augusta-Richmond County while at the same time developing a program that is widely considered the finest of its kind in the State.
In 2004, Mr. Copenhaver was appointed to the Georgia Land Conservation Partnership Advisory Council by Governor Sonny Perdue, serving on the Partnering and Leveraging Committee. In 2005, the Council's work resulted in the setting aside of $100 million in state funding for statewide land conservation through the passage of the Georgia Land Conservation Act. In 2005, Deke served as Augusta’s co-chair for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s “Red Carpet Tour”, which promotes statewide economic development. Deke currently serves on the boards of the Georgia Municipal Association having also served as chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, the CSRA Regional Commission, the District 7 Regional Transportation Roundtable, the University of Georgia Board of Visitors, the Richmond-Burke County Job Training Authority (chair), Georgia Forward, the Georgia Humanities Council and currently serves as chair of the Augusta Regional Transit Study Committee. He is a past board member of the Augusta Symphony, Historic Augusta, Young at Art, Mainstreet Augusta, the Family Y of Metro Augusta, the Georgia Alliance of Land Trusts, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Conservancy, the Augusta Museum of History and the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation. Mr. Copenhaver served as chair of the Environmental Issues Committee, along with serving on the Editorial Committee, for Leadership Augusta’s Destination 2020 Initiative. Deke is a 2004 graduate of Leadership Georgia and a 2011 graduate of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design. He currently serves on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s International Development Committee, the Savannah/Upper Ogeechee Regional Water Council and the Georgia Downtown Task Force. Mr. Copenhaver is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Augusta and the Church of the Good Shepherd.
In 2003, Deke was recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of Georgia’s “Top Forty Under Forty”. He is the 2003 recipient of the Family Y of Metro Augusta’s “Linda H. Walter Leadership Award”. In 2006 and 2008, he was named a Notable Georgian by Georgia Trend Magazine and in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by the same publication. In 2012, Deke was named by Southern Living Magazine as one of their “Heroes of the New South”. Mr. Copenhaver was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Augusta State University in 2008 and is the 2007 recipient of the “Brother Commissioner Lee Norris Beard Award” given by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Alpha Chi Lambda Chapter) at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast. In 2009, Deke was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. In 2010, Mr. Copenhaver was awarded the “Exemplary Service for Community Unity” award by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee. In 2011. Deke was inducted into the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In 2010 he became the first U.S. mayor to complete all three legs of an officially sanctioned Ironman event at the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta. His hobbies include golf, hunting, running, writing, triathlons and reading. He and his wife Malisa live in Augusta with their three dogs, Surrey, Gracie Lynn and Buddy.