At the inception of his career, following the receipt of his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of San Francisco in 1958, John E. Popovich served General Steamship Corporation and ICA, which provided him opportunities to travel abroad to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to serve as a records management clerk. Equipped with a broad knowledge of history and Asian culture, he spent the following 30 years in varying roles within the administration management industry, serving in numerous countries around the world. Notably, he had assignments in such countries as the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Ecuador, Yemen, Panama and Egypt.
In the latter stages of his career, Mr. Popovich served as a division chief for overseas personnel, where he was responsible for worldwide assignments and promotions. His final role prior to his retirement was as the assistant inspector general for resource management in the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), from which he retired in 1993. Following his tenure in government and post-retirement, he continued to excel as a contractor for the USAID, in which he visited more countries, including Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, Ukraine and Hungary. He excelled as a contractor for a decade before entering a full retirement.
Early in his life, Mr. Popovich grew up in San Francisco, where he was exposed to a variety of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It was from these formative experiences that his interest in history, particularly Asian history, began, as he had many Asian American friends whose parents often described to Mr. Popovich their experiences growing up in Asia. Subsequent to these interactions, he pursued a formal career in history where he could learn about diverse cultures worldwide and grow as an individual.