CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Richard V. Stevens, communications director for the City of Clarksville for the past five years, will retire from the position in August, concluding a 40-year career as a journalist, media executive and communications professional.
“My career has been focused on community service through communications, and I really enjoyed my ‘second act’ as spokesperson for the City of Clarksville,” Stevens said. “For 35 years as a journalist, I was a government watchdog, usually focused on its problems and challenges. So it was interesting to spend these last five years on the other side of the window, telling the story of the good things City government achieves for our community.”
As communications director, Stevens coordinates the City’s information, marketing, and public relations activities and serves as the City’s spokesperson. His last day with the City will be Aug. 23, and Mayor Joe Pitts has begun the process of recruiting a successor.
"Richard has been an integral part of our Executive Management team since we arrived in the Mayor's office,” Mayor Pitts said. “His media knowledge and expertise is unmatched, and he has an uncanny ability to help us tell the stories of our City and her people.
“Aside from his excellent work in our office, he has an abiding love of his adopted hometown. Richard has been involved in many organizations and activities that are important to our history, including the Pat Head Summitt statue in Liberty Park.
“He will be nearly impossible to replace and I want to publicly thank him for the extraordinary work he has done on behalf of our City employee family and our citizens. We wish him, Jennifer and his children all the best in this next season of his life."
Stevens, 66, joined the city in 2016 after a distinguished 35-year career as a community journalist, working day-to-day on the front lines of the news industry as a reporter, editor, newsroom leader and later as the top executive of a local media company.
Stevens retired in 2015 as Editor & General Manager of The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville. He began the position in June 2011, after serving as executive editor of the news organization for 12 years. He joined The Leaf in January 1999 after five years at The Tennessean in Nashville, where he served as assistant managing editor, reporting team leader and night city editor.
Stevens was educated in public schools and at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His first full-time news job came in 1980 as a reporter and editor at the County Tribune, a weekly in his hometown of O’Fallon, Mo. He moved on to senior editing roles at newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, Washington State, Kansas and Tennessee.
At The Leaf-Chronicle, Stevens directed the gathering, editing and presentation of news content. During his tenure, The Leaf won numerous awards for its reporting on Fort Campbell and the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, investigative reporting on local government, and for its websites. In 2012, Stevens won the state press association’s top award for his series of columns and editorials about hiring irregularities at the Clarksville Department of Electricity.
As general manager, Stevens also led The Leaf-Chronicle’s sales and marketing and its connection with the community. He served on boards of the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce, Aspire Clarksville Foundation and for several years served as president of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation. He also served as chairman of the Pat Head Summitt Project Committee, which worked to install a statue of the legendary Lady Vols coach at Liberty Park. While at City Hall, Stevens led the communications committee for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Alliance.
Stevens is married to Jennifer Goode Stevens, an editor at Vanderbilt University and owner of Goode Edits, an editing services company. They reside in Clarksville and have two children -- Janey and Elliott. Stevens also has three adult children -- Jack, Rachel and Thomas.
In retirement, with two teens at home involved in competitive swimming and baseball, Stevens plans to be active in family life and his church, play golf and pursue passion projects in creative writing and music.