November 16, 2021


With Steve, you never know where he might be off exploring next!  A few years ago, this was the Christmas card photo of him and his wife Gwen on a trip to Papua, New Guinea!  Another year they were on camels in the Middle East or bundled up on the ice in Antarctica. They might be in a village in Spain for a few months or climbing remote mountains or visiting favorite wineries in the Napa Valley.  All from their home base in Long Beach, California.

I met Steve over 20 years ago when he came as a consultant to help wrap up a downtown business improvement district in Columbia.  We really enjoyed working together and after that project was successful, he invited me to join him in a year-long management contract with the Nashville Downtown Partnership.  He hired me as a member of his Urban Place Consulting Group and in July, 2001, we became the interim managers in Nashville.  He spent two or three days a week in Nashville, then flew off to other downtown management consulting jobs or home for the weekend.  I was the “on site” staff person.  Our contract was extended until we recruiting a permanent executive in 2003.  At that time, I became a Partnership staff member as I wanted to make Nashville my home.

Over the next 14 years, Steve came back to Nashville to work on specific consulting projects for us, and it was always great to renew our friendship and working relationship. He and Gwen even came to Nashville for Heather’s wedding!  

Steve loves life—and people.  He’s had so many types of jobs—such as driving a cement truck, operating an ice cream store, and being a travel agent. He became a leading expert on the revitalization of downtowns, which had been in decline as suburbs and shopping malls rose in popularity. He is very effective at listening to city property owners’ concerns and working with them to make improvements.  Whether he’s talking to hundreds of people or a single individual, he gives his best counsel and respects their decisions.

Steve’s whole family live in the Long Beach area.  For years, his siblings took their parents out to breakfast every Saturday morning. He and Gwen both have daughters from their first marriages, all of whom live nearby with their families. When I first met Steve, his only grandchildren were one daughter’s young twin sons. They now have finished college and are well on their way in their careers.  

Today is Steve’s birthday!  He’s one of the people who have made such a difference in my life. The photo below was taken of us at the 2017 Partnership anniversary where I was honored as I retired.  It wouldn’t have been complete without having Steve there—after all, he is responsible for my getting to work and live in Nashville.

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