Steve Tate is the 2019 Leadership Excellence Award recipient for MH

Published in the February 13 – 26 2019 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Photo by Marty Cheek
Former Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate graciously accepts the LEAD award while his wife, Jennifer Tate, proudly looks on.

Steve Tate is a locally famous San Francisco Giants fan. So the Leadership Morgan Hill organizers brought in his passion for the baseball team in revealing the former Morgan Hill mayor is this year’s Leadership Excellence Award recipient. He will be honored at a gala this summer.

At Guglielmo Winery Jan. 31, a group of LMH alumni and other residents gathered to enjoy wine and appetizers for the surprise “reveal” of this year’s recipient. LMH Board President Byron Kelley described the reasons for the nonprofit’s group’s award selected by a blue ribbon panel, which includes previous LEAD recipients.

“Every year, the board and the excellence honor award committee chooses someone from the community,” he said. “The LEAD award recognizes leaders whose vision advances the spirit of the community, reflects courage and insight, and inspires others to lead in a like manner.”

There was a pause as Kelley waited for the surprise reveal to start. Board director and class of 2016 graduate Chris Harrington stepped through a door carrying a vendor tray shouting: “Hot dogs, get your hot dog. Who wants a hot dog?” Following him into the room were other alumni wearing Giants uniforms, hats, and scarfs and carrying foam fingers with the team’s logo. Someone put a Giants baseball cap on Tate’s head.

Kelley announced Tate as the 2019 LEAD award recipient, mentioning Steve and Jennifer Tate spend the month of March in Scottsdale, Ariz., during the San Francisco Giants’ spring training. Tate stepped up to the podium in Guglielmo’s Heritage Room and took the mic.

“I really, really appreciate this recognition,”  he said. “We will make this celebration the most fun, the most happy, enjoyable experience so we can support this great organization.”

He acknowledged the importance of Leadership Morgan Hill as a group of people who build their leadership skills to enhance the quality of life for the community.

“It looks like most people here have been through the program, so you understand how vital and how productive it really is,” he said. “This (LEAD) event is really about supporting that program. I’ll be the biggest cheerleader going forward for this program. We’ve got a fantastic bunch of people who have already been awarded this honor. I’ve asked each and every one of them to serve on my honorary committee. They’re the ones who know all about it, they’ve been through it themselves.”

Tate will be honored at an outdoor gala fundraiser at Guglielmo Winery Saturday, July 20. The annual award recognizes people whose vision and leadership advance community service and philanthropy, reflect courage and insight, and inspire others to lead in a like manner, Kelley said.

“The Board is excited to honor Steve Tate, a man whose admirable track record of community leadership and service has had a significant and lasting beneficial impact on Morgan Hill,” he said. “Steve is a LMH alumnus and previous board chair who continues to support and advocate for our mission.”

Tate has been involved in local government for 27 years, including seven years on the Planning Commission, eight years on the Morgan Hill City Council, and 12 years as mayor. He retired from local government involvement at the end of his sixth term as mayor in December. During his service as a commissioner and councilmember, he worked as a software planner with IBM. During his 38-year career with Big Blue he also worked in sales, and as a product planner and a planning manager.

That Tates moved to Morgan Hill in 1977. Almost as soon as the couple made their home here, they became involved in Morgan Hill politics. Their passion for balanced city growth inspired then into civic involvement with the passage of Measure E.

Tate played a key role in guiding Redevelopment Authority projects to benefit Morgan Hill for years to come. They include the Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center, the Morgan Hill  Centennial Recreation Center, the Morgan Hill Dennis Kennedy Aquatics Center, the Morgan Hill Library, and construction of Butterfield Boulevard.

City Manager Christina Turner described Tate’s mayoral service as one of “respectful and ethical engagement with city staff, local educators and business leaders, and residents, while maintaining focus on protecting the community’s best interests.”

Tate’s commitment to young people is evident in his long involvement with Rotary Interact Clubs at local high schools, the Youth Action Council, and the El Toro Boy’s and Girl’s Club, as well as the implementation of Project Cornerstone’s developmental assets for youth in Morgan Hill.

Rotary Club of Morgan Hill honored him with the Allan McLeod Award in 2012, and the YMCA recognized his service with the Project Cornerstone Lifetime Asset Champion Award in 2017. For more than a decade he has mentored and advocated for local youth through community service projects.

Tate is a longtime member of Rotary Club of Morgan Hill and a past board president. He is a board member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley. He served as board president of Leadership Morgan Hill in 2004-05 and is a recipient of its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2016. He is also a past board president of the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority, the Cities Association of Santa Clara County, and the Peninsula Division of the League of California Cities. The Morgan Hill Community Foundation honored him as an Outstanding Philanthropist and Volunteer in 2018.

Like other Leadership Excellence Award winners, Tate has an attitude of willingness and enthusiasm when asked for support of a good cause.

“Morgan Hill is a very special place and Leadership Morgan Hill does a great job of grooming leaders to keep it that way,” he said. “I am honored to be selected for this award and look forward to a great celebration that supports the Leadership program’s ongoing focus on excellence.”

Leadership Morgan Hill is now in its 24th year of building community engagement. Past LEAD award honorees are: Roger Knopf (2003), George, Gene and Gary Guglielmo (2004), Michael Rubino (2005), Dennis Kennedy (2007), Sherry Hemingway (2008), Mike Johnson (2011), Rosy Bergin (2012), Mike Cox (2013), George Chiala (2014), Dana Ditmore (2015), Joe Aiello (2016), Lisa DeSilva (2017) and Bob Foster (2018).

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek