On May 27, 1951, Steve Adams was born in the community of Cornersville in Marshall County, Tennessee. He enrolled in Austin Peay State University and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 1973. Treasurer Adams further enhanced his education by becoming a certified public accountant in 1979 and a graduate of the National Institute for Public Finance in 1996. While Treasurer Adams pursued education, he also started a family by marrying Reta Stockman. The couple eventually had two children, Brad and Jamie.
Adams began his career with the Tennessee state government in 1973 by working with the Department of Conservation. After serving two years with the Department of Conservation, Treasurer Adams transferred to the Treasury Department in 1975. In 1980, Treasurer Adams became the director of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System and served in that position for seven years. In January of 1987, Treasurer Adams was elected as the State Treasurer by the 95th General Assembly. He was re-elected to the position by each successive General Assembly.
During his long tenure as State Treasurer, Treasurer Adams attained the Certification of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), implemented the first Asset Allocation study for TCRS, established the Collateral Pool for deposits held by banks, and developed Real Estate as an Investment class.
Treasurer Adams implemented several programs, including the BEST College Saving Prepaid plan, the Certified Public Administrator education incentive program, the 125 Flexible Benefits Plan for state employees, and established a monthly employer contribution match to the 401K Deferred Compensation program for state employees.
On the National level, Treasurer Adams served on the executive committee of the National Association of State Treasurers and was the president of the organization in 1997-1998. In 1999, Treasurer Adams received the Jesse M. Unruh Award from the National Association of State Treasurers. The award is named for a founding member of NAST and former California State Treasurer, and this distinguished award recognizes an active treasurer's outstanding service to the association, the profession, and his or her state.
He also served on the executive committee of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and held the office of president in 1998-1999. In addition to his officer roles, he was a member of the National Association of Government Accountants, Tennessee Children's Plan, and the Tennessee Parks Foundation. He served on the Bicentennial Mall Commission which oversaw the creation of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall as a lasting monument to Tennessee's Bicentennial Celebration, which was June 1, 1996.
Adams was also recognized with many awards over the years. In 1997, he was the recipient of the Astra Merck National Managed Health Care Congress Award. One year later, in 1998, Treasurer Adams received recognition with the Association of Government Accountants Distinguished State Government Leadership Award.
In October of 2003, Treasurer Adams retired from his position as State Treasurer to join the Tennessee Lottery.
As a result of his departure, Dale Sims, Executive Assistant to the Treasurer, was appointed as the interim State Treasurer by Governor Phil Bredesen.
Reference: The Bond Buyer 327.30575 (Feb 9, 1999); Tennessee Blue Book, 1999-2000; Duren Cheek, "Governor Names Sims Acting State Treasurer," The Tennessean, 22 October 2003.